Throughout the 2012 offseason, we will be taking a look at each NFL team from a keeper/dynasty perspective. Keeper leagues are very unique, with widely varying formats, but the following are observations based on reasonable draft positions in 2011. Further discussion of different keeper/dynasty decisions and trades is welcome in the comments below. We start by taking a look at the Offseason Odyssey of the Arizona Cardinals…
Finish: 8-8 (2nd NFC West)
2012 Draft Order: 13th Overall Pick
2011 Leaders: QB- Kevin Kolb- 1955 pass yds, 9/8 td/int RB- Beanie Wells- 1047 rush yds, 10 td WR- Larry Fitzgerald- 80 rec, 1411 rec yds, 8 td TE- Jeff King- 27 rec, 271 rec yds, 3 td
On the Fence? KEEP him: Beanie Wells– Personally, I tended to undervalue Wells a bit during the course of the 2011 season. Non-existent receiving skills (27 career catches) and a brittle reputation made me avoid Beanie like the mangy cat that lives under my porch. Despite the reputation, Wells actually played in 15 games in 2011, and was one of only 15 NFL running backs that eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards, despite his plodding running style. Stick with Wells, as the Arizona coaching staff will continue to lean on this bruiser at the goal line, as they did in 2011 (10 touchdowns).
On the Fence? CUT him: Early Doucet- The battle for the #2 wide receiver spot in Arizona’s offense was seemingly won by Doucet in 2011, as he narrowly edged youngster Andre Roberts in catches, yards, and touchdowns. However, Doucet was outplayed by Roberts over the last 5 games, as he caught only 11 passes compared to 24 for Roberts. In addition, Doucet is a free agent and his status in Arizona is in limbo. Early will most likely be playing elsewhere in 2012, so his value will be tied to the situation in which he resides. Although still young (26), Doucet’s inability to hold off Roberts in 2011 makes it unlikely that he will sign with a new team and immediately break out.
Dynasty Vault: Larry Fitzgerald- The legend of Larry kept on trucking in 2011. Not even the combo of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton at quarterback could slow Fitzgerald, as he racked up 1,411 receiving yards, good for 4th in the NFL. Considering the 3 players who finished ahead of Fitzgerald had Eli, Brady and Stafford throwing to them, 2011 reinforced just how special Fitz is, despite crusty QB performance. Also, keep in mind that this beast of a wide out has played in all 16 games in each of the last 4 seasons. Imagine if Peyton Manning ends up in Arizona…
Dynasty Dump: Kevin Kolb- Kolb’s 2011 season was a complete flop, as the highly touted free agent quarterback played in only 9 games with a 9/8 td/int ratio. John Skelton is still an option for the Cardinals, and they have been rumored to be a potential suitor for Peyton Manning. Even if Kolb is starting in Arizona in 2012, stay far away from him. Let’s hope 2012’s super sub Matt Flynn performs a little better after free agency than Kolb.
Dynasty Target: Ryan Williams- Williams was quickly climbing fantasy rankings last summer, only to blow out his knee before the season began. At the time, Williams was expected to get a decent share of the Arizona backfield touches next to Beanie Wells. Perhaps the lost season diminished the value of this young running back, so sniff around this offseason and see if he can be had at a bargain price. Nothing is guaranteed after a knee injury, but the Arizona coaches were huge fans of Williams at one point, so he could still end up being a productive player in the future. Plus, there are worse ways to fill out a dynasty bench than 21 year old running backs….like Chad Ochocinco.
Offseason Interest: Stick with Kolb? Spring will be an interesting time in the Arizona desert, as the Cards will be debating between holding a Kevin Kolb/John Skelton QB battle (barf), or diving head first into pursuit of Peyton Manning. A healthy Manning in town would boost Fitzgerald into the top receiver spot in 2012 (slightly edging out ‘Tron), and could provide an interesting spark in the dynasty development of Andre Roberts. That scenario sounds a lot more fun that watching Kolb throw picks, so let’s just go ahead and root for that!