Ryan Lindley: Fantasy Profile for Cardinals' Starting QB

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 18:  Ryan Lindley #14 of the Arizona Cardinals passes against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals started the season 4-0, but desperately need a shot in the arm after losing six consecutive games.

Ken Whisenhunt is hoping that rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley can provide that spark.

According to USA Today reporter Kent Somers, Lindley will start behind center versus the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. 

Lindley replaced John Skelton in the second quarter of Arizona's Week 11 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, completing nine of 20 passes for 64 yards, so this isn't his first time in a real NFL game. 

But it's still different. As a first-time starter, he will face all sorts of pressure.

With every new starting quarterback comes speculation. That speculation isn't just in the real world, but it's in the fantasy world as well. Lindley is fresh meat for fantasy owners without even knowing how well he's going to do or how long he's going to play. 

Somers' report does mention that Kevin Kolb has returned to practice, which could lead to his return at some point.

This is where shrewd owners love to do their thing. Some will view Lindley as a possible late-season gem off the waiver wire, but hold tight with that one.

Let's see what's going on here first.


What to Expect

Lindley isn't entering a good situation. Not only are the Cardinals in a complete tailspin, but they have no direction whatsoever.

It's safe to say that Lindley is being used a last resort. Arizona's quarterback situation is dismal, and he's the only stone that's still unturned.

That doesn't mean he's going to be bad, but that's a lot of pressure for a relatively unheralded rookie out of San Diego State.

Lindley will benefit from a capable receiving corps. Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Early Doucet all have skill, but no one has been able to get the ball to them consistently. As long as the offensive line holds up, the first-year signal-caller has talent to work with on the outside.

But the line has been bad, allowing 44 sacks this season. Especially for a rookie, that's going to impact how he feels standing tall in the pocket.

Now, it is worth noting that Beanie Wells has been activated, according to the Associated Press (via Sports Illustrated). It's hard to tell how long it will take him to get up to speed, but he could ease Lindley's transition.

Fantasy owners need to approach this one very gingerly. If you weren't ready to pick up Skelton, you shouldn't handle Lindley any differently. He could do well, but it's going to take time.

Because the Cardinals are such a mess, adding anyone on their offense, aside from Fitzgerald, isn't a wise idea. Quarterback has been a problem area, but Lindley isn't the type to make a quick fix.

If you're in a pinch, add him. If not, steer clear and let a more established starter serve as your backup.


Remaining Schedule

Week 12 - vs. St. Louis Rams (pass defense: 14th)

Week 13 - @ New York Jets (pass defense: 4th)

Week 14 - @ Seattle Seahawks (pass defense: 3rd)

Week 15 - vs. Detroit Lions (pass defense: 8th)

Week 16 - vs. Chicago Bears (pass defense: 11th)

Week 17 - @ San Francisco 49ers (pass defense: 2nd)