Fitz or Boldin?

Making that tough decision on number one receivers is tough enough. How do you do it when there are two caliber number ones on the same team? Very few teams have the close gap of a number one and two receiver as the Cardinals do. You could throw Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison as a close second, but the edge still belongs to Harrison because of his longevity. They’re so good that once one is picked the other should be going within a few picks after. The questions are who has more value with the second year starter, Matt Leinart, and how will both fare with a new head coach?

You’re not going to go wrong with either player. Boldin has dominated since being a rookie second round pick, and Fitzgerald has lived up to the expectations that have been built on him since college. As Cardinals together you’d still have to call it a toss up on who’s better when both are on the field? The reason why is that Boldin was hurt for two seasons in a row for stretches, until last season. Then last year was the year Fitzgerald was slowed down with an injury that may have affected him for a few weeks after his return.

With that in mind both are still building rapports with Matt Leinart. Also with new coach Ken Whisenhunt the offense and team will be transforming into a new mode. While at Pittsburgh the style was grind it out with a great running game, which the Cardinals have and still likely do not have. They have the weapons at wide receiver and Whisenhunt knows this just like the rest of the league. Expect him to still want to have some form of a strong running game but to also unleash in the passing game unlike his days at Pittsburgh.

Many owners and magazines have Larry Fitzgerald as the man ranked number one in terms of fantasy football. He is a big play guy that owns defensive backs when it comes to positioning with his size or deep balls. So Fitzgerald’s value is more of in the touchdown category then receiving yards, which is always considered better since getting that six points for a touchdown is crucial in fantasy football. Just consider last season Fitzgerald played in thirteen games and only caught six touchdowns. In fact he was on his way to having a lower amount than that, until he finished the season with four touchdowns in the last five weeks.

Another key factor to think about is a position the Cardinals will use now that Whisenhunt is there. They’ll utilize the tight end position which is one factor from Pittsburgh Whisenhunt will not have go away. Leonard Pope and drafted tight end Ben Patrick will be involved and will obviously take away some touchdowns from either Boldin or Fitzgerald. The Cardinals tight end value from a fantasy standpoint is still bottom tier in the league and not worth taking a look at. With an extra 25-30 catches in the hands of a tight end this will certainly drop some numbers for the Cardinals wide receivers.

The reason why Boldin should be ranked higher than Fitzgerald is for a few reasons. He always ranks near the top of the league for catches per year. The balls will keep coming his way because he is one of the best receivers at getting open in the ten to fifteen yard range. Those types of catches don’t show up on highlight reels, but they add up. If you noticed last year against the Chicago Bears, the Cardinals came with that exact approach. They drilled the ball to Boldin in the median routes and it resulted in a huge day for him. One thing that hurt Leinart’s stock in the draft just a tad was the strength of his arm. For Boldin that only boosts his stock for fantasy football, and gives him the slightest of an edge over Fitzgerald.

Obviously, if healthy, both are going to be top ten receivers, but Boldin will be closer to the top.