NFL fantasy football: Ryan Fitzpatrick a sleeper pick

Main component: Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the primary factor in the team’s success or struggles in 2012. According to GM Buddy Nix, “I would say if (Fitzpatrick) plays good, we’ll be good…if he doesn’t, then we’ll be suspect.” Nix added that the Harvard product understands it’s “vital” he “doesn’t turn the ball over.” Fitzpatrick threw two or more interceptions in eight games last year (23 total), but still was able to finish 12th among all fantasy quarterbacks. Even with the struggles, he bested players like Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Josh Freeman and Joe Flacco, and each of them are projected to finish ahead of Fitzpatrick in 2012. If he can limit turnovers, the veteran could be a steal given his ADP of 147.25which slates him to be selected in the later-rounds.

Can Ryan Fitzpatrick prove to be a steal in fantasy drafts? (David Stluka/Associated Press)

New dimension: Green Bay Packers running back Cedric Benson made his preseason debut against his former team, the Cincinnati Bengals, on Thursday. As NFL.com’s Marc Sessler points out, the back “closely resembled the hard runner who turned in three straight 1,000-yard seasons.” Fantasy football owners would also be wise to take note of the newest Packer. With James Starks struggling and Alex Green working his way back from ACL surgery, Benson is expected to lock up the starting role. For a team which led the league in scoring in 2011, the veteran is sure to see plenty of opportunities this season. Benson is currently being selected in the 14th round of drafts as a reserve. Owners should add him for depth purposes, but he does have excellent potential compared to other backs being selected in the later-rounds.

Still waiting: For fantasy football owners considering Kenny Britt as a potential option, you will have to wait longer before any official word is delivered regarding his possible suspension. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, “there are no specific timelines for these cases…each one is unique. When it’s done, it’s done and we announce something (or not).” Britt is currently being selected in the 11th round of NFL.com fantasy drafts as a reserve wideout. With reports his suspension is not likely to be long, selecting him that late carries good value. Only one season removed from notching nine scores, Britt could see a healthy amount of targets now that the big-armed Jake Locker is at the helm. Selecting him in the later-rounds has the potential to pay off once he returns, especially during the fantasy playoffs. Stash him now, and reap the benefits later.

Follow Adrian Mojica on Twitter @FFFdaily

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