by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Conventional wisdom would have Larry Fitzgerald as the obvious better fantasy option among Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver. He’s long been considered one of the elite in the game, and that’s generally been with mediocre quarterbacks throwing him the ball. So, with Carson Palmer (who isn’t great, but is a significant upgrade) under center is there any way that Fitzgerald may not be the best receiver on his own team?!?
While the answer may surprise you, I would actually prefer Michael Floyd for the 2014 season. Floyd produced an impressive line of 65 catches for 1,041 yards and 5 TD in 2013, relatively completely under-the-radar.
On the surface you look at an average of 16.0 yards per reception and think that he’s more of a big play, “boom or bust” type of receiver that simply went more boom than bust in 2013. However, that type of assumption would be all wrong.
Look at his breakdown of receptions by pass play:
- Thrown behind line of scrimmage: 4 receptions
- Thrown 1-10 yards – 26 receptions
- Thrown 11-20 yards – 26 receptions
- Thrown 21-30 yards – 4 receptions
- Thrown 31-40 yards – 3 receptions
- Thrown 41+ yards – 1 reception
Only 8 of his receptions came on passes thrown more than 20 yards, so it’s not that he was targeted as a big play threat. Instead, he took shorter passes and made something happen. That’s definitely a good sign.
Entering his third season in the NFL, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think he’s going to take another step forward (as the third year is generally viewed as the “breakout year” for receivers). That’s not to say that he’s going to suddenly be the main target, but the truth is he actually gained more yards than Fitzgerald last season as it is.
Now 30-years old, Fitzgerald had 82 catches for 954 yards and 10 TD in 2013. However, we saw his yards per reception drop as the season progressed:
- First Half – 13.1
- Second Half – 10.5
You have to wonder if his age is starting to catch up to him? Obviously he’s not going to disappear from the offense, but you also have to start to wonder if what he produced in 2013 is the type of number we should expect going forward.
So, any step forward for Floyd could bring the two virtually even in receptions,..
More receptions could mean more TD for Floyd as well, closing the gap (though Fitzgerald will still probably have 1-2 more)…
Floyd showed last season that, even with fewer receptions, he’s the more explosive receiver at this point…
It’s not a huge leap of faith to project Floyd up to 80 receptions, 1,125 yards and 8 TD. That alone would put him in the ballpark of Fitzgerald, but what if the latter ages a bit more and takes a step backwards?
It’s not as crazy as you may think. You aren’t going to need to draft Floyd before Fitzgerald on draft day, but don’t be surprised if he ultimately has more value at years end.
Source – ESPN