After starting the last 163 games for the Atlanta Falcons, an ankle injury suffered in Week 7 will sideline Matt Ryan for Week 8's matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.
In his place, Atlanta will trot out Matt Schaub, who will be making his first start since 2015. In what should be a significant downgrade for a Falcons team that is already 1-6, this move could have massive impact on the fantasy outlook for Atlanta's offense.
Schaub has thrown just four touchdowns over the past five seasons. The last time he started more than two games was in 2013, when he threw for 10 touchdowns and 14 interceptions over eight starts.
The loss of Ryan could severely impact their top-two wide receivers. Both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley become riskier plays with Schaub throwing them the ball against a decent Seattle secondary, which sits 16th in Football Outsiders' pass defense DVOA rankings. They're both primed for more targets after Mohamed Sanu was traded to the New England Patriots, but with those targets coming from Schaub, both see their outlook for the week take a hit.
Schaub starting also leaves the Falcons as 7.5-point underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Given that, the potential for rushing volume is reduced while likely playing from behind, and combining that with fewer TD opportunities is a blow for Devonta Freeman's value as well.
The only players that get a boost in fantasy outlook with Schaub starting are on the other side of the field. With Seattle favored by more than a touchdown we should see a healthy dose of Chris Carson on the ground, giving him a great fantasy outlook.
Atlanta's WRs are still viable fantasy plays this week, and we have Jones at WR3 and Ridley at WR32 in our Week 8 PPR fantasy football rankings. Their respective upsides are limited though, and Ridley in particular could have his post-Sanu breakout delayed a bit with Schaub starting at QB.
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Stuart Easton is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Stuart Easton also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username stueast13. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.