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Fantasy football, NFL Week 14: Arizona Cardinals team preview

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The Arizona Cardinals have not been good on offense lately. That’s a grand understatement, as they truly have been horrendous ever since Carson Palmer went down.

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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 have not been good on offense lately. That’s a grand understatement, as they truly have been horrendous ever since Carson Palmer went down.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re hopeless. One would have thought Drew Stanton and co. could have gotten something going against a bad Atlanta Falcons defense in week 13, but with another favorable matchup (seemingly) in week 14, there’s always the chance they surprise us all.

If you’re at all considering using Stanton or any of the other fantasy football options in Arizona this week, read on for a breakdown of their matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs:

Pass on Stanton

Stanton has been really bad. If that’s too blunt, so be it, but it doesn’t need to be doctored up. The guy just isn’t a starting NFL quarterback. Unfortunately, neither is Ryan Lindley or Logan Thomas, so the Cardinals are going to have to just deal with the situation. Stanton does have a good arm and nice mobility, so there’s always a chance he randomly does enough to help out some of his receiving weapons. You can’t use Stanton, but Michael Floyd was targeted much more last week and could be a decent flier in a game the Cardinals will probably be playing from behind in. John Brown could be worth a flier, too, while I don’t really trust Larry Fitzgerald yet (knee) if he makes it back. And if it needs to be said one more time, here goes: tight ends drag coffins into Arizona. So, no, you can’t useJohn Carlson and feel good about it.

The loss of safety Eric Berry could potentially make the Chiefs vulnerable, but they’re coming in as the seventh best defense against fantasy receivers in 2014, while they’ve allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Even at home, Drew Stanton and Arizona’s passing attack have their work cut out for them.

No Run Zone

Andre Ellington looked good last year and was pretty effective in the first half of this season despite a foot injury. The dream of him being an elite fantasy running back seems just about dead, though, as Stanton has murdered any balance in this offense, while Ellington himself just isn’t finding room to run (2.4 yards per carry or less in four straight games!).

It’s probably more about the offensive line and the predictability of the offense right now, but you clearly can’t trust Ellington. That’s fine, though, since a hip injury is expected to keep him out this week. That leaves you with a collage of spare backs, including Marion GriceStepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams. None of that sounds enticing in the least, so you’ll want to stay away from this scene. In daily leagues, you wouldn’t be insane to take a shot on one of these guys as a cheap upside play, however.

Arizona Defense Slipping Away

This no-name unit had been a strong weekly play as they have been holding opponents to low scoring totals on a regular basis. However, injuries have ruined them all year long and they’ve slowly been breaking down. Losing stud safety Tyrann Mathieu to a thumb issue is probably the icing on the cake, while they got slapped around by Matt Ryan last week.

The good news is the Cards’ remain an elite defense against the ground (save for last week) and could be a problem for Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs. This is what we hope. No Mathieu could hurt the run defense considerably, but Arizona is at home and Alex Smith isn’t very scary. That could allow the Cardinals to get away with concentrating all of their energy on shutting down Charles. They can still be used as your fantasy team defense, but if they falter at home against the Chiefs, they might not be trustworthy enough for the rest of the fantasy playoffs.

On the flip-side, Arizona gets lit up by tight ends on a regular basis, making mini-Gronk (aka Travis Kelce) a nice upside play. Jamaal Charles has to stay in your starting lineup despite the tough matchup, while Alex Smith andDwayne Bowe are passable last ditch options if you’re desperate.

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