As we inch closer to opening day of the NFL season, we want to get you prepared for your fantasy football drafts. That process begins with our team previews, where we’ll break down each team’s offense while providing players we’re targeting and, in some cases, avoiding.
Cardinals Fantasy Football Team Preview
Head Coach: Jonathan Gannon (first year)
Offensive Coordinator: Drew Petzing (first year)
Key Offensive Additions
Key Offensive Departures
- WR DeAndre Hopkins
- C Rodney Hudson
Key Offensive Rookies
- OT Paris Johnson Jr. — first-round draft pick
- WR Michael Wilson — third-round draft pick
- QB Clayton Tune — fifth-round draft pick
Points Per Game: 20.0 (21st)
Passing Yards: 213.3 (18th)
Rushing Yards: 110.2 (22nd)
Vacated Targets: 164 (11th)
Pass: 67 percent Run: 37 percent
OL Rank: 30th
Kyler Murray is expected to open the year on the sideline after suffering a season-ending ACL injury last December. Murray is fifth in fantasy points per game (20.7) in the past two seasons, which makes him a complicated player to handle in fantasy. Murray’s timetable to return is unclear, but we can reasonably expect Arizona to be cautious, especially if the team is struggling. If you have an injured reserve spot in your fantasy league and don’t have a premium option at quarterback, Murray is worth stashing in those situations.
Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and Joe Mixon were the only running backs to average more carries (14.1) and receptions (3.5) per game than James Conner last season. Conner is a bell cow on possibly the NFL’s worst-scoring offense and runs behind a weak offensive line. Anyone drafting Conner should expect inefficiency and massive volume, probably translating to low-end RB2 production until Murray returns.
When Murray returns, Conner will have true upside, though the oft-injured runner will need to stay healthy to reap the benefits of Murray’s return. Conner has projectable volume and high job security, but he could be 2022 Travis Etienne for fantasy due to lack of touchdowns. Etienne only had five touchdowns on 255 touches last year, finishing as the RB24 per game. Conner is notably less explosive, so the floor could be even lower.
Behind Conner, Keaontay Ingram is the name to remember. Ingram has size and pass-catching chops, so he could slot into Conner’s high-volume role should he go down with an injury. He only amassed 31 touches as a rookie last year, and there’s a chance another back emerges if Conner goes down. Ingram is an interesting final-round dart throw who should be taken after all the more established backups.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
The Cardinals’ wide receivers will be impacted by uncertain quarterback play. Still, Marquise Brown is worth buying due to the volume he’ll see as the team’s standalone top receiver. When Murray returns, Brown’s efficiency could elevate him to a strong WR2 option.
The other wide receivers of note are Rondale Moore, Michael Wilson and Greg Dortch. Jordan Vanek expects Wilson to be the starter in two-receiver sets because of his size and talent. Moore is being drafted in the mid to late rounds in fantasy drafts. Vanek has no interest in Moore in that average draft position (ADP) range due to the limitations of the Cardinals’ offense. Dortch has impressed when he has been on the field, and he could challenge Moore for playing time.
At tight end, Zach Ertz is past his prime, and he’s recovering from an ACL tear. Second-year TE Trey McBride is the other main option. With the current quarterback situation, Vanek has no interest in McBride.
Ian Miller: Buy Murray (QB13)
It’s rare that you get a chance to buy a quarterback who’s only 26 years old and has never had less than 20 fantasy points per game in a season. But Murray’s ACL injury and narratives about him playing video games instead of watching film have made it possible to buy at a great price.
Cardinals We’re Targeting or Avoiding in Fantasy Football
Josh Larky: Target Brown.
Ryan Reynolds: None.
Jordan Vanek: Avoid Moore.
Other Fantasy Previews
Follow our Team on Twitter
Josh Larky: @JLarkyTweets
Ryan Reynolds: @RyanReynoldsNFL
Jordan Vanek: @JordanVanekDFS
Ian Miller: @Dynasty_IM