Larry Fitzgerald did it again.
Silently, the Cardinals’ wide receiver caught 80 passes for 1,411 yards and 8 touchdowns. With a mixture of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton throwing him the ball, that’s nothing short of impressive.
Aside from Fitz, Beanie Wells was the only significant fantasy player on the 2011 Cardinals. He rushed for over 1,000 yards, and finished the season with 10 touchdowns. And he didn’t even play all 16 games.
Entering 2012, there are some new faces on the Cardinals offensive side. Michael Floyd was drafted to eventually help ease some coverage away from Fitzgerald, and Ryan Williams, the running back out of Virginia Tech who suffered a season-ending injury during the first pre-season game last year, will be suited up.
Will 2012 look different for the Cardinals? Probably not.
The sure bet on the Cardinals is…
Larry Fitzgerald. I wrote about this a week or so ago, but can someone please explain why so many are concerned with Fitzgerald’s output? It’s not as though he had different quarterbacks throwing to him last season. You know, the same season where he caught 80 balls for over 1,400 yards and nearly 10 touchdowns?
Fitz’s value comes with consistency. You know what you’re getting when you draft him, and his floor is much better than many third-round receivers’ ceilings.
Many have Fitzgerald as a top 5 wide receiver this year, and that’s where he should be valued. He’s not at the Megatron level, but he’s easily got less risk than Andre Johnson and Greg Jennings. That’s why people have him valued so high.
I don’t see anything less than at least 1,200 yards and 7 touchdowns from Fitzgerald this year. He’s gotten at least 6 touchdowns in each of his 8 seasons in the NFL, and has had double digit touchdown totals 4 times. Moreover, he’s only failed to get 1,000 yards twice – one of those being his rookie season.
We can’t look at Kevin Kolb or John Skelton and assume the worst for Fitz. He did it with them last year, and I expect him to do it again this year. There aren’t many receivers that are safer than number 11 in Arizona.
I’m not touching the…
Cardinals’ running backs. Ryan Williams is roughly the 40th ranked running back. This means, in a 12-team league, he’ll be drafted in the 9th round.
And I see Williams’ situation being similar to Mike Leshoure’s. Rookie running back on a team without a stud guy, comes in and gets hurt right off the bat, and is attempting to play his first season off of a major injury.
I just don’t see Williams being as valuable as Leshoure, however, because there’s a bigger, better running back in Arizona than in Detroit. No, I’m not saying that Beanie Wells is all that good. What I’m saying is that he’s proven. He did it last year. He’s a red zone back. And that scares me for Williams.
But on the flip side, it’s not as though I think Beanie is a worthwhile pick. There are reports out there right now saying that he needs to be “pushed”. That’s not something you want out of a running back. And moreover, coach Ken Whisenhunt is a big proponent of a 2-back system. If you look at his time in Pittsburgh, he was all about playing both Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker.
Wells’ had just 2 100-plus yard rushing games last season. One of them was for 138 yards, and the other was for 228. Aside from that, he was an unbelievably mediocre running back, especially at the end of the season. From December on, he averaged well under 4 yards per carry.
I don’t think either running back are worth their current ADP. Wells is going in the 6th round, where players like Willis McGahee, James Starks and Donald Browns are going. Each of those guys have more upside.
Another player I won’t draft this year is…
Michael Floyd. Currently ranked as the 50th wide receiver on most boards – I don’t think he’s worth it.
Evidently, Floyd has been slow to adjust to the high-tempo NFL pace. He’s already coming into camp listed as the fourth receiver. That’s not favorable from a fantasy perspective, especially on a team that won’t be throwing the ball a whole lot.
There are a ton of other players you can get at that point in the draft. Brandon Lafell is one that I love. And Kendall Wright (his value will be increasing soon) is a much better rookie option.
I’m staying away from Floyd. Rookie wide receivers typically don’t make it in fantasy, and someone who already can’t catch up to the professional level definitely won’t.
The one word to describe the 2012 Cardinals is…
Larry. Fitzgerald is the only player on this team I’d own. The running back situation is way too risky, considering Beanie Wells is such a mediocre player and Ryan Williams is coming off a big injury.
The new wide receiver on the team, Michael Floyd, isn’t ready yet. And on a team where they may not be spreading the offense a whole lot and getting deep into the depth chart, Floyd may not see the field as much as people have anticipated.
Larry Fitzgerald will get his. I can’t blame you at all for getting him in the second round. Expect another Pro Bowl year from the Cardinals’ wideout.