Arizona Cardinals: Key Stock Up, Stock Down After Week 3

Cooper Allen@@CooperAllen47Analyst IISeptember 24, 2012

Arizona Cardinals: Key Stock Up, Stock Down After Week 3

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    When the NFL season kicked off a few weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals sat near the bottom of nearly everyone’s power rankings. In fact, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller had them in dead last.

    Fast forward three weeks and the Cards have knocked off two teams that are considered Super Bowl contenders.

    They sit atop the NFC West division and have started 3-0 for the first time since 1974. They are also one of only three remaining undefeated teams.

    There has been some up-and-down play for Arizona so far, but a lot of players have contributed to this great start.

    As a team, the Cardinals stock has definitely gone up this year. Individually, the same cannot be said for all players.

    Here is a look at whose stock is going up and whose is going down through three weeks of play.

Stock Up: Kevin Kolb

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    Prior to Week 1, Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb had hit rock bottom. He had a very rough preseason, losing his job to John Skelton.

    At this point, the majority of the football world had placed the bust label on him and most thought that Arizona would be in the running for Matt Barkley.

    As we head into Week 4, the Cardinals are undefeated and Kolb has the third best passer rating in the league at 108.6.  

    The 28-year-old has been a great game manager thus far and if he can keep it up, Arizona might be the 2012 version of the 49ers.

Running Backs

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    Stock Up: Ryan Williams

    Stock Down: Beanie Wells

    I expected that if the Arizona Cardinals were going to be successful this year, then it would be because of their running game.

    Of course, the defense was also a key factor, but that will only get you so far if your offense is putting up 10 points.

    That hasn’t been the case, however. Arizona has rushed for just 82.3 yards per game and is averaging only 2.8 yards per carry.

    A lot of this can be attributed to the offensive line, but you can only blame them for so long. Beanie Wells has struggled mightily so far in 2012. He has been held to just 76 yards on 29 carries (2.6 yards per carry) and has failed to reach the end zone.

    After a breakout 2011 year, he has been a disappointment so far.

    His counterpart Ryan Williams also struggled through the opening two games, but picked it up in Week 3. On just 13 rushes, Williams racked up 83 yards on the ground and also caught a pass for 12 yards.

    He played quite well for the Cardinals last week and his stock has gone up as a result of this.

Wide Receivers

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    Stock Up: Larry Fitzgerald

    Stock Up: Andre Roberts

    Stock Up: Michael Floyd

    Stock Down: Early Doucet

    Stock Down: Todd Heap

    Many fantasy football owners were panicking after Week 2 as Larry Fitzgerald had just one catch for four yards against New England.

    He would rebound in Week 3, however, picking up nine receptions for 114 yards while reaching the end zone for the first time this season.

    Larry Fitzgerald owners can start breathing again. If his stock dropped at all through the first two weeks, then his performance this week gained it back.

    The Cardinals have also received great contributions from Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd.

    Roberts is not lighting up the stat book, but he does have two receiving touchdowns, including the game-winner against Seattle.

    Floyd recorded the first major of the game in Week 3. This was the first reception and touchdown of his young career.

    On the flip side, two players who have not been as impressive are Early Doucet and Todd Heap.

    Doucet has caught just six passes so far this year and it appears that he still occasionally has "stone hands" syndrome.

    ASU Alumni Todd Heap is in a different situation. Through two weeks, he played a pretty key role in the Cardinals offense. The veteran made a couple of clutch catches in both games and it was looking like Arizona was finally making use of the tight end position.

    Fast forward to game time this past Sunday and Mr. Heap is inactive due to an injury. This seems like a trend for the Cards. Every time they get production out of the tight end spot, someone usually gets injured.

Stock Up: The Entire Defense

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    As high as I was on the Arizona Cardinals defense this year, they still continue to amaze me. Not many people took notice following Week 1.

    After holding Tom Brady and Michael Vick to a combined 24 points in back-to-back weeks, however, this unit is now on high alert.

    The Cardinals have three players with multiple sacks already and they have allowed only 40 points through three games.

    They are quickly emerging as one of the top defenses in football and if Ray Horton sticks around for a couple of years, then Arizona will be feared.