What if Larry Fitzgerald was injured for the season?
By Chris Smith
August 16th, 2012

Larry Fitzgerald is one of the greatest NFL receivers of all-time. He has not always been blessed with terrific quarterback play or his already strong numbers would be even more impressive. He has a tireless work ethic, a professional attitude and has a real commitment to winning. With him, the Cardinals are able to pass the ball with authority, even with suspect quarterback talent on the field. He can routinely beat double teams, makes players around him better and forces the defense to know where he is at all times. The Cardinals offense would suffer a huge blow without the talented Fitzgerald on the field in all aspects of the attack.

BUY

None.

HOLD

Chris Wells, RB The Cardinals only hope to doing anything on offense if they lose their top player in Fitzgerald is to shift to a run heavy offensive attack. Wells had a good season last year but the worry heading into this season is he will share time with Ryan Williams who was injured last season and a RBBC approach will be used. However with the loss of Fitzgerald, the run to pass ratio in Arizona will likely tweak 10-15% more towards the run side and as a result, the touches will be there for both Wells and Williams to put up some statistics. The reason he is a HOLD player and not a BUY player is simply because it is just as likely the Cardinals offense simply collapses and becomes one of the worst in the NFL without Fitzgerald. I would not run out and pick up Cardinals running backs assuming their fantasy output will increase. They will be worth hanging onto though.

Ryan Williams, RB There is not much to add here that wasn't said about Wells in the paragraph above. If you have either player on your roster, keep them as they are the Cardinals only real chance at any offensive success without Fitzgerald.

Todd Heap, TE He is injury prone and on the down slope of his career but if he is on your roster, he should remain there. He may see the lion's share of the touches if Fitzgerald goes down and could surprise with a top-12 season if he can find a way to stay healthy.

SELL

Michael Floyd, WR With Fitzgerald in the lineup drawing double teams and most of the secondary's attention, Floyd could put up decent fantasy numbers as a rookie this season. However if he is forced into the WR1 role for the team, he is not ready to routinely get open and put up good statistics. Good defenses would shut him down and he will struggle to catch 40% of the passes thrown his way. Being a name, owners may assume he steps up into Fitzgerald's production and his SELL value may be quite high. You can package him in a deal and a fellow owner may jump all over it thinking he will turn into a 1200-yard beast. That will not happen this year. If you cannot find a trade partner for him, holding him is the right thing to do as there is a possibility he emerges as a fantasy weapon due to his talent. Under no circumstances would you drop him if healthy.

ADD

I would not consider adding any players as the Cardinals offense may just collapse without their best player.

DROP

Cardinals quarterbacks First I would attempt to SELL either of these players (Kevin Kolb and John Skelton) if Fitzgerald went down to injury. However the reality is it will be extremely unlikely that you will be able to move the Cardinals starting quarterback if Fitzgerald is lost. Maybe if you are playing with Kolb's mom in a fantasy league you would be able to convince her to pick up her son but if she wants to win the league, that is unlikely as well. Neither quarterback has much fantasy worth without Fitzgerald on the field.

Cardinals receivers not named Floyd If you can find a trading partner for any other Cardinals wide receiver on your roster, go for it. If not, they should not be on your squad.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to smith@footballguys.com.

© 2012 Footballguys - All Rights Reserved