Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It only takes one.
One bad week to put the stench of failure on an otherwise dominant fantasy season.
There was New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's Week 15 performance against the Jets in 2007: 14-of-27, 140 yards, zero touchdowns, one pick. And Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning's Week 15 game against the Ravens in 2004: 20-of-33, 249 yards, one touchdown. Or how about Houston Texans running back Arian Foster's Week 15 in 2010: 11 carries, 15 yards rushing, 46 yards receiving.
Brady threw for 50 touchdowns in 2007 and Manning 49 in 2004, and Foster had 2,220 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns in 2010, but those poor games occurred during the first week of the fantasy playoffs in most leagues.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan's abomination came Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, in Week 11, a week that could have major implications on the playoff picture in fantasy leagues with just three weeks remaining.
Ryan's line (Ryan owners, if you're tempted to look away, we don't blame you): 28-of-46, 301 yards, zero touchdowns, five interceptions.
The Falcons quarterback dashed fantasy hopes quickly, throwing a pick on the first play from scrimmage, before the cheese on our nachos even had a chance to melt. It was Roddy White's fault, as the receiver bobbled a pass that ended up in the hands of a Cardinals' defender, but INTs don't count against receivers, they count against QBs. Ryan went on to throw two more in the first quarter and five altogether.
In leagues with no 300-yard bonus, Ryan gave owners a measly two points (25 passing yards/point). Heck, Kansas City Chiefs QBs Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn managed three points apiece against Cincinnati. Even Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had four points against Washington.
Luckily, wheras owners of Brady, Manning and Foster were likely eliminated in the years we mentioned, the season goes on. And Ryan couldn't have asked for a much easier slate to get things back on track. Next up on the schedule: divisional opponents Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans ranks dead last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks this season, and Tampa Bay sits 26th.
If Ryan can redeem himself and lead fantasy owners to the playoffs, his Week 11 effort will be a distant memory. Until that happens, everything he's accomplished this season -- five three-touchdown games, only one game with less than 249 passing yards -- will remain buried under the rubble caused by Sunday's implosion.