This season, like many, has been filled with unexpected performances from players who flew under the radar in the offseason, such as James Robinson, Mo Alie-Cox, James Bradberry, and more. But there’s been one wide receiver who surprisingly to most, is playing as one of the best players at his position. Falcons Wide Receiver: Calvin Ridley.
In the offseason, Ridley was seen as a good WR2 on a team, but I thought otherwise. I had Ridley ranked as my fantasy WR12, wrote a segment of an article about him, and for good reason. This year, Calvin Ridley saw a near-mirror situation to what we saw from Chris Godwin in 2019: A breakout season due to targets being available in a top offense without having to be a primary focus. Godwin went from someone who made little impact and wasn’t considered a starter to a top ten WR in just one season, and Ridley’s 2020 has proven to be no different.
Despite Atlanta’s horrendus 0-3 start which included two crazy blown-leads, the bright spot has been their offense, specifically the third-year WR from Alabama. Ridley has started this season with 349 receiving yards per game, over 50 yards ahead of third and only seven behind the first place Deandre Hopkins. To add onto that, he has caught 4 touchdowns, tied for first in the NFL and is also PFF’s 2nd best graded WR so far. Every game, he’s had 100 receiving yards and he’s truly shown that he is an elite WR.
You may be asking, what makes him so good? Well, it’s a combination of a lot of skills. Ridley is a fantastic route runner, and has the ability to get open easily with his great speed, especially on deep routes. Although, Ridley is light for being 6’1, he more than makes up for it with his hands and awareness.
Although Atlanta has had a rough first three weeks, their lone bright spot is that with Ridley’s emergence as a star, they probably have the best receiving core since Roddy White’s prime, as the Falcons continue to place one aging superstar WR with a younger one to take thier role.