INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Beanie Wells became the first-ever Cardinal RB to surpass 1,000 yards and 10 TD's on the ground in the same season a year ago carrying the ball a career-high 245 times. However, over a third of his rushing yards came in two games. Durability questions have surrounded him since his college days and injuries were a slowing factor in 2011. Even if he can stay healthy, Wells’ fantasy value is limited as he’s a non-factor as a receiver out of the backfield. He’s mustered only 19 receptions with no receiving touchdowns during his four-year NFL career.
The Cardinals schedule is tied for the 8th toughest in the league. I’m not crazy about the way it lies out early on with the Seahawks, at New England, Philadelphia right out of the gate. Drawing the AFC East doesn’t favor their chances, but they don’t have to travel until Week 17 which most fantasy leagues end before. Aside for the Pats matchup, the Cardinals play every other game in a dome (11 total dome games) until Week 9’s trip to Green Bay. The key fantasy playoff matchups in Week 14-16 (@Sea, DET, and CHI) don’t raise cause for concern.
No wide receiver has been more reliable in fantasy football over the past five years Larry Fitzgerald. He has churned out five 1000-yard seasons without missing a game in that span. Despite the lack of many weapons surrounding and poor quarterback play Fitzgerald still managed 1,411 yards on 80 catches and eight scores a year ago, while posting a career-best 17.6 yards per catch. If more pieces develop for the Cardinals’ offense this year, Fitz should get back to the 90-reception range and double-digit touchdown output we’ve become accustomed to.
Todd Heap’s days of being a fantasy producer are over. Injuries limited him to just 11 games last year with only four games started. He finished his first season as Cardinal with 24 catches for 283 yards and one touchdown. He’s clearly lost a step and no longer the player he once was. The team is high on youngster Rob Housler, who’s been turning heads this offseason and has the skill set to be a factor in the passing game. Avoid Heap like the plague and keep your eyes on Housler, who could prove to be a fantastic late-round stab.
The team’s 38th overall pick in the 2011 draft, running back Ryan Williams, didn’t play a snap for the Cardinals as a rookie after rupturing his patellar tendon. He is hopeful to be ready for the start of training camp and if healthy will prove to be a nice compliment to Beanie Wells. The speedy sophomore is smaller than Williams, but is much quicker and capable of making plays out of the backfield. At the very worst, Williams is a nice handcuff option that will tally some stats. If Wells goes down, his fantasy value will skyrocket quickly. Consider him an option in Rounds 10-12 in 12-team formats and slightly higher in PPR leagues.
Despite having numerous needs to address, the Cardinals invested its first-round pick on Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd. He will no doubt help take attention away from Fitzgerald, who has regularly drawn double coverage from opposing defenses. It remains to be seen how quickly he’ll make an impact though. Floyd has great hands and the leaping ability to make plays. With Fitzgerald lining up opposite of him, Floyd will be able to find holes in the defense. Still, his value hinges greatly on the QB situation. He has WR3 potential right out of the gate, but it may require patience on part of his owners.
The team invested heavily in acquiring Kevin Kolb last offseason and things didn’t turn out well when the former Eagle landed in the desert. Kolb only started nine games last year due to injuries and the Cardinals were 3-6 in his starts. Strong-armed backup John Skelton outperformed and breathed life into the offense upon lining up under center. Kolb will start training camp atop the depth chart, but the leash is short. His concussion problems make him an even bigger concern. Through 16 career starts Kolb has passed for 3,669 yards and 19 TD's, but committed 23 turnovers in that span.
Even though the team added Floyd, fantasy owners shouldn’t write off Early Doucet, particularly if Kevin Kolb maintains his hold on the QB job. The two had some decent chemistry last year and with Floyd likely to need some time to get equipped Doucet is going to get some looks. With holes in the defense the team will likely play from behind in many weeks and that could translate into extra opportunities for Doucet during garbage time. You could do much worse as a WR5 or WR6 in deeper leagues. He’s definitely worth a $1 on auction night.
Fantasy Football, NFL