Preseason Player Analysis
What You Need to Know:
- Fitzpatrick is the undisputed starter for the first time in a while. Fitzpatrick has started 16 games just once in the past 8 years. Even the 2019 season that found Fitzpatrick playing 15 games and starting 13 also found Miami giving an early-season shot to Josh Rosen.
- Washington signed Fitzpatrick to a 1-year, $10 million deal in free agency, with $6 million of that guaranteed. The team then drafted no one at the position. The only other QBs on the roster are Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke and Steven Montez.
- Fitzpatrick is coming off the best completion rate of his career: 68.5%. His 2nd-best mark came just 2 years prior with Tampa. That season, Fitzpatrick also set personal bests in TD rate (6.9%) and yards per attempt (9.6).
- The past 4 seasons have also included 3 of Fitzpatrick’s 4 best Pro Football Focus grades and PFF adjusted completion rates.
- Fitzpatrick finished last season 6th-best in Pro Football Reference’s “on-target throw %,” among 44 QBs with 90+ pass attempts. Fitzpatrick also ranked 7th-best in “bad throw %.”
- The season before, though, he finished just 30th among 43 qualifiers in “on-target” and 17th in “bad-throw.”
- Fitzpatrick clearly enhances Washington’s deep-passing aptitude over the players he’s replacing. In 2020, he rated well ahead of Alex Smith in both PFF passing grade and adjusted completion rate on deep balls. Dwayne Haskins ranked worst in the group.
- In 2019, Kyle Allen was the most frequent QB starter for a Carolina offense under HC Ron Rivera and QBs coach-turned-OC Scott Turner. Allen finished that season 2nd worst in deep-passing grade among 38 qualifiers. He tied Haskins that year for the worst adjusted completion rate.
- Fitzpatrick’s fantasy-scoring average over his 7 starts last season would have ranked 13th among QBs for the year, just ahead of Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan and Joe Burrow (even if you remove Burrow’s injury game).
- Before that, Fitzpatrick ranked:
- 20th in fantasy points per game in 2019
- 4th in 2018
- 17th in 2015
- 24th in 2014
- 22nd in 2012
- 16th in 2011
- 10th in 2020
- (Note: Skipped seasons featured minimal usage.)
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
Fitzpatrick represents a QB upgrade for Washington. But it’s important to remember that he does so because of how bad their QBs were over the past 2 years -- not because he’s that good. At his best, Fitzpatrick is a daring downfield passer with sneaky rushing value (15.9 yards per game career, which is 254 yards over 16 games). Washington needs that daring to leverage the speed of WRs Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown.
Fitzpatrick has displayed upside all the way into QB1 range -- even in the twilight of his career. We, of course, wouldn’t recommend drafting him anywhere near that range. But with a current ADP of just QB22 in FFPC best-ball drafting, Fitzpatrick makes for a fine late QB2 or QB3 target -- especially in best-ball formats.