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Why Ryan Fitzpatrick is a Fantasy Football Must Play This Weekend


Ryan Fitzpatrick is a fantasy star. Who would've expected to read that after two weeks of football? (Not me. And if you say you did, you're either a liar, or the biggest Buffalo Bills homer in the universe.) (Or you're Ryan's mom.)

But this is where we are. The Harvard grad who all the pundits love seems to be the real deal--for now, anyway.

And while I am not coming out and saying that Fitzpatrick will rival Tom Brady in 2011. But for this one week, he is a top-3 fantasy football quarterback. Here's why:

First, let's make it clear that both Tom Brady and Drew Brees are ranked ahead of Fitz. Brady is a monster who you should never sit ever. Even if he's in a coma, you should still consider starting him.

And this week Drew Brees is a must-start in what looks to be a shootout against Houston. Brees should be the second-ranked quarterback in week 3.

But guess who's next: Ryan Fitzpatrick. Before you think this is fantasy insanity, let's look at his situation and dive into the numbers.

What's the best situation a fantasy football quarterback can be in? In an ideal world, he's a good QB on a bad team, with just enough of a running game to not take away from his numbers, but just enough to keep the defense honest--who also happens to be playing a team with a great offense and a porous defense. And that's what you have with Ryan Fitzpatrick in week 3.

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So far this season, the Pats have given up to 416 yards to the lowly Chad Henne of the Dolphins, and 378 yards in the air to the Chargers Philip Rivers. Those are numbers that even a Harvard Elementary grad would be able to surmise as "bad."

 The Pats and Brady will be putting up numbers at will against the Bills defense, which means Fitzpatrick will be throwing all day long against a suspect Pats D.

Fred Davis proved last week that he still has a little left in the tank, which means the Pats won't be able to just defend the pass, leaving Fitzpatrick with a chance to do some damage.

Could it get any better from a fantasy perspective? The only negatives are that Stevie Johnson has a bum groin and Roscoe Parrish is out for the season. But Fitzpatrick's repore with David Nelson gives me confidence that the offense won't miss a beat.

I have him ranked ahead of these fantasy stalwarts with the reason in parenthesis:

Aaron Rodgers (The Packers-Bears game is one of those rivalries that is too hard to predict)
Philip Rivers (The Chargers will be ahead fromt he getgo, and will go run-heavy in the second half)
Matthew Stafford (He'll have a good game, but not as good as Fitzpatrick)
Cam Newton (One Sunday he won't throw for 400 yards, right? Right?)
Matt Schaub (Another solid play, but emergence of Ben Tate will eat into his numbers)
Michael Vick and Tony Romo (Injuries too much of a concern to play them this week)

Ryan Fitzpatrick Very Optimistic Prediction for Week 3: 355 Yards Passing, 3 Touchdowns, 1 INT (Hey, I said I was optimistic.)

Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

--By Pete Thomas