Every couple of years, Ryan Fitzpatrick puts a spell on us. Let’s call that spell Fitzmagic. He comes into the season hot and we find ourselves asking if this can be real. Over the last four weeks, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a top-twelve quarterback in fantasy. Heck, Fitzpatrick is currently the QB9. However, FantasyPro’s rest of season consensus has Ryan Fitzpatrick as the 27th-best quarterback to roster the rest of the fantasy season. So let’s ask the question on everybody’s mind now: Is Ryan Fitzpatrick good? Let’s break that down into several other questions, to answer that question.
Is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Production For Real?
This is a tricky question to cover because you have to ask another question. Is Ryan Fitzpatrick playing well? That depends on how you define “playing well.” If you define that as good for fantasy football, then you can call him for real. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been very good for fantasy football in the past. Fitzpatrick has had 5 seasons where he threw for over 3,000 yards. He’s also had 5 seasons with over 20 passing touchdowns and in one of those seasons, Fitzpatrick threw 30 touchdowns.
This season, Ryan Fitzpatrick is on pace to throw for 4,301 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 19 turnovers, which would be his best fantasy football season in a 15-year career. I think it is safe to say that he probably won’t achieve that. However, in 2015 with the New York Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 3,905 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions, so that performance isn’t outside the realm of possibility. In fantasy terms, Fitzpatrick’s 2015 performance would have scored him 265.2 in standard-scoring leagues. In 2019, those numbers would’ve made him the QB13. And let’s be real, if you are wondering about Ryan Fitzpatrick, you would kill for the QB13.
Is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Production Sustainable?
Now, this is the million-dollar question. Just because Ryan Fitzpatrick is theoretically capable of producing these numbers does not mean he will. There are a few interesting advanced metrics that make a compelling case that Fitzpatrick will continue to succeed this year. First off, when it comes to pressure, Fitzpatrick is tied for the second-shortest time before his pocket collapses at 1.8 seconds. Coupled with the fact that he is being pressured on 17% of his dropbacks, this shows that he has to make the decisions quickly. The fact that he is completing 70.6% of his passes means his decisions are the right ones.
Next, let’s take a hard look at why Ryan Fitzpatrick is so accurate this year. As I just mentioned, Fitzpatrick has completed 70.6% of his passes this season, which is the best completion percentage of his career. There are two reasons why this number is so high. First, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s receivers have a drop rate of 2.4%, which is the 12th-lowest in 2020. Second, only 10.1% of Fitzpatrick‘s throws are bad. That means not a lot of that is on him.
Finally, and perhaps most impressive of all, are Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Air Yards. For those of you newer to advanced passing metrics, Air Yards measure how far the ball travels before it gets to the receiver. This is a good indicator of whether a quarterback is just dumping the ball off to his running back or if he is pushing the ball down the field. Perhaps most surprising of all, Ryan Fitzpatrick is definitely pushing the ball down the field. 833 of his 1344 passing yards have traveled through the air, ranking him seventh among quarterbacks in 2020.
Does Ryan Fitzpatrick Have a Secret Weapon?
Did I formulate the statement that he has a secret weapon in the form of a question to make this work? You betcha. Hidden in all of Fitzpatrick’s passing stats are his rushing yards. This year, he averages 26.2 rushing yards per game, which adds a 2.6 point capper on whatever passing production he gets you. He also has two rushing touchdowns in his five games this year, which gives you fun bonus points. His secret weapon (his old man legs) gives him extra juice that help boost his fantasy football production.
Absurdity Check: What’s the Verdict on Ryan Fitzpatrick?
What this analysis all comes down to is this: Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t really giving any indication of slowing down. Yes, Fitzpatrick is currently having the best season of his career, but it isn’t that far off from his previous best season, so we know he is capable of sustaining this success. More importantly, taking a closer look at Fitzpatrick’s numbers, we’ve seen that he is making decisions quickly and accurately, all while challenging opposing defenses by pushing the ball down the field. There is not much more you can ask for from your quarterback.
So when it comes down to that age-old question, “Is Ryan Fitzpatrick for real?”, I have to say that he 100% is. It’s weird for me to say, but there is a lot of compelling evidence that he will be able to keep this up. I think the main disconnect people some of you will have in convincing yourselves to trust Fitzpatrick is that you don’t think he’s a good NFL quarterback. And you’re right. He isn’t. But, he’s still QB9, and
Try to remember that Blake Bortles finished two fantasy football seasons as a QB1. The moral of the story is that you don’t have to be a good quarterback to be a good fantasy football quarterback and if you need help at quarterback, you should probably take a long, hard look at Ryan Fitzpatrick.