clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Will Larry Fitzgerald be fool's gold in 2016?

One publication believes he will not produce at 2015 levels.

NFL: NFC Championship-Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Fitzgerald had a huge year in 2015, setting team and personal records. He established a new franchise record for catches in a season with 109. He had his most receiving yards since 2011. He scored more touchdowns than he had in four of the previous five seasons.

But will he see a big drop in production in 2016? One publication believes so.

He appears on a list of eight players who will be fool's gold in 2016 -- guys who probably will not produce at the same level they did in 2015.

Fitzgerald is entering 2016 after posting a career-high 109 receptions resulting in 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns. He was completely in sync with quarterback Carson Palmer and commendably caught 75 percent of his targeted passes.

When it came to owning Fitzgerald in fantasy football, he wound up being quite the late-round gem. Though, it would be a stretch to expect a repeat season out of the 32 year-old veteran. The Cardinals have many young mouths to feed, including pass-catching second-year running back David Johnson.

Plus there is the Palmer factor. Palmer passed for a career-high 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns, but we must take into account that he is 36 and has a history of injuries.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Fitzgerald’s production last year declined down the stretch. During Weeks 11-17 he failed to surpass 100 receiving yards in any of his games and scored only two touchdowns. More of the same is to be expected in 2016, especially considering the rising talent at the receiver position in Arizona.

While perhaps we should not expect the same level of production this upcoming season, calling him fool's gold is a bit much.

He was finally healthy and had a stable QB situation. He was on pace for more than 1100 yards in 2014 when Carson Palmer got hurt. He had injury issues in 2013 and 2014. 2012 was a quarterback disaster.

Everything worked out in 2015, and he showed he was still a star.

He also had the lowest yards per catch average in his career.

He played a different role and he thrived early in the season off play action.

Perhaps we will not see exactly the same production as 2015. With Michael Floyd, John Brown and David Johnson, there are a lot of players to get the ball to.

But the offense should be able to produce at similar numbers as last season, which means a lot of opportunities for a lot of players.

Perhaps expecting a career high or a franchise record is excessive, but penciling in 80-90 catches for about 1000 yards seems reasonable, especially considering his role in the passing game -- and you know he is going to be a red zone target, so touchdowns should come.

Fool's gold? No. Hidden treasure? Probably not. Steady stock? That's more like it.