Larry Fitzgerald decided to return for his 14th season in 2017, and he will be 34 in August. Still, he should once again produce at a high level, and it's just a matter of how you view Fitzgerald for his Fantasy value this year. His overall stats the past two seasons are impressive with at least 107 catches, 1,023 yards and six touchdowns each year. He was the No. 9 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues in 2015 and No. 16 last year. But Fitzgerald has faded down the stretch in each of the past two seasons, scoring double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league just once in his final seven games in 2015 and 2016. And he could lose value if John Brown (sickle-cell trait) is healthy and J.J. Nelson takes on a bigger role. We still view Fitzgerald as a solid Fantasy receiver in all PPR leagues (he also has at least 146 targets in each of the past two years), but he's just a No. 3 option in standard leagues to start the season. Plan on drafting Fitzgerald with a mid-round pick, and hopefully he can produce at a high level (consistently) throughout the season and add to his Hall of Fame career.
Fitzgerald shouldn't have any problem maintaining relevance in his age-34 season after finishing in a tie for second with 63 catches from the slot in 2016, Cam Mellor of Pro Football Focus reports. Although he posted a career-worst 9.8 YPC and hauled in only eight receptions of 20-plus yards last season, Fitzgerald has become a maestro from the slot in the twilight of his career. In fact, after leading the NFL in catches for the second time in his 13 campaigns, he's one of just two receivers (also, Antonio Brown) to rack up at least 100 receptions and 1,000 yards in both 2015 and 2016. A healthier John Brown could certainly carve into Fitzgerald's target share this season, while David Johnson will continue to be dynamic as a rusher and receiver. Having said that, Fitzgerald intends to address his playing future in training camp, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com, meaning the wideout may soon be motivated to walk away at the top of his game.
Fitzgerald is "much better" physically than he was at the end of the regular season, the Cardinals' official site reports. Although Fitzgerald didn't shed light on his health often during the Cardinals' underwhelming campaign, he frequently received the oft-used "veteran rest day" in order to avoid undue physical stress during practice. In advance of the Super Bowl, though, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Fitzgerald "got beat up, was dealing with several nagging injuries" in 2016. Fitzgerald took time to make a decision on his future, which was seemingly tied to that of quarterback Carson Palmer. Upon opting to return as of Feb. 1, Palmer made a similar call last Thursday, ensuring the duo will suit up together for the fifth year in a row.
Fitzgerald (undisclosed) is "definitely returning" in 2017, ESPN's Jim Trotter reports. Fitzgerald was known to be mulling retirement this offseason, but after taking the time to weigh his options, it appears he isn't yet ready to hang up the cleats. Fantasy players should rejoice, as it's clear the All-Pro wideout has plenty left in the tank after pacing the entire league in receptions last season. However, his value in 2017 is contingent upon Carson Palmer's own retirement decision. Should the quarterback return for another season, Fitzgerald will likely remain the go-to receiving option in Arizona for yet another year. If he doesn't, the entire Cardinals offense could suffer.
Fitzgerald is contemplating retirement and the Cardinals hope to receive a decision on his future by mid-February, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports. Fitzgerald has been in discussions with coaches and members of Arizona's front office regarding his future, which may be influenced by quarterback Carson Palmer's potential retirement as well. At 33 years old, Fitzgerald previously was reported to have told his friends that he expected 2016 to be his final NFL season. However, after leading the league with 107 receptions this season, it's clear Fitzgerald can still perform at a high level, making his decision less straightforward. Although the Cardinals' season has only been over for about a month now, the team hopes Fitzgerald will inform them of his decision sooner than later for offseason planning purposes, so news of Fitzgerald's plan could surface in the near future.
Fitzgerald (undisclosed) won't play in Sunday's Pro Bowl, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. Urban didn't cite a reason for Fitzgerald's absence, but after Seattle, a divisional foe, announced Doug Baldwin as the replacement, they noted an injury was to blame for his DNP, per John Boyle of the Seahawks' official site. Fitzgerald will thus embark upon his annual offseason travels, wherein he'll ponder his future in the NFL. Currently, he's locked up contractually through the 2017 campaign.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/01||San Francisco 49ers||27||24.25|
|6||10/15||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||20||22.88|
|7||10/22||@Los Angeles Rams||32||25.25|
|9||11/05||@San Francisco 49ers||27||24.25|
|13||12/03||Los Angeles Rams||32||25.25|
|16||12/24||New York Giants||13||21.29|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||133||93||1007||6||54||10.83||136|