Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Fantasy Value With Winston Sidelined

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Getty The owner of that majestic beard is the Buccaneers quarterback for the foreseeable future.

Fitzmagic is back in the game.

After the Buccaneers decision to shut down Jameis Winston for a few weeks with a shoulder injury, Ryan Fitzpatrick is looking at a very tasty fantasy schedule for the next three weeks.

In his only extended look as Bucs quarterback, Fitzpatrick finished with a very Fitzpatrick-y line: 290 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions. Granted it was an entire half of garbage time in a blowout loss to the Cardinals, but Fitzpatrick managed to quickly fill up the box score.

Removing the last two weeks with Winston’s injured shoulder, the Bucs had been one of the league’s most productive offenses. They went four straight weeks with over 400 yards of total offense, but that has been followed up by outputs of 279 against Carolina and 200 against New Orleans. In those two games, the only offensive touchdown Tampa Bay produced was a fourth quarter pass from Fitzpatrick.

Unlike his previous situations in Houston and New York, Fitzpatrick takes control of a loaded offense. Tampa is ranked near the bottom in rushing, but have a package of receivers and tight ends that rival any group in the league. Mike Evans should maintain top-level production with Fitzpatrick, who has never been afraid to give his receivers chances to make plays.

During his time with the Jets, Fitzpatrick had a career year with jump-ball receivers. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are excellent at winning in man coverage, and the pair combined for 26 touchdowns (14 and 12 respectively) with Fitzpatrick in 2015.

Looking at the schedule, fate is bringing a familiar foe to Raymond James Stadium this Sunday. Fitzpatrick and the Bucs will be hosting the Jets, who have had extra rest after a Thursday win over Buffalo. Tampa’s next three games are against Miami, Atlanta and Green Bay. All four opponents have mid-tier defenses, and are allowing a combined average of over 15 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

With Fitzpatrick, I expect those numbers to be inflated. Tampa’s defense will have Fitz constantly chasing the game, and he’ll be able to make the plays, both with his arm and his legs, to keep Tampa scoring. I would still be starting Mike Evans every week, and would favor Desean Jackson in friendly matchups against Miami and Green Bay.

Fitzpatrick isn’t going to win anyone a league title, but is an intriguing DFS play over the next month, and will certainly have people who stream quarterbacks looking at his numbers each week.

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