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 NFL Fantasy Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose
Things probably went about as well as expected for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12. Going up against the Seattle Seahawks, few experts pegged many of their fantasy weapons as suitable options. Some fantasy owners probably hoped for a slightly better showing out of Michael Floyd (zero catches on two targets) and Andre Ellington (63 total yards), but they knew what they were getting into.
The nice thing is that’s in the past and owners needing Cardinals players to snap out of that one-week funk and help them win in week 13 are in luck. The Cards’ take on an abysmal Atlanta Falcons defense this week, and by all accounts should produce some solid fantasy numbers in the process.
To see what to expect out of Arizona fantasy options this week, let’s break down the matchup:
Cardinals Take Flight
Drew Stanton was predictably awful against Seattle this past week, although in his defense he was on the road against a very good defense. He also got zero help from his running game and pass protection. Things should be different come week 13, as the Falcons have ranked in the bottom half against the pass all year long and gave up some big plays to the Cleveland Browns last week.
Of course, that still doesn’t make Stanton a suggested play. However, Stanton should be far better this week than he was this past Sunday, which should mean good news for the Cards’ top two wide receivers, Michael Floyd and John Brown. With Larry Fitzgerald (knee) almost certainly out for the second week in a row, both of those receivers should get a decent amount of targets and could return solid value. Of course, even with the solid matchup, you still can’t confidently use anyone from this passing attack right now.
Falcons’ Pillow Wall
Arizona has struggled mightily to run the ball lately, and while at least part of that has had to do with Carson Palmer (knee) being gone and unable to keep defenses honest, a tough run of elite run defenses hasn’t done the Cardinals any favors, either.
That tough sledding could end this week. Arizona does have to go to work on the road, but the Falcons are 31st when it comes to fantasy points allowed to running backs. They’ve been better lately, but this is the exact matchup Andre Ellington and Arizona’s running game needs to bust out of their funk. Considering Ellington is still the man in Arizona’s backfield, we know he’ll be in for 15-20 touches as long as he’s finding some success. Look for that to be the case in week 13.
An Atlanta Falcons offense that was supposed to be elite really has struggled for most of 2014, and even though they’re at home again this week, there’s little reason to expect a lot out of them in week 13. That might especially be the case with the Cardinals coming to town, as Arizona’s once swiss cheese pass defense has turned things around and their defense as a whole isn’t giving up many points on average.
It’s possible Matt Ryan and co. could put up some yardage through the air on their home field, but Atlanta pouring on much more than 20 points isn’t likely. We can also bank on an elite Arizona run defense stifling Steven Jackson and Devonta Freeman, while some sacks and turnovers should also be expected. Arizona remains a top-level defense to use each week and fantasy owners shouldn’t be too worried about using them in Atlanta.