Fantasy Relevance of the Arizona Cardinals
As the Arizona Cardinals FC, I again feel it's my duty to defend my beloved Cards.
And this time it's not on just the football front—it's on the fantasy football front.
But before you go thinking that I'm biased and know nothing about fantasy football, I have played the last several years and done quite well, even winning a championship or two.
But I've had enough talk of Larry Fitzgerald not being a No. 1 receiver, Matt Leinart being a flop, and so on and so forth.
So I figured it was time to give you an opinion—not from someone who is the Cardinals FC, but from someone who is looking forward to fantasy football this year.
You want honesty?
Alright, honestly, I'm not going to say that Matt Leinart is a No. 1 quarterback in fantasy, and won't be as good as Kurt Warner.
There. You happy?
But I will say this. I think he's a better number two than Alex Smith.
(Uh-oh. No he didn't!)
Think about this for a second. Put aside your thoughts about how the 49ers are a shoe-in for the NFC West title.
Whose defense is better? The 49ers.
Therefore, who will more than likely be ahead in more games and run the ball with Frank Gore?
Now, granted, the Cardinals will focus on the run more this year, but I believe there will be games where they'll have to air it out.
And Matt Leinart still has better weapons than Alex Smith, even without Anquan Boldin.
So what am I saying here exactly?
You'll be getting a steal with Matt Leinart as your number two QB.
He's got great weapons, has a lot of upside, and he kind of reminds me of Aaron Rodgers a few years ago, having sat behind a Hall-of-Famer for a couple of years.
We all know about Beanie Wells by now.
I'm not going to change any of those thoughts. He's a big-time sleeper.
I am, however, going to go above and beyond what many bigger publications are saying.
I think Wells will get around 1,200 yards.
And not just because Arizona will run more. Have you looked at their schedule lately?
Wells should be drooling.
So I like him as a great number two guy, maybe a number one guy in 16-team leagues.
I also like him better than such guys as Brandon Jacobs, Knowshon Moreno, and whoever starts for the Panthers.
But let's not forget Tim Hightower, particularly if you're in a PPR league.
I imagine that Leinart, not having a great arm, will dump the ball off frequently this season.
That's where Hightower comes in.
He won't get as many carries as last season, but I see him still getting around 500 yards to go along with about 60 catches.
That's a great flex play in PPR leagues.
Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald
Here's where I will throw the gauntlet down.
Larry Fitzgerald is going to surprise some people.
I'm going to show you some statistics from a couple of years in Larry's career:
Year A: 103 catches, 1409 yards, 10 TDs
Year B: 97 catches, 1092 yards, 13 TDs
You obviously guessed Year B was last season.
But other than a few TDs, what's so bad with Year A?
Year A was 2005. Josh McCown was the QB.
That's right. The illustrious Josh McCown.
My point is it doesn't matter who the QB is. Larry Fitzgerald is a number one guy.
Sure, he's not going to get 13 TDs again. It just doesn't happen very often—unless you're Jerry Rice.
But then again, who honestly thinks that Chris Johnson will get 2,000 yards again?
Larry is probably still your fifth or sixth best option overall at wideout. That's a late first-round, early second-round pick depending on the size of your league.
I personally like him better than Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, and Greg Jennings.
Wide Receiver: The Others
As for the other receivers, Steve Breaston should make a solid number three guy, particularly in PPR leagues, early on in the year.
But don't invest too much in him.
The guy I'm watching though is Early Doucet. He'll start slow, but if you can get him in later rounds, he could be a steal when he blooms later in the year.
I think at some point in time he takes the starting gig from Breaston and becomes Boldin-like later in the season.
I'm thinking over the last six weeks of the year, we could see in an area of 40 catches for 550 yards and four touchdowns.
Just a guess though.
But based on what he did in the playoffs last season, I think he could be the Felix Jones of fantasy receivers, if that gives you an indication.
I like him better than any Denver receiver, or guys like Mario Manningham or maybe even Santonio Holmes.
This is where the fantasy relevance drops off for 'Zona.
I would seriously only draft a Cardinal tight end if you're looking for a backup with some upside.
And only then would I draft Ben Patrick.
Definitely don't waste your time on anyone else.
On a positive note though, I believe the Cardinals will get the TE some more touches this year, as play action should be utilized more so than in previous years.
But I'm expecting 30-35 catches tops for Patrick. He has the capability to be good, but Arizona just doesn't use the TE enough.
Jay Feely is a solid kicker that you can get at a discount...meaning the last round.
By the way, just want to remind you to not take a kicker before then.
If you are looking for a sleeper D/ST though, look no further than Arizona.
The secondary is a little suspect, as are the linebackers, but the defensive front three is one of the better ones around.
Plus, with the addition of a guy like Joey Porter, their sack total should go up.
They could get around 45 sacks this season.
And besides having a fairly easy schedule, the special teams should improve this season.
LaRod Stephens-Howling took a kickoff to pay dirt last year, and I'm expecting him to take two this season.
As well, Andre Roberts, a quick rookie wide receiver, takes over punt duties, and could take one back as well.
And on top of all this, according to fanball.com, you know which defense finished as a top-12 fantasy defense the last three years?
The Cardinals (along with the Packers, Vikings, and Buccaneers).
So knowing the trends on D/ST's in fantasy, why not wait until later to draft the Cardinals?
One More Thing...
Don't forget about the fantasy football exclusive that B/R has with CBS.
Go to cbssports.com and check out their fantasy football.
I've played on CBS for three years now, and it's one of the best out there.
As well, if you're looking for some good fantasy football t-shirts, check out www.artofthefan.com.
Thanks again, and good luck this season in fantasy football!