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 Football Rankingsvisit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The Arizona Cardinals are one of the surprise teams in the NFL through two weeks, as they won a tough game in week one against the San Diego Chargers and topped the New York Giants last week, as well. That's right, theCardinals sit atop the NFC West (above the Seahawks and 49ers!) and enter week three with a chance to go 3-0.
On top of all of that, they've even been a solid source of fantasy football production. Carson Palmer put up a 300+ yard and two-touchdown performance in week one, Andre Ellington has surprisingly been a decent Flex play despite not being 100% and the Arizona defense has remained a startable unit despite injuries and suspensions depleting their depth.
Needless to say, fantasy football owners everywhere are wondering if it will continue and if they can count on Cardinals players to keep it rolling in week three. It's tough to tell, as a home date with the division rival San Francisco 49ers is on tap this week, and really could go either way.
In addition, Arizona's chances are probably slimmed down considerably to hold serve at home this week if Palmer (shoulder) can't give it a go after sitting out last week. Key number one is obviously going to be Palmer's availability, as few can feel great about Drew Stanton going up against San Francisco's still solid defense. With that in mind, let's break down the main thoughts on fantasy owner's minds concerning the Cards' this week:
Can Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald Get it Done?
It all hangs on Palmer. Larry Fitzgerald certainly saw the ball way more in week two than he did in week one, but he and Floyd still didn't score and stayed outside of the top-40 in the wide receiver rankings at the end of week two. Stanton isn't without talent, but he just isn't the most accurate or most consistent passer in the world. Throw in the matchup with the Niners, and it's hard to love these guys with Stanton back there.
On the flip-side, if Palmer plays and is actually anything close to 100%, I don't see why you can't use them. Floyd has proven he's the preferred option, but both of these guys would have some serious upside against a Niners defense that allowed Jay Cutler to throw four red-zone touchdowns a week ago.
Is Andre Ellington Worth a Play?
This is a classic catch-22, as no Palmer would mean the banged up Ellington (foot) would see even more work than he has been seeing, while a healthy and active Palmer would open things up and keep the Niners honest on defense.
Against an average defense, I think no Palmer means a huge, productive day for Ellington. However, he's still not 100% and this San Francisco defense is still pretty good. If Stanton starts, we have to downgrade Ellington quite a bit. He'd still be a worthy Flex play due to his usage, talent and upside, but he's less likely to blow up with the defense keying in on him.
Should Palmer be able to make the start, however, Ellington might quietly sneak into the RB2 discussion. It's also worth noting that his top backup - Jonathan Dwyer - has been deactivated due to off field domestic violence issues, so Arizona has one less running back on offense that they know they can trust. For the most part, though, this all comes down to Palmer's status, as backup Stepfan Taylor can fill Dwyer's middling shoes pretty easily.
Arizona's Defense Might Not Be as Great This Week
Arizona had the San Diego Chargers on their own field in week one and slapped around the sad New York Giants on the road in week two. They're back at home this week, but now they get Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers. They haven't really had to deal with a mobile quarterback who can kill you in so many ways like Kap can, and I think if the 49ers come out and attack, they could give Arizona some problems.
More specifically, Kaepernick simply has played well against the Cardinals. In addition, the Niners are coming off a tough loss that they pretty much gave away, and knowing their coaching and veteran leadership, it's really hard to imagine they come into Arizona with shaky focus and execution. The Cardinals can still be used as a fantasy team defense, but I doubt they're an elite unit this week.
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