NFL News & Analysis

Washington Football Team QB Ryan Fitzpatrick lands on injured reserve, Taylor Heinicke expected to start Thursday night vs. New York Giants

Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) is hit by Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (42) during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Football Team will be without its starting quarterback for the immediate future.

Washington is placing Ryan Fitzpatrick on injured reserve after the veteran quarterback suffered a hip subluxation Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers, head coach Ron Rivera told reporters Monday.

Taylor Heinicke will start in Fitzpatrick’s place Thursday when Washington takes on the New York Giants.

The Football Team's starter will miss at least three weeks on injured reserve. He’ll get multiple opinions on the injury so Washington “can get it right,” according to Rivera.

Washington has Kyle Allen to back up Fitzpatrick at quarterback, and they signed Kyle Shurmur to their practice squad Monday. Depending on the timeline for Fitzpatrick’s injury and Heinicke’s performance in the interim, Washington could look outside of the organization for quarterback help, but Rivera said Monday that the team has no current plans to add another passer.

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Fitzpatrick ranks 15th among NFL quarterbacks in PFF passing grade since 2018. And though he has been enjoying the best period of his career, that play is almost exactly league average.

The veteran's career-best grade came in 2018 when he put up an 83.9 mark with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10th among signal-callers that year.

Heinicke posted the best single-game PFF grade from any quarterback in the playoffs last season as he gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Bucs all they could handle. However, his 46.9 grade in Week 1 represented a significant drop-off from the last time we saw him.

Highest single-game PFF grades by Washington quarterbacks (min. 10 dropbacks, 2006-2020)
Rank Name Season Week PFF passing grade
1 Jason Campbell 2007 10 92.1
2 Kirk Cousins 2016 11 91.5
3 Kirk Cousins 2015 15 89.3
4 Robert Griffin III 2013 9 89.2
5 Taylor Heinicke 2020 WC 88.9

Heinicke earned impressive PFF college grades at Old Dominion. And in limited snaps at the NFL level, he has a career big-time throw rate of 5.4% and an adjusted completion rate of 73.2%. The chances of him being elite are slim, but he has a realistic shot of the average play Fitzpatrick was likely to give Washington in his stead.

Cam Newton played under Ron Rivera for much of his career, but their last season together saw Newton post an overall PFF grade of just 70.9, the same as his most recent disappointing season with the New England Patriots. Newton may bring familiarity to the table, but there's no guarantee he's a better option than Heinicke at this stage in his career.

PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Keep an eye toward the under: Washington's 8.5-game 2021 win total didn't start in the right direction Week 1. Thankfully, oddsmakers have improved the outlook for Washington on Thursday night, mainly due to their opponent. Ryan Fitzpatrick is roughly 1.5 spread points better than Taylor Heinicke, making Fitzpatrick's faulty hip costly to Washington's betting outlook. PFF's simulation was pessimistic in the preseason and only expects things to worsen for the Football team. PFF's Betting Futures Tool reveals betting opportunities within season win total and future markets.

Quick turnaround for Washington on TNF: Washington saw a full point increase in their Thursday Night Football spread. Bookmakers took the Giants sleepwalking through Week 1 and assumed a short-week travel game would only compound matters. Expect this game to settle at -3.5, so waiting until closer to kickoff could pay dividends if looking to back Heinicke. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

Antonio Gibson Player Props: Washington's pass-catchers take the quarterback swap especially hard. Antonio Gibson played 64% of snaps on Sunday, which should only increase when the game script is positive. His rushing yards look like the only viable over for Thursday Night player props. PFF's Player Props Tool leverages PFF's Fantasy Football Projections to reveal betting opportunities within player prop markets.


Have faith in Heinicke: The former Old Dominion Monarch scored 25.8 fantasy points in the wild-card round against a stout Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, rushing for 46 yards and posting a 10.2-yard average depth of target. He's not afraid to throw downfield, so Terry McLaurin's quarterback play should still an upgrade from last season. Click here for PFF's fantasy football projections

Antonio Gibson Szn is still on: The second-year back earned 23 touches in Week 1, while other WFT running backs saw just three combined. His dual-threat ability should help him overcome any QB woes. Click here for PFF's Week 2 fantasy football rankings. 

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