Illustration by Jamal Collier/@StatManJ
If Carson Palmer is your No. 1 fantasy quarterback in 2013, you’re probably going to be in some deep trouble.
While Palmer will be playing with arguably the best receiver he’s ever had in Arizona Cardinals stalwart Larry Fitzgerald, he’s also playing for his third organization—and fourth head coach—in four years.
That makes it a little more difficult to project something as simple as how many times he’ll throw the football, especially since his career-high 37.7 passing attempts per game in 2012 were the result of a perpetually injured running back corps behind him.
Marcel Reece went on a three-game stretch of taking 19 or more touches. He’s a fullback.
New Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is a former offensive coordinator with ties to former first-round quarterbacks with the Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger, 2007-11) and Indianapolis Colts (Andrew Luck, 2012).
Big Ben averaged 26.9 attempts per game in 2007 and 29.3 in 2008. After that, it was 33.5 per game over 42 regular-season contests between 2009 and 2011.
Luck chucked 39.2 footballs a game as a rookie, but he also lacked big-time production from his running backs. Of Colts players to take 50 or more carries, he was the only one to average four yards per tote—and he led his team in rushing touchdowns, with five.
Arizona added Arians’ former featured back in Rashard Mendenhall, drafted two more (Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington) this April and still retains former second-round pick Ryan Williams. They’ll anticipate more firepower from the backfield than years past.
Palmer’s career 62.5 completion percentage is overshadowed by his 61.1 percent since injuring his elbow in 2008. That’s not going to improve much in 2013, as Arians’ system is predicated upon taking downfield shots.
Roethlisberger and Luck combined to complete—you guessed it—61.1 percent of their balls under Arians since 2007.
Palmer’s 2012 average yards per attempt, like his completion percentage, was a reflection of his last four years: 7.11 yards per throw. He’s got a 1.11 career touchdown-to-turnover ratio, something that’s likely to continue with riskier deep throws in 2013.
The former No. 1 overall pick has amassed 20-plus touchdowns in three of the last four years but hasn’t topped 30 TD tosses since 2005.
Luck rushed 62 times in 2012, but Palmer is less athletic—and hasn’t rushed more than 20 times in a season since 2010. Nevertheless, he totaled five rushing scores in his last four seasons.
Carson Palmer 2013 projections: 330-of-540 passing, 3,839 yards, 23 TD, 18 INT, 22 rushes, 37 yards, 1 TD, 4 total lost fumbles.
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