Since they cruised into Super Bowl XLIII and lost a close 27-23 contest to the Pittsburgh Steelers, it has been hit or miss when it comes to Fantasy Football options with the Arizona Cardinals. With this article we'll shed some light on what Fantasy Owners can expect out of the Cardinals on offense during the 2012 NFL season.
Cardinals Quarterback Fantasy Options
After Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season, Arizona has given a host of quarterbacks a test drive. Highly prized free agent QB Dereck Anderson was a bust in 2010, and part time players Kevin Kolb and John Skelton weren't much better in 2011.
QB Richard Bartel will be in the preseason mix with Skelton and Kolb come August. It should be noted that the Cardinals gave up 54 sacks in 2011. Unless they get some offensive line help in the NFL 2012 Draft, any starting pivot in Arizona would be a risky fantasy option.
Cardinals Running Back Fantasy Options
With the departure of Tim Hightower to the Washington Redskins, the door was wide open for Beanie Wells to step in and take on the roll as the top RB option in Arizona. Though often injured throughout the last two seasons, Wells did show some signs of value during the 2011 season as he had 1,099 total yards and ten touchdowns in 14 games.
If you take a chance on Beanie, be sure that you have at least two other capable running backs on your roster. Teammate RB LaRod Stephens-Howling is not the capable backup we are speaking of here.
Cardinals Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
Though he has suffered through poor QB play the last two years, not many wide receivers have been more of a stud than Larry Fitzgerald over the past seven seasons. During that period Fitz has averaged 1,262 receiving yards and a tick over nine touchdowns per season. Still under 30, there's no reason to believe that Fitzgerald won't produce as a low end WR1 during the 2012 season.
A weak supporting cast, featuring Early Doucet and Andre Roberts, needs to be upgraded in Arizona. Philadelphia Eagles free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson is familiar with QB Kevin Kolb and would benefit from a change of scenery. The fast track at University of Phoenix Stadium is suited perfect for Jackson.
Cardinals Tight End Fantasy Options
Not many teams have had worse Fantasy Football tight ends, since what seems like forever, than the Cardinals. Free agent signings Todd Heap and Jeff King continued that tradition during the 2011 NFL campaign. This not so dynamic duo combined for 554 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Of the two, because he is younger and less injury prone, we would take King as TE3 late in our 2012 Fantasy Draft. That said, there are much better options than picking from the tight end graveyard in the Glendale.
Cardinals Place Kicker Fantasy Options
With Neil Rackers going on to bigger and better things with the Houston Texans, the Cardinals finished 20th and 29th in PK fantasy scoring on the leg of Jay Feely over the past two seasons. Only seven place kickers had a worse field goal percentage than Feely in 2011 as he hit on just 19 of 24 tries (79.2%). Feely is currently an unrestricted free agent.
While place kickers seem to play forever, at age 35 and because of his lack of accuracy, the Cardinals will most likely dip into the PK free agent pool in 2012. The overall lack of ball movement in Arizona means you should look elsewhere for your kicker on Draft Day 2012.
Overall, at this early point of the NFL off-season, the top Fantasy Football options from the Arizona Cardinals start and end with WR Larry Fitzgerald.