Fantasy: Say No to Ryan Fitzpatrick

| October 26, 2010

Let me start by noting that Ryan Fitzpatrick currently ranks 25th among quarterbacks in my rest-of-season player rankings. Considering how well he’s played the last few weeks, that should raise an eyebrow. Let me explain.

The chart below compares some of Fitpatrick’s advanced stats to his career marks, the NFL average over the last decade, and five of the top fantasy quarterbacks this season. Note where he stands in each category and you can easily see why regression is in his future. In fact, also included here are my projected rates for Fitpatrick going forward in 2010. My projected completion percentage, yards/completion, and yards/attempt are coincidentally (or maybe not) right on target with the league average. All 3 are lower than what he’s put up so far in 2010, but not by much, and are also significantly higher than his career numbers. Consider that his career marks reflect 734 pass attempts, most of which came over the last 2 seasons. His 2010 numbers are based off 128.

Player Year Completion % Yds/Comp Yds/Attempt TD/Completion TD/Attempt INT/Attempt
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2010 63% 12.0 7.6 13.6% 8.6% 3.1%
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2005-2009 Career 58% 9.7 5.6 5.0% 2.9% 3.7%
NFL Average 1999-2009 61% 11.5 7.0 6.8% 4.2% 3.1%
Philip Rivers 2010 63% 13.7 8.7 7.6% 4.8% 2.2%
Aaron Rodgers 2010 64% 12.3 7.8 8.0% 5.1% 3.8%
Kyle Orton 2010 61% 12.8 7.8 6.6% 4.0% 1.4%
Peyton Manning 2010 67% 11.2 7.5 7.6% 5.1% 0.8%
Drew Brees 2010 70% 10.1 7.1 7.0% 4.9% 3.5%
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2010 Proj 61% 11.5 7.0 6.3% 3.8% 3.0%

Next up, take a look at his absurd touchdown rate this season. 8.6% TD/Attempt is an impossible rate to keep up, and that should be obvious when you compare it to the other elite quarterbacks in the league. To give you an idea of how high that is, if the average NFL quarterback throws 33 passes/game (he does), that would work out to 45 touchdowns over 16 games. Tom Brady’s TD/Att in his record-setting 2007 was 8.7% and his Touchdowns/completion mark that season (12.6%) was actually lower than what we’ve seen from Fitzpatrick in 2010. Expect Fitzpatrick’s touchdowns to, at least, be cut in half going forward.

Finally, although Buffalo has passed it more than usual over the last few weeks, they generally lean more on the run if they can. Additionally, consider the total offensive play numbers for Buffalo this season. During weeks 1-5, they recorded 53 twice, 54 twice, and 46 once. In week 7’s overtime thriller vs. Baltimore, they were on the field for 79 offensive plays.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will not continue this torrid pace he is on. Leave him on waivers and, instead, go after a guy like Matthew Stafford or Jon Kitna.

  • yaopau

    “Say no to Ryan Fitzpatrick” is different from saying “Ryan Fitzpatrick will not continue this torrid pace he’s on”. Obviously he’ll fall off. But you didn’t argue why you rank him the 25th best QB going forward.

    I agree the Bills lean on the run more than the pass if they can, but they rarely can. They’re playing from behind so often they’ve had 35 more pass attempts than rush attempts this year.

    Also, Fitzpatrick is 27, the age when a lot of QBs start peaking. Romo went from backup for much of his age-26 season to elite fantasy QB at age 27. Brees went from being let go after two decent years in SD at age 26 to becoming an elite fantasy QB at age 27 with the Saints. Manning and Brady had their best years up to that point at age 27. Roethlisberger had by far his best fantasy year last year at age 27. Kyle Orton is 27 this year. Throw in that he’s got two talented receivers in Evans/Johnson and two runningbacks who can catch out of the backfield, and I think it’s realistic to expect him to stay a top 15 QB from here on.

    I could also be wrong, as I remember how bad he was before this year. But even if his TD% is slashed in half like you suggest, he still runs the ball enough to make me think he’d be in Garrard territory fantasy-wise. Garrard is usually in the mix for top 15 QB, isn’t he?

  • http://www.profootballfocus.com Mike Clay

    “Obviously he’ll fall off. But you didn’t argue why you rank him the 25th best QB going forward.”

    I gave you my projections in the “advanced” categories going forward, which is the basis for his rest-of-season projection. When he falls off, he will fall below mediocrity, at least in fantasy circles.

    Both Jackson and Spiller can catch, but Buffalo isn’t using them that way for whatever reason. Jackson has only been targeted 17 times, Spiller 11 (you’d think they’d be throwing to Spiller a ton.)

    Rushing yardage certainly helps him out a bit, but obviously he isn’t making up for it in the passing categories, or, at least, I’m not expecting him to.

    My projection for him going forward: 187-of-307 , 2152 yards, 12 TD, 9 INT, 34 carries, 169 yards, TD …makes him a borderline top 20 fantasy QB, but nothing more.

    Thanks for the comments.