Don't Forget Larry Fitzgerald

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Why you shouldn't hesitate to take an aging star as your WR2:


For a player coming off a career year setting an Arizona franchise record in receptions with 109, Larry Fitzgerald has never felt like more of an "uhhhhh, I guess I'll take _______" fantasy football pick in his career than this season. The two biggest arguments causing drafters to hesitate before ultimately selecting Fitzgerald in the 5th round are his age and the worry about the fantasy production of his teammates.

Andre Johnson's 2015 season at the age of 34 is the most recent warning to those looking to select an easily recognizable name on draft day to fill their WR2 spot. It must be noted that the face of the Cardinals franchise is creeping closer to that fall off season and at 32 his average draft position suggests this is the year to not trust Fitzgerald. Before buying in on the too old narrative and finding a shiny new name to draft, here is your reminder that Brandon Marshall, going often in the second round of mock drafts, is also 32 and has Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback who the Jets weren't even sure they wanted.

Yes the Cardinals have mouths to feed on offense, but don't the Jets too with Eric Decker going around the same draft position as Fitzgerald with Marshall already off the board? Players being selected before Fitzgerald: Doug Baldwin and Randall Cobb also have that same downside, but with quarterbacks that spread the ball just like Fitzgerald's signal caller Carson Palmer. Drafters must realize that in the NFL of today having weapons on offense is no longer a problem in fantasy. Palmer is projected to throw well over 500 times again this season and it is easy to imagine all three wide receivers in Arizona getting their share.

2015 with Palmer's 537 pass attempts




Larry Fitzgerald




John Brown




Michael Floyd




David Johnson




If you have an early first round pick, then a late second and early third before the snake comes back to you in the late fourth and early fifth there is no reason to not trust in Fitzgerald with the first of two picks between 45 and 52. By now you should have had your pick of a top tier WR1, possibly two running backs or a RB and WR with your 2nd and 3rd. Sign up over and over for Larry Fitzgerald as your WR2 or flex with another player coming less than 7 picks later.

Even with a mid first round pick, by the mid-fourth with either a RB or WR as your first pick you would still be drafting Fitzgerald to be a WR2/Flex player on your fantasy team as a hall of fame super human who should be valued in the mid-third round and solid fantasy WR2. The 2015 numbers for Fitzgerald were career numbers so factor in some regression just in case Fitzgerald isn't actually another life form exiled from his home until he delivers Arizona a Super Bowl as this stiff arm would suggest:


Bring down the 109 reception 2015 to 75-90 receptions, the 9 touchdowns to 6-8, and the 1,215 yards to 800-900.. or 12-14.25 pts/game in a PPR league... or WR18-WR28 territory last season which even seems like low expectations considering prior to 2014, a season shortened with an MCL sprain, Fitzgerald was WR17 with 14.9 pts/game in 2013 and in his 2015 return was WR7 with 17.5 pts/game.

Whew, we sat through some numbers; time to check the tape to see if this old guy has any legs left to torment NFL defenses as a slot wide receiver:


Larry Fitzgerald is a safe pick on one of the top offenses and that is a great thing. You should already have a high upside WR1, minimize some risk and go with what you know and not a fresh hot sport's take of Kelvin Benjamin on a team that wants to run the ball more than anyone in the league. The arguments against Fitzgerald are easy to make when Golden Tate on the Lions with no Calvin Johnson is staring right at you, but understand Fitzgerald is value in the 4th round while Jim Bob Cooter's regression looms large over the Lions 2016 season.

Two comparisons for the road: Reggie Wayne from 31-33 years old averaged 97 receptions per season along with 5 touchdowns and 1,223 yards.. or WR15 last season in PPR. And if one HOF isn't enough Larry Fitzgerald is in the same age range as Terrell Owens when he averaged numbers that would have been WR9 last season with statistics from the 2006-2008 NFL. In your redraft league there is no need for a fresh hot WR2 with flashy fire emojis by his name, be confident with a single GOAT emoji.

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