Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2012 Fantasy outlooks: Arizona Cardinals

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The Cardinals have one of the league's best receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, one of the league's top rookie receivers in Michael Floyd, a bruising rusher coming off a breakout year in Beanie Wells and a promising young rusher in Ryan Williams.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

They also have arguably the ugliest quarterback battle set to take place in camp.

Last year's offseason prize, Kevin Kolb, only started nine games and accounted for one touchdown per start, leading the Cards to a 3-6 record in those games. John Skelton fared much better in the win column, being a starter in five of seven games he played in, and threw eight touchdowns in his seven starts (and 11 touchdowns overall). But Kolb had a better completion percentage, averaged more yards per attempt and threw fewer interceptions -- and got paid a $7 million bonus to stay with the Cardinals. Odds point to him being the Week 1 starter vs. Seattle.

Nevermind how the Cardinals wound up with two mediocre passers throwing to elite talents; the focus is now on which one is better for Fitzgerald, a consensus Top 25 pick, to catch passes from. Here's the facts: Last year Fitzgerald averaged more targets per game (10.8 to 7.9) and yards per game (92.5 to 82.3) with Skelton. He also caught five touchdowns from Skelton vs. two from Kolb (one from Richard Bartel). So while this points to Skelton being "better" for Fitzgerald, the reality is that the Cardinals might simply tell Kolb to remember his stud receiver and target him much like Skelton did in 2011.

And with Floyd joining the Cardinals' offense to help spread opposing defenses thin, it should only be an easier assignment to pull off.

Arizona Cardinals Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value Estimated round
Quarterbacks
Kevin Kolb Not drafted
John Skelton Not drafted
Running Backs
Beanie Wells 4
Ryan Williams 10
Wide Receivers
Larry Fitzgerald 2
Michael Floyd 10
Andre Roberts Not drafted
Early Doucet Not drafted
Tight Ends
Todd Heap Not drafted
Rob Housler Not drafted
Kickers/Defense
Jay Feely Not drafted
Cardinals DST Not drafted

Sleeper ... Ryan Williams, running back
When is it OK to draft a running back coming off a torn patellar tendon? When he's young with fresh legs and available late in drafts. Williams' rookie season was over when he ripped up his knee last August, but a year later he's rehabbed and ready to roll. Last year the Cardinals were forced to run Beanie Wells more than they initially intended, and now they can feel better about capping Wells' carries while easing Williams back into action. And don't forget that it's Wells who had the most recent knee surgery, getting a clean-up arthroscopic procedure this offseason. Wells won't be a weekly workhorse so long as Williams is able to contribute, and if Wells can't hold up, Williams will get plenty of playing time. There's plenty of upside and not a lot of risk in taking Williams with a pick starting in Round 10.

Impact rookie ... Michael Floyd, wide receiver
Floyd is not Julio Jones, but he's in a situation like Jones was in as a rookie: Playing opposite an established receiver. That's a perk for any wideout much less a rookie, since coverage should be tilted away from him. The end result should be plenty of one-on-one matchups for Floyd and his quarterbacks to consider. But unlike Jones, Floyd's quarterback situation is rocky, which was the case during his senior year in college when he still managed to grab 100 passes for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns. He won't do quite that well as a rookie -- figure for him to land in the 700-yard, five-touchdown range -- but there will be weeks where he'll pay off.

Keeper-league target ... Rob Housler, tight end
The big trend in football is to find mismatches with enormous targets against smaller defensive backs and linebackers. The Cardinals have a potential matchup buster in Housler, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds. He was buried on the depth chart last year behind veterans Todd Heap and Jeff King, catching only a dozen passes for a weak 11.1 yard average. His opportunities have nowhere to go but up, especially with King nursing a quad injury and Heap injury prone and due to make over $2 million in a contract year.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
SEA @NE PHI MIA @STL BUF @MIN SF @GB bye @ATL STL @NYJ @SEA DET CHI @SF

The Cardinals are up and coming, but a tough schedule could keep them down. Playing the AFC East is already tough enough but they are the only NFC West team taking on two of them on the road at 1 p.m. ET. Their game at the Patriots comes in Week 2 and is their only outdoor matchup in the first eight weeks of the season. It wouldn't be a surprise to see some life from the entire offense early on before things get challenging at midseason. Beanie Wells especially looks like a good guy to ride early in the season and bail on before Week 8. Two nice perks: The Cards have 11 dome games overall, and their matchup at San Francisco is neatly tucked into Week 17.

Training camp topics

2011 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Beanie Wells 245 carries, 10 catches
Larry Fitzgerald 80 catches
LaRod Stephens-Howling 43 carries, 13 catches
Early Doucet 54 catches
Andre Roberts 51 catches, 3 carries

There's a lot of sorting ahead for the Cardinals. Who will be their quarterback to kick off the season? How many reps will Wells land on a week to week basis? How much work will Floyd get right away? How the coaches choose to manage their personnel in camp this summer will shed a lot of light on what to expect right from the start of the season.

For Fantasy purposes, keeping close tabs on Wells and Williams is a must. Both have knee issues that will likely keep them from seeing big doses of practice snaps day after day. If they both make it through camp unscathed, odds are on Wells playing two-thirds of the time and Williams one-third of the time. Williams might see a nudge in reps as the third-down back while Wells is better suited for the goal line.

The Cardinals defense doesn't have as many questions, and they're actually in a position to improve in 2012. Gone are aged vets Joey Porter, Vonnie Holliday and Clark Haggans. Returning are Calais Campbell (with a fresh new contract), unheralded pass rushers Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield and a secondary bolstered by free-agent addition William Gay and returning nickelback Greg Toler. If the Cardinals can keep up the heavy production from Acho and Schofield while containing the opposing run game, they might win a bunch of 20-19 and 17-16 type games.

As for the quarterbacks, Fantasy owners shouldn't count on either Kolb or Skelton to be contributors. Heck, they're barely decent backup choices. With the quarterback talent pool so deep and neither passer promised to play 10-plus games, they're best left to the waiver wire and not your standard roster.

Injury update

Ryan Williams (knee; questionable for the start of training camp) ... Beanie Wells (knee; probable for the start of training camp).

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Jairus Byrd back at Saints practice
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:44 am ET) The Saints welcomed safety Jairus Byrd back at practice Tuesday, his first as a member of the team. Byrd had been on the PUP list recovering from offseason back surgery. 

Chris Thompson has 'emerged' at Redskins camp
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:32 am ET) Redskins second-year running back Chris Thompson has "emerged" at training camp so far according to ESPN. A year removed from a torn ACL suffered in college, Thompson looks faster and more comfortable, has caught the ball well and has even done some good work in pass protection drills. Durability is an issue for him but if he stays upright he should make the team and could contend for a little playing time. 

Gruden admits Redskins 'need another back' on third downs
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:30 am ET) Alfred Morris can't do it all -- that's the message sent by new Redskins coach Jay Gruden when he said "[w]e need another back to emerge as that third-down back."

ESPN took a look at the candidates to work as that third-down guy and concluded that Roy Helu is the best option. Helu not only has the size and experience to work as a third-down back but is "more than just a third-down guy" because he can handle every-down work if need be. Working in a third-down type of role last season, Helu had 62 carries for 274 yards and four touchdowns with 31 grabs for 251 yards -- an 8.1 yard average. 


Lardarius Webb to undergo further tests on back
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7/28/2014) Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb is undergoing further testing on his injured back, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Webb has been out of practice since Saturday while dealing with the back issue, which could be worse than initially thought. He played all 16 games last season after missing 10 games the previous year.


Alfonso Smith signs with 49ers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7/28/2014) The 49ers signed running back Alfonso Smith Monday.

Smith saw limited work with the ball in his hands last season while playing all 16 games with the Cardinals. He carried the ball 18 times for 54 yards and a touchdown, with most of that work coming in the first three games of the season.


Aaron Williams misses practice with illness
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7/28/2014) Bills safety Aaron Williams missed practice Monday with an illness, ESPN.com reports.

Williams has practiced sporadically since camp began and had his shoulder checked out at one point. He is coming back from shoulder surgery this offseason.


Colts waive Aaron Burks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7/28/2014) The Colts waived wide receiver Aaron Burks Monday. Burks was added earlier in July as an undrafted free agent out of Boise State.

Report: John Abraham arrested for DUI in June
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7/28/2014) Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested for DUI in late June, the Arizona Republic reports.

Abraham was detained, questioned and charged with multiple accounts after the incident, which took place in suburban Atlanta. A Cardinals spokesperson Monday said the team is aware of the arrest but had no further comment. Abraham would be in line for a fine and/or suspension if found guilty. He has been excused from the beginning of camp due to personal reasons.


Juron Criner misses practice Monday with hamstring issue
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7/28/2014) Raiders receiver Juron Criner did not participate in practice Monday due to a hamstring injury, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Criner is looking to make a case to move up the depth charts this preseason. He caught just three passes for 32 yards in one game in 2013.


Rod Streater diagnosed with concussion
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7/28/2014) Raiders receiver Rod Streater has been diagnosed with a concussion, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Streater left practice Sunday due to a head injury. He'll need to pass concussion tests before being allowed back on the field.


 
 
 
Rankings