FitzOver! Buffalo Bills Can Ryan Fitzpatrick
The Ryan Fitzpatrick era, which was poorly conceived and poorly executed to begin with, has officially ended in Buffalo. To give a short recap, Fitzpatrick was a 2005 Round 7 pick and career backup out of Harvard, who put together a good half-season with the Bills that led to a preposterous multimillion-dollar deal after Week Six in 2011.
This morning, a couple of pranksters managed to secretly record a phone conversation between the soon-to-be-outgoing Bills GM Buddy Nix and Tampa Bay’s Mark Domenik in which Nix complains about Fitzpatrick’s sub-par play and massive contract. Then, on the NFL’s “open-for-business” day, the Bills announced they had cut Fitzpatrick, even though they will hardly save any cap space by doing so.
Based on the numbers, Fitzpatrick is a poor man’s Alex Smith – high completion percentage, low yardage, 23 or 24 TDs three years in a row, but with a pick per game or worse. That means he’s unlikely to find a starting job, or if he does, it will be so a rookie can learn behind him.
So where does Fitzpatrick go from here? Count on him joining a lousy team that could conceivably let him start. That means places like Cleveland, Jacksonville, New York (Jets) or Oakland. Oakland in particular could be a good fit, as the team needs a steady hand and have only one QB (Terrelle Pryor, barely a QB) on the roster – and are unlikely to find an NFL-ready one in this year’s draft. If he does get a starting job, you can consider him a low QB2 or QB3 in a ridiculously deep fantasy league.
What about the Bills? The Bills are now forced to draft a QB in what is regarded as an awful draft year at the position. The caveat is that Ryan Nassib of Syracuse is one of the middling quarterbacks available in the draft – and the Bills have just hired former Orange HC Doug Marrone and his offensive coordinator there, Nathaniel Hackett. Perhaps the new leaders will bring Nassib with them and just install their college offense – which could either be a fantastic or terrible idea (bet on the latter, if they try that). From a fantasy perspective, stay away from whoever’s there – the Bills have no receivers besides Stevie Johnson, and the O-Line has underachieved for more than a decade now. You can definitely add more carries to C.J. Spiller’s projection though, assuming he stays healthy.