Larry Fitzgerald's Fantasy Trade Value, Updated Outlook After Week 5

Tim KeeneyContributor IOctober 6, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 06:  Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during the NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Panthers 22-6. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Right now, Larry Fitzgerald is more difficult to read than Cory Matthews' quantum physics textbook

The 10-year veteran managed just 71 catches for 798 yards and four touchdowns in 2012—a mediocre (and career-worst) campaign for one of the league's best wide receivers. 

But coming into the season, an upgrade at quarterback over the Kevin Kolb-John Skelton-Ryan Lindley-Brian Hoyer four-headed monster figured to vault Fitz back into the fantasy elite.

After pulling in just three catches for 43 yards on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, though, he now has 24 receptions for 288 yards and three touchdowns on the season. That puts him on a pace for about 77 catches, 921 yards and nine touchdowns. 

Certainly not numbers to scoff at, but not top-seven WR or third-round value, either, which is what he was being drafted as before the start of the season.

So, is it time to accept that Fitzgerald is no longer the dominant player he used to be? Or is an inevitable increase in production on the horizon for the future Hall of Famer?

The important thing to consider when trying to answer those questions is that absolutely nothing has changed since he received sky-high hype in August. 

Bruce Arians is still the head coach, and Bruce Arians is still doing Bruce Arians' thing offensively—Carson Palmer has already thrown the ball 180 times (36 times per game). 

Fitzgerald is still one of the best receivers in the game. Even with a less-than-100 percent hamstring and Palmer playing poorly under center, Fitzgerald has produced. He is still explosive, still knows how to get open, still has hands made of glue and is still a red-zone threat.

Think about it this way: Palmer has been terrible and Fitzgerald has been banged up, yet the latter has still churned out very solid WR2 numbers in most fantasy leagues. 

Fitz is in the right offense. He has the right skill set. The WR1 production is undoubtedly on its way. 

Get those buy-low offers in as soon as possible. Sunday will be his most underwhelming performance of the season.