Arizona Cardinals fans and Larry Fitzgerald owners alike have to be doing back back flips in the driveway as they finally have someone behind center that can actually get the ball down field. That man, is the often overlooked Carson Palmer, thus our latest addition to the fantasy football sleepers list is none other than the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Drafting quarterbacks is an art form and has many different strategies attached to it. Some like to grab the 'sure thing' early and build around him, while others like to sit back in hopes of scooping up a QB who may be in unique situation to put up solid fantasy numbers.
While I do love the potential of the Dolphins' Chris Tannehill as well the fact that the Bears' have finally given Jay Cutler some offensive firepower and a coach in Marc Trestman who thinks more about than the offensive side of the ball which could lead to a resurgence in his career, a name that is getting passed over is Palmer.
With an ADP ranging between 140 and 170, on average he is being drafted in the 12th to 14th round of 12 team mocks, and the 16th round of 10 team mocks. To me, there is a lot of value being left on the table and this is an opportunity for you to lock up a rock solid QB2 which could turn into a nice bargaining chip and/or fill in when called upon.
Carson is not the same quarterback he once was, but if you take a closer look at the numbers he was able to put up in Oakland since 2010 it paints a different picture than the one you may have in your head. Since arriving there, Palmer best options have been his tight ends (Zach Miller/Brandon Myers) and his running back (Darren McFadden). He very quietly threw for over 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2012 essentially with a bunch of no-names in the Black Hole. Palmer scored more than 19 fantasy points in nine games and had more fantasy points than Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler. In 2012, Palmer’s first full season in Oakland, he spread the ball around and had three players with more than 50 receptions as well as three players with over 600 receiving yards. Below are his stats for 2012 where he played 15 of 16 games for the Raiders.
A name that keeps popping up, and for good reason here is Cutler. There are a lot of similarities there. Palmer, who was typically drafted two rounds later than Jay, put up more yards and touchdowns all the while throwing to guys like Brandon Myers as Cutler had the benefit of throwing to Brandon Marshall in Chicago. Carson is only one year Jay's elder, and he is moving to the desert in 2013 to throw to arguably the best overall wide receiver in the game in Larry Fitzgerald.
This brings me to my next point which is Larry Fitzgerald who happens to be one of the hardest working players in the entire sport. Over the past few seasons, Fitz has had guys like Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Derek Anderson chucking all over the field. Writing those three names in succession made my head hurt....bare with me as even with those horrendous QBs he managed to put up over 1,100 yards each of the past three years. The addition of Palmer has to have Fitzgerald 'licking his chops' at the possibility of putting up those gaudy numbers we have come accustomed to with No. 11.
With Bruce Arians’ aggressive down field passing style, Arizona’s upside at WR over Oakland, and Carson Palmer’s aging, but still very strong arm, I think Carson Palmer could be one of the best sleepers of the entire 2013 fantasy football draft class. Definitely worthy of a 13th or 14th round pick and a potential valuable trade piece down the line.