by Will Overton
There wasn’t as much hype surrounding Michael Floyd as there was Justin Blackmon, but what Floyd lacks in hype he makes up for in reliability in my opinion. Last season A.J. Green set the bar high for rookie receivers and I don’t expect A.J. Green type numbers from Floyd, but I do expect big things, including being the best rookie receiver this season. Let me tell you a little bit about why.
First of all Michael Floyd is about as NFL ready a player as you will find in this year’s crop of rookies. Floyd’s numbers weren’t as eye popping as Justin Blackmon’s in college because he didn’t play in the same type of offense. However, Floyd’s numbers progressively improved every season culminating in a 100 catch senior season. And Floyd did that in a spread offense system not known for using receivers to the best of their ability.
Floyd has good size at 6’3 and 225, but most important he knows how to use his size. Floyd is great at creating separation from DB’s and getting enough room between himself and the guy covering him for a QB to fit the ball in to him. Coupled with the size and knowing how to use the size is the fact that this guy is just a smart football player. He runs great routes and knows when to adjust a route to get himself open.
Watch the game film from Notre Dame last season and it’s amazing how many times he finds himself wide open because he knows how to do it. He’s just a smart football player.
One of the knocks on Floyd and maybe the thing that keeps him from reaching A.J. Green rookie season levels is he doesn’t have top end speed. Floyd is quick enough to be good, but he might not be fast enough to ever be great. His size and jumping ability enables him to be a decent deep threat at times, but he might struggle to make the big plays because of his speed.
The biggest reason I like Floyd more than Blackmon as a rookie and why I think Floyd is going to have so much success is because of where he landed. The same reason I think Blackmon might not meet expectations is the reason I think Floyd will exceed them.
My knock on Blackmon if you read my post last week was that I wasn’t convinced Blaine Gabbert has the ability to get the ball to Blackmon with consistency. Some might argue that Floyd will experience the same problems in Arizona, but the numbers suggest otherwise. The combination of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton completed just 56% of their passes last season which is underwhelming to say the least. But they attempted enough passes to amass nearly 4,000 yards through the air between the two of them. Meaning that despite the emergence of Beanie Wells Ken Whisenhunt and the Cardinals remained very committed to getting it done through the air.
The other big advantage for Floyd is the fact that Larry Fitzgerald will be on the opposite of the field from him. Sharing the field with Fitzgerald means single coverage for Floyd by the lesser of the other teams corners. With Floyd’s ability to use his size and create space this could lead to a lot of chances as a possession style receiver. Playing with Fitzgerald limits Floyd’s long term potential in some ways because he’ll never be the go-to-guy in Arizona, but one needs to look no further than Anquan Boldin see that being a number one to Larry Fitzgerald isn’t a bad thing.
In the five seasons that Boldin spent in Arizona playing second fiddle to Fitzgerald he averaged 86 receptions per season and 7 TD’s per season. And he only played 16 games once. In two seasons as the main guy in Baltimore Boldin is averaging 60 catches and 5 TD’s per season. Not everyone is cut out to be a number one guy and some guys will have more success as a number two alongside the right number one. Michael Floyd might not have the speed or playmaking ability to ever be a number one, but like Boldin did he could do a lot of damage as the number two to Fitzgerald.
The combination of Kevin Kolb at QB and Floyd’s style of play means he might not have a ton of big plays this season, but I think he will step right in and be a dominant possession kind of guy and should be looking at anywhere between 70 – 80 catches and 800 – 1,000 yards. Fitzgerald will be the red zone target but Floyd has some jumping ability and should be a nice red zone option as well so he could see 6 – 8 TD’s as well.
Most people see Floyd as a borderline number three receiver in fantasy, I think he could push his way close to the top 25 WR’s in the league and a borderline number two guy. I’ll be taking Floyd before any other rookie receiver and I won’t have many reservations in doing so. The upside might be limited, but the floor is a whole lot higher than his rookie counterparts.
Don’t expect an A.J. Green top 10 WR performance, but don’t be surprised to see Floyd in the 25 – 30 either. He may not have the hype around him, but he has the abilities and the right opportunity, and that’s what matters in fantasy football.