Can it be? Is Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Tennessee Titans really a viable option in fantasy football this week?
Let’s take a look.
The Harvard graduate has scored at least 14 fantasy points in every start since taking over for Jake Locker after he went down with a season ending injury, and this week, he takes on a Denver Broncos defense that has allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw at least two touchdowns in three straight games and has given up the eighth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks for the season.
I’ve lived my entire life in upstate New York and I’ve gotten the pleasure — or displeasure — of watching pretty much every Buffalo Bills game in the last decade or so, so to say I’m familiar with Fitzpatrick would be an understatement.
Fitzpatrick can be summed up by this: he’s a gunslinger without a gunslingers arm. Fitzpatrick is decently accurate, and he is an underrated athlete who is a lot more mobile than people give him credit for; he has decent arm strength and he has the mentality of Brett Favre. He may not be capable of making every throw on the field, but rarely has his inability kept him from trying. Fitzpatrick has made some questionable decisions throughout his career, but they often stem from his over-willingness to give his guys opportunities to make plays; Fitzpatrick seems to always have a tremendous amount of faith in his offensive weapons, whether it’s warranted or not.
I believe that Fitzpatrick is an option you should consider, under the right circumstances. I think he is a strong option in two-quarterback leagues, and if I was ranking quarterbacks, he would fall somewhere right around 15th. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging 42 passing attempts per game against the Broncos, and Fitzpatrick has averaged 39.5 pass attempts in his last two games. He should be in line for another 40+ attempt game, and obviously the more passing attempts a quarterback has, the more opportunities they have to score you fantasy points. The caveat with Fitzpatrick, however, is due to his gunslinger mentality that he is more likely than most quarterbacks to throw multiple interceptions; he had three interceptions last week against the Indianapolis Colts, and he’s thrown multiple picks in three out of six starts this season. The caveat to that caveat though is that Fitzpatrick is a sneaky rusher around the goal line, giving him the ability to make up for those turnovers; he has three rushing touchdowns this season and he loves, absolutely loves, to run the QB sneak in short yardage/goal line situations. Even last week when he threw three interceptions, he scored 15 fantasy points thanks to a rushing touchdown.
If you’ve been struggling at the quarterback position and you’re looking to shake things up, then Fitzpatrick is definitely a guy you should consider. Be warned though, that if you start him, there is some risk attached. Because of said risk, I’d have a tough time recommending him over Russell Wilson, Colin Kapernick or Robert Griffin III, even though the Broncos’ pass defense is significantly weaker than the defenses those three have to face. However, I do think the upside is worth starting him over Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer and Eli Manning, along with the usual obvious bottom-tier quarterbacks. If you’re feeling lucky this weekend and you don’t mind taking a gamble, starting Fitzpatrick could be a move that pays off quite nicely.