The Arizona Cardinals are just a big hot mess when it comes to fantasy football. Despite having a Pro Bowl wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald, it’s time to cut bait on the Cardinals and avoid them all with Fitzy being the lone exception.
The quarterback situation is a quagmire. Kevin Kolb has the big contract and came in the big trade for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie two seasons ago. John Skelton has the big arm from a small school in Fordham. Though there is a current leaning towards Skelton, there really is no clue which one of them will run the offense in 2012. It wouldn’t be a shock to see draftee Ryan Lindley get a late-season start.
Over at running back, Beanie Wells had more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns last season but did so on a gimpy knee. He also had more than 200 of those in one game against the woeful Rams. Wells had offseason knee surgery, possibly microfracture, and hasn’t yet hit the field in the preseason.
Ryan Williams ruptured his patella tendon in the preseason last year and is working his way back to the field but has never played a down in the regular season. This looks like a textbook RBBC situation and might have had value if not for the offensive line. The line in Arizona bears a resemblance to Swiss cheese. They give opposing defenses tons of holes and allowed more than 100 sacks over the last two seasons combined. It’s hard to have an effective running game when you frequently find yourself in 3rd and 7 (or more).
Fitzgerald is an all-pro which is amazing given how awful the quarterbacking has been since Kurt Warner left the team four years ago. Fitzgerald will continue to draw extra defenders which can take away from his potential. Fitgerald is the only exception to the “avoid the Cards” rule because of his immense talents. If he played on a team with a better quarterback, he’d be pushing guys like Calvin Johnson for the top spot in all of fantasy at that position.
The rest of the wideout corps is battling over the scraps after Fitzgerald. Michael Floyd has promise in keeper leagues but shouldn’t be taken seasonally; it remains to be seen how much coverage he will draw. Andre Roberts and Early Doucet are weak receiving options. The tight end position is a real logjam between Todd Heap, Rob Housler and Jeff King. None of them have stepped up and all are to be avoided.
Kicker Jay Feely won’t get very many chances to shine because of the offensive ineptitude.
Defensively, the Cardinals were a Jekyll-and-Hyde act last season and had to go to overtime to win four of their eight games. Consider this stat about Arizona: The Cardinals were 7-0 in games when they allowed 20 points or less. They were 1-8 when they gave up 22 or more. Arizona’s defense has little margin for error and they could have easily been 4-12 last season instead of 8-8.
Patrick Peterson has a glimmer of value as a kick returner in IDP leagues but is still developing his skills defensively. Even playing in the mainly weak NFC West, the defense still doesn’t offer enough consistency to warrant being picked.
As someone who lives in Arizona, this looks like another roller-coaster season leaning towards another year of folly in the desert. Just because they play somewhere that’s ridiculously hot, don’t let them make you sweat mentally. Fold the Cards for the benefit of your fantasy team.