Fantasy Football: How Cardinals' QB Situation Affects Larry Fitzgerald's Stock
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I believe the great Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said it best when he uttered the words, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." He was most likely not speaking about the Cardinals' QB situation, but he might as well have been.
It seems as though every year the football world hears about "the QB controversy brewing in Arizona." In 2008, the same sort of issue pressed forward as the Cards weren't sure if they wanted to continue starting Kurt Warner, who led Arizona to an 8-8 record, or start the young gunnin' QB from USC, Matt Leinart.
While the quarterback situation is still undecided, one thing has yet to waver: Larry Fitzgerald's performance.
In fact, since Fitzgerald's rookie season of 2004, he has had 12 different quarterbacks throw him the ball. Of course the Fitzgerald-Warner connection was the most prevalent, connecting on 345 balls, totaling 4,583 yards and 39 TDs, but can you guess No. 2?
If you guessed Josh McCown, then either you cheated or are a tenacious and dedicated Cardinals fan.
The pair played together sporadically for four seasons, with Fitzgerald gathering 84 receptions, 1,207 yards and 12 TDs.
As the time has passed on, Fitz's numbers have remarkably stayed amongst the top in the league. His least productive season (excluding his rookie) was in 2006, when he tallied 69 receptions for 946 yards and six TDs with Leinart predominantly throwing him the ball. Oh, and he missed three games!
But as the 2012 season is set to kick off, questions regarding the quarterback situation has once again piqued the interest of fantasy owners. Can Fitzgerald keep up his noteworthy play with so much uncertainty surrounding the passing game?
The answer is yes.
As shown before, no matter who has thrown the ball his way or who has been across from him, keeping the defenses honest, Fitzgerald has stayed unbelievably productive.
With a highly-overpaid (and overrated) vet and an unheralded second-year player vying for the top spot and virtually mirroring one another last season, Fitzgerald approached numbers he hasn't seen since the 2008 season with Warner. He put up outrageous numbers, 80 receptions, 1,411 yards and eight touchdowns.
And that was done without a solid No. 2 wideout!
Now, with the quarterback snafu resolved (at least for one game) with the young but promising John Skelton taking over, Fitzgerald will look to build a chemistry and build an offensive power.
Skelton started seven games last season for the Cards and played quite well doing so. He led Arizona to 5-2 record during those seven starts, and threw for 1,913 yards and 11 TDs. His completion percentage wasn't the best, but as a young quarterback with few options other than his top guy, it wasn't terrible.
The Cardinals made steps toward equipping Fitzgerald and the offense by drafting Michael Floyd in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, a move made to solidify the No. 2 spot that hasn't been filled since Anquan Boldin left for Baltimore a few years back. Boldin was Fitzgerald's Robin, helping Batman fight crime, yet never fully taking away the spotlight from the main man.
Seems like everything is hunky dory, right?
Who should be starting QB for the Cards?
Well, not so much. Skelton will be the starter for the opening game against the Seattle Seahawks on September 9, but head coach Ken Whisenhunt has yet to exclusively give the job to the precocious quarterback.
Kevin Kolb, labeled "the backup" for now, signed a six-year, $65 million deal last year to go along with the hefty bounty that was traded for him (second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), leaving the Cards seemingly empty-handed.
Do they feel a need to justify that awful deal or will they look to continue to build on the cohesiveness they saw a slight semblance of last season?
To Larry Fitzgerald, it simply doesn't matter:
"I'm prepared to go out and play with whomever," the Pro Bowl wide receiver said. "I've played with a million quarterbacks it seems like. I try not to focus on who is throwing the ball. My job is to catch it. You do your job." (h/t to arizonasports.com)
When it comes down to it, unlike any other position, wide receivers have to depend on their quarterback to get them the ball in order to be successful. But in some instances, exceptional players exceed the preconceived performance barriers and put up freakishly good numbers.
Larry Fitzgerald is one of those special players. Don't doubt him. He holds great value in the second round of all fantasy football drafts and will undoubtedly post 1,200-plus yards and seven-plus TDs yet again.
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