25 Ryan Fitzpatrick Facts To Make You Rethink Your Life (Fantasy Football)
Coinciding with Thursday’s Liar Liar episode of the Fantasy Footballers podcast, I thought I would keep this crazy train rolling. Statistics are bendable, as Matthew Berry famously says, to often share a narrative we find comforting or give only a partial picture of a player or team.
But sometimes the best kind of stats are those that celebrate players for who they are and the incredible contributions they bring in making sports just plain fun. After all, aren’t numbers just another way of telling a story?
Every offseason our writing staff undertakes the challenge of using statistics to paint a descriptive portrait of the previous year with our 25 Statistics series. As Editor-in-Chief, I’ve had the pleasure of writing a few of them over the years but as time has worn on, I feel less and less sane prompting myself to include 25 Boom-Boom Kicker Statistics.
Heck, one year I did 55 different 55(!) Statistics in true Fantasy Footballers fashion.
With Ryan Fitzpatrick recently signing with Washington, we get another year full of magic and a player who undoubtedly is having more fun than any other player out on the football field. Here are 25 facts/statistics/weird quirks I found giving way too much time to a player that has given more than we could ever ask for from an NFL player.
1. Where were you on November 24th, 1982? Was the world changed? No. But Ryan Joseph Fitzpatrick was born and he’s the only QB to throw a TD born on that date. In fact, the only other QB to attempt a pass born on that day in NFL history is Cowboys great Ben DiNucci. If you want to peruse PFR’s birthday tool, that date is pretty underwhelming across the board for NFL production other than another old fart, Jimmy Graham, or as he’s affectionately known on the Fantasy Footballers podcast… Jimmy Graham-pa.
2. When Fitzpatrick was drafted in 2005, he was the 14th and final QB off the board in the 7th round at pick 250. Of the 255 players selected, Fitzpatrick and Aaron Rodgers are the only draft picks left currently on an NFL roster. Several others from that class, including #1 overall pick Alex Smith, Mike Nugent, Richie Incognito, Dustin Colquitt, and the eternal Frank Gore, are “active” but classify as free agents. Look how much our guy has changed since then…
The aging process unfolded slightly differently for me. But this is nonetheless inspirational. pic.twitter.com/xHEhHJXKde
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) March 17, 2021
3. So did you hear he went to Harvard? Yes yes, we all know by now. Fitzpatrick is the only Harvard alum to take a snap from under center in NFL history unless you go back to the 1920s with a wing-back named Dick King. Yup. Unfortunately, Mr. King’s stats aren’t available to me. Oh, and I would advise you to not google that man.
4. Since entering the league in 2005, Ryan Fitzpatrick has played 165 career games. And yet, our hairy-chested hero has never played in an NFL game against the Green Bay Packers or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kinda weird… (Update: Washington is scheduled to play both of those teams in 2021). Other than those two teams, there is only one team in the NFL that cannot claim to completely own this man on the football field: the Detroit Lions. He’s a robust 1-0 versus them in his career. You gotta think new Lions head coach Dan Campbell is going to be raging after he reads this article. Unfortunately, Washington doesn’t play Detroit this year. For now, Fitzpatrick’s kneecaps are safe…
5. Our Mike Wright doppelganger (remember the Halloween episode of 2018?) has thrown a TD pass with an NFL-record eight different teams. He’ll obviously extend that record this year but his 223 career passing TDs places him 35th all-time. With just 20 passing TDs this year, he’d jump all the way to 27th passing Hall of Famers Y.A. Tittle, Len Dawson, Jim Kelly, George Blanda, and Steve Young along the way. Not bad for our bearded fellow.
A look back at last year's costumes ahead of tomorrow's #Halloween episode…
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) October 30, 2019
6. With his recent signing in Washington, this glory tour continues. However, our gusty gunslinger has never started a game for an NFL team whose home stadium is located in the Mountain or Pacific time zone. I mean Houston and St. Louis are as west as it gets for him as Fitzpatrick likes that East Coast life…
Sadly, Fitzpatrick has never appeared in a playoff game in his career. In 2015, the Jets went 10-6 and were in a “win-and-get-in situation. Unfortunately, the team lost 22-17 in Buffalo. In 2020, Miami went 10-6 but was shut out in an ultra-competitive AFC despite the NFC sporting two teams with worse records in Chicago (8-8) and division-winning Washington (7-9).
7. Fitzpatrick is one of six QBs in NFL history with 34,000+ passing yards and 2,600+ rushing yards in their career. He joins a pretty boss list with John Elway, Aaron Rodgers, Donovan McNabb, Fran Tarkenton, and the man he replaces in Washington, Alex Smith.
8. Let’s put Fitzpatrick’s rushing abilities in context for a second. The man has as many rushing TDs (21) as Russell Wilson in their careers despite starting only two more games than him. At 5.6 yards per carry on third down, Fitzpatrick has been effective in his career as a runner with 89 first downs on such plays, 17 more than Wilson. I promise this isn’t a dig at Wilson…
9. His 2,621 career rushing yards place him 5th among active QBs and 19th ALL-time. He needs just 31 yards to surpass Daunte Culpepper this year. He has more career rushing yards in 165 games played than Drew Brees (752), Tom Brady (1,043), and Philip Rivers (601) combined from their 832 games played.
10. Perhaps you know about the famous yet mysterious Wonderlic score that lives in Fitzpatrick lore. He scored a 48-out-50, reportedly the 3rd highest score ever. But he’s repeatedly stated the test doesn’t mean very much to him and doesn’t translate to being an NFL QB. Fellow Harvard alum Pat McInally scored a perfect 50. If you need a one-to-one comparison, his SAT score of 1580 is also near perfection. But we’re talking almost 25 years ago.
11. The Fitzmagic legend was born out of… necessity. In a Week 12 matchup versus the Texans in his rookie year of 2005, Fitzpatrick came in relief for the injured starter Jamie Martin in the 2nd quarter and by half-time, the David Carr-led Texans were up 24-3. His first-ever TD pass went to the great Torry Holt in the 3rd quarter but that honestly is burying the lead. Fitzpatrick finished the game with 310 passing yards and three passing TDs, basically all in a frantic second-half comeback. Here’s a great YouTube clip (in 2 min) showing Fitzpatrick’s entrance and eventually the game-winning 56-yard TD pass to Kevin Curtis in overtime.
12. 61 different receivers have caught a TD from Fitzpatrick. The most popular? Stevie Johnson (23), Brandon Marshall (17), Eric Decker (13), Scott Chandler (12), and DeVante Parker (10). Some other names of note you might have forgotten include Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, Arian Foster, Isaac Bruce, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh… which is just fun to type out. If you want to flex that TD resume, remember Fitzmagic also threw two TDs to J.J. Watt in 2014.
13. By far the most dynamic duo was that Marshall/Decker combo. 2015 was truly a magical year with Fitzpatrick as Marshall finished as the WR3 and Decker WR13 in 0.5-point leagues. They combined for 26 receiving TDs, 305 targets, 189 receptions, and 2,529 receiving yards, all league-highs for teammates combined production. He hyper-targeted them which is why we love Fitzpatrick for fantasy. I tweeted this out a few years ago before he went to Miami but you can see how much he locks onto to WRs…
When #Fitzpatrick was a starter, this is how his teams finished in terms of % of team targets to the WR position
2018 TB- 67.9% (1st in league)
2017 TB- Only started 3 games
2016 NYJ- 71.3% (1st)
2015 NYJ- 74.2!!!% (1st)
2014 HOU- 69.4% (2nd)
— Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg) March 18, 2019
14. When you think of great Jets QBs, who comes to mind? Joe Namath? Ken O’Brien? The age-less Vinny Testaverde? Your boy Chad Pennington? Maybe you are a Mark Sanchez truther? With 31 passing TDs in 2015, Ryan Joseph Fitzpatrick has the single-season record for the New York Jets franchise. Only the Bears (Erik Kramer’s 29 in 1995) and Browns (Brian Sipe’s 30 in 1980) have a lower franchise-leading total than the Jets.
15. I feel like we need to address the elephant in the room… Fitzpatrick as a receiver. I mean, you’re curious right? Our guy has a 100 percent catch rate for his career. We’re talking three receptions on three targets… for -3 yards. The same thing happened each time where his pass was batted at the line and his cat-like reflexes jumped into high gear as he snagged the ball out of thin air. This happened Week 5 of 2008 as a Bengal, Week 5 of 2013 as a Titan, and last year in Week 3 as a Dolphin. Here’s a clip of two of those plays…
Awaken the Day.
And remember that Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 100 percent catch rate in his career. pic.twitter.com/jMRt7Ia1nO
— Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg) March 17, 2021
16. Our main man began 2018 with arguably the most scintillating start of any QB in NFL history. He set the record of most consecutive games (3) of 400 yards passing to begin a season absolutely annihilating his opponents. In Week 1, he also added 36 yards and a TD on the ground making it the fourth highest-scoring fantasy performance by a QB since 2016.
|Week||Opponent||Comp. Rate||Passing Yards||Passing TDs||Fantasy Pts.|
17. In those first couple of magical weeks of the 2018 season, Fitzpatrick won back-to-back NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards in Weeks 1 & 2. He joins Dalvin Cook (2020), Todd Gurley (2017), Michael Vick (2010), Randy Moss (1998), and Randall Cunningham (1998) as the only back-to-back NFC winners going back to 1984 when the award was first given out. Trust me… I scrolled and scrolled. (Fun fact: They used to sometimes give them out to entire offensive lines in the 80s.)
18. One final stat from when we all caught Tampa Bay fantasy fever… At 9.6 yards per attempt in 2018, Fitzpatricks owns the 8th best season in that category in NFL history. Despite the Buccaneers going 2-6 in his eight starts, he was especially lethal on 1st downs averaging 10.9 yards per attempt. Think about that next time you want to run up the gut for 2 yards on 1st down… He ended up tied with Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the only QBs to throw for 400 passing yards four times in a season.
19. Flip the page in the yearbook and you’ll see Fitzmagic was a fantasy football league winner in 2019. From Week 7 on, he had six top-7 QB finishes; only MVP Lamar Jackson had more. He was a wildman-looking downfield with the highest percentage of Completed Air Yards (65.8) in the league in 2019. DeVante Parker truthers were finally vindicated.
20. In 2020, Fitzpatrick was pulled in favor of rookie Tua Tagovailoa despite guiding the Dolphins to a 3-3 record through six weeks. We whined and kicked and screamed as a fantasy community as the fantasy options in Miami firmly faceplanted. Fitzpatrick actually was quite tame in that offensive system as Miami chose to win with defense. While only ten percent of Tua’s attempts were 20+ yards downfield (ranking 29th), Fitzpatrick’s was even lower at 7.9%. And yet still Fitzpatrick found a way to have as many 4th quarter comebacks as Aaron Rodgers and game-winning drives as Lamar Jackson. Ok, so they each had one of those but come on, he only started seven games.
21. We all have our limits. If there’s one thing you can pull from the 16+ years of Ryan Fitzpatrick, it’s the fact he’s willing to straight up chuck it downfield. Go through the game logs (for a grand old time) and you’ll see he’s not a huge fan of play-action. According to Pro Football Reference, Fitzpatrick has three total passing TDs on play-action in his career… three. I vehemently question that data as Pro Football Focus has him down for nine play-action TDs in the past three years alone. Regardless of how you want to chart it, Fitzpatrick’s teams have passed at a higher rate as he’s trailed on a ridiculous 59 percent of his pass attempts. To put that number in perspective, players like Russell Wilson (43%), Ben Roethlisberger (43%), and Philip Rivers (49%) are a far cry from Fitzpatrick.
22. September 2011… a time to remember. (‘We were so much younger back then‘) If you can remember back that far, Moneyball was the newest box office hit, Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” was #1 on the Billboard charts, and Obama was still in his first term. Oh, it was also the time Fitzpatrick was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month as a member of the Bills. He had a great 3-game stretch to start the season:
|Week||Opponent||Result||Comp. Rate||Passing Yards||Passing TDs|
|1||@ KC||W (41-7)||68%||208||4|
The dude is ready to go out of the gate as the Bills started 3-0 including that Week 3 victory against Tom Brady (who threw four INTs!) The Bills had lost 15 in a row against New England but Captain Fitz (yes he has a ‘C’ on his jersey if you want to check out the highlights) worked his voodoo after being down 21-0 at one point. Fitzpatrick took the Bills on an 8-play drive from their own 10-yard line to line up for a game-winning FG with Ryan Lindell. Take that Brady!
23. Recently interviewed on the Ross Tucker Football podcast, Fitzpatrick revealed how classy of a guy he is admitting to proposing to his wife in a McDonald’s as a rookie. When asked about it, he responded, “Well, it was a classy McDonald’s because it was a McDonald’s/gas station, and it was in Earth City, Missouri.” He popped the question in November 2005 after a Rams practice. Despite being inactive in eight of ten games leading up to that point, he miraculously became an NFL starting QB weeks later following his proposal. Sounds like a Hollywood movie anyone?
24. We know Fitzpatrick is a fiery leader… some say our generation’s William Wallace. But Fitz has been flagged 29 times in his career for a penalty with 27 accepted and 22 of which were delay of games. My favorite penalty (I know just your average search on NFL GamePass) is this illegal forward pass in 2018 against Washington. Before miraculously escaping the pocket, Fitzpatrick runs upfield and promptly decides to go full school-yard with Adam Humphries…
Can we talk about my favorite Ryan Fitzpatrick penalty of his career?
This illegal forward pass after miraculously escaping 3 sacks… Just classic. pic.twitter.com/XPAsldVlKB
— Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg) March 24, 2021
Last but probably my favorite Ryan Fitzpatrick stat I found…
25. I’ll finish this wild ride with a Footballers special that we mentioned on the show that blew Mike’s mind… This man’s man has thrown for 34,977 passing yards thus far in his illustrious career. That is the same distance from the Footballers Studio to State Farm stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals play.