When I first began the research process for this week’s QB2 Experience podcast I wasn’t all that excited by this week’s quarterback streaming prospects. … As I scanned my strength of schedule resources and studied this year’s quarterback finishes and defensive performances against quarterbacks I was drawn to one name…
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 21, 2016
Does Todd Bowles really believe the man they used to call FitzMagic is their “best” quarterback? I guess when your other options are Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg the answer is begrudgingly yes, so it seems Bowles and I are on the same page. Fitzpatrick is the “best” quarterback streaming option, for this week at least.
The main reason I’m high on Fitzpatrick this week is his opponent: the New England Patriots.
The Matchup is King
Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of fantasy quarterback performances against New England this season:
Week 1 – Carson Palmer: 18.94 fantasy points/QB12
Week 2 – Ryan Tannehill: 23.06 fantasy points/QB7
Week 3 – Brock Osweiler: 7.14 fantasy points/QB27
Week 4 – Tyrod Taylor: 16.64 fantasy points/QB14
Week 5 – Cleveland QB (Charlie Whitehurst/Cody Kessler): 15.86 fantasy points/QB14
Week 6 – Andy Dalton: 21.86 fantasy points/QB9
Week 7 – Landry Jones: 13.24 fantasy points/QB18
Week 8 – Buffalo QB (Tyrod Taylor/EJ Manuel): 21.52 fantasy points/QB10
Week 10 – Russell Wilson: 26.52 fantasy points/QB4
Week 11 – Colin Kaepernick: 19.44 fantasy points/QB8
In total, the Pats have allowed six (out of a possible ten) top-12 fantasy finishes to the quarterback position this season. Tyrod Taylor in Week 4 was 1.02 points away from a top-12 finish and the Browns duo in Week 5 were 1.62 fantasy points away from their own top-12 performance.
The Patriots are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position this season at a clip of 18.5/game. Excluding the Browns duo and Tannehill, every quarterback but Taylor in Week 4 exceeded their seasonal points per game average against the Patriots, and he was only 0.96 point off the mark. Brock Osweiler and Landry Jones were the only two to truly underperform against the Patriots this season. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
PAVEing the Way
If we take a look at Sean Fakete’s updated through Week 11 Points Allowed vs. Expectation (PAVE) metric, which “measures what percentage above or below expected points a defense has allowed in total against each position”, the Patriots, at 19% above expectation, allow the second-most points vs. expectation to opposing quarterbacks. When Sean first introduced PAVE on TwoQBs, the Patriots’ PAVE score was 14% (sixth-highest).
Defenses ranked by Pts Allowed Vs Expectation (PAVE) by position. What % above/below expected pts allowed vs 2016 opponents (thru week 11). pic.twitter.com/x6cKV2L9S7
— Sean Fakete (@FantasyProcess) November 22, 2016
Now that’s we highlighted the matchup, let’s briefly touch upon Fitzpatrick. The on-again/off-again Jets starting quarterback has had his ups (four games of 14+ fantasy points, including one 20+ point performance) and downs (negative 2.28 points scored/six interceptions thrown against Kansas City in Week 2) this season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Patriotic History
The Jets and Patriots haven’t played yet this season, but in two 2015 starts against the Patriots in his first year as the Jets’ starter, Fitzpatrick averaged 295.5 passing yards, 2.5 touchdowns and threw zero interceptions. He averaged 21.92 fantasy points in those two contests (17.8 season-long PPG average) and finished as the QB8 (Week 7) and QB4 (Week 16).
In a game with an over/under of 47 points, with the Patriots projected to score 28 points and the Jets with an implied team total of 19, this sets up for the Jets to have to play catch-up via the air once New England runs away with a lead. Fitzpatrick has attempted 30+ passes in seven games this season. The combination of a plus matchup and playing from behind game script should see Fitzpatrick flirt with low-end QB1 numbers this week.