Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has played superbly to start the season. He has been a fantasy sleeper for the first two weeks but now faces a true test against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Although fantasy owners may be wary to start the quarterback of an inferior team, I am here to say Fitzpatrick could be a major difference in your fantasy matchup this week.
The Bills have looked good in the early season, roaring out to a 2-0 start. The major reason for the Bills' turn of events is because of the stellar play of Fitzpatrick, who has used his legs and arm to keep defenses off balanced.
Here's why you should expect more of the same this weekend and why you must start Fitzpatrick in fantasy.
Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the NFL in touchdowns after Week 2 with seven. This should continue against the Patriots with New England's weak secondary (more on this later). Fitzpatrick should see a lot of yards this week and should continue to throw touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick should keep the Patriots on their toes with his running ability, an added weapon that could help open up passing lanes for the Harvard alumnus.
Fantasy Translation: Against the Pats' weak secondary and abundance of touchdowns already, the trend should continue for this week.
The Patriots' strength on defense is the defensive line. Expect the Patriots to put pressure on Fitzpatrick early and often on Sunday. This makes Fitzpatrick's running ability that much more important.
Fitzpatrick is a good passer outside of the pocket, which he will need to utilize this week. Also, he has only six rushes this year for 26 yards. Fitzpatrick's biggest strength may be to make something out of nothing. Fitzpatrick gives the Patriots' secondary something else to think about when he takes off to run.
This will only add to his fantasy stock for this week.
Fantasy Translation: More points for rushing.
The Patriots rank 11th in rushing defense (via ESPN) but are averaging 4.5 yards per carry, which ranks worse than the ranking suggests. However, the Patriots have played two good running teams in the Dolphins and Chargers and have prevented them from taking over the game.
The Bills also have a good running attack with Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. However, I anticipate the Patriots' being able to shut down the running game more effectively against the Bills than the other two teams they faced previously.
Fantasy Translation: More pass attempts for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Patriots have given up a lot of passing yards to opposing quarterbacks. They have played Phillip Rivers who will pass the ball effectively against anyone, but they did give up a lot of yards to Chad Henne.
Yes, Chad Henne (that Chad Henne) burned the Patriots' secondary.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a better quarterback than Chad Henne is. Fitzpatrick should be able to take advantage of the Patriots' secondary and with the Bills' depth at wide receiver, should have a lot of options of who to throw the ball to.
Fantasy Translation: Lots of yards for Fitzpatrick.
If you haven't realized this yet, the Patriots like to throw the ball. They have this no-name quarterback leading them this season which I guess means they aren't in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
Tom Brady has put on a clinic so far this season. More impressively, the teams that he has beaten have two of the best defenses in the league. The Patriots score early and often, which is bad news for their defense.
The Bills should see a good amount of time on offense this weekend because of the amount of points the Patriots' score. Going up against Tom Brady, Fitzpatrick has to be sure that he doesn't make many mistakes and doesn't give Brady extra opportunities with a short field.
Fantasy Translation: Fitzpatrick should see a lot of the ball.
According to ESPN, Fitzpatrick is owned in 88 percent of fantasy football leagues. If he is not owned in your league, I would strongly suggest picking him up. This matchup is too good to pass up. If you're unsure as to whether to start Fitzpatrick this week, I hope this slideshow helped to make your decision.
Fitzpatrick should have a huge game against the Patriots this season as long as he doesn't turn the ball over. Asking Fitzpatrick to beat the Patriots (As I, a Jets fan, am hoping) may be too much, but as a fantasy owner he should put up some serious stats this weekend.
Hopefully he will lead you to a victory if you own him in your league.
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