A brief synopsis of Larry Fitzgerald's 2010 season along with Pros and Cons heading into the 2011 season.
Pros and Cons for 2011
(+) Over the past four seasons, Larry has averaged 162 targets, 96 receptions, 1,269 yards and 10.3 TDs
(+) Still had a relatively stout year despite some of the worst QB play in the league from Derek Anderson and rookies Max Hall and John Skelton
(+) There’s nowhere to go but up with the Cardinals QBs as it’s looking like they’ll either be trading for or drafting a quarterback for next season
(+) CONTRACT YEAR!!!
(+) Had a career best 173 targets last year and will continue to be depended on going forward
(+) Has been in the top-5 for fantasy points in four of the past six years
(+) Fitz is absolutely lethal in the red-zone and still has one of the most dependable pair of hands in the league
(+) Arizona plays in the easiest division in all of football (NFC West – San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis)
(–) Regardless of his personal stature within the league, the Cardinals are simply an awful team
(–) If Arizona elects to draft a QB instead of trade for a proven one, their situation under center won’t improve for at least another year
(–) As good as Fitz is, if the offense can’t move the ball down the field, his touchdown total will ultimately suffer
It’s amazing how much of a difference a year can make, especially in the world of fantasy football. Just ask Larry Fitzgerald.
The Arizona Cardinals’ five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver knew 2010 was going to be a rough ride straight from the start, and with the choice of either Derek Anderson, Matt Leinart, or fellow rookies Max Hall and John Skelton potentially throwing to him, how could he not? In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb right now and say that the crew Arizona put together to lead this team in ‘10 was destined to be one of the top-five most inaccurate quarterback assemblies of all time.
Luckily for Fitz, the Cards would jettison Leinart and his crappy, two-bit cocky attitude before the season began. Even so, Larry would still have to depend on his own greatness if he was to salvage the type of numbers he’d become accustomed to throughout his career.
As it happens, he simply could not, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort, though, I’ll tell you that.
With the Cardinals lacking a legitimate No. 2 receiving threat, Fitz was forced to fight off double and triple-teams on a consistent basis throughout the year. Coupled with the weekly nuisance of QBs Anderson (nine starts, 51.7% completion percentage), Skelton (four starts, 47.6% completion percentage) and Hall (three starts, 50% completion percentage) all throwing him the ball and you’re looking at a near impossible task for even the most legendary of receivers to pull off.
Fitz did end up with a very respectable 90 receptions, 1,137 yards and six TDs, but those numbers, though top-of-the-line for most, would personally rank fifth, fourth, and seventh respectively in his seven-year career. His 12.6 yards per catch was also low by his standards (second lowest of his career), while his 9.4 fantasy points per game were the worst he’s put up since his rookie season.
Ultimately, Fitzgerald came out of the season doing better than expected considering what he had to work with, but his overall ranking of 16th on the wide receiver fantasy list was nowhere close to what owners had hoped/wished for.
Despite Arizona’s QB situation, I still have faith in the guy, seeing that he continues to be one of the five most dominating wide receivers on the planet. He’ll likely end up as a high-end No. 2 fantasy WR in 2011, but if the Cards are somehow able to stack their deck by the time Week One rolls around, don’t be surprised to see Larry come up all aces and turn out to be a real bargain in most fantasy drafts.
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