It’s been a rough year for Cardinals players in fantasy football this year, almost as rough as their actual on-field record.
Carson Palmer goes down in London with a broken arm and the Adrian Peterson-led rushing attack gains a total of 25 yards against the Rams.
Now with Drew Stanton taking the helm, what should we learn about the Cardinals moving forward?
Before we get into this, let’s put it out there that Larry Fitzgerald is still a “must-start” and especially against the Niners team.
You should be playing him in all leagues. But what about the other players in this game?
Let’s find out:
Start of the Week: Adrian Peterson, RB
Was Peterson’s game against the Buccaneers a fluke?
Perhaps in this offense, but time will tell. Moving forward, he’ll be expected to carry the load of the offense now that Carson Palmer is on IR and, likely, out for the rest of the season.
With David Johnson seeming less and less likely to come back now, Bruce Arians could adapt to a similar game plan in which he beat the Niners last year in which David Johnson had nearly 27 carries for 157 yards and three catches for 28 yards and two touchdowns.
The power rushing attack also set up the play action game that gave Larry Fitzgerald two long touchdown passes...which was the only thing that Stanton really did in that game.
He had only 11 completions for 124 yards but didn’t turn the ball over, and that is the key for Arizona to win this week against the Niners. Meaning that Adrian Peterson will need to be THE key point for the offense.
What’s interesting, especially in PPR-leagues, is that the packages for Peterson might change according to Bruce Arians:
"I've been really happily surprised how well AP catches the ball, we're expanding him now that he's been with us, learning some pass patterns as well as protections" - Bruce Arians says you could see more of Adrian Peterson in the pass game going forward #AZCardinals pic.twitter.com/0ztim7Mizk— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) November 1, 2017
If Peterson starts catching the ball more (something he has rarely done at a high or consistent level in his time in the NFL) perhaps he will end up becoming a check-down guy for Stanton and ends up having a bit more value week-to-week even if Arizona’s offensive struggles continue and Andre Ellington returns.
Then again, Arians does talk quite a bit. But with how the Niners give up gashes of yards on the ground, it wouldn’t be a wonder if this ends up being the case again.
Sit of the Week: Pierre Garcon, WR, Niners
This is a tough call, as the Cardinals have given up THE most fantasy points to wide receivers this year, but Garcon will certainly draw Patrick Peterson. Peterson’s been doing his own version of “Revis Island” in fantasy this year, shutting down any receiver that’s been matched up against him.
The only receivers who’ve managed to salvage their days did so either when he wasn’t matched up on them on the play OR during the Bucs game when he was out with an injury.
Garcon might still get a few opportunities without Peterson but in a game in which the level of QB play is less than optimal, not trusting a team’s WR 1’s against him is a good bet.
UPDATE: As of this past Thursday, Kyle Shanahan has announced that Garcon will be placed on Injured Reserve.
So I would recommend dropping him and by judging the Niners hapless depth chart at wide receiver, see if Marquise Goodwin is playing and bench him against Peterson. Basically—The Niners need a lot of help on offense...
Cards Start: John Brown, WR
For whatever reason, John Brown and Drew Stanton have as good of a relationship in fantasy as Palmer does with him. Brown hasn’t been the same as his 2014 self but Stanton’s arm favors the vertical passing game and Brown has caught multiple deep touchdowns from him in the past.
I would expect that the team draws up a play to give Stanton time and think they connect downfield at some point.
Niners Start: Carlos Hyde, RB
This isn’t a tough call, even as Arizona’s been solid against running backs in the past few games, they gave up a ton to Todd Gurley last time, and the Niners are at home this week.
Stanton’s much less accurate than Palmer and I would expect at some point that San Francisco is able to cash in even if they were denied the red zone against the Cardinals the last time they played this season. Their offense will have to run through Hyde with Beathard likely at quarterback.
Cardinals Sit: Jermaine Gresham, TE
Gresham was a favorite target of Palmer’s from time to time on matchups, but he’s never really gone off or done much with Stanton at quarterback. I’d expect that to continue and Gresham to be focused on protecting his quarterback more than going out for routes in the pass game.
Niners Sit: George Kittle, Tight End
Kittle hasn’t had the fantasy relevance some predicted and that won’t continue versus an Arizona defense that is tight against the ends.
If you’re looking for an absolute flier, one of the speedy wide receivers might help you out some as while Arizona has done a better job with Tramon Williams at not giving up the big plays as they did with Bethel, they still have given up touchdowns to the wide receivers at a crazy rate this season.
Sleeper: Troy Niklas, TE, Cardinals
I think Niklas will get a touchdown somehow in this game, or be involved a bit more than he has been in the past. He’s been a matchup issue and while Arians doesn’t throw often to his tight ends, when he does it’s quite effective.
Otherwise look to Trent Taylor as a sleeper for San Francisco as well.
What are your fantasy predictions for the game? Sound off in the comments.
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