Tag Archives: Ryan Fitzpatrick

2021 NFL Free Agency Winners and Losers

It’s been one week since the legal tampering period unofficially began the 2021 NFL free agency period. The first wave is always action-packed. That’s because there is already a week’s worth of speculation and fans worked into a lather. By the time free agency officially opens, we have a pretty good idea on a number of deals and the frenzy only grows from there.

It must be said, no team wins the Super Bowl in March (or April or any month that isn’t February really). Still, there were clear winners and losers of this first run on the open market. Some earned their designation through shrewd activity while others watched the world pass them by.

Winners and Losers of the First Wave of 2021 NFL Free Agency

We’re about six weeks out from the NFL Draft but free agency in the NFL is in full effect. By the time the new crop of NFL players gets set to hear their name called, we should have a better picture of who’s landing where and why. Please note, “better” does not mean we’ll know for sure, but it’ll be a heck of a lot easier both in predictions and in the aftermath when explaining picks.


New England Patriots

Let’s just get this out of the way, there is definitely some bias implicit in this ranking. Cam Newton is a personal favorite and the thought of the Patriots actually trying this season with him at the helm is intriguing. Now, this isn’t to say New England won’t be drafting a quarterback early on. But Cam will get a crack with the new pieces Bill Belichick has put around him.

Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne received deals worth a combined $48.5 million which had everyone up in arms. So much so that the additions of tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith (combined $87.5 million, $56.25 guaranteed). Did they pay a premium? Yes. But how soon we forget what Belichick can do with two dynamic pass-catchers running up the seams.

This isn’t just about outside additions, either. New England lost nine of 11 defensive starters to opt-outs last season. Many of those players are returning including one Dont’a Hightower. His presence alone in the middle of that unit should uplift a defense that still ranked seventh in points and 15th in yards. Add in Matthew Judon and the return of Kyle Van Noy and there might be something cooking up in Foxboro.

Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team has undergone a major facelift, even if it remains to be seen if the inner-workings have taken to the changes. Still, on the field, the Football Team (which they will be called for the foreseeable future) should be much improved after winning the NFC East last season at 7-9. They’ll certainly have a little magic.

Ryan Fitzpatrick joins his ninth team in his 17th season on a one-year $10 million deal that could be worth up to $12 million. Fitzmagic will have a new weapon joining stud wide receiver Terry McLaurin in former Carolina Panthers receiver, Curtis Samuel (3yr/$34.5 million). He’s coming off a season in which he set career-highs in catches and yards. Retaining Brandon Scherff might be the best move of all.

They didn’t ignore their stellar defense either, signing cornerback William Jackson away from the Bengals on a three-year $40.5 million deal with $26 million in guarantees. He’ll join Kendall Fuller and should allow a little more flexibility in coverage than his predecessor Ronald Darby. And with their stellar defensive front, they could once again be the team to beat in the division.

Los Angeles Rams

This is more about quality than quantity, as the Rams only made two outside additions, and one was via trade. But when that trade brings back a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford it’s worth noting. Jared Goff got paid a couple of years ago but, ultimately, he was a limiting factor for an offense that ranked 11th in yards and 22nd in points.

Stafford has spent the entirety of his 12-year career toiling away in Detroit. This has to be like hitting the lottery. The Rams offense is just a year removed from ranking second in both points and yards and two years from being the highest-scoring act in the league. His Lions offenses never ranked higher than third in yards or fourth in points and were incredibly imbalanced.

L.A. brought DeSean Jackson home as their other outside addition. He’ll theoretically help to stretch the field but he’s only appeared in eight games total over the past two seasons. Leonard Floyd re-signing is the more impactful decision after his career-high 10.5 sacks for the league’s top-ranked defense.


Chicago Bears

Not all free agency activity is created equal. Some have criticized the amount of the deals given to Kenny Golladay or Bud Dupree. But both of those moves at least have a shot at paying off big in areas of need for the Giants and Titans, respectively. The Bears big move was signing Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10 million deal that could get up to $13 million.

Some are calling Dalton a competent starter but his interception rate has been over 2.4 in all but two of his 10 seasons. His penchant for turning the ball over (he threw eight interceptions in 11 games with nine starts for the Cowboys last season) and lack of mobility would seem to be the antithesis of what Chicago needs at the position. They franchised Allen Robinson though.

The defense didn’t miss out on the fun as it saw Kyle Fuller released, not traded, and replaced by the oft-injured Desmond Trufant. Mario Edwards returns and they add Jeremiah Attaochu as nice depth pieces. But, after all the build-up over a Russell Wilson trade, this was a big letdown.

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore had one job. One. That was to get Lamar Jackson a number one wide receiver. They can be excused for not retaining Matt Judon and all of his six sacks. The money paid to Kevin Zeitler is fine; they missed Marshal Yanda last season. But not addressing the wide receiver room in free agency is borderline criminal.

They went after JuJu Smith-Schuster but he took less to stay put. Yes, this draft class is deep at receiver but the position usually takes time to develop. Golladay would have been  perfect fits for this group with Marquise Brown on the outside and Mark Andrews down the seams. But even some of the lesser names like Marvin Jones or Corey Davis would have been nice additions.

Baltimore is also in danger of losing Orlando Brown due to a contract dispute. This is shaping up as a regressive offseason for the Ravens. Maybe they add T.Y. Hilton, who would be nice in this offense, but they’d still need a big body on the outside. And this says nothing of their waning pass-rush.

Best and Worst of 2021 NFL Free Agency

This is just the first wave of free agency and we still have the 2021 NFL Draft yet to come. So we’ll check back in to see where things stand then. But these are the teams that have had the best and worst free agency periods.

Week 13 Waiver Wire: ’13’ Reasons Why

Time for the Week 13 waiver wire already? What a wild NFL season this has been, in both real life and fantasy. We saw huge games from Will Fuller and Antonio Gibson on Thanksgiving only to have Tyreek Hill and Derrick Henry assert their dominance over the landscape. And while we were without Todd Gurley, Julio Jones, and (many) more, no fantasy-relevant players sustained injuries that should keep them out for an extended period.

We aren’t even done with Week 12 since the Baltimore Ravens game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been moved several times and is now set for Wednesday afternoon. This week’s waiver wire has at least one QB you probably never thought would be a top add, a running back that’s been there the entire time, and a wide receiver that recently returned from injury to make an impact in primetime.

*Remember, waivers will clear on Friday this week and we have the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on bye (the last of the season).*

A Pair of ’13’s Headline the Week 13 Waiver Wire


Kirk Cousins

Minnesota Vikings

This wouldn’t have been a thing just a few weeks ago. Kirk Cousins was the QB25 on the season with 12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Flash forward to now and Cousins was the QB3 in Week 12, is the QB12 on the season, and is coming off of back-to-back three-touchdown performances and third in four games. It was his fourth-straight game (a stretch in which he was the QB5) and eighth of the season with multiple touchdowns. All of this is even more impressive when you consider Dalvin Cook is second in the league in rushing attempts.

Cousins draws a cushy assignment in Week 13 as the Minnesota Vikings host the floundering Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags just fired their general manager and head coach Doug Marrone will likely follow after the season. But what matters for our purposes is Jacksonville is allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and has given up 23 passing touchdowns, good for second-most. The only thing that could hold Cousins back in this one is if the Vikings get out to a lead large enough that they just ride the running game, leaving fantasy managers to hope his current touchdown explosion lasts at least another week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Miami Dolphins

FitzMagic is back, baby! After taking a brief hiatus while Tua Tagovailoa kept his spot warm, Ryan Fitzpatrick was back under center for the Miami Dolphins in Week 12 and led them to a 23-3 victory over the winless New York Jets. He had a modest day, just 257 yards and two touchdowns, but that was good enough to check in as the QB8 through Monday Night Football. In six starts earlier in the year, Fitzpatrick threw for over 1500 yards with 10 touchdowns to seven interceptions (four if you throw out Week 1) and was the QB8.

Truth is Fitzpatrick will start for as long as it takes for Tua’s injured thumb to heal. That should be at least another game and that sets Fitz up to face the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincy is 17th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks but have tied for the third-most passing touchdowns allowed with 22. Miami has thrown more than twice as many touchdowns (18) as they have run in (8). The only concern here, as with Cousins, is the Dolphins (who rank second in scoring defense) get out to such a lead you’re left counting solely on touchdowns.

Running Back

Ito Smith

Atlanta Falcons

We probably should have seen this coming. It’s just how 2020 has gone. When it was announced Gurley would miss Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, everyone assumed it would be Brian Hill, who had been spelling Gurley all season, to step into the lead role. Instead, Ito Smith came off the bench to take his 12 carries for 65 yards and a score and ranking as the RB10. Hill, who has out-carried Smith 3-to-1 on the season, took his 13 carries for 55 yards and former out-snapped the latter 39-28.

Smith out-targeted Hill 4-to-1 if you need another way to separate the two given how volatile touchdowns are. Atlanta faces the New Orleans Saints for the second time in three weeks and if Gurley misses another game, Smith needs to be the backfield option you deploy. The Saints are fourth against the run and have given up just three touchdowns on the ground. They’re fifth defending passes to backs too so it will be tough sledding either way. Smith has the easier path to fantasy relevance, albeit ever so slight.

Cam Akers

Los Angeles Rams

We are entering troubling waters, my friends. Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers has received no more than 10 carries since getting 14 in the opener. He has just two games with 40-plus yards and has just one rushing touchdown. He is far and away third in snaps out of the backfield behind both Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown with a less defined role than either. But he keeps popping off for long runs, including the 61-yard scamper that set up his first rushing touchdown of the season on Sunday. He sits ranked as the RB16 (pending Wednesday’s results) in Week 12.

The Rams face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 but trusting Akers in lineups is quite the risky proposition. Sunday was literally his first time finishing with double-digit fantasy points. No, this is a move for the future. L.A. has talked of wanting to increase Akers’ workload as the season goes on. Don’t be fooled by Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers deter you, this offense is still seventh in rushing attempts. Imagine what Akers could do with a larger share of the workload.


Another week, another reminder that if your stud running back’s backup is sitting out there on the waiver wire you should change that. Unless you are ridiculously deep at running back you need this insurance. Just ask fantasy managers of Christian McCaffrey or Joe Mixon who missed out on Mike Davis and Giovani Bernard if they wish they had been proactive in this regard. This obviously doesn’t apply universally.

Hill is the best example of misreading the room. But in situations like Minnesota where Alexander Mattison is the clear backup to Dalvin Cook or in New Orleans where Latavius Murray has just seven fewer carries and 34 fewer yards than Alvin Kamara even though both have been active all season. Some other names to check the wire for are Devontae Booker, Jamaal Williams, and Boston Scott. These players have more value if you have the starter in front of them but if you have the bench space it’s not a bad idea to use it on a lottery ticket.

Wide Receivers

Gabriel Davis

Buffalo Bills

This was a situation similar to Hill’s as everyone assumed Cole Beasley would see an uptick in work for the Buffalo Bills with John Brown missing time. But Gabriel Davis caught three balls for 79 yards and a score, reverting back to his form of a couple of weeks ago when he caught four passes for 70 yards and a score. It was Davis’ fourth game this season with double-digit (PPR) fantasy points and has him as WR19 as of now but, again, it was second in three weeks.

The Bills take on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 but it’s more of a neutral site game as the 49ers cannot play their home games at home and will thus host in Arizona. Who knows what impact that has but Richard Sherman’s return to the 49ers defense helped them keep the Rams in check. Something similar could happen to the Bills but Davis has the benefit of not being Stefon Diggs in that he won’t be the focal point of the defense.

Allen Lazard

Green Bay Packers

Just two weeks back from his core muscle injury that knocked him out for seven games Allen Lazard found the endzone against the division-rival Chicago Bears catching four of his six targets for 23 yards. Don’t get hung up on the yardage output. Despite being woeful for the last month-plus, the Bears defense is still fifth in yards allowed to receivers. Lazard had 18-plus PPR fantasy points in two of his three contests before getting hurt including a six-catch, 146-yard performance that saw him finish as the WR6.

The Green Bay Packers take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13 and we all just saw that secondary get torched by D.K. Metcalf to the tune of 10 catches for 177 yards. This despite shadowing him with top-corner Darius Slay. Davante Adams resides comfortably atop the pecking order for the Packers but Lazard was making headway as the trusted second banana before going down. He could get back to it right in time for the playoffs.

Mohamed Sanu

Detroit Lions

We are playing with fire with this suggestion. There was already a good chance the Detroit Lions would get Kenny Golladay back from a lingering hip injury next week against the Bears. It’s probably all but a given after the Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia. If he does miss, though, Mohamed Sanu filled his role quite capably. Sanu corralled all four of his targets for just 32 yards but he managed to find the endzone. He’s the WR25 ahead of Wednesday.

The dangers are two-fold because Chicago is a tough assignment for receivers and Golladay, itching to prove it was Patricia holding this group back, could find his way back into the lineup. So put in a claim for Sanu at your own risk. It could wind up that those things work together and the Lions hold Golladay out another week so as not to face such a tough opponent fresh off of injury.

Tight End

Kyle Rudolph

Minnesota Vikings

This week’s contestant on “just fall into the end zone”, formally known as the tight end position. We have actually had a good run of suggestions so let’s hope we can keep it going with Kyle Rudolph. He’s the TE8 in Week 12 with seven catches and 68 yards. All of those numbers represent season-highs as Rudolph has lost much of his receiving work in recent years and has ceded even more to Irv Smith this season.

Minnesota faces those Jaguars in Week 13 though. We can attack this matchup with as much fervor as Cousins as Jacksonville ranks 31st in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. They also lead the league in touchdowns allowed to tight ends with nine. Now, Rudolph doesn’t catch many touchdowns, he has just one on the year. But the name of the game is finding a warm body with a chance at falling into six points.