Fantasy

2022 Fantasy Football: Arizona Cardinals Top 5 Players

Through the first seven games of the 2021 season, the Cardinals were undefeated.

Many experts considered them to be the best team in the league. Kyler Murray was the leading MVP candidate. Kliff Kingsbury was a front runner for Coach of the Year. The Cardinals certainly looked primed and ready to make a Super Bowl run.

However, the second half of the season was a completely different story. The optimism surrounding the team quickly started declining as injuries started to pile up. The Cardinals lost star players like Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt. Disappointingly, the Cardinals finished the season 11-6 and looked horrible in their Wild Card loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Even during a disappointing season, there was still plenty of offensive production. The Cardinals had the eighth-most total yards in the league last season and had the sixth-most total yards in 2020. I expect the Cardinals to be one of the top offenses yet again. Yes, DeAndre Hopkins will serve a suspension the first six games of the year, but the Cardinals traded for Kyler Murray’s college teammate, Marquise Brown.

The biggest worry this offseason was that Murray, reportedly, was not willing to play under the terms of his rookie contract. Thankfully, this is no longer a concern now that he has signed a five-year extension, including $103.3 million fully guaranteed. With Murray back, there will be ample fantasy production available for the players we are about to discuss. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is very friendly to fantasy football success.

(Projections assume that the players will play all 17 games, unless other information is available)

Quarterback 

Player Passing Att Pass Cmp Pass Yds Passing TDs INTs Rush Att Rush Yds Rushing TDs
Kyler Murray 610 421 4505 29 13 118 623 5

Kyler Murray (Josh’s Fantasy Football QB3)

Murray is one of the most dynamic and exciting players in the NFL. Since entering the league in 2019, Murray has the second-most rushing yards by a QB, behind only Lamar Jackson. Impressively, he also has the ninth-most passing yards since 2019. His combination of rushing and passing ability makes him an extremely valuable asset to any fantasy team.

My projections currently have Murray throwing the most passing yards of his career. He had 270.5 passing yards per game last season, which is more than Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins. I also believe his rushing efficiency will improve compared last season. However, it is unlikely that he will have 11 rushing touchdowns, which really boosted his fantasy numbers during the 2020 season. If Murray can put everything together, he could easily be the top-scoring fantasy QB at the end of the year.

Running Back

Player Rushing Att Rush Yards Rushing TDs Targets Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TDs
James Conner 235 964 11 55 41 371 2

James Conner (Josh’s Fantasy Football RB12)

James Conner joined the Cardinals last season and surpassed everyone’s expectations. He finished the 2021 season with the fifth-most points at the running back position. The Cardinals will also be without Chase Edmonds this upcoming season. Edmonds has been a very valuable receiving back for the team. I believe Conner will see slightly more targets in 2022. 

However, there are still concerns. Yes, Chase Edmonds is gone, but the team signed another adequate pass-catching running back, Darrel Williams. Injuries are a concern, as Conner has missed at least a couple of games every season of his five-year career. Conner also had 18 total touchdowns last season, which is very impressive, but will also be difficult to repeat. The key for Conner will be health. If he can stay on the field for all 17 games, he will be a great value for fantasy football.

Wide Receiver

Player Targets Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TDs
Marquise Brown 128 81 1049 7
DeAndre Hopkins 79 55 657 6

Marquise Brown (Josh’s Fantasy Football WR18)

Marquise Brown had the best fantasy football season of his career last year. He finished the season with the ninth-most targets out of all the wide receivers in the NFL. Brown now finds himself playing with his college teammate, Kyler Murray, who many believe is an upgraded passer over Lamar Jackson. Regardless, the Cardinals want to air the ball out vertically, and Marquise Brown is one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL.

DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension will allow Brown to develop even more chemistry with Murray to start the year. If Brown can get off to a hot start, I see no reason why this wouldn’t continue throughout the season. I expect Brown to have slightly less targets this year, since the Cardinals like to spread around the football. Even with less targets, Brown should be more efficient, leading to the best fantasy season of his career.

Marquise Brown was arrested for criminal speeding charges on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. We will have to wait and see if this leads to a suspension. 

DeAndre Hopkins (Josh’s Fantasy Football WR52)

DeAndre Hopkins will miss the first six games of the season, and the suspension does make it difficult to draft him in fantasy football. Hopkins is still one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL, but he is now 30 years old. Hopkins used to demand a large target share, but the Cardinals’ offense likes to spread out the targets. If Hopkins is not receiving a hefty target share, I fear he will be inconsistent, even when he is on the field. Having said this, Hopkins still has league winning upside for the fantasy football playoffs. My projections currently have him finishing as WR52. However, I would be willing to take a shot on him around WR37 in my fantasy drafts this season.

Tight End

Player Targets Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TDs
Zach Ertz 119 82 821 6

Zach Ertz (Josh’s Fantasy Football TE8)

Ertz was traded to the Cardinals mid-season last year, and immediately made an impact for the team. He finished the season with the third-most targets at the tight end position and was the TE5 in PPR leagues. In fact, Ertz has finished as a top-six PPR tight end in five of the last six seasons. I currently project Ertz to have the eighth-most points at the position. This might seem low, however, and he finds himself at the end of a tier including Dalton Schultz and T.J. Hockenson.