Jets Acquire Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick obviously isn’t your starting quarterback in a dream scenario, but the well-documented Harvard grad is both underrated and a clear improvement on incumbent starter Geno Smith. The two figure to compete for the job during Training Camp and the preseason, but Fitzpatrick figures to win the gig with ease.
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Last season, Fitzpatrick’s production was inconsistent, but he ended up with a healthy 17:8 TD:INT ratio on only 312 attempts. Overlooked as a quality rusher, Fitzpatrick added two scores and 188 yards with his legs. Now 32, Fitzpatrick had previous stops with Tennessee, Buffalo, Cincinnati and St. Louis.
The ex-team that jumps off the page is Buffalo, as Fitzpatrick was the Bills starter during Chan Gailey’s three-year stint with the team. Gailey, of course, is the Jets current offensive coordinator.
During those three years (which spanned 2010 to 2012), Fitzpatrick handled 1,678 (or 94 percent) of the Bills’ 1,789 dropbacks. He averaged 3,408 passing yards and 228 rushing yards per season and put up a 71:54 TD:INT mark. Those numbers aren’t particularly impressive, but they were enough to allow Fitzpatrick strong QB2 production. He was fantasy’s No. 17 scoring quarterback in 2010 (in 13 games), 12th in 2011, and 17th in 2012.
Neither Fitzpatrick or Gailey have had a history of big-time production – the Bills scored exactly 24 passing touchdowns each of Gailey’s three seasons – but this is an offense that should be right around league average. Consider that 392 (or 27 percent) of Fitzpatrick’s 1,440 targets went to Stevie Johnson during his time in Buffalo. His other “top” targets were Donald Jones, David Nelson, Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Scott Chandler, Lee Evans, Brad Smith, T.J. Graham, Roscoe Parrish and Naaman Roosevelt. That list include every player who saw 30 or more targets during Fitzpatrick’s time with Gailey. Ouch.
In New York, Fitzpatrick’s supporting cast is much better. Gailey has a history of utilizing a lot of three- and four-wide sets. Expect that to continue with Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Kerley and Jace Amaro operating in what figures to be their base ‘11’ package. Chris Ivory is an underrated lead back and will approach 250 carries, but he won’t offer much as a receiver. Bilal Powell was re-signed, but it’s fair to expect the team to look for an impact receiver out of the backfield (Reggie Bush would be an ideal fit).
Fitzpatrick’s early 16-game projection is as follows: 335-of-545, 3,755 yards, 23 TD, 18 INT, 60 carries, 248 yards, 1 TD. That would make him a mid-to-back end QB2 option, which is where he belongs.
Meanwhile, the Texans re-signed Ryan Mallett and signed Brian Hoyer as competition. The former makes sense, but the latter is a bit of a head-scratcher as Hoyer is clearly an inferior player to Fitzpatrick, who wasn’t overly expensive (due $3.25 million this year) and on the last year of his deal. Mallett is the heavy favorite to start in Week 1, but he could blow the opportunity with a poor preseason. Tom Savage will also push for the job, but is a longshot.
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