NFL Fantasy Football Preview – Arizona Cardinals
Daily Fantasy Sports managers, be prepared for some Fantasy Football. For the next few weeks, we are going to do a preview of every NFL team in preparation for 1 Day Cash Draft 2015 season. We start with the NFC West 2nd place last year, the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals are looking to bounce back this season, after being eliminated in the Wild Card Playoffs game against the Carolina Panthers last year. Coach Bruce Arians is coming back for a third season with the Cards and this time, he will try bring his Coach of the Year status to the Super Bowl. He has turned this team around after leading them to their first playoffs appearance since 2009. There’s one question to be asked here: can they stay healthy all season
Cash Draft Offensive analysis:
QB Carson Palmer was bugged with injury most of last season, only playing 6 games in the process. He was able to win all 6, throwing for 1626 yards and 11 touchdowns with 3 interceptions. Now, he’s ready to start the season fresh, but it’s still up in the air if he can comfortably stay in the pocket and reduce the number of hits he will take to stay healthy. The signing of pro bowler Mike Iupati at left guard and drafting of 1st rounder D.J. Humphries at right tackle are definitely an upgrade to cover Palmer. The 35 years-old quarterback is a high-risk, high-rewards type player for this season Fantasy Football. If Palmer goes down, QB Drew Stanton will back up. The Michigan State alumni was never a full on starter during his 8 years career in the NFL. He was able to do well during Palmer’s absence though. He threw for 1711 yards and 7 TD with 5 interceptions, winning 5 games out of 8. Stanton should only be selected in Cash Draft as last resort, in the case of Palmer getting injured again.
RB Andre Ellington’s health is another concern for the Cardinals, as he finished last season injured with four games to go and got surgery for what was classified as sport hernia. He’s a polyvalent running back getting career-highs with 660 rushing yards and 395 receiving yards in 46 catches and scoring 5 touchdowns. The third year man will be healthy for the start of the season. He will use his explosiveness, quickness and versatility on the field to good use in Arians playbook. The imposing figure lacking in Ellington physic is made up with rookie backup RB David Johnson. The 23 years-old is a big running back, who has similar skills-set than Ellington’s. Johnson ran for 4682 yards and 49 rushing touchdowns in the NCAA last year. He also caught 141 passes for 1734 yards and 14 more touchdowns. So look for the switch to be made in mid-season, in case the number one running back is still bothered by injury.
The Cardinals signed 2009 offensive player of the year, RB Chris Johnson to run things forward for the the red and blacks.
WR Michael Floyd was poised to be the Cardinals next star receiver at the start of 2014 season, shadowing Fitzgerald heydays. But a poor season dissipated all the excitement surrounding him. He had 841 receiving yards with 6 touchdowns in 47 receptions last year. With WR John Brown coming up the ranks, Floyd’s utility could be slightly decreased. John Brown is a smaller receiver at 5-foot-10, but his quickness and the ability to open up for long throws makes him as valuable as any. In his rookie year, he caught the ball 48 times while gaining 696 yards and 5 touchdowns.
WR Larry Fitzgerald will go for his 12th season with the Arizona Cardinals. The veteran leader of the team has slowed down over the past 3 years, with last year being the less successful one of his career. He collected 784 yards with 2 touchdowns in 63 receptions. He did have is best game when Carson Palmer was playing, so the production will mostly come with Palmer’s injury situation.
TE Troy Niklas has not shown the promise of catching balls like he was expected to do. Last year, he had 3 receptions with 38 receiving yards and no touchdowns. He ended the season on the injury list. Even if he is fully recovered, he will mostly be used as another blocker in the line of scrimmage, to protect often injured Carson Palmer. He will bring you limited Fantasy Value.
Cash Draft Defensive analysis:
With the departure of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to be the New York Jets coach, Arians gave the job outside linebackers coach James Bettcher. The defense has giving up 108.7 rushing yards per game last year. It’s a big difference with the 84.4 rushing yards per game giving up in 2013. A new defensive game plan with Bettcher could be beneficial for the team. In his 8th season in the desert, DE Calais Campbell will be the heart and soul of this defense. He has collected 43.5 sacks in his career with Arizona, the 6th player with the most in franchise history. The Cardinals needed to find a replacement for CB Antonio Cromartie who left for the New York Jets. They will give the chance to CB Jerraud Powers, who had 3 interceptions last year. On the left side, CB Patrick Peterson will try to bounce back from a difficult season, by his standards. They are a defensive squad that can prove that they are better than they were last season.
Fantasy Football Outlook:
The Arizona Cardinals will probably miss the playoffs because of the uncertainty surrounding them, but look for them to battle with the San Francisco 49ers and the St-Louis Rams for 2nd spot in the NFC West.