Arizona Cardinals, Def, Cardinals: Fantasy Football Outlook

 
 
 
 
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Arizona Cardinals, Def, Cardinals

Position/Rank ADP NFL Team Status
Def - #18 ARI Active

2015 Outlook: Quality Backup

Last updated on Jul-02-2015 by Shawn Childs

Arizona has the toughest schedule of any run defense based on 2014 stats. They have five games against teams with strong ground attacks -- Seattle (twice) San Francisco (twice) and the Cincinnati Bengals. Four of those games come over the last eight weeks of the year. The Cardinals have only two games against poor run offenses -- the Lions and Bears. Over their final nine weeks, the Cardinals have seven games against opponents with below-par passing attacks. They have to face four quality aerial attacks -- New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.

The Cardinals dropped to 13th in rushing yards allowed (108.7 per game) after leading the league in run defense in 2013 (84.4 yards per game). They allowed 4.4 yards per carry, which was 0.7 yards more than the previous year. Arizona gave up nine rushing TDs. They racked up 25 sacks while allowing the fourth-most passing yards (259.5 per game). They permitted 22 passing TDs and had 18 interceptions.

DE Calais Campbell was the Cardinals' best defensive player in 2014. He was a plus player against the run while recording seven sacks, seven QB hits and 30 QB hurries. Corey Peters is expected to start this year at defensive end. While with the Falcons last year, Peters was slightly above average against the run and had low value in the pass rush (two sacks, four QB hits and 15 QB hurries). He spent much of last season at defensive tackle. DE Frostee Rucker had five sacks, five QB hits and 18 QB hurries with some value in the run support. DE Cory Redding will add depth off the bench.

LaMarr Woodley might start at outside linebacker. He should add value to the pass rush with only league-average success against the run. In 2013, he had five sacks, eight QB hits and 24 QB hurries. LB Kevin Minter added value against the run in his first season as a starter after being drafted in the second round in 2013. He offered no upside when rushing the QB (one sack, two QB hits and one QB hurry). LB Alex Okafor struggled as run defender in his first season as a starter. He finished with eight sacks, six QB hits and 27 QB hurries. LB Sean Weatherspoon has played just seven games since the end of the 2012 season due to injuries. But he has been cleared following his 2014 Achilles tear and is likely to start for the Cardinals. He plays good run defense and recorded more than 200 tackles from 2011 to 2012.

CB Patrick Peterson had a real tough year in coverage (56 catches on 99 targets for 759 yards and eight TDs with three INTs). He allowed 281 yards after the catch. Peterson has talent, but he cannot match the top WRs in the game when playing one-on-one coverage. Safety Tyrann Mathieu played well in pass coverage in 2013 before blowing out his ACL and LCL that December. He didn't play at an elite level last year. With a full offseason to recover, Mathieu should offer upside in the secondary. CB Jerraud Powers was a slight edge in pass coverage (57 catches for 692 yards, two TDs and three INTs on 87 targets). CB Deone Bucannon was a huge negative in run support after being drafted in the first round in 2014. He wasn't much better in coverage (45 catches on 53 targets for 422 yards and two scores). Deone is an aggressive hitter with run-stopping upside. Even with plus speed and quickness for his position, Bucannon has limitations when matched up versus an elite wideout.


Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson

This defense has some playmaking ability in the secondary and one upside defender on the front line. I don't see enough talent here for this unit to regain its previous form in run defense. The Cardinals will try to attack the QB, but they invite big plays when their pass rush in neutralized. Arizona has been a top-10 Fantasy defense over the past three years, but I don't like them as much this year. I would draft the Cardinals only as a backup defense this year.

Latest References to Arizona Cardinals on FFToolbox:

2014 Mock Draft Results

Month Position Franchise/Comments
FFToolbox Mock Draft July 14
July 14, 2014
14.11 DLF - The Cardinals are required to have a solid defense as they reside in the NFC West. I fully expect them to be startable all season long as a "set it and forget it" option.
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