Arizona Cardinals Offseason Changes
Offseason Acquisitions – WR Ted Ginn, RB Jonathan Dwyer, TE John Carlson
No Longer on the Roster – WR Andre Roberts, RB Rashard Mendenhall, TE Jim Dray
The Arizona Cardinals possess one of the more interesting offenses in terms of fantasy due to their eclectic mix of sleepers, solidified veterans, and players that can pretty much be ignored. There’s a fair amount of variation pertaining to where certain players fall in terms of ranking and projected draft value. The draft stock of players like Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer is fairly static whereas notable sleepers Andre Ellington and Michael Floyd have room to trend upward. It’s an intriguing roster of players to pay attention close attention to.
Arizona Cardinals Quarterbacks
The days of Carson Palmer as a reliable option are long behind him but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s completely irrelevant for fantasy owners. The common belief heading into the 2013 season was that Palmer would be serviceable enough as a real life quarterback to bring Larry Fitzgerald back into fantasy relevancy after years of troubling quarterback play. Those expectations were met as Fitzgerald ended up being a solid WR2 in most fantasy formats. Palmer also managed to breathe some life into the career of second year player Michael Floyd, providing him with some decent fantasy value. This is about what you should expect out of Palmer; not enough to consider adding him outside of a potential bye-week fill in but he should provide you with enough confidence to take the top two receivers on the Cardinals. For more on Palmer, see part 2 of our tiered QB Rankings for 2014 Fantasy Football.
Arizona Cardinals Wide Receivers
Fitzgerald eased into a bounce-back year with Carson Palmer under center and although he wasn’t exactly the NFL superstar he once was with Kurt Warner, he was easily a dependable WR2 in most formats. That’s about where should go in drafts for the upcoming season. It’s unlikely Fitzgerald will ever return to his glory days as a superstar but his 10 touchdowns and status as a top 20 receiver in both targets and receptions last year should be enough to rely on him. The more interesting receiver on the roster is Michael Floyd, who we have ranked just outside the top 20. Floyd has been receiving some high praise out of minicamp and many expect him to step up into an even bigger role this season. Floyd is a trendy sleeper for sure and it might actually pay to draft him a round or so higher than his ranking suggests. He’s currently slated as a sixth-seventh rounder, just outside the top 20. That might actually be too low given the names around him. With guys like Michael Crabtree and Torrey Smith on offenses that simply aren’t pass heavy, Floyd is probably the wiser choice. Between Carson Palmer showing he can get Floyd the ball and second year head coach Bruce Arians having more time to develop young talent, Floyd is a name to bump up on your draft board for sure. With Andre Roberts off to Washington, I suppose it’s fair to assume the number three receiver position is up for grabs and will likely be filled by free agent signee Ted Ginn but this likely isn’t an offense that can support three wide receivers. Maybe Ginn would have some value if Fitzgerald or Floyd were to get hurt but that’s not nearly enough to consider keeping him on your roster.
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Arizona Cardinals Running Backs
As far as sleepers go, Andre Ellington was considered a very deep name to keep an eye on heading into the 2013 season. Unfortunately, Ellington never really received enough opportunity behind Rashard Mendenhall to justify starting him week to week until a handful of weeks into the season. Now that Mendenhall has opted to retire, it appears pretty clear that Ellington is the guy that will get the bulk of the workload out of the Arizona backfield. The Cardinals did add Jonathan Dwyer but we’ve pretty much seen all there is to see out of him. Ellington is in a similar spot as Michael Floyd in that he may very well be under-ranked, slated at about a fifth rounder at the moment. Names like C.J. Spiller, Frank Gore, and Ryan Mathews often appear ahead of Ellington in rankings but those names all have questions that stretch beyond simple performance. (Spiller’s health in a crowded backfield, Gore’s age and pressure from younger talent, who knows if Mathews can put together back to back productive seasons.) Andre Ellington could end up as one of the year’s most valuable selections in keeper leagues given his current rank and assumed role.
Arizona Cardinals Rookies & Tight Ends
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, none of their rookies or tight ends jump out at you in terms of fantasy, at least not in June. Among the group of young additions include quarterback Logan Thomas, tight end Troy Niklas, and wide receivers John Brown and Walt Powell. The highest selection among this group was that of tight end Troy Niklas but the Cardinals also happened to sign John Carlson from the Minnesota Vikings. Adding to the uncertainty at the position are veterans Rob Housler and Jake Ballard. As it stands, there’s just no way of knowing which guy will be usable if any of them end up usable at all. There’s just too much clutter to bother with any Arizona tight end. Much like Ted Ginn, the other wide receivers on the Cardinals don’t really hold any value due to the nature of the offense. It’s likely both John Brown and Walt Powell are players we will see in small doses but again, not enough for it to matter. Logan Thomas could be interesting in a dynasty league as a potential successor to Carson Palmer but we would still have to see something from him before getting too excited about that.
Arizona Cardinals In Summary
The Arizona Cardinals should improve upon their success with head coach Bruce Arians entering his sophomore season with the team. The Cardinals actually just narrowly missed the playoffs, finishing the year with a 10-6 record so there’s reason for fans to be optimistic. Developing players like Andre Ellington and Michael Floyd are sleepers to target given their current ranking and projected draft day value. The Cardinals as a whole possess some sneaky fantasy value so don’t hesitate to invest where it counts.