Fantasy Football: Palmer Makes Fitzgerald 2013 Comeback Fantasy Player of the Year Candidate
Is Fitz Now Primed for a Big Fantasy Football Season?
Larry Fitzgerald was once a legitimate 1st round fantasy pick. These days Calvin Johnson will be the only wide receiver taken there. A.J. Green will be soon to follow. But where does Fitz fit into the rankings this season now that Palmer will be tossing him the ball?
When Fitzgerald was just getting started, he had an old vet come into town and sling him the pigskin all over the field. With Warner, Fitz put up monster fantasy stats. In 2007 & 2008, Fitz averaged 100 receptions, over 1,400 yards, and scored 22 total touchdowns.
Now those feats were accomplished in Larry’s prime, but keep in mind that he is still only 30 years old. No spring chicken, but he’s still pretty beast. I don’t know about you, but I could see Larry playing until he is 40. He just seems like that type of player.
And yes, those stats were helped out by a Hall of Fame quarterback indeed, but Kurt only posted 3,400 yards and 27 TD’s in the 2007 season, and 4,500+ and 30 TD’s in 2008. Carson Palmer, with nobody even close to Larry Fitzgerald to throw to, put up 4,000 yards and 22 TD’s last season.
And despite which quarterback was throwing him the rock, Fitzgerald has always had at least 153 targets . Knowing Palmer, that will probably be closer to 175 this season. If Fitz catches more than half of those passes, that puts him at around 90 receptions. And let’s say that Carson airing it out again this year will put Fitz back into that 1,200 to 1,400 yard range. That puts him right next to A.J. Green and Roddy White. But how many touchdowns will Fitzgerald be able to score in that Cardinals uniform?
I don’t see Arizona lighting up the scoreboard this season. They will have their games, yes, but overall, they should struggle offensively. It doesn’t help that they will have to play in the NFC West that is showcasing some of the best defenses in the league.
The Cardinals offensive line is still an issue, and Mendenhall is no immediate fix at running back. Hopefully they will get something, anything, out of Ryan Williams. So these issues will result on more pressure for Palmer and Fitzgerald to succeed. But there is one thing that we will know for sure; Carson will throw Fitz the ball. A lot.
Palmer has a career 62% completion percentage and had 565 passing attempts last season. Let’s say he does at least that in Arizona. And if the Cardinals fall behind in some games, in which they will, expect Palmer to do nothing but throw the ball. And who will that benefit? Fitzgerald of course.
Now I’m not telling you to make Carson Palmer the starter for your fantasy team. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t even keep him as a backup. He turns the ball over way too much and he is getting too old. But what I am stating is that Larry Fitzgerald is now a legitimate #1 fantasy receiver again.
Before Palmer was in Arizona, Fitzgerald was looking like a 5th round fantasy draft pick, if that. Now Fitzgerald most likely won’t make it into the 4th round in most drafts. If he can get his TD’s back into the double digits again, which might be a stretch, it would transform Fitzgerald back into an elite fantasy wide receiver this year. Maybe even top five again?
As long as Carson can stay on the field, and stay upright, Larry’s fantasy points should benefit tremendously. It’s been hard watching a future Hall of Fame wide receiver like Larry do his best to catch balls from NFL backups during the past couple of seasons. Even he told fantasy owners not to draft himself last season.
Now don’t get me wrong, Palmer is always a couple of interceptions and fumbles away from being a backup himself, but regardless, as long as he is behind center this season, he will throw Fitz the ball. And after only posting 70 receptions for 800 yards and 4 touchdowns last year, it will allow Fitz to potentially compete for the comeback player of the year award if he clicks well with Palmer. That has 4th round fantasy draft steal written all over it.
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Written by Josh Souder