Pick Your Poison: Randy Moss vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Joe FortenbaughCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 14:  Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots celeberates after scoring a touchdwon against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game on December 14, 2008 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Today is the start of a new fantasy series here at the National Football Post called “Pick your Poison.”

I’ll be breaking down two players at the same position and making a point, counter-point argument for why each should be ranked ahead of the other. At the end of the analysis, I’ll make my selection. Your job is to hit up the comments section and leave your own pick so we can declare a winner at the end of the day.

As a side note, the 2009 NFP Draft Guide is now up and running. If you haven’t already purchased access to the best fantasy football draft guide on the Internet, click HERE to buy.

Today’s matchup: Larry Fitzgerald vs. Randy Moss

The case for Fitzgerald

He’s coming off an outstanding 2008 campaign in which he ranked No. 1 in scoring among fantasy receivers. The Cardinals’ throw-first vertical passing attack is one of the most explosive in the league, and with quarterback Kurt Warner under center, you know Fitz is going to get his targets.

He displays great balance, which helps him win jump-ball battles down the field and in the end zone. With Anquan Boldin lining up on the opposite side of the field, opposing defenses can’t afford to roll coverage in Fitzgerald’s direction.

He’s caught more than 90 passes in three of the past four years and has racked up 22 touchdowns in his last 31 regular-season games. Even if the Cardinals struggle this season, Fitz will have an opportunity to post some serious garbage time stats.

The case against Fitzgerald

If Boldin ends up with another team before the start of the season, Fitzgerald’s numbers will suffer because he’ll see a lot more double-teams than before.

In addition, Warner needs to stay healthy for Fitz to succeed. Warner has suffered injuries three of the past four years and is now 38 years old. If backup QB Matt Leinart has to step in, look for Fitzgerald’s value to plummet.

As you can see, it’s difficult to find a flaw in Fitzgerald’s game. But is he more reliable than Randy Moss?

The case for Moss

The original “straight cash homie” has the legendary Tom Brady back under center entering 2009. Remember, two years ago these two hooked up 98 times for 1,493 yards and a mind-blowing 23 touchdowns.

Even with Brady missing all of 2008 with a busted knee, Moss still finished the fantasy season ranked ninth among wide receivers. He still has explosive deep speed and the ability to get vertical on the outside.

Just like Fitzgerald, Moss has excellent balance and is dangerous in the red zone. Wide receivers Wes Welker and Joey Galloway will force opposing defenses to keep their coverage balanced, which will open up more of the field for Moss to exploit.

The case against Moss

He’s 32 years old and his quarterback is coming off major reconstructive surgery. In addition, the Pats have the unproven Kevin O’Connell backing up Brady, so if something happens, there are no guarantees Moss would succeed like he did last year when Cassel stepped into the lineup.

Moss’ 14.6-yards-per-reception average in 2008 was his second lowest total of the last six years.

Toss-up stat

Both Moss and Fitzgerald play only four games against teams that ranked in the top 12 in passing defense last season.

Fantasy playoff schedule

Fitzgerald’s final four games: San Francisco (road), Detroit (road), St. Louis (home), Green Bay (home)

Moss’ final four games: Carolina (home), Buffalo (road), Jacksonville (home), Houston (road)

EDGE: Fitzgerald. Three of Moss’ final four games could be played in bad weather. Fitz gets three dome games and one road trip to San Francisco.

The verdict

I think Moss is going to surprise everyone who has him ranked lower than No. 2 this season, but I have to go with Fitzgerald by a hair. I love his fantasy playoff schedule, and as long as Warner can stay healthy, Fitz will post another big season. However, don’t be shocked if Moss comes out and catches 16 touchdown passes this year.

Now it’s time for you guys to weigh in. Who ya got?