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Not too much needs to be said about the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are one of the best teams in the NFL, and are probably one of the top three teams contending for the Super Bowl this year. They are loaded with talent on both sides of the football, so they should be (if you know what you are doing) a very popular team to comb over for valuable fantasy players.
It all starts on offence with Carson Palmer. Palmer was a fantasy stud last year in coach Bruce Arians system where the playbook is first down run, second down throw deep, third down throw deep, and repeat until in the end zone. This air-it-out style of offence will continue this year and Palmer should once again be a high-level QB1. There is a lot of concern about the way the season ended for Arizona last year, but for now I will chalk that up to just a poor performance, and until Palmer shows some regression in the regular season, it’s all systems go in the desert.
One of the reason Palmer was so good last year is because he throws to really good wide outs. Larry Fitzgerald is a Hall of Famer, Michael Floyd is a beast, John Brown is a useful slot receiver, and even rookie J.J. Nelson showed he had the speed to get down field last season (in a small sample size). The big three of Fitzgerald, Floyd and Brown though are all great fantasy options, and because Arians likes to throw the ball so often there will be plenty of touches to go around. Hot tip alert: Look for Floyd to potentially lead the team in receiving with Fitzgerald starting to get up there in age.
The Cardinals running game is interesting. They have shown that they can run the football effectively with the Johnsons (David and Chris respectively) leading the way. The interesting thing is whether or not David Johnson lives up to the hype of being the next big thing in fantasy football. David Johnson burst onto the scene last year when Chris Johnson got injured and has since taken over the starting job. However, he had success in only a few games, and has yet to prove he can carry the load over a whole year. Could we see a sophomore slump this year (ex. Jeremy Hill)? Maybe, but the tantalizing thought of just how good David Johnson could be will lead to someone picking him either in the first or second round. This makes Chris Johnson an interesting handcuff because, as we saw with Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard with the Bengals last year, should the young back falter, the older, more experienced back could work his way into the backfield picture more as the season goes on.
The Cardinals defence is also worth picking up as they are one on the best defences in the entire league (finishing no worse than 13th over the past six seasons in fantasy) and should be difficult for opposing teams to play against.
QB Carson Palmer; RB David Johnson; RB Chris Johnson; WR Larry Fitzgerald; WR Michael Floyd; WR John Brown; K Chandler Catanzaro; Arizona D/ST