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 Fantasy Football Rankings visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The Arizona Cardinals are trending upward. Michael Floyd is entering a potential breakout third season, running back Andre Ellington could blow up and give the offense a legit threat at running back and the defense could be as nasty as ever.
But what does all of that mean for fantasy football? Considering the real games haven’t been played yet and we have a month to rehash fantasy player rankings and create our cheat sheets, why not take a stab at the "here and now" value of every Cardinals player?
What’s a better way to assess that than power ranking their top fantasy football options? I can’t find one, so that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Going off of a true power ranking system, each player is valued and then ranked based off of their "right now" value and upside from this moment, moving forward. Read on to see which Cardinals fantasy weapons hold more value than the rest:
1. Andre Ellington (Running Back)
Fantasy football sleepers are all about upside, and Ellington has it in spades. AZ has been talking him up all summer as a true feature back, and rumored extra muscle put on should help him in between the tackles. You probably won’t want to ask the world out of him when he faces the Seahawks and 49ers, but Ellington is going to be a weekly candidate to erupt. That should put him in consideration for a top-10 spot in the RB ranks when it’s all said and done.
2. Larry Fitzgerald (Wide Receiver)
Fitzgerald really hasn’t lost much and can still get it done as a WR1 in fantasy football. His main issue last year was simply staying healthy. When 100% or even close to it, he put up some gaudy numbers. Palmer loves throwing to him, too, so he should at least hit on his 2013 numbers, but could also do even better. He’s still a legit threat to post top-15 digits.
3. Michael Floyd (Wide Receiver)
Some love Floyd’s talent and upside so much, they’re drafting him ahead of Fitzgerald! I think that’s a bit of a reach just yet, but it’s obvious Arizona loves Floyd and he’s in for a big year. I look at him as more of a high upside WR2 fantasy football sleeper rather than the solid WR1 Fitz is. He could surprise, but Floyd probably isn’t going to vault himself into the top-10 just yet.
4. Carson Palmer (Quarterback)
Palmer isn’t a full-fledged QB1, but he’ll come close in a lot of weeks. He has a great supporting cast and the schedule outside of the NFC West is actually quite favorable. He’ll stick inside the top-20 and it wouldn’t be insane to see him put up top-15 numbers, either.
5. Arizona Cardinals (Team Defense)
We have to fit the Cards’ defense in here somewhere, right? Let’s be honest, if safety Tyrann Mathieu is back to full strength, this defense should remain nasty. Not having inside linebacker Daryl Washington (one year ban) is a big hit, but this can still be a top-10 unit.
6. Stepfan Taylor (Running Back)
Taylor is an average talent and lacks explosiveness, but he is fundamentally sound and for the moment, the #2 running back in Arizona. That keeps him well behind Andre Ellington, but for now makes him the second Cardinals running back to monitor.
7. John Brown (Wide Receiver)
Brown is the whole point of power rankings, as he might not necessarily end up being a stud receiver in his first NFL season, but he certainly is at least trending that way so far. He’s been catching rave reviews in camp all summer and has even been compared to T.Y. Hilston. With the speed and size perfect for the slot, we could see Brown active in the slot. He might even top veteran Ted Ginn Jr. at some point this year.
8. John Carlson (Tight End)
Carlson has the lead for the tight end spot in AZ, which could potentially give him low-end TE1 value. He was solid in stints in Seattle and Minnesota, so if he nails it down, he could be a nice surprise. He does have rookie tight end Troy Niklas breathing down his neck, while it’s also pretty important to note that Bruce Arians doesn’t go out of his way to utilized the tight end position. Hence, Carlson not even cracking the top-five here.
9. Jonathan Dwyer (Running Back)
Dwyer knows head coach Bruce Arians’ system and wasn’t horrible as a spot-starter at times in Pittsburgh, but he’s mostly a straight-line runner with average versatility. That could have him fighting for the #2 gig, as he currently is actually listed much further down the depth chart. He’s the biggest name after Stepfan Taylor, though, so it’s still likely that top backup job comes down to him and Taylor. For now, though, the power rankings tell us Dwyer is a notch below Taylor.
10. Ted Ginn Jr. (Wide Receiver)
Ginn Jr. looked to revive his career with a solid showing with the Panthers in 2013, and that earned him slot duties in Arizona this year. He’s listed below rookie John Brown here, though, since Ginn has otherwise been a bust and Brown has been wildly impressive. Ginn might ultimately post better fantasy numbers, but in the name of true power rankings, he’s taking a backseat to the talented rookie right now.
We should probably stop it at a cool 10, considering it’s only going to get desperate from this point on. It probably needs to be said that AZ kicker Jay Feely probably deserves to be slide just ahead of John Carlson, but who cares about kickers? That all being said, the above 10 guys might actually do some damage in fantasy football this year. Who does the most and who ends up being on your 2014 fantasy roster, however, is entirely up to you.
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
State laws prohibit residents of Arizona from playing FanDuel for money. For more info check FanDuel rules here.
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