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 Player Rankings visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The Arizona Cardinals aren't necessarily the Denver Broncos when it comes to the fantasy football world, but they shouldn't be looked at as scrubs, either. Carson Palmer and co. proved last year -- in their first season in Bruce Arians' system, no less -- that they can sling it with just about anyone when they bring their ‘A' game.
In Week 1 of the 2014 NFL fantasy football season, we get to see the Cardinals possibly at their very best, as they host the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. All of that sounds good enough on paper, but what's even better is that the Chargers were dreadful against the pass in 2013. They did make positive adjustments by draftingJason Verrett and signing Brandon Flowers, but a team in transition is a team to attack.
As it stands, Palmer and the Arizona passing offense could be set up for a big night. That could potentially leave the ground game in the dust (San Diego is good against the run), but if they can take it to the air, the rest could even out.
To get a good idea as to which Arizona Cardinals options will work out to be the best NFL picks for you in fantasy football this week, let's break all of their top players you'll want to use down:
Carson Palmer (Quarterback)
Palmer is a pretty erratic fantasy passer, as you really never know what you're getting with him. One game he looks like an elite NFL quarterback, and the next looks like he should probably retire. The good news is he's looked solid all summer and he has weapons for days. He also has a good matchup on paper in week one, and even gets to play at home on MNF. That all should add up to a solid fantasy performance. He's a nice low-end QB1 this week.
Andre Ellington (Running Back)
Ellington has been hyped up all summer, so fantasy owners are very excited to see if their third or fourth round pick will pay off. It's possible we may not find out just yet, as Ellington is dealing with a foot issue and even got an MRI done on Thursday night. No word is out just yet on his status for Monday night, but he may have plenty of time to heal up for the game. He might not exactly be an elite play, either way, as San Diego is fairly strong against the run. With the injury and matchup in mind, he's looking like a low-end RB2 or Flex option this week.
Editor note: While nothing has been officially stated, it looks unlikely he plays Monday. Reports say he could miss significant time.
Larry Fitzgerald (Wide Receiver)
Fitzgerald still remained a top wide receiver when healthy in 2013, and really only failed to crack the top-15 due to injuries. Some say he's lost something, but when at 100% he's still an elite receiver. That truth could be a problem for the Bolts, who have a rookie and veteran who struggled last year as their top two corners. Fitzgerald is a safe bet to score in week one if he's fully past his latest (knee) injury. He shapes up as a borderline WR1 for MNF.
Michael Floyd (Wide Receiver)
Everyone thinks Floyd is going to overtake Fitzgerald in 2014. They might be right. I think it stays pretty balanced this year, but Floyd is at least going to improve on his own numbers from a year ago. You better believe he gets that process started on Monday night, as his matchup is to die for - especially if a healthy Fitzgerald is around to distract San Diego's other corner. He's a high-end WR2 and maybe even a low-end WR1 to get the season going.
Jonathan Dwyer is Ellington's top backup at running back and could easily vulture a touchdown near the goal-line, but you can't risk using him due to the matchup and unclear role. John Brown should stick as AZ's main slot guy, too, but again, his role is shaky and the third wide receiver in Arizona's system doesn't typically do a ton of damage. He's a guy worth monitoring, but don't expect much from him in his pro debut.
This may not be the week to use Arizona's defense, either. San Diego is quite balanced and impressive in the passing game when they get in a groove with their dink and dunk style. The Cardinals would have been a great team defense for this matchup last year, but have since lost defensive lineman Darnell Dockett (injury) and stud linebacker Daryl Washington (suspension). It's quite possible their formerly stout defense isn't up to par in week one.
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.