2014 Team Outlook: Arizona Cardinals
 
 
 
 
 
Football > Preseason > 2014 Team Outlook: Arizona Cardinals

2014 Team Outlook: Arizona Cardinals

A fantasy football preview of the Arizona Cardinals this season. Profiled players include Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Jonathan Dwyer, Stepfan Taylor, and Larry Fitzgerald.

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Carson Palmer stabilized the quarterback position for Arizona after his arrival in 2013. He started all 16 games and produced a 36-percent bump in fantasy points for the Arizona quarterbacks. It sounds impressive, but he only scored 18 fantasy PPG. That level of production resulted in a QB15 finish. With Michael Floyd continuing his evolution, the addition of a more stable list of tight ends to work with and a year of Andre Ellington as his lead running back, Palmer can improve yet again and approach the 20 PPG totals you look for in a QB1. Palmer should not be expected to have tremendous upside despite having a nice array of weapons (Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald and Ellington). The NFC West is a tough place to play and Palmer will struggle to consistently put up difference-making points. Luckily, he doesn't carry anything close to a QB1 value, so he'll be one of the many solid floor, low ceiling options at QB2.

Editor's note: Palmer will sometimes go undrafted in redraft and does not even move the needle on our ADP list. In our high-stakes ADP rankings, the former USC QB is the 21st QB selected at pick No. 151.

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Arizona is Stanton's fourth team over his eight-year career. When head coach Bruce Arians left the Colts to sign on with the Cardinals, he brought Stanton along with him. For a time, the former Michigan State QB was thought to be Arizona's starter before Palmer's arrival. Stanton has some potential; if he were to get his chance, he might surprise. In limited action with Detroit in 2010, he completed 69 of 119 passes (58-percent) for four TDs and three INTs. The 30-year-old has no fantasy value until he somehow works his way into a starting lineup.

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Dwyer came from Pittsburgh where head coach Bruce Arians had some exposure to him. Dwyer has been serviceable in short stints or when playing a smaller role over the years. If Taylor doesn't deliver for this team, Dwyer could step in. Neither player has Ellington's upside, but in today's NFL you need two or three running backs to be successful. Dwyer has no fantasy value until he solidifies a larger role in the offense.

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Stepfan Taylor was a rookie last year and he averaged a pedestrian 3.2 yards per carry. After the retirement of Rashard Mendenhall, Taylor finds himself in contention for a RB2 role, possibly earning him significant playing time. He's going to be tough to trust unless his role becomes better defined. Looking over the last four years in offenses Tom Moore and Bruce Arians were involved with, they have typically operated shared backfields. The RB who had the most carries out of the backfield did not have the most receptions. This leads you to believe there will be an active third-down back. Ellington is an ideal fit for that role. This suggests the RB2 might play a lot of first and second downs to keep Ellington healthy. As Arizona's backup running back, Taylor will likely see eight to ten carries per week. Even with the early edge to fulfill that role, Taylor does not justify a draft pick at this time in redraft. He should only be considered in dynasties or leagues with really deep rosters.

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Fitzgerald has had an excellent career. He has struggled a bit since Kurt Warner retired, but over his last four seasons he has scored: 240, 269, 175 and 237 points in PPR leagues, respectively. Michael Floyd is coming on strong as a second option, although he might overtake Fitzgerald if 11-year vet doesn't step it up. The former Pitt receiver simply doesn't have that Tier 1 or even Tier 2 upside these days. There are likely some wide receivers drafted in the same range as Fitzgerald who could provide more upside, but they come with more risk as well. His ADP (WR16, 41.63) puts him in Round 4, the same round as Victor Cruz, Cordarrelle Patterson, Percy Harvin, Vincent Jackson, Floyd, Michael Crabtree, Andre Johnson and Sammy Watkins. This round runs the full gauntlet from rookie to future Hall of Famer. This feels like one round too early for Fitz. He just isn't the same player he once was where you should reach for him either.

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John Brown is a rookie wide receiver who has instantly made an impression in OTAs in Arizona. Unless the Cardinals drastically produce their offensive output, Brown is too far down on the depth chart to offer any fantasy impact. He is a dynasty only option.