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Fantasy Value of the Cardinals Passing Attack

Fantasy Value of the Cardinals Passing Attack
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Fantasy Value of the Cardinals Passing Attack

Everybody knows about Larry Fitzgerald. You probably took him early in the second round last year, which is roughly the same spot he’s been taken for the last four to five years.

And if you did get Fitz, you weren’t disappointed. The former Pitt star racked up over 1,400 yards and eight touchdowns, elite numbers for a WR1.

But after Beanie Wells went down, the Arizona Cardinals offense offered nothing to fantasy players. In years past, Fitz has been joined by prolific options like Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston and Kurt Warner. Not so much in 2011.

That could change in 2012.

With the Cards selecting Michael Floyd in the first round of the NFL Draft, and a healthy Kevin Kolb and Wells, this could be an offense not unlike the 2008 Cardinals team. While I don’t think that Kevin Kolb is going to put up Kurt Warner-type numbers, the skill players could certainly grow by leaps and bounds.

In 2003, Boldin’s rookie year, he caught 101 passes for 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns. If Michael Floyd can even get close to that production, that would be a huge starts. Given his play style and skill set, I don’t think there’s any way he approaches 101 catches. He doesn’t have the quick twitch movement abilities to separate from NFL corners often enough to reach that milestone.

But unless you’re in a PPR-league, you couldn’t care less.

Fitzgerald averaged 17.6 yards per catch last season, by far the best in his career. If Michael Floyd can record 16 YPC, he only has to make 63 catches to reach 1,000 yards; very doable for a man of his stature. As far as touchdowns go, Floyd shouldn’t have a problem. At 6’3” 225 pounds, Floyd was built to be a redzone threat. He could easily catch eight to 10 touchdowns and be the best rookie fantasy option in the league.
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In fact, with Blackmon catching, or trying to catch passes from Blaine Gabbert, I definitely expect Floyd to be the best rookie WR.

The hang-up on this operation could be the quarterback position. Last season, Kolb played eight games, going 2-6, and John Skelton played the other eight, going 6-2. While this seems to say Skelton should be the starter, Kolb was debatably the better quarterback.

Skelton posted 11/14 TD:INT ratio, 54.9 percent completions, and a 68.9 passer rating. Kolb actually managed a 9/8 TD:INT ratio, 57.7 percent completions, and an 81.1 passer rating.

A strange situation, indeed.

I expect Kolb, the man with the $63 million contract, to be the starter heading into the 2012 season. While he certainly didn’t live up to expectations in his first season with the Cardinals, he also did not have a full offseason to work with his new team. With that in mind, Kolb should be at least a serviceable starter next season, and has some fantasy value as a backup/bye-week fill-in. Obviously, with targets like his, he has QB1 fantasy potential.

Couple in the presumed health and continued effectiveness of Beanie Wells, and this offense could be poised to explode. Expect a number of extremely viable fantasy starters to come out of Arizona.

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Matthew Madsen

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