My oh my look what a coaching change can do for the state of a franchise. The defense was already a strength for the Arizona Cardinals but the addition of head coach Bruce Arians three seasons ago has changed their offensive aptitude in a major way. The year before Arians took over for former head coach Ken Whisenhunt, the Cardinals ranked dead last in the league in offense. In 2015, the Cardinals ranked 1st in the league in terms of yards and 2nd in the league in scoring offense. As long as Carson Palmer is upright the Cardinals have tons of fantasy gold.
RB David Johnson
Take a moment and read my initial thought on David Johnson here. If you don’t applaud your wins then who else will?!? Enough of me and back to the matter at hand. Johnson definitely turned heads as an all purpose dynamo early last season scoring a rushing, receiving, and return touchdown in his first 2 NFL games. Johnson’s potential was evident in the first 12 weeks of the season but he couldn’t break into the starting lineup mainly because of how well Chris Johnson was playing and Coach Arians’ old school nature of trusting his veterans. The Cardinals were winning games and had no need to rush the development of their third round steal in the 2015 draft until CJ2K went down with a fractured tibia late in the season. The younger Johnson took over as the starter and hasn’t looked back displaying his explosiveness, toughness between the tackles, and all-purpose ability in the passing game. Johnson is a true, every down, dual-threat back and the sky is his limit. Now the seemingly unquestioned lead back in a high powered, vertical offense, that produces light-man boxes combined with his all-around talent; Johnson will be well worth the Top 10 selection you will have to pay in your fantasy drafts.
QB Carson Palmer
Health is the only detrator to the fantasy prowess of the 29-9 starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals. When Palmer is on the field the Cardinals offense is elite. It’s as simple as that! Palmer’s strong arm and pre-snap reads in the big play vertical offense makes him a Top 5 fantasy football quarterback that you can rely on each week to put up solid fantasy numbers. Palmer still has some playoff demons to overcome but in the regular season in 2015 he was money, throwing for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns. The question now is can he maintain this level of production with the expectations at an all-time high? Listed as a QB to target later in your draft by CPGM last season his fantasy value goes from being drafted as the 20th QB in 2015 to a Top 5 QB. Value is the name of the game and you will have to pay substantially for a quarterback with such a high ceiling in a high octane offense. However, if you decide to invest early in a Carson Palmer I suggest you select a quality backup QB in your draft just in case the soon to be 37-year-old veteran’s injury past rears its ugly head.
WR Larry Fitzgerald/John Brown/Michael Floyd
In what might be, better yet, is the strongest wide receiving group in the entire NFL, the question still remains how should you draft these play-makers. Fitzgerald is as steady as it gets as he has transformed from one of the best outside, down the field wide outs to a crafty, Hines Ward like inside go-to receiver. Brown is as exciting as it gets as he is a big play vertical threat from the inside or outside that gives me visions of T.Y. Hilton every time I think of him. And Floyd is as physical as it gets on the outside as he has the potential to be a 1,000 yard 10 TD receiver. At the end of the day there aren’t enough balls to go around in Arizona with the inclusion of Johnson in the passing attack. The plethora of options for Palmer helps the overall team but diminishes the production of all three receivers. Fitz will be Fitz as a solid WR3 on your roster but Brown’s fantasy potential is tempered by Floyd and vice versa. It is very hard to decipher the WR position in Arizona in terms of fantasy but I would bet on Brown>Floyd due to the injury risk Floyd presents. Either way you slice it all three have value in fantasy football and I can’t knock whichever player ends up on your roster, because they are all talented individuals playing in an offense that loves to throw the ball downfield.
Others of note:
- Cardinals Defense