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Fantasy Football 2013: Michael Floyd on Precipice of “Beast Mode”

Fantasy Football Michael Floyd
Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

After a solid but unspectacular 22-game taste of NFL football – three receptions and 41 yards per game – Michael Floyd is a strong candidate to emerge in the Cardinals final ten contests.  Floyd has been targeted at least six times in each week (high of ten), finally breaking the touchdown “schneid” last week at San Francisco. With a 30-year old and injury strapped Larry Fitzgerald still occupying double coverage, the 6’2 220 pounder will have frequent one-on-one mismatches. As he continues to develop, opportunities will be replaced by results. He’s got the right mentor to utilize his physical canvas and Fitz could certainly benefit from having a consistent sidekick. It’s only a matter of time.

[am4show have=’p9;p4;p3;p7;’ guest_error=’Front Office’ user_error=’Front Office’ ]A top-10 caliber talent in the 2011 draft class, Floyd fell to #13 strictly because of character and maturity concerns. Eight spots separated him from top wide receiver Justin Blackmon, but the skill gap between them is actually quite narrow. Blessed with a combination of size, strength and strong hands, Floyd boasts elite abilities with the football in the air. To quote his quarterback, Carson Palmer: “When you’re built like he is and you’re the type of player and the style of player he is. I think seven out of 10 times, when the ball’s up in the air and it’s a 50-50 ball, he’s got to make it.”

Michael Floyd
Exemplary in-air ball skills
(NFL Game Rewind)

 

Creating space with his big frame and testing the middle of the field is Floyd’s fallback comfort zone. Not only is he unafraid to take punishment from oncoming defenders, he welcomes it. 15 of his 26 catches and 23 of his 42 targets have come between the hashes. Deep middle does seem like an area Arizona would be wise to exploit further, however, as 23 of Floyd’s 24 targets in the 10-19 yard range have been outside throws. Instead, they’ve chosen to milk his strength (literally) in the 0-9 yard range. His ability to shed would-be tacklers is comparable to a poor man’s Brandon Marshall, although he’s not nearly as elusive or explosive. He achieves YAC yardage (3.3) by stiff arms, not jukes. He is not what you would you’d classify as a playmaker with ball in hand.  The concern is Floyd’s ability to accelerate following the catch, without a head of steam to catapult him forward.

Michael Floyd
He has separation, can’t pull away
(NFL Game Rewind)

 

Additionally, despite 4.47 wheels, opponents have yet to tab Floyd as a justifiable vertical threat. He does have five receptions 20 yards downfield or beyond (16 targets) totaling 157 yards, but these are not fear striking “shot plays”. Thus opponents have wisely chosen to limit his damage in the intermediate routes. Adding the true deep ball dimension would be a valuable next step, for both Floyd and Arizona as an offense. Clearly the Cardinals still haven’t pinpointed the most efficient way to deploy him. For example: his speed is best described as long speed, not quick burst, but you can count attempts to push the envelope vertically on one hand.

Floyd is an extremely versatile weapon with numerous “trademark” skills. Only his usage and the ironing out of rough edges in route running (particularly in the red zone) are holding him back from achieving go-to receiver status. For the time being he should be comfortably slid into the 2nd or 3rd WR spots in fantasy lineups. He’s participating in 91% of his team’s offensive snaps and, as detailed above, there’s only upside from here on out.

*Premium Stats provided by ProFootballFocus.com*

Follow Adam on twitter @AdamGaneles for NFL analytics and breakdowns

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