Carson Palmer’s mere presence in Arizona immensely increases the fantasy value of everyone around him. Larry Fitzgerald can finally work with a seasoned QB. Plus the idea that the Cardinals don’t have to panic each week regarding the play of the man under center makes the more outlying offensive contributors much more of a viable option than last season.
For example, TE Rob Housler was an afterthought, even to opposing defenses and finished the season with 45 receptions and 417 yards. This year he could surpass those numbers at the midway point in the season, especially after Palmer’s tight end’s performance from last year. The relatively unknown Brandon Myers finished fourth among all TE’s in receptions with 79. The three ahead of him? Just a few Pro Bowlers named Witten, Gonzalez and Graham.
It may be a bunch of extra, unneeded hype from the media and football pundits, but we all watched Fitzgerald bloom into a superstar receiver catching balls from Kurt Warner and now it’s Michael Floyd’s turn to break out of his shell.
I like to compare the Cardinals’ WR progression to that of the Indianapolis Colts. With Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison was the top dog with Reggie Wayne becoming a star as the number two. During 2011, when Manning sat out all season with a neck injury, Wayne’s numbers suffered. He had his first sub 1,000 yard season since 2003, the first year he started 16 games. When Andrew Luck came to town, Wayne’s numbers shot back up. He had the second most receptions and tied for the second most yards for a season in his career. Behind Wayne the Colts had rookie T.Y. Hilton, a return specialist who excelled at wideout with Luck throwing him the ball. Hilton caught 50 passes for 861 yards and 7 TDs. These are numbers we can expect from Michael Floyd.
The failures we saw from Cardinals QB’s in 2012 mirror that of the 2011 Colts. Like Wayne, Fitzgerald broke a streak of 1,000 yard seasons and had the lowest number of receptions since 2006. Floyd’s numbers were very similar to Housler’s, 45 receptions for 562 yards and 2 TDs. Expect Floyd to put up the 2012 Hilton numbers this season. With the ability to work behind his mentor Fitzgerald, as well as having strong QB consistency, Michael Floyd will make you extremely happy you used your 9th, 10th or later round pick to draft him to your bench.
Most of what you’ve read up to this point has regarded Fitz and Floyd, but you absolutely can’t count out Andre Roberts as a fantasy receiver. Though Floyd is the second man on the depth chart, he may not be the breakout guy that everyone is expecting. Roberts has more experience and may be the one benefiting from the addition of Palmer more than Floyd, and though I don’t think it’s as likely, don’t be surprised to find him on your bench at midseason.