Kevin Kolb's Injury May Actually Improve Larry Fitzgerald's Value in 2012 Fantasy Football

By Jeric Griffin

It appears Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald can’t catch a break. Well, besides his eight-year, $128.5 million contract. Every fantasy nut from here to Timbuktu pegged Fitzgerald as a top three option among WRs in all 2012 fantasy football leagues. Then the annual NFL Hall of Fame game happened. Kevin Kolb went down with contused ribs, making Arizona’s QB situation murkier than ever and Fitzgerald’s fantasy value a big question mark…or at least it seems that way.

The man many have called the next Jerry Rice will still put up big numbers in 2012, regardless of who’s throwing him the ball. However, many now believe his chances of topping Detroit Lions superstar Calvin Johnson‘s numbers just went from slim to none. Hold your horses, bud.

Fitzgerald hasn’t recorded double digit touchdowns in a season since Kurt Warner retired and, while his number of receptions hasn’t dropped a ton, there is a noticeable difference from when the future Hall of Famer was slinging the ball around the desert.

In 2009 – Warner’s final season – Fitzgerald recorded 97 catches for 1,092 yards and 13 scores. In the 8 and 1/2 games Kolb started in 2011, Fitzgerald recorded 38 catches for 658 yards and two touchdowns. He actually put up better numbers (especially touchdowns) in the other 7 and 1/2 games in which a combination of no-name Cardinals passers was passing to him. His yardage and touchdown totals from 2011 top those from 2010, when Kolb was with the Philadelphia Eagles, but not his touchdowns.

In fantasy land, yards are great, but touchdowns are better. Judging by the numbers from Kolb’s first year in Arizona, Fitzgerald is better off with the likes of John Skelton throwing to him. As strange as that may sound, the numbers don’t lie.

With Kolb down, many think he may also be out. Word on the street is Cardinals head coach Ken Wisenhunt isn’t happy with his current starter and may look to Skelton for Arizona’s season-opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

Now, does all this mean you should pass on Fitzgerald for the likes of Greg Jennings, Roddy White or another top receiver? Good question.

As stated, the numbers show Fitzgerald will always catch a ton of passes, but his touchdown totals have dropped considerably since Warner retired. If he had double digit scores to go with 80 catches and 1,400 yards then he’d be a no-brainer in the late first and early second rounds, especially in PPR leagues. However, you may want to tamper expectations of Fitzgerald become fantasy’s No. 1 WR until the Cardinals can decide on a surefire No. 1 QB.

Jeric Griffin is the Director of Content for Follow Jeric on Twitter @JericGriffin or “Like” Jeric on Facebook

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