So has everyone settled in yet? I promise, we’ll get furniture in our new digs soon enough, and eventually we may even cook a whole meal instead of doing what I do nearly every day: surviving on a diet of Stouffer’s meatloaf. For now, keep chillin’ on the floor, and between breaks in discussion feel free to watch re-runs of Inspector Gadget while eating Jiffy Pop, which is my nightly bed time routine.
Anywho, it seems there’s been some sort of alignment of the heavenly bodies as we unveil this new little corner of the Internet today. Between Jake Locker being told that he can do something meaningful in Tennessee and Tamba Hali getting suspended for the Chiefs’ season-opener against Atlanta, there’s been plenty of news with a fantasy impact.
And no, that’s not a reach, because with fantasy regular seasons typically lasting for only 13 or 14 games, the absence of one key defender in just one of those contests is huge if you own any of the primary Falcons offensive players Hali would have been tackling.
Yep, one man’s loss is another man’s really good fantasy week, as the ol’ saying goes. And if you own or are about to own Matt Ryan, be very thankful that Hali abused some substances.
That was the crime for which the Chiefs linebacker will do his time, as he was deemed to be in violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, and he’ll therefore be suspended one game. Hali has gone to the Pro Bowl in two of his five seasons, and he has 26.5 sacks over the last two years. But it’s his sack production last year compared to the severe lack of pressure elsewhere on the Chiefs’ defense that will be especially pleasing for Ryan et al.
There isn’t much pressure coming from anyone not named Hali on the Chiefs’ front seven. KC had only 29 sacks last year (27th in the league), and 12 of them came from the former Penn State standout (41.4 percent). Sophomore third-round pick Justin Houston will surely continue to mature after his 5.5 sacks last year, but he still lives in a vastly different area code than the one occupied by Hali.
So yes, keep smiling, Matt Ryan owners. And by extension, Julio Jones and Roddy White owners too.
Last year the Falcons faced three defenses that finished with fewer than 30 sacks. Here are Ryan’s numbers in those games:
|Ryan vs. Packers||56.3||167||5.2||1||2|
|Ryan vs. Colts||58.3||275||11.5||3||1|
|Ryan vs. Titans||68.8||316||9.9||1||0|
The Packers game was the clear outlier, but combined Ryan was sacked just twice over those three games. His 11.5 yards per attempt against Indy was nearly his most efficient outing of the year, and was behind only his 11.8 during the Falcons’ regular-season finale win over Tampa. And his three touchdowns in that game was one of the five times he passed for more than two touchdowns in an outing.
Combine Hali’s absence with the Chiefs’ still adjusting to life without Brandon Carr in their secondary and Ryan’s 329 passing yards during his limited playing time throughout the fake football season, and at the very least you’ll get a slight boost in Week 1. At best, you’ll watch an explosion.