Draft Strategy

Everything You Need to Know to Target Larry Fitzgerald in 2015

Is Larry Fitzgerald being undervalued? The quick answer is yes and I can’t say that I’m surprised. Last year was not a good year for Larry Fitzgerald, but why was that? Did he start to break down at the age of 31 or was something else going on?

Fitzgerald has always stayed healthy. Last year he missed two games in weeks 12 and 13, which was the first time he had missed a game since 2007.  After the injury Fitzgerald didn’t appear to be 100 percent healthy for the rest of the year.  Look at the game splits below from  last year before and after the injury. Fitzgerald appeared to be affected by injury,1but now he’s had a whole offseason to recover and should be fully healthy and ready to go. According to Sports Injury Predictor, he has a low risk of injury this season.

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Another wrench that was thrown into Larry Fitzgerald’s season was the injury to Carson Palmer. Palmer went down during week 10 against the Rams, which marked the beginning of the Cardinals downfall. If you remember, the Cardinals were 8-1 after week 10, which was first place in the NFL at the time.

Palmer and Fitzgerald were just starting to get in sync at this point in the season. In the three games with Palmer prior to his knee injury, Fitzgerald averaged seven catches for 114 yards per game, capping off the streak with a nine catch, 112 yard performance in week 10. Fitzgerald could have been headed for another solid season, but he just had nowhere near that level of success with either Drew Stanton or Ryan Lindley. The good news is Palmer will be ready to go for the 2015 season and I believe he is ready to start where he left off with Fitzgerald. Below are the splits between Fitzgerald with and without Palmer for the past two years.

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Fitzgerald averaged more than double the fantasy points with Palmer. In eight games without Palmer, Fitzgerald failed to score a touchdown. To put this into a more extreme perspective look at Palmer’s AYA when targeting Fitzgerald.

 

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Forty targets is a small sample size, but 13.1 AYA is still an astronomical number. To put that into perspective that’s better than Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown, Eli Manning to Odell Beckham, and Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson last year.

Now Palmer hasn’t always been known as the beacon of health so that will be a risk you’ll have to consider, but if he can stay healthy the outlook is promising. Michael Floyd also recently dislocated three of his fingers and will mostly likely be sidelined for the beginning of the season. That might help John Brown more than Fitzgerald, but Fitzgerald may become even more of a safety net for Palmer.

What does this mean for your draft?

Larry Fitzgerald is currently being drafted as the 34th WR and his overall ADP is 93. If Fitzgerald were just to match his per-game pace with Palmer from the last two years, he would end the season with 240 points, which would put him as the 15th overall receiver according to the Cheat Sheet Calculator.  I believe he even has the chance to perform better than that if he continues to produce at the level he was with Palmer right before his season ending injury. At the very least I believe he will be a WR3 or Flex option depending on your league format and at his current ADP you wont have to risk much to steal him.

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  1. Right before the last game of the season Bruce Arians evaluated him at only 70%.  (back)
By Drew Heinl | @thisisntdrew | Archive

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