2013 Fantasy Football Sleeper: WR Larry Fitzgerald
A couple seasons ago, the discussion for the best wideout in fantasy football certainly included Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald. However, over the past two seasons Fitzgerald has put up numbers like a mid-level wideout.
Fitz managed to haul in just 71 passes (on 153 targets) for 798 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2012. It was the worst season of his entire professional career and will no doubt cause more than a couple fantasy owners to pass on the former Pitt wideout.
It is not as if Fitzgerald ended on a high note either. After the team’s Week 10 bye week, Fitz didn’t score a single touchdown. He even averaged an embarrassing 30.4 yards per contest and that was counting his 111-yard-performance in Week 16 against the Chicago Bears.
There is no doubting that Fitzgerald is one of the most physically gifted receivers in the game, but he simply hasn’t had a reliable quarterback to get him the ball since Kurt Warner retired. After all, it is hard for the wideout to catch the ball when it isn’t being thrown anywhere near him.
Last year’s experiments with Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer at quarterback all failed miserably. The foursome combined to throw just 11 touchdowns all season long, compared to a staggering 21 interceptions. Needless to say, it quickly prompted the team to bring in veteran QB Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders during the off-season.
Palmer may be over-the-hill so to speak, but he still had a rather impressive season in Oakland. He finished with a 4,018 passing yards and a rather respectable 61.1% completion percentage. Palmer even threw 22 touchdown passes in Oakland’s lackluster offense. Palmer, if anything else, will be the veteran quarterback that Fitzgerald has been looking for since Warner left.
Regardless of the constant quarterback turnover, Fitzgerald has only missed three games in his entire nine-year NFL career. The wideout has started 84 consecutive games for the Birds and could be the most durable receiver in fantasy. He may not score every week, but you at least know that he will be in uniform every Sunday.
Fitz shouldn’t be drafted as a top-five fantasy receiver anymore, but he can have amazing value anywhere after the second round. I fully expect him to get back on track this season and finish among the top-10 fantasy wideouts.