It's Week 10 of the 2012 season in both the National Football League and fantasy football, and as the NFL gets ready to begin its own drive towards the playoffs, for fantasy owners, the push for the postseason has already begun.
As Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer showed in Week 9, it's not always the usual suspects that put up the biggest fantasy games under center, and keeping that in mind here's a look at a few less-than-obvious fantasy options that should be set for big things in Week 10.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills (at NE)
Looking at the performance of Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick over the past three games, it's hard to see why anyone would consider starting the eighth-year veteran in fantasy football leagues.
Over the last three weeks (all Bills losses), Fitzpatrick has averaged just over 200 passing yards and a touchdown per game, and while general manager Buddy Nix recently told Dan Hanzus of NFL.com that the team isn't ready just yet to move on from the quarterback they committed $24 million in guaranteed money to a year ago, it's clear that Fitzpatrick's leash is growing shorter by the week.
"I've said that every year," Nix said. "This year's no different. It's not anything to do with -- everybody reads into it, it's how Fitz is playing -- we're gonna go get somebody to replace him. It's the same at every position. If we put (a rookie) in there and we develop him in two years or whatever, and he's the guy, and if he beats (Fitzpatrick) out, then you've got a healthy situation. And that's where we're headed."
With that said, if there were ever a week for Fitzpatrick to bounce back statistically, it's this Sunday against the New England Patriots. Fitzpatrick threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns against the Patriots earlier this season, and the 29-year-old has topped the 300-yard benchmark in each of his last three games against New England.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (vs. OAK)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is rapidly turning into the NFL equivalent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, depending on whether he's playing on the road or in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium.
In four home games this year, Flacco is averaging well over 300 yards a game with seven touchdowns and two interceptions, while on the road he has more picks than scores and posts fewer than 200 yards a contest, a disparity that head coach John Harbaugh was at a loss to explain, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.
The results for all of us have been different. We’re all a part of that. That’s something that we all have to deal with. You never put it on one guy. We all take responsibility, and every one of us has done good things, and every one of us has done not so good things. It goes for Joe, too. We all have to be better on the road; that’s something that we aren’t happy with right now.
Luckily for Flacco and his fantasy owners, the Ravens are playing host to the Oakland Raiders this week, who have struggled from a fantasy perspective against quarterbacks in 2012, allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to the position.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (at TEN)
Week 9 featured what could be a glimpse into the future of the AFC under center, as a pair of rookie quarterbacks dueled in a thriller in Indianapolis that featured over 700 passing yards and three touchdown strikes.
Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins may have come out on the short end of Andrew Luck's record-setting 433 passing yards in Sunday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but after passing for 290 yards and a touchdown, Tannehill's performance earned the respect of at least one teammate, according to Steven Wine of The Associated Press via the San Francisco Chronicle.
"I couldn't ask for a better job out of him," running back Reggie Bush said. "He's really poised back there. I thought he played like a champion."
Granted, Tannehill hasn't posted huge fantasy numbers this season, with only five touchdown passes and six interceptions, but the 24-year-old could be in for his best statistical outing of the season Sunday against a Tennessee Titans team allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.