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 Rankings visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The Arizona Cardinals get the week off in week four, as they lick their wounds on both sides of the ball and relax after mashing the heads of other NFL teams for the first three weeks of the year.
Not many teams can take their one-week break while still undefeated, but at 3-0, that’s exactly what these Cardinals can say. The odd part is, they’ve stayed unblemished despite playing two games without quarterback Carson Palmer, a less than 100% Andre Ellington and a banged up and depleted defense.
All that, and AZ is still undefeated and looking to continue the success when they start back up in week five. By all accounts, they should be healthier than they’ve been all season and could continue their tear as one of the more surprising teams in the league.
But what does it all mean for fantasy football? To help you prepare for the rest of the journey, let’s reflect on what we already know:
Quarterbacks - Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton
Palmer came out firing in week one, where he dropped 300+ passing yards and two touchdowns on the Chargers. That led to a week one win and all Palmer owners to the realization that he can be a true QB1 in the right situation. Things looked great until he had a nerve issue that disrupted his shoulder. That rendered him inactive for two straight weeks and crushed the souls of fantasy owners across the globe.
Palmer is due back for week five, though, when the Cards’ will battle Peyton Manning and the potent Denver Broncos. After what we saw in week one, it’s safe to say there’s reason for excitement moving forward when it comes to ol’ Palmy.
Drew Stanton shouldn’t be completely forgotten, though. He filled in admirably while Palmer was out, and it’s conceivable to imagine him doing so again down the road. If he does, we know we can use him as a spot-fill option depending on the matchup thanks to solid play that helped Arizona ge tto 3-0 on the year.
Running Backs - Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor
We haven’t really seen elite production out of Andre Ellington yet, but that has more to do with a foot injury than his inability to go off. In fact, he’s had three tough matchups in a row to start 2014, yet he’s somehow touched the ball at least 10 times and put up 70+ total yards in each. He’s yet to score, but with an entire week off, he should be ready to go nuts in week five and beyond.
Taylor hasn’t done anything to write home about, but he gets what is blocked and is a serviceable backup. With Jonathan Dwyer (off field issues) done for the year, Taylor is a decent handcuff for Ellington owners.
Wide Receivers - Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown
Floyd has taken over as AZ’s top receiving threat. That’s the biggest news we’ve come to accept as a truth when it comes to fantasy football. Fitzgerald is still worth rostering and using, but he had just one catch in week one and Floyd has way more upside. Floyd has yet to score, but he is a legit big play threat and should be considered a borderline WR1 the rest of the year. Fitz is hovering on that WR2/WR3 line, while shifty rookie John Brown is here to pick up the scraps.
Tight Ends - John Carlson
The tight end isn’t really utilized in Arizona’s offense. We figured as much going into the 2014 fantasy season, but now we know for sure. Despite being the Cards’ tight end to own right now, Carlson has just six catches through three contests. Yeah, that about sums it up.
Kickers - Chandler Catanzaro
Arizona is looking pretty smart for releasing veteran kicker Jay Feely to let Catanzaro take over. Through three weeks, he’s a perfect 9 for 9 and even has a 50+ yarder knocked in. The Cardinals move the ball well yet don’t always punch in touchdowns, so it looks like he’s a rock solid option moving forward.
Cardinals Team Defense
I really don’t know what to make of this Arizona defense. They came into the season without the help of Daryl Washington, Darnell Dockett and a healthy Tyrann Mathieu, yet they continue to hold opponents under 17 points and give opposing offenses trouble. Despite logic suggesting they should crumble, they remain a solid weekly play.