This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankingsor theFantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more2014 Fantasy Football Rankings visit Fantasy Football Overdose, afantasy footballblog.
The Arizona Cardinals had hope as a source for quality fantasy football production in 2013. A year after AZ fans endured the hell on earth that was a disgusting display of quarterbacking, the team traded for Carson Palmer in an effort to forget Kevin Kolb and the disaster that was 2012.
Palmer at least had a big arm and wasn’t dreadful the season before with the Oakland Raiders. The line of thinking was that if he could still show life with a team as bad as the Raiders, he should only be better with Larry Fitzgerald running routes for him.
The only problem was the Cardinals still played in the brutal NFC West, weren’t sure what they had in the passing game beyond Fitz and they had an unproven rushing attack.
In the end, the sleeper that was Michael Floyd panned out well enough, the running game eventually produced a potential star in Andre Ellington and the healthy version of Fitzgerald completed a successful pairing with an immobile but yet fairly effective Palmer.
But what does the 2014 fantasy football season have in store for AZ players? Potentially, really good things, actually. Let’s break the top fantasy weapons in Arizona down as we prepare for the upcoming season:
Carson Palmer (Quarterback)
Palmer might be as immobile as a rock, but he fits head coach Bruce Arians’ vertical offense perfectly. He also has established good chemistry with his weapons, so there’s a lot of hope for an even better year out of him in 2014. Palmer will only be a high-end QB2 if he can’t drop down from his 22 picks of a year ago, however.
Andre Ellington (Running Back)
Early word on the street says the Cardinals want to give Ellington 25-30 touches per game. That’d be over 400 touches for a pint sized back. It’s especially crazy considering he’s never had even 20 touches in an NFL game yet. With that said, he flashed amazing speed and versatility as a rookie and really does have some awesome upside. He’s looking at high-end RB2 value as long as he sticks as Arizona’s main back.
Jonathan Dwyer (Running Back)
Dwyer is a replacement level plodder, but he knows Arians’ system and should serve as a change of pace and goal-line option. He probably won’t even hold consistent Flex value, though.
Larry Fitzgerald (Wide Receiver)
Everyone who thought Fitz was the dead and buried receiver from 2012 was mistaken, as he returned with a vengeance in 2014. When healthy, at least. Fitzgerald has to face the Seahawks twice a year and his division in general isn’t fun, but he still has WR1 upside when he’s operating at ramming speed.
Michael Floyd (Wide Receiver)
Floyd was a solid fantasy sleeper going into 2013 and projected as a steady WR3. He lived up to that projection, as he hauled in 66 catches for his first 1,000+ yard season. Blessed with a nice combo of size, speed and ball skills, Floyd’s star is very much on the rise. He’s locked into Arizona’s #2 receiver role, which gives him mid-level WR2 upside for 2014.
Ted Ginn Jr. (Wide Receiver)
Ginn’s presence is probably a lot more about how much he’ll eat into Michael Floyd’s targets than anything else. He’s still an explosive weapon on returns and he can do some damage out of the slot, but expecting anything more than WR4 value on a regular basis is probably asking for trouble.
Rob Housler (Tight End)
Housler was a sleeper going into 2013 and he face-planted thanks to drops, injuries and inconsistency. He’s a receiving tight end who just can’t put it all together, and now he has some serious competition on the roster in John Carlson and rookie Troy Niklas. He’ll start with mid-level TE2 value, but it’s difficult to see it sticking unless he blows up.
John Carlson (Tight End)
Carlson is very similar to Housler, except he has reliable hands and has actually been pretty productive in his career. He’ll only be Housler’s backup to start, but as the more consistent option, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see him take over by mid-season. Either way, he’s probably capped at high-end TE2 value at the best.
Troy Niklas (Tight End)
Niklas is a very talented rookie, but just like talented rookie tight ends before him like Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz or Tyler Eifert, his potential in year one is going to be capped. There are too many talented bodies at tight end in the desert for him to go off in 2014. With that said, he has awesome Dynasty appeal and has the talent to make an impact this year if injuries pave the way to serious playing time. It goes without saying; he’s worth keeping an eye on.
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