The 2023 NFL Draft seemed to confirm that the Atlanta Falcons believe in second-year signal-caller Desmond Ridder. That, or maybe they didn’t like their chances of trading up to get one of the top quarterbacks available this year. Whether he’s the franchise cornerstone or a temporary solution, Ridder has the starting job in Atlanta.
2023 Fantasy Football: Desmond Ridder Profile
Recap of 2022 season
Ridder saw action in four games as a rookie last season to end 2023. The results were mixed. He only threw for 708 yards and two touchdowns, but he didn’t throw an interception, and he completed 63.5 percent of his passes (but had just 6.2 yards per attempt.)
Updated Falcons outlook
It’s probably going to be a tough year for the Falcons. Their projected win total is 8.5 games. However, the team made some substantial investments in defense that could help in an NFC South that looks wide open to everyone not named the Buccaneers. What would have significantly helped Ridder’s fantasy outlook, not to mention his career prospects, would have been another top-tier wide receiver in the draft. Instead, with the eighth overall pick, the Falcons went with Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
Even with a loaded group of running backs, we can expect Ridder to do more on the ground than what we saw last season. He’s a good runner who could easily contribute another three rushing touchdowns to the total. Plus, having a good group of pass catchers led by WR Drake London and TE Kyle Pitts, Ridder could clear 20 touchdown passes without much trouble. Yardage might be harder to come by given Atlanta’s three-back commitment to running the football.
The worst-case scenario is that Ridder’s a bust, struggling to toss much more than a dozen touchdowns and losing his role to offseason addition Taylor Heinicke, who has more starting experience under his belt.
Let’s assume that Ridder hangs onto the job throughout the season. Still, he’s probably no more than a streaming option for fantasy football lineups in deeper formats.