Fantasy Reaction: Ryan Fitzpatrick Signs with the Washington Football Team
On Monday evening, beloved journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick signed a one-year $10 million deal with the still-nameless Washington Football Team. Fitzpatrick will enter his 17th NFL season on his ninth team—his first in the NFC East.
Former Dolphins’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick reached agreement with the Washington Football Team on a one-year deal worth $10 million that could grow to $12 million with incentives, per source. Fitzpatrick is expected to head to camp as the starter, with competition from Taylor Heinicke.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2021
The #Footclan is undoubtedly aware of the peaks and valleys that come with Fitzpatrick and his penchant for YOLO-bombs. But what can we expect to see in 2021 for fantasy purposes—not just for him, but for his new weapons as well? Let’s dive in!
A Tale of Two QBs
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
—Charles Dickens, on rostering Ryan Fitzpatrick… probably
A tale as old as time, Fitzpatrick’s career has bounced around harder than a Cody Parkey kick. His annual campaign typically goes something like this: Fitzpatrick joins a team that already has a promising yet green/struggling QB, usurps said starter at some point, goes on fire, then eventually flames out catastrophically before moving on to the next town. He’s basically Lyle Lanley from The Simpsons, selling his football skills instead of defunct monorails.
But for fantasy football, the “bearded one” is deservedly a fan-favorite because he’s a bona fide gunslinger who isn’t afraid to target his favorite receiver, regardless of coverage. There’s a reason why he’s been anointed with the “Fitzmagic” and “Fitztragic” monikers.
Last year with the Dolphins, he played his best Charlie Brown impression by kicking off the opener with a disastrous performance in New England, going scoreless while throwing three INTs plus a fumble for good measure. He followed that blunder with five straight weeks of strong gameplay, averaging 26.7 fantasy points, 292.2 all-purpose yards, and 2.4 total TDs per game. In fact, he was fantasy’s QB6 during that timespan, sandwiched between phenoms Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, until he was unceremoniously benched for rookie Tua Tagovailoa following their bye week.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
Assuming Fitzpatrick is given the reins in Washington over playoff-darling Taylor Heinicke, history shows that he’ll most likely experience the same ol’ hot-and-cold weeks despite the change in scenery. But what has fantasy managers salivating—including our writer Ryan Weisse, who predicted/wished/begged for Fitzmagic’s move to DC—is his projected impact on Washington’s weapons, specifically WR Terry McLaurin and TE Logan Thomas.
Looking again at last year, Dolphins’ lead wideout DeVante Parker averaged more targets, yards, and fantasy points when Fitzpatrick was throwing the ball. TE/slot receiver Mike Gesicki also saw noticeable improvements in fantasy production under Fitz.
Washington currently has a limited, top-heavy offensive arsenal, headlined by a dynamic WR in McLaurin and a surging TE in Thomas. The fantasy world has been eagerly waiting for McLaurin’s true breakout in the big leagues, but that’s a tall ask when he’s had to catch floaters from the likes of Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, Colt McCoy, Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, and Heinicke. Now that “F1” will finally have a competent passer, the skies the limit. Meanwhile, Thomas should continue to impress and build off of his recent success as 2020’s overall TE6.
Dynasty Value: 2021 & Beyond
In redraft leagues, Fitzpatrick will continue to be a late-round pickup or waiver-wire option, depending on matchups and your risk tolerance. His dynasty value is even worse as he’ll turn 39 this year and may not even have the starting role if Heinicke ascends or if the team invests in another starting-caliber QB.
But truth be told, this article is not really about Fitzpatrick. This is about how an old, ronin-like QB can unlock the potential within a young WR who never truly got the chance to ball out. How a devil-may-care gunslinger can turn an overlooked receiver into a behemoth that strikes fear into the hearts of opposing defenders. Once Fitzpatrick rolls into town, it’s Scary Terry SZN. Trade for him NOW in dynasty leagues before it’s too late.