This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Premier Fantasy Football Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.
The Arizona Cardinals haven’t always been the best spot to find fantasy football studs. Short of Larry Fitzgerald, they’ve really been starving for big-play talent for quite some time now.
However, when the drafted Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd two years ago, there was suddenly reason to get excited about someone other than Fitz.
Floyd came out of college lacking complete polish, but was right up there with Justin Blackmon, who ultimately went much higher in the draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fast forward to 2014, and Floyd is set to enter his second season as the number two receiver across from Fitzgerald, while Blackmon might not even play due to off field troubles.
Needless to say, the Cardinals appear to have picked the right wide receiver to groom with Fitzgerald, and the future is looking fairly bright.
Fantasy owners wouldn’t mind knowing, though, just how bright his future is heading into the 2014 season.
Let’s reflect on Floyd’s solid 2013 campaign, asses his talent and surroundings, and try to come away with a good value for the upcoming fantasy season:
What He’s Done
Floyd didn’t have it completely together as a rookie, but considering he and the rest of the Cardinals had to endure a horrid affair of musical chairs at the quarterback position, no one could really complain. In the end, he tore it up down the stretch of that 2012 season, and quickly rose up the depth chart heading into 2013.
Not much changed during last offseason in terms of support from the team, as he had a full backing and before preseason arrived Floyd had the number two gig locked up. With the arrival of Carson Palmer via a trade with the Oakland Raiders, Floyd was shaping up as a considerable fantasy sleeper.
Floyd got off to a decent start right away in week one last year, catching four balls for 82 yards. He didn’t score his first round of the season until week six, but otherwise fared well considering Palmer had tunnel vision in Larry Fitzgerald’s direction for the first half of the year. Given that this was just Floyd’s second NFL season, fantasy owners probably weren’t too shocked his numbers were touch and go in the early going, either.
Week seven might have been where people started realize Floyd might be someone worth paying attention to, as he caught six passes for 71 yards against a very physical Seattle Seahawks pass defense. Just three weeks later he had the best game of his career against the Jacksonville Jaguars, hauling in six catches for an insane 193 yards and one score. Floyd kept it going the following week with another 100-yard outing on seven catches, and had a third straight elite outing in week 13 when he caught five balls for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Floyd wasn’t really a factor for the next three games, but did close the regular season strong in week 17 with six receptions for 91 yards.
Overall, Floyd was obviously inconsistent throughout his second season, but that was probably to be expected. Despite operating in the brutal NFC West division and playing second fiddle to the great Larry Fitzgerald, he still managed to rack up 66 receptions, 1,054 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Floyd seems to be just scratching the surface of his talent and true fantasy value, as his size, speed and ball skills leave a ton of room for improvement heading into 2014.
Who He’s Got
Palmer is only so-so at this point in his career, but he does appear to still have the arm strength to go vertical and stretch defenses. Floyd has the size and speed to finish on the other end, so their chemistry going into 2014 will be very interesting to watch. Obviously Palmer is naturally going to go more towards Fitzgerald more (as he should), but fantasy owners shouldn’t be shocked if it starts to even out a little more in Floyd’s third season. That should result in a few more receptions, roughly the same amount of yardage, and hopefully a few more red-zone opportunities.
While Palmer looking Fitzgerald’s way might come off as a deterrent to drafting Floyd, it’s actually extremely helpful. Fitz’s presence alone allows Floyd to get open looks - especially against tough matchups like the Seahawks.
Arizona also added speedy slot receiver Ted Ginn to the mix, and depending on how he meshes in the passing game, he could also help open things up a little more for the offense.
Where He’s Being Drafted
You can currently get Michael Floyd in round seven of standard fantasy drafts, and that’s probably pretty fair. It’s unlikely he sees a major boost in value before the season starts, either, given that all the roles and players aren’t going to change all that much.
The interesting part about his Average Draft Position, though, will be figuring out who he has more value than, and which guys hovering around his ADP should actually be preferred over him.
Right now Floyd is being taken ahead of guys like Kendall Wright, Reggie Wayne, Marques Colston and Eric Decker. That’s pretty crazy. Wright caught 90+ balls a year ago, while when healthy, the other three all certainly can do the same or very close to it. They all can go over 1,000 receiving yards with ease, and they certainly can match the touchdown production we’ve seen from Floyd so far.
If you’re looking at pure upside, that might make sense. But there is no guarantee Floyd will blossom in his third season like fantasy owners will hope. On the flip-side, Golden Tate isn’t being drafted ahead of him. That shouldn’t happen, either.
For the most part Floyd is a strong WR3 with reasonable upside when it comes to yardage and touchdowns if everything breaks right. Sort out your rankings and eventually you’ll see perfectly where he falls in line. For now, he’s merely a WR3 that you will probably want to own due to his potential.