It has been a long time since the Super Bowl, and remembering exactly how things left off last year can be a challenge. So, I’ll be writing up a fantasy preview for each NFL team to give us a quick refresher on what happened last year, and what changes took place in the offseason. All fantasy stats will be in ESPN scoring format unless otherwise noted.
If I missed any change or left out any big notes, throw them down in the comments for me!
What Did They Do Last Year
The Cardinals finished 8-8, third in their division, and missed the playoffs thanks to losing a tie-breaker to the lowly Bears in 2020.
Kyler Murray played all 16 games in his sophomore season, and he finished as the QB3 overall. Murray was the QB5 in points per game (omitting Marcus Mariota’s No. 1 points per game performance in his lone game).
Murray’s 375 completions put him at 9th in the league on the 8th most attempts. Kyler’s rushing numbers were a huge part of his fantasy success, accounting for 147.9 of his 380.7 points (just under 39% of points scored).
He finished third in rushing yards behind only Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton, and finished second only to Cam Newton in rushing touchdowns (11).
The Cardinals are making some moves on the offensive line, mainly trading a third-round pick for veteran center Rodney Hudson of Raiders fame. PFF scored Hudson about 20 points higher than last year’s starter Mason Cole. The Cardinals, like several teams, are a few moves away from having an excellent line, and it looks like that is a priority for them.
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Larry Fitzgerald and Kenyan Drake’s departure leave just north of 100 targets on the table, and there is not a whole lot of talent outside of DeAndre Hopkins in the receiver corps.
Arizona signed veteran A.J Green and picked up Rondale Moore from Perdue in the second-round of this year’s draft. Many a draftnick believes Moore could wind up a real difference maker in the right offense. Opportunity abounds for the young man in Arizona.
A few of their young guys could take a step forward, too, like Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella, but the clock is ticking on those guys.
All systems go for DeAndre Hopkins, it would seem.
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We’ve seen our first major change, fantasy wise, for the Cardinals here in the backfield. Kenyan Drake has moved on to the Los Angeles Raiders, and James Conner signed a one-year deal with Arizona.
Conner hasn’t looked great since his breakout season replacing Le’Veon Bell, but Chase Edmonds is not built to play a workhorse role. Conner still runs with great intensity, workable quickness, and he’s capable in the passing game as well. Conner is an extreme early value pick for me this year. I still believe he has enough in the tank to play a solid RB2 role for your fantasy team, and at his current ADP of ‘FREE’, he’ll be on a bunch of my teams this year.
The Cardinals focused on their defense with their very limited draft capitol, but they still managed to pick up a receiver in Round 2. Rondale Moore is worth a late-round flyer with all the opportunity the Cardinals have in their passing attack.
The Cardinals finished third in their division, so… wait for it… they’ll be playing a third-place schedule. As always, they will have two games a piece against the San Francisco Niners, Seattle Seahawks, and Los Angeles Rams, no easy outs in this division. Arizona also plays the NFC North (Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions) and AFC South (Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars), and they drew the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns as their ‘other’ games, plenty of potential with that schedule.
The Cardinals defense was ranked 25th by PFF last year, finishing 12th in points per game allowed. The points per game allowed points to some potential, and Arizona is looking to shore up that side of the ball with a few moves they’ve made this offseason.
J.J. Watt has joined the team, and while he is not the perennial defensive player of the year he once was, he is still an exceptionally disruptive force. Malcolm Butler will also be suiting up for the Cardinals this season, ostensibly replacing and upgrading the most penalized defensive back in 2020, Patrick Peterson.
What Does It All Mean?!?! (AKA – Bold predictions)
Kyler Murray finishes as a top-5ish QB again, picking up a few more passing yards and touchdowns while taking a small step back on those rushing stats.
DeAndre Hopkins finishes inside the top five at WR in all formats due to a little more volume and some better touchdown luck in his second-year with Murray. Rondale Moore turns in a respectable year-one performance, snagging around 45 catches for about 600 yards.
James Conner hands in a sneaky RB2 season and winds up as one of the best later-round RBs selected in fantasy.
Cardinals, arrow up, slightly.
Thanks to FFToday.com for hosting such great stats info!
Thanks to TheHuddle.com for their great Coaching Change Tracker