In the Rearview. Looking Back at Our 2013 Fantasy Football Calls: Larry Fitzgerald

The 2013 fantasy football season has just ended, but it is never too early to look back on the season that was.

Everyone makes good calls and some bad calls. At the end of the year, all you can hope for as a fan and analyst of fantasy football is that you personally made more good calls than bad…or that a couple of your good calls were so good, you survived the terrible ones. This series of posts will be similar to Learning From my Mistakes, but more focused on the specific calls we either wrote about, Tweeted about or talked about in general.

I’ll start with Larry Fitzgerald, who I talked up in my pre-season article on some values I thought were to be had on the Arizona Cardinals, with my article Three Little Birds: Arizona Cardinals You Should Draft in 2013.

Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald cardinals fantasy football outlook 2014

Larry Fitzgerald had another lackluster year as a fantasy wide receiver. Maybe it is time to finally let him fly off your fantasy radar. Photo: Getty Images

At the time my article went live, Larry Fitzgerald had an average draft position of 28. Live 2013 draft results from ESPN had Fitzgerald being drafted at an average of pick number 35. That is at the back end of the 3rd round, nearly into the beginning of the 4th round. That was good for his latest draft position since 2008. Coming off of an inconsistent and underwhelming 2012, with his perceived value at its lowest in years, I advocated drafting FItz as a value for 2013.

I figured new Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer would be an upgrade over the platoon of terrible quarterbacks they threw out in 2012 and with second year receiver Michael Floyd appearing on the verge of a breakout year (more on that later), Fitzgerald seemed all but a lock for a resurgence. Here is my call in a nutshell:

“I expect around 1,200 receiving yards and double digit touchdowns in 2013. I feel good taking him in the 3rd round of fantasy drafts. I don’t know that he will greatly exceed the value of this ADP and finish in the top 5 wide receivers, but he is a safer bet to finish top 10 than most…”

Not a terribly bold call, but in the end, Fitzgerald finished as the 16th best wide receiver in fantasy for 2013, with 954 yards and 10 touchdowns. The double digit touchdowns were there (barely), he once again fell short of both mine and most people’s expectations. He didn’t terribly hurt your fantasy team, but he didn’t greatly exceed his draft day value.

Essentially, he finished as a low end WR2, though for the first half of the season he performed like a WR3. While he didn’t end up as much of a value as I thought, drafting Larry Fitzgerald was basically like paying retail prices. You didn’t get a great deal, but hey, you got what you asked for.

Going forward, Fitzgerald will be 31 years old at the start of the 2014 NFL season. Being 30+ years old doesn’t necessarily scare me away when it comes to fantasy football, but it certainly isn’t a positive for me when evaluating players. I wouldn’t doubt if Fitz could trend upwards on yards and touchdowns next year, but pushing 1,200-1,400 yards is looking less likely.

With another year under his belt (a lackluster one at that) and a rapidly declining Carson Palmer at QB, I have to think Fitz will be drafted later in 2014 than he was this year. Even then I don’t know that I will consider drafting him for my teams. Unless Larry Fitzgerald moves on to another team, which is apparently likely, and teams up with a dramatically better quarterback, his arrow just seems to be pointing down.

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