This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NBAandNFLInfo or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more 2014 Fantasy Football Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The Arizona Cardinals play in arguably the toughest division in the NFL, the NFC West. Even the St. Louis Rams could give them fits with a rising defense, but playing the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and the just-as-tough San Francisco 49ers won’t be easy.
It’s a good thing the rest of their schedule isn’t nearly as difficult. It’s true that you may want to shy away from Arizona players in fantasy football down the stretch of 2014 (three games versus Seahawks and 49ers in final six contests), but before that bumpy ride there is a lot to like concerning their weekly matchups.
There is also some high-quality fantasy production to be had out of Arizona’s fantasy options this year. Potentially, at least.
Let’s break down the five best games to use those fantasy weapons in 2014:
Week 1 - vs. San Diego Chargers
San Diego has addressed their secondary throughout the offseason, as they drafted Jason Verrett and signed Brandon Flowers. However, a unit that was awful against the pass a year ago still might not be playing at an elite level right away in Week 1. With this one being at home in the desert, the Cards have decent odds at getting solid productivity out of the passing game in a potential shootout. Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd should be full goes in this one.
Week 6 - vs. Washington Redskins
Another poor defense from a season ago, the ‘Skins still have a shaky secondary and will also have to prove they’re better up front after ranking just 17th against the run in 2013. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall is a better playmaker than cover man these days, while safety Ryan Clark gives them a veteran but aged presence in the secondary.
Washington could go either way, but it’s arguable they are still trending toward being a weak defensive unit. That’s a solid bet at home for Arizona's fantasy options. Feel good about rolling with just about everyone on offense in this matchup.
Week 7 - at Oakland Raiders
Oakland’s defense was pretty bad in 2013, as they ranked 25th against the pass. They actually made some really nice strides in terms of veteran talent and still boast a quality duo of safeties, but they’re not going to be confused with an elite defensive unit anytime soon. They should only get better against the run, but even with this one being on the road, it’s hard to shy away from any Cardinals fantasy options. It is the Raiders, after all.
Week 8 - vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles were 10-6 and won the NFC East last year, but you can thank their potent offense for that. While they were fairly strong against the run last year, they were absolutely atrocious against the pass. They did make an effort to get better by adding safety Malcolm Jenkins, but that isn’t going to be enough to strike fear into the hearts of the Cardinals -- or anyone. Carson Palmer and Co. should make it rain in the desert in Week 8.
Week 9 - at Dallas Cowboys
Saving the best for last here, as the Cowboys were an inept unit in every way in 2013. Now they’ll have to make it through 2014 without Sean Lee, who was a key playmaker and the leader of the defense. A squad that couldn’t stop the run or the pass could now be hopeless. They did make some key additions up front, which could help them a bit against the run, but there’s little reason to buy into this suddenly being a tough defense. Start all Arizona fantasy options with the utmost confidence in Week 9.
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