As dynasty fantasy football managers look towards the next step in the offseason process, Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder established himself as a name to remember for 2022. Following a successful collegiate career, what are Ridder’s strengths, are there any concerns, and how did his landing spot with the Atlanta Falcons impact his dynasty value in 2022 and beyond?
Desmond Ridder’s dynasty fantasy profile
Cincinnati’s Ridder is one of the more interesting prospects of the 2022 rookie class, as no one seems to have a firm idea of what he can be in the NFL. At times, he flashes as bright as anyone, but other plays leave you shaking your head.
Ridder was a four-year starter and, for the most part, a four-year winner in college. Playing in 50 total games, he completed 62.1% of his passes (810 of 1,304) for 10,239 yards, 87 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions. As with most QBs with upper-end potential, Ridder was also effective on the ground. In total, Riddler rushed for 2,108 yards and 28 TDs on 501 attempts.
Few in this draft class can match Ridder’s pure arm strength. But few also match his inconsistency. As with all rookie quarterbacks, you’re not drafting the player they are right now. You’re drafting the player you believe they could become.
Ridder is talented but raw
Ridder needs work, but more importantly, he needs time. The raw features are there. He has the size at 6’3″, brings a cannon of an arm, and offers mobility. There is also a willingness to go for the big plays and not back down when the lights shine the brightest. Yet, in my opinion, he’s not ready to be a starter in the NFL. Thus, if you’re drafting Ridder, be patient.
There is a path where he develops into a starting-caliber NFL and fantasy quarterback in a year or two. Where he is drafted will tell a lot about his future, as Ridder could be fast-tracked if the incumbent QB is on thin ice or at the end of his career.
Ridder’s arm strength is legit. When you hear the phrase “spins it,” they are referencing what he can do. Whether it is a far-hash-to-outside-the-numbers throw or a deep nine, there isn’t a throw Ridder can’t make. If that doesn’t work, he can run right around a defender as shown with his blazing time at the NFL Combine.
As noted by his numbers, Ridder also has deceptive athleticism. Granted, the NFL is far different from the competition he’s faced, but Ridder has wheels that can get him out of trouble. Off the platform, Ridder’s mechanics and live arm allow him to throw with a high degree of proficiency outside the pocket. He maintains his poise and is more than capable of sliding out and hitting a receiver on the run.
There was also a marked improvement in his maturity on the field and in his skills from year to year as he became a team leader. Ridder’s yearly progression showed why he’s not only capable of taking instruction but has the will to get better each and every day.
Coaches and teams want to invest in these kinds of players as the QB needs to be a leader of men. This gives someone like Ridder a longer leash should he have missteps on the field, which he is prone to.
Consistency is the biggest concern for Ridder from a fantasy aspect. At times, he can be wildly inconsistent with his accuracy. Ridder can make a beautifully placed deep ball on one play and underthrow his receiver by five yards on the next.
Ridder also needs to work on his anticipatory throws. He thrived when throwing to guys who had already won their individual assignments but struggled when needing to throw someone open.
And while he’s not a turnover machine, Ridder needs to improve his decision-making. Whether it’s trusting his arm possibly too much or not accounting for a defender who is baiting him, these will be points of emphasis during his development.
Ridder’s injury history
Ridder escaped college without any serious injuries aside from the typical bangs and bruises that come with playing the position. He did deal with a shoulder sprain in 2019 and missed one game. Yet, it was the only contest Ridder missed while in college.
He did surprise some by weighing in considerably smaller at the Senior Bowl. Ridder tipped the scales at 207 pounds rather than his listed 215-220. While that’s not a deal-breaker, Ridder will need to be cognizant of avoiding big hits when scrambling.
Desmond Ridder drafted by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 74
When heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, never did I envision an outcome where Ridder would be selected ahead of Malik Willis. Yet, here we are as the Falcons take the Cincinnati Bearcat at pick No. 74.
This is exceptionally intriguing. Ridder is set to come in and either compete from the start of camp with Marcus Mariota or sit behind him for a year in a de-facto redshirt season. Ridder is not ready yet to start, in my opinion. I think he can use the time behind Mariota, who has been through his own set of ups and downs and has looked at Atlanta as his next chance.
Atlanta did also add a playmaker in Round 1 with Drake London but are quite some time from competing. It’s clear, based on the way NFL teams are drafting, they view this as a weak QB class. This is no surprise. We have heard it for months, if not a whole year.
Could Ridder prove the doubters wrong and become a starting quarterback in the NFL? Possibly. The intangibles are there. He has the arm, diagnoses the play well, and ran like lightning during the NFL Combine.
With that said, I am personally reluctant to invest in a quarterback from this class other than Kenny Pickett. He is a top-three pick in superflex drafts where Ridder isn’t making the first round, in my eyes.
For the QB2 to not be a first-round pick is nearly unheard of in dynasty. If looking for a stash in the hope someone can become a QB2 in fantasy, Ridder fits the bill. But like others, he’s anything from a sure bet and would be someone I stay away from in 2022 redraft leagues even if he wins the job.