Arizona Cardinals Fantasy Football Preview: Larry Fitzgerald's Unfortunate Circumstance

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 11: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football on a 53 yard reception past Larry Grant #54 of the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 21-19. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Cardinals have no offensive line, no quarterback, and health issues at running back. The one constant, Larry Fitzgerald, has to be concerned but how worried should you be?

A not-so-fun fact for the Cardinals? Arizona has been outscored in 30 of the last 35 seasons. Not only that but the Cardinals outscored opponents by five points in 2007 and one point in 2008. That's how close they are to being almost permanently defeated. The only person that seems to be doing anything about it is Larry Fitzgerald.

Larry wanted a running mate, so Arizona drafted Michael Floyd in the first round. Maybe he should have asked for a guy that can throw him the ball. Well, technically John Skelton is going to be throwing him the ball a lot, he's just not very good at it. The Cards QB competition was like two blind dogs fighting over a biscuit that's actually a rock. On top of that, their bad left tackle is out for the season which is not addition by subtraction because Levi Brown was the best option that they had. It's subtraction, division, the square root of Levi Brown and Skelton/Kolb could be spending a good portion of their season lying in a crumpled pile on the field.

There are some players you shouldn't ignore in Arizona, but this team could have a difficult time scoring, let alone outscoring opponents.

2011 Record: 8-8

Drafted Skill Players: Michael Floyd, WR (1st), Ryan Lindley, QB (6th)

Dearly Departed: Levi Brown


John Skelton

I wrote about Skelton's fourth quarter magic over at my other site, Field Gulls, and it's really quite remarkable how many times he led the Cards to a comeback victory last year. It's also quite remarkable how bad he was for the rest of the game. He threw 14 interceptions in eight games and eleven of those came before the fourth quarter. He threw 11 touchdowns and six of them came in the fourth.

Either way, Skelton didn't complete a high percentage of his passes, has no protection, and would be on a pace for 28 interceptions in a full season. I think that there's a very low chance (say... 54.9%?) that Skelton doesn't get benched this year.

2012 Projection: Nine games, 1,800 yards, 7 TD, 12 INT

Kevin Kolb takes over during the year, potentially loses his job again, and is a free agent after the year. He'll complete 58% of his passes for 217 yards per game, 8 TD, 8 INT


Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams

"Chris" Wells breakout season is a little worrisome to me in that he had a good start and then fell off except for one game where he had 228 yards against the Rams. After the first three games of the year, Wells averaged 66 yards per game and that includes the 228 yarder, meaning that about a third of his yards came in one out of of eleven games.

Now that Ryan Williams is healthy, and some believe superior to Wells, I'd stay clear of Wells completely. Both have injury questions right now, but Williams is actually healthier than Wells. And I'd project him to have the better season anyway.

2012 Projection: Wells - 140 carries, 560 yards, 4 TD

2012 Projection: Williams - 180 carries, 800 yards, 6 TD

LaRod Stephens-Howling had a few nice, long plays last year and has some talent but is not good for more than five touches a game, unfortunately.


Larry Fitzgerald

I prefer to say Calvin Johnson but you can make a solid argument that Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the game. He had 1,411 yards and a career-high 17.6 yards per catch last year with Skelton and Kolb. He's going to be one of the league-leaders in targets, he's going to make big plays, he's potentially a year or two from solidifying his status in the Hall of Fame.

I drafted Fitzgerald in the first round of my keeper draft (technically, the second round since we had one keeper) and I did it because I felt I couldn't get out of the second round without a sure thing. Maybe he was a conservative pick compared to a potential breakout running back, but I feel comfortable that he's going to be very productive.

2012 Projection: 85 catch, 1,400 yards, 12 TD

Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts, Early Doucet

Floyd was supposed to grab the starting job opposite of Fitzgerald and not let go of it, but that hasn't happened and he's behind Roberts on the depth chart for now. We'd like to see him make some plays and force his way into getting 100+ targets this year, because he was my favorite receiver in the draft, but that hasn't happened yet. I couldn't recommend even drafting any of these guys because there's not a high enough probability than any of them will top 700 yards.

In fact I'd say that's a good projection for any or all of them: 500-700 yards and a few touchdowns.


Jeff King and Todd Heap

The Cards have never really been a tight-end team, and Heap is now six years removed from fantasy relevance. Don't fall for the name recognition trick. Neither of these guys gets to 400 yards.

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