Fantasy Watch: Ryan Fitzpatrick
By Adam McGill
Ironically nicknamed the “Amish Missle” by his teammates last winter for his ever-growing beard, the Buffalo quarterback has electrified the team’s passing game. Fitz came in after being named the starter in week four last season and lead the struggling Bills’ offense with 23 touchdown passes in the last 13 games. The former Cincinnati Bengal took over early last season, when the team finanlly cut previous starter Trent Edwards after several seasons of disappointing performances.
Fitzpatrick has matured well with the help of offensive guru, Chan Gailey, and Fitz has shown that he is a capable NFL quarterback. He tied Tom Brady for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns through week one with four and also lead the Bills to their first season opener win, since 2008. He isn’t afraid to throw the ball downfield, which is the complete antithesis of “Captain Check-down” Trent Edwards. Fitzaptrick also has almost no competition for the starting role; with Brad Smith and Tyler Thigpen occupying the backup spots. He is one of the only starters who has a firm grip on the starting role, at least ones not named Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.
The only thing that could limit Fitzpatrick’s fantasy effectiveness would be his offensive line. The Bills line is one of the youngest units in the league and has been the weakness of the team for over a decade. However, if the line can prove to be reliable down the stretch, then Fitz can easily throw 25 touchdowns in 2011. It is still shocking that he is available in around 45% of leagues, despite his stellar week one performance. Although he is comically on pace to throw 64 touchdowns, that number will likely drop a bit after a couple tough AFC East games in November. He will be a very safe option for fantasy owners to plug in, especially in two-quarterback leagues, giving Buffalo their first fantasy worthy quarterback since Jim Kelly.