Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Peterson's Fantasy Outlook with Blaine Gabbert Starting

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2017

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 09:  Adrian Peterson #23 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium on November 9, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals announced Friday that Blaine Gabbert will start at quarterback Sunday against the Houston Texans, which means fantasy owners pegging their hopes to Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson could be in for something of a rollercoaster ride.

In 40 career starts, Gabbert has completed 56.0 percent of his passes for 7,351 yards, 38 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. He's also averaged a middling six yards per pass attempt over that span.

Needless to say, those numbers aren't inspiring. 

However, they don't mean Fitzgerald's stock is shot. 

When it comes to Week 11 specifically, the 34-year-old can still be viewed as a low-end WR2 or high-end flex play because of the consistency with which he's been targeted this season. 

To date, Fitzgerald leads the Cardinals with 88 targets, 60 receptions, 677 receiving yards and three touchdowns with Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton splitting time under center. 

And with Fitzgerald more of an underneath safety valve than a vertical field-stretcher at this point in his career—he's averaging 11.3 yards per catch—Gabbert should look to him early and often as something of a security blanket while Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson and Co. try and make hay along the boundary. 

Also consider the Texans rank 27th against the pass after allowing the Los Angeles Rams to hang 339 yards on them a week ago, and Fitzgerald should be able to find enough holes in the secondary to be a viable fantasy starter. 

It's hard to say the same about Peterson. 

The Cardinals' lead back hasn't topped 30 yards in two of his past three outings, and he was bottled up to the tune of 1.4 yards per carry on 21 attempts last week against the Seattle Seahawks

Looking ahead to Sunday, it's easy to envision the Texans replicating the Seahawks' game plan and stack in the box with eight and nine defenders in order to clamp down on Peterson and force Gabbert to win downfield. 

Plus, Houston is currently one of nine teams allowing fewer than 100 rushing yards per game. 

The running back pool is admittedly thin this year, so benching Peterson may not be a legitimate option for some owners, but it's hard to be bullish on his upside so long as Palmer is sidelined. 

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