Back by popular demand, it’s “Over / Under!” With this series I will highlight a player and determine some projections based on past tendencies and current trends and state whether I think they will go over or under those projections in the upcoming season. The criteria will be different for each player based on position and situation.
We’re going to start this series re-birth with Michael Floyd, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. We will put his line at 70 receptions, 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns.
Coming out of Notre Dame in 2012, Floyd was a hot target in dynasty league drafts. He left storied South Bend owning just about every career receiving record they have, including career receptions, yards, 100-yard games and touchdowns. He was selected 13th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL Draft, which was a viewed as a great destination because of the presence of Larry Fitzgerald. Floyd had a couple of alcohol related run-ins with the law during his time in college, so being under the wing of Fitzgerald, one of the game’s true professionals, was best case scenario.
According to the archived ADP data provided by MyFantasyLeague.com, Floyd was being selected as the second wide receiver and the overall rookie 1.07 in the summer/fall of 2012. How many GM’s, NFL and fantasy alike, would like a redo of this draft class? Alshon Jeffery isn’t even listed in the top 10 selections here, his ADP was 13th.
Floyd’s rookie year was promising considering the quarterback play Arizona had with Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer. The team collectively threw for 3,383 yards, or just 187.8 yards per game and 11 total touchdowns. Floyd finished the year with 45 receptions, 562 yards and a pair of touchdowns while splitting time with Andre Roberts.
[inlinead]?In an effort to correct the worst quarterback situation this side of Cleveland, the Cardinals traded for Carson Palmer before the 2013 season. Floyd took a step forward both in role and performance with Palmer at the helm. Palmer doesn’t mind throwing a ball up for his receiver to fight for, which is one of Floyd’s best traits. He would go on to lead the Cardinals with 65 receptions, 1,041 yards and five touchdowns.
Entering last season, Floyd was on just about everyone’s list of probable breakouts. According to Ryan McDowell’s ADP data, available here at DLF, his value peaked with an average draft position at 14th overall in the month of September. It had previously held firm in the mid-20’s.
Even though Floyd led the Cardinals in receiving yards and touchdowns, his 47 receptions, for 841 yards and six touchdowns were considered a disappointment as he finished tied for the WR43 in PPPR leagues. His role in the passing game was also questionable at times with the presence of newcomer John Brown who tied Larry Fitzgerald for the team lead in targets with 103, four more than Floyd. Another punch to the gut for Floyd owners was the fact his best outing of the season came when he lit up the 49ers to the tune of eight receptions for 153 yards and a pair of scores in week 17, when it didn’t matter for the majority of fantasy land.
What it did do was put Floyd owners at an advantageous crossroads. With a strong close to 2014, his value was salvaged and provides an opportunity to sell on a high note. It also provides reassurance for his future. Last year’s quarterback play was nearly as bad as his rookie year. Carson Palmer was in and out of the lineup before he tore his ACL in week 10. Drew Stanton took over but was not good enough to provide a fantasy relevant offense during his eight starts. Although, he looked like Peyton Manning compared to the dumpster fire that was Ryan Lindley. Limping to the finish line, this team went into pure survival mode on the back of an elite defense and a running game going on fumes.
Now entering year four, Floyd will be counted on to make a much bigger impact. The team was able to restructure Larry Fitzgerald’s contract, so he’ll be back, but this team wants Floyd to take the reigns as the go-to receiver. Bruce Arians has already gone on record saying he wants to see more consistency from Floyd, but getting more consistency from the quarterback position would lead to more consistency from all of the team’s wide receivers. I would expect the Cardinals to address the quarterback position in the upcoming draft as well. I also believe this team is building the offensive line the right way and will provide a stronger running game this year. They’ve been linked to acquiring Adrian Peterson to pair with Andre Ellington, but I think it is unlikely. I think the most likely scenario is the team taking advantage of one of the deepest running back draft classes in recent memory to find a thumper to complement Ellington – these additions will all aid in the performance of the passing game.
As far as our betting line goes, I’ll take the OVER. I believe Floyd’s 2014 stats were directly related to the poor quarterback play of the team and not of his ability or efforts. He is one of the league’s best jump ball receivers in the red zone as well, he just needs the opportunity. Even with constant turnover at the quarterback position, he came very close to hitting these projections. He’s an incredibly talented wide receiver who is just 25 years old and entering the prime of his career.
So, I ask you, are you taking the “over or under” on Michael Floyd recording 70 receptions, 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading.
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