Fantasy owners who invested a high draft pick in Larry Fitzgerald last season were undoubtedly disappointed. The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver's lackluster campaign caused his value to drop slightly coming into 2013, but his production is back on the rise.
Heading into Thursday night's Week 7 clash with the Seattle Seahawks, Fitzgerald has racked up 30 catches for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns. His TD total through six games matches his four scores from all of last season.
If those in the fantasy football realm have one complaint, it's been his inconsistency. Fitzgerald is averaging 10 points per week in standard leagues, a very acceptable amount, but his season can be broken down into two distinct categories.
In three games, when he was a focal point of the offense, he put up a total of 47 points. On the flip side, in the other three contests he's tallied just 13 points, or barely more than four per game.
So even though the overall numbers are exactly where fantasy owners wanted them to be, or perhaps even a little better, the boom-or-bust type of production can be quite frustrating.
The main reason for that is because it's difficult to pinpoint exactly when to leave a player of Fitzgerald's caliber on the bench. In a perfect world, owners would be able to start him when he's going to post one of those big games and sit him during the duds, but forecasting that is nearly impossible.
For example, the Seahawks sport the league's second-ranked pass defense, which means on the surface this seems like a week where the Cardinals star might be best left on the fantasy sidelines. That's especially true since Thursday night games tend to get pretty ugly offensively.
Yet, Fitzgerald is coming off a 117-yard performance, and owners would be kicking themselves all weekend if he happens to post a good score against Seattle.
Knowing that, he could be a good trade chip moving forward. Based on name recognition and his rebound toward the top 10 of fantasy receivers, interest should be reasonably high for teams that float him into the trade market.
Of course, if he struggles against the Seahawks it would be best to wait until his next big game to search for a trade partner. At that point, an owner should be able to upgrade at another position, preferably for somebody who provides more consistent production.
If a trade isn't possible, Fitzgerald should remain a borderline No. 1 receiver moving forward, with plenty of upside when Arizona is going up against weaker secondaries.
As for Week 7, the Seahawks should be able to limit his involvement.
Week 7 Projection: four catches for 55 yards