Last week’s pick was a bit too predictable. I admit that I probably took the easy route on that one. Although the player I picked on was not having a great season as of late, which I did point out in the article, the main point was to bring to your attention the suffocating San Francisco rush defense. I’m not writing about Ray Rice this week, but his owners should beware. Not a single running back has had a good day against the 49ers this season, and after 11 weeks they still have yet to give up a rushing TD. Just sayin’. Anyway, we forge ahead to Week 12. This week’s weakling is another player who has struggled as of late, and the struggles really started to manifest themselves just a few weeks ago when he played the same team he faces in Week 12.
Week 12 Weakling
Ryan Fitzpatrick is actually having a pretty decent season, and for a while was looking like a good candidate for fantasy darling of the year. Lately though, he has slipped a bit. He currently ranks 11th among NFL quarterbacks for QB rating, although he still rates high in completion percentage (4th) and touchdowns (6th). His past three games have been horrible, to put it bluntly. In those three games he is 55 of 101 (55%) for 546 yards (182 avg) with two touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Some Fitzpatrick owners are probably holding out hope that he returns to early season form. It is quite possible that he will, although I wouldn’t bank on it this week. The game that started his current skid was back in Week 9, when the Bills hosted the Jets. In that game the Jets defense stifled what had up to that point in the season been a very potent Buffalo offense. Fitzpatrick finished that game with 191 yards, one TD, two INTs and, most notably, a loss. This was followed in Week 10 by another loss to the Cowboys and finally, a throttling last week at the hands of the Miami Dolphins, who for a while were in the running for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. This week they face the Jets again, the team that started it all, only this time it’s on the road.
The New York Jets defense has been good this year, although not quite as good as last year. Even so, they currently sit 7th overall. Interestingly, they are only 17th against the run. It’s their pass defense that has them ranked where they are. One of the main reasons for this, as many of you already know, is the cornerbacks that they have. As cocky as they are, love ‘em or hate ‘em, you have to admit that Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are quite possibly the best cover combo in the league. The Jets will bring a relentless barrage of blitzes which should force Fitzpatrick to unload the ball early, almost always to his primary receiver. This has been the formula that has doomed the Bills for the past three games. As much as Fitzpatrick has improved over the years, he does not check down to his secondary receivers very often when the blitz is on. This makes for predictable routes which good cornerbacks will jump on, hence the seven interceptions in the past three games. This observation can also be backed up by the fact that Fitzpatrick is the least sacked quarterback in the NFL among active starters who have played more than five games. He sees blitz, he throws to the hot route.
Further complicating matters for the Bills is that receivers Brad Smith and Donald Jones are both injured. Smith is listed as questionable for this week’s game. Jones has been placed on IR and is out for the season. These two aren’t necessarily the primary targets for Buffalo, but it definitely doesn’t help matters.
In the end I think this game will go much like the last three have for Buffalo. Their defense is riddled with injuries which will make things easier for the Jets’ offense. The Bills will be forced to play “catch-up” and Fitzpatrick will try to force a few throws that he probably shouldn’t, which will result in turnovers. The Jets should win this one handily.
Projection: 17 of 31, 180 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Eli Ricke knows absolutely nothing about Fantasy Football that everyone else doesn’t already know. All of his success in Fantasy Football can be attributed entirely to dumb luck. He has been playing Fantasy Football since 1999 and is a habitual liar. You will occasionally run across him in the café forums under the name 204BC, a name that has no particular meaning whatsoever. He just made it up, the same thing he does with most of the advice he gives.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!