I’m at a crossroads in my life. I love Larry Fitzgerald and everything he brings to the NFL, and in years past, my fantasy football team. My dilemma this year is that he has become a dead weight as my fantasy team tries to paddle across the finish line. On the show this week, Larry Fitzgerald was one of the receivers I discussed in “Who Dat?” Going into week 7, Fitz was ranked 32nd among wide receivers in fantasy points scored. That means that he isn’t even your 3rd wide receiver in a 10 team league. How is this possible? Larry Fitz has been a top 5 wideout in fantasy the last 2 years and was as solid a pick as they come. A fantasy owner would draft him, then start him every single week knowing they were going to get solid number one production. Things have changed this year, and the elephant in the room is the quarterback play and coaching in Arizona.
This off-season, Kurt Warner retired, opening the door for Matt Leinart to start throwing Larry Fitz the ball. Somehow, after the pre-season, Leinart was released and Derek Anderson was named the starting quarterback. I remember seeing a stat comparison showing Anderson and Leinarts preseason numbers. The numbers made a clear case for Leinart in my opinion so when Anderson was named the number 1 and Leinart released, I figured something behind the scenes was going on. To date I have not seen a “behind the scenes” tell all book from either party to satisfy my curiosity, so until then, I will speculate and complain. Ken Whisenhunt, you stink! How can you go through the entire off-season and pre-season and not identify that you need a real quarterback? You are ruining Larry Fitzgerald’s golden years and thereby my dynasty teams golden years! In my opinion, Derek Anderson was a step down from Leinart, but when Max Hall replaced a struggling Anderson in week 4, the Cardinals pass game fell right down the stairs.
I’m sure that’s more information than you care to know about the 2010 Cardinals quarterback history and my fantasy teams troubles. I’m trying to show you why, although Larry Fitzgerald remains 9th among wideouts for targets, he is not a top 10 player this year. A fantasy players value comes from his talent multiplied by his opportunity. A player like Larry Fitz, with a high score in the talent department, will have a low score this year because of his opportunity. A guy like Arian Foster, who has a low score in talent, nets a giant score because of the opportunity and amazing run blocking he receives. That is a good enough shot on Foster for this post. The point is that until Fitzgerald is given a real quarterback, you can feel free to put him on your bench if you can start any of the other 31 better wide receivers.
In keeping with wide outs, can we talk about Santana Moss? This guy is the kind of player that is going to be responsible for winning fantasy owners championships this season. He is by far the leading receiver on the Redskins with more targets and receptions than any other player on the team. I’m so glad that this 31-year-old was given this opportunity this year to play with a real quarterback, because if he had ended his career after last year, yuck. Donovan McNabb is the best thing to happen to Moss since Mark Brunell in 2005. After scoring another touchdown and 63 yards this weekend, Moss is a solid number 2 wideout going forward.
I’m going to bounce from good to bad news here and try to keep spirits high. I drafted DeAngelo Williams in the top ten last year and suffered the consequences. Can you believe he is performing even worse this year? He hasn’t managed to rush for more than 90 yards in any game this year. He is getting the bulk of the carries, so we can’t make that excuse for him. Lets fall back on the theme of the year, bad quarterback. I like it. Between Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen, I’m thinking the defences are taking their chances on stopping the run game. That is bad news for Williams yards production and with the Panthers unable to move the ball, he’s not getting any gimme touchdown runs. Feel free to bench him if you got ‘em.
Dallas Clark is out, Jermichael Finley is out, Brent Celek stinks! Don’t worry about it, Zach Miller will step up. Miller is tearing it up this year with either quarterback. He is averaging 9+ points per game this year and the minimum he has scored in every week is 4. He is on pace for over 1000 yards receiving and has already scored 4 touchdowns! With more double-digit fantasy games than singles, he is the only Oakland receiver I want.
This downer has a happy ending, that doesn’t cost extra. Michael Turner has been struggling this year. A consensus number 1 running back going into the season, he has been performing more like a number 2. His backup Jason Snelling had two more touchdowns than him going into week 7. The happy ending comes this week when Turner showed us all why he was ranked in the top ten. He rushed for over 100 yards and 2 scores on Sunday in the shootout against the Bengals. Whats even better? He’s padding the stats with receiving yards. He caught two balls for 23 yards on Sunday, giving him a projected total of 167 yards receiving on 32 catches. The yards are just a bonus, but any extra chances your players get to score a touchdown are huge, especially for Turner, who’s scoring ability in the past would make Wilt the Stilt proud.. My prediction is that Turner continues to climb the running back rankings to end the season in the top 10, and should be a guy you target as he is on the rise.
Now you may recall that I mentioned 10 players I really liked going forward here. That was before Tony Romo went down with a fractured clavicle on Monday. Kitna targeted him only 3 times, for 0 catches. Did I talk about how much opportunity and quarterback impact a player? I would like to formally withdraw Williams from that list and replace him with Turner. That’s allowed in fantasy right?
You can catch Henry, along with the rest of the crew, on Athletes Angle with Ryan Karhut every Monday at 3 p.m. ET on 101.5 UMFM and on the podcast available at athletesangle.com and now iTunes. Email any fantasy football questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Fantasy in the subject line. Unlike the big guys, we will get back to you.