The Cardinals and Seahawks are coming off of nearly opposite weeks. Arizona found a run game in Adrian Peterson to the tune of 37 carries and over 150 yards, while Seattle struggled to move the ball on offense and lost a close game to the Redskins.
Which fantasy players will be the most relevant this week?
Let’s start with the...
Start of the Week: Tyler Lockett, Seahawks WR
The Cardinals and Seahawks have been almost opposites in terms of their secondaries this year. Arizona’s given up tons of passing yards and fantasy points to receivers while the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom has stayed strong against opposing wideouts.
However, the Seahawks will be missing Earl Thomas, which means that Arizona could find a few open receivers deep in this game.
The catch? It’s not Carson Palmer, but Drew Stanton starting.
Arizona got a ton of push in their defensive efforts last week, but with Russell Wilson and not C.J. Beathard at the helm, I’d expect the wide receivers not named Doug Baldwin to get a bit more open this week as they are far more talented than the Niners.
Look for Lockett to catch a touchdown or two in this game as Wilson looks to him in how Arizona likes their one-on-one cornerback and slot matchups. The other reason to like Lockett is AZ’s track record with special teams.
They’ve given up some big punt returns, although perhaps the surging special teams play of Washington alum Budda Baker against his (assumed from Twitter) favorite NFL team will make a difference with his play.
Cards Start of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald & Jaron Brown, WR
Call this a hunch for picking Brown over J.J. Nelson (or John, who had a 50 yard reception last week) but I think that with Earl Thomas out that Drew Stanton will look to Fitzgerald as his main man, while taking a few of the deep shots that is typical of the Arians offense.
Last year J.J. Nelson torched Richard Sherman with his speed (and it could happen again) but Nelson’s fallen down the wide receiving chart as of late. Jaron Brown has been one of Stanton’s favorite targets since they’ve been together and I think that he’ll pick up a touchdown for the 2nd consecutive game in a row.
Part of the reason for Nelson’s decline is Arizona moving to a much more run-heavy ground game behind Adrian Peterson, meaning they need a strong blocker like Jaron Brown in the game.
As for Fitz? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you but the Seahawks have been susceptible as of late, especially over the middle and he won’t be matched up on Sherman the entire game. He might end up with a score or at least 10+ targets in this game should Arians start throwing the ball a ton. I think that to win against Seattle, Arizona can’t just hand it off to Adrian Peterson again.
Seahawks Start: Jimmy Graham, TE
The Cardinals have been pretty good against tight ends, outside of a Zach Ertz touchdown they have been top 15 against them week in and week out and have a healthy Deone Bucannon now playing to help cover Graham or spy Wilson.
The problem is? The other inside linebacker is Karlos Dansby, who’s been a step behind. I think that Graham will get a lot more looks and potentially will end up being a top 10 fantasy tight end this week should he find some space in Arizona’s secondary.
Cardinals Sit: Andre Ellington, RB
It’s been tough to sit Ellington, a guy who was a PPR dream for a few weeks, after he’s been relegated to a minor role with Adrian Peterson hauling the rock the last few weeks.
But he’s unlikely to get the separation and catches against the Seahawks this week as Arizona pounds the rock with Adrian Peterson against a Seattle defense that’s been surprisingly weak against the run this year. Ellington’s still worth holding onto on a bench in a deep PPR league in case Peterson goes down and David Johnson’s held out for the year.
Seahawks Sit: Thomas Rawls, RB
Rawls is averaging 2.5 yards per carry with zero touchdowns.
That’s almost early 2017 Cardinals run game inefficiency levels, there (okay...but really). Seattle’s leading rusher has been Russell Wilson and will continue to be against an Arizona defense that’s been stout, if not great, against the run.
Expect Wilson to put the game on his back at some point and start throwing the ball around for better or worse.
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