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2014 Fantasy football preview, Week 8: Cardinals vs. Eagles

The Arizona Cardinals got by when quarterback Carson Palmer was on the shelf, but the veteran passer reminded them the past two weeks of how good their offense can really be when he’s around.

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Maddie Meyer

This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter@NBAandNFLInfo or on the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Arizona Cardinals Rumors and News visit Fantasy Football Overdose.

The Arizona Cardinals got by when quarterback Carson Palmer was on the shelf, but the veteran passer reminded them the past two weeks of how good their offense can really be when he’s around.

Since his return, Arizona has started a new two-game winning streak and the offense has been running extremely smoothly. Palmer himself has been quite an asset for fantasy football owners, as he’s quietly produced his second and third two-touchdown games of the year.

In three games in 2014, Palmer has looked absolutely fantastic, as he’s passed for at least 250 yards in each contest and has thrown just one pick. But Palmer is just the tip of the iceberg. When he’s healthy and playing like this, the entire Cardinals offense is one to target in fantasy matchups.

Matchups are what it’s all about in the fantasy scene, too, and the Cardinals have one heck of a matchup to look forward to this week. Week eight brings a pretty shaky Philadelphia Eagles defense to town and the possibilities seem endless for Palmer and the Cards’ out in the desert.

Let’s break down Arizona’s matchup by position and see what fantasy football league managers should expect out of their Arizona Cardinals options this week:

Passing Game

Philly has oddly been pretty good against quarterbacks the last two games, but a huge chunk of the stats making them look good came in their last game - a home shutout of Eli Manning and the New York Giants. If you look back further, they’ve been a middle of the road unit at best over the past four games and still rank inside the bottom five against the pass over the entire season.

The same goes for Philly going up against wide receivers, as they’re just one spot out of the bottom five against the position this year. Naturally, this bodes extremely well for everyone in Arizona’s passing game, although it’s specifically pumping up the value of Palmer and their top two wide receivers, Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. Slot receiver John Brown could easily factor in and is an interesting sleeper, but isn’t going to be nearly as safe of a play.

It doesn’t necessarily mean good things at tight end, though, as the Cardinals don’t consistently utilize John Carlsonor any other tight end and the Eagles have actually played the tight end position decently.

Running Game

With the passing game set up for a huge day, what can we expect out of Andre Ellington and the running game this week? On paper, it looks like big things, all around. Ellington has done very well so far this year despite not being quite 100% (foot), but he has just one rushing score and hasn’t even topped 100 rushing yards in a game yet. He holds great PPR value and he puts up solid total yardage performances, but owners in standard leagues might be wondering if this is the week he finally drops a big rushing day and even scores multiple times.

While it’s impossible to predict or guarantee that, it just might be the case. Philly has ranked in the bottom half of the league against the run all season and has given up over 320 rushing yards the past four weeks. Take away that seemingly flukey shutout against the Giants, and Philly’s run defense might be even worse. Calling out a multi-touchdown game against an Eagles run defense that has allowed just two scores on the ground all year might be a tad overly ambitious. However, a big yardage day and possibly one score could be in the (wait for it) cards.

Defense

Philly puts up points, so right away on paper the Arizona Cardinals don’t feel like a great defense to use. However, if Arizona’s offense does as well as they seem they could, that could have Nick Foles forcing the issue a bit too much. On the road against a solid Cardinals defense, that could spell trouble. Arizona remains a top five fantasy team defense on the year and specifically boasts an elite run defense. With Foles being shaky and on the road, they aren’t the worst unit to use in week eight.

Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a $500,000 one-week fantasy football league this weekend. It's $10 to join and first place wins $40,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.

State laws prohibit residents of Arizona from playing FanDuel for money. For more info check FanDuel rules here.