Friday, August 1, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Augury, Chapter 28: Arizona Cardinals

What does the desert have to offer the fantasy football world this season?  Let's dive in the sand and take a look.

Last year was Carson Palmer's first in a Cardinals uniform and he passed for the most yards in his entire decade-long career (4,274 yards).

Unfortunately, his 24 touchdown passes were nearly matched by his 22 INTs, also a career high.

Only Eli Manning threw for more picks.  Not cool.

In fact, Palmer threw for at least one interception in a dozen games, and threw for multiple INTs in seven games.  In leagues that take away points for interceptions, really not cool.  That is justification for benching.

On top of that, Palmer has the speed of a centipede; he's a classic drop back quarterback.  He will scare no one with his rushing ability.

But that was last year.  This is Palmer's second season under OC Harold Goodwin and HC Bruce Arians.  He is a cagey veteran; his interceptions will almost certainly decrease and he's got a pair of nasty (in a good way) wide receivers and an improved offensive line, which he badly needed.

If he can clean up the errant throws (and he will), he'll be back in the good graces of fantasy owners as a starter.  Unfortunately for Palmer, this year's QB class is extremely deep.

As it stands, he's a solid second tier player; an excellent insurance policy who can be a competent starter when needed.


Going into 2014, Andre Ellington is one of the most debated players among fantasy owners.  Some say he is an overrated scat back and will be over-valued by desperate owners looking for a big fish in a shallow pond.

Others say he is a special player on the verge of exploding.

Put me in the second category for three reasons:  He catches the ball well, he runs well and he has little competition for touches in the backfield (if you frequent The Lone Pylon, you have heard that before).

In last year's rookie campaign, Ellington was the back-up to Rashard Mendenhall.  In limited action, Ellington had just 35 fewer rushing yards on 99 fewer carries than Mendenhall.

Ellington also had 39 catches for 371 yards and four combined touchdowns.  Again, in limited playing time.

Mendenhall is now retired at the ripe old age of 27 and the pigskin has been handed to Ellington, who had a league-leading 5.5 yards-per-carry and 1,023 yards from scrimmage last season (second-most on the team --  again in limited action).

Bruce Arians has gone on record saying that he'd like Ellington to touch the ball 25-30 times a game.  That should get your attention, fellow fantasy owner.

Many say Ellington is too small to be a feature back.  This is certified crap.  Experts who spout this nonsense are simply looking for something to yap about.  Ellington is virtually identical in stature to a guy named Barry Sanders (who was a fairly good feature back), plus Ellington added 10 pounds to his frame in the offseason to prepare for his boss role.

Ellington is a high second tier back who I believe will post top ten numbers.  If you don't take him, I gladly will.


Despite football writers insisting the Cardinals were trying to trade Larry Fitzgerald in the offseason, the man himself says no one ever approached him about that possibility.  In all honesty, the Cardinals would be foolish to do so.

It is true that for the last two seasons Fitzgerald has seen a dip in his numbers.  Last season he dealt with hamstring and concussion issues, but he was still targeted 135 times and hauled in 10 touchdowns (top ten in the league).  A healthy Fitz and a more comfortable Palmer equals a resurgence in Fitzgerald's stats, making him a solid second tier wide receiver.

Fitzgerald will be undervalued in many drafts.  He could be a steal if you play your cards right.

Michael Floyd is entering his third NFL season, and if you subscribe to the "third-year wide receiver breakout" theory, this the "magical" year for young wide receivers.

But it should come as no surprise, under Fitzgerald's guidance and influence, that Floyd is ahead of the curve.

Last year, in his second season, Floyd came into his own.  He led the team in receiving yards (his first going over 1,000 yards) and caught five touchdowns.  He topped 85 yards receiving in five games, including a monster week 10, in which he had 193 yards and a touchdown.

Floyd is becoming a dynamic play-maker just like his mentor, and I look for both him and Fitzgerald to go over 1,000 yards this season.  He is a second tier, top 20 receiver.


Rob Housler/John Carlson/Troy Niklas... It's very possible all three could split time at tight end, which is the equivalent to a fantasy death-rattle.  None will see the ball enough to be considered a fantasy starter -- and perhaps not even enough to be a fantasy back-up.

Draft Well!
That Damn Sam
"Fantasy Football for the Forsaken Few"