Larry Fitzgerald: The Undervalued Force

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Published: August 28, 2013

Larry Fitzgerald Fantasy 2013

Larry Fitzgerald Fantasy 2013There is no denying it, Larry Fitzgerald had a horrible 2012. He was healthy all year, but put up career lows. Fitzgerald is normally thought to be a guaranteed top 10 WR and can rank as high as top 5 in PPR formats, yet he finished last season just inside the top 40. Still, “Fitz” is undervalued going into 2013 and can be a draft day steal.

The number are bad, but there is one very important thing to factor into Larry Fitzgerald’s forgettable 2012 season. His quarterbacks were Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Lindley. No matter how good a WR is, they need a good QB to get them the ball. Fitz did not have one in 2012 and his numbers show it.

Adding to his struggles was the absents of other receiving threats in the Arizona offense. Defenses were able to double-up on Fitzgerald and take him out of games. The Cardinals play a very tough NFC West division and a pair of meetings with the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams did not help.

A change needed to be made in 2013 and came in the form of Carson Palmer. No, he’s not an elite QB, but he’s much better than Kolb, Skelton, Hoyer and Lindley. Last season Palmer had a pretty good year in Oakland with even less WR talent and passed for 4,018 yards and 22 touchdowns.

At the end of last season, then-rookie Michael Floyd started to rise as a solid WR2. If Floyd can pick-up where he left off last year, Larry Fitzgerald might finally have a WR2 that will draw the attention of the defense. Andre Roberts is a capable slot receiver who can also get under the skin of a defense and rounds out the Cardinals starting receiving core.

If all that’s not enough, how about a modern-day Dion Sanders getting tossed in the mix? No, not Leon Sandcastle… CB Patrick Peterson has been used as an offensive player at times during the preseason. Currently, Peterson has stated that he knows about 60 offensive plays. It’s expected that on some plays Peterson will be used as a decoy. On other plays, he’s expected to go deep and try and draw double coverage. This can only be good news for Fitzgerald who has not shared the field with someone of Peterson’s skills since the days of a younger Anquan Boldin.

Larry Fitzgerald Career Statistics

Season Team G Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Lng 1stD TD
2004 Arizona 16 58 115 780 48.8 48 36 8
2005 Arizona 16 103 165 1409 88.1 47 67 10
2006 Arizona 13 69 111 946 72.8 57 52 6
2007 Arizona 15 100 166 1409 93.9 48 69 10
2008 Arizona 16 96 154 1431 89.4 78 66 12
2009 Arizona 16 97 153 1092 68.3 34 69 13
2010 Arizona 16 90 173 1137 71.1 41 59 6
2011 Arizona 16 80 154 1411 88.2 73 61 8
2012 Arizona 16 71 156 798 49.9 37 44 4
Career Totals 140 764 1347 10413 74.4 78 523 77

Fitzgerald’s 2012 drop-off sticks out like a sore thumb. While he had at least one catch in every game, he was held to a single catch four times during the season. In addition, he was held below five catches five times. There is something very wrong with these numbers and the cause seems to be clear. It was his quarterbacks, or lack there of. Kevin Kolb looked like a promising fit after a good 2011 half-season of fill-in work for Michael Vick in Philadelphia. However, since then Kolb has been on such a sharp decline that wet inanimate objects are now injuring him.

It’s not usually a good idea to forget about an awful season, write it off and draft a player anyways. Larry Fitzgerald is an exception in this case. His current ADP has him going 23rd overall and 7th among WRs. This is proof that drafters are willing to give Fitz another chance.

Everyone knows what Larry Fitzgerald can do and you cannot doubt his skills and abilities. In this case, everything seems to be riding on the arm of Carson Palmer.

See where Gridiron Experts Ranks Larry Fitzgerald going into 2013.

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