With a win total of 4.5, the Arizona Cardinals are expected to be the worst team in the NFL this year. We'll see if we can find any signs of fantasy football life. If we do, we'll be drafting on Underdog Fantasy with promo code 'UNDERBLOG' to match your first deposit up to $100. We have the biggest fantasy football tournament of all time ($15M) right now.
3-WR Sets (13th in snaps, 64% of snaps)
WR: Marquise Brown
WR: Zach Pascal --> Michael Wilson (R)
SLOT: Rondale Moore --> Greg Dortch
TE: Trey McBride --> Zach Ertz (PUP?)
2-WR Sets (15th in snaps, 26% of snaps)
WR: Marquise Brown --> Michael Wilson (R)
WR: Rondale Moore --> Zach Pascal
SLOT TE: Zach Ertz (PUP?)
INLINE TE: Trey McBride
RB Usage (24th in expected half PPR)
GOAL LINE: James Conner --> Keaontay Ingram
PASSING DOWN: James Conner --> Keaontay Ingram
Offensive Line (Yikes)
LT: D.J. Humphries (Decent, coming off injury)
LG: Paris Johnson Jr. (1st round rookie who played LT)
C: Hjalte Froholdt (27yo on $1M guaranteed, 652 career snaps)
RG: Will Hernandez (Re-signed for $2M guaranteed)
RT: Kelvin Beachem (34yo on $1M guaranteed)
Nobody knows when Kyler Murray (ACL) will play, if at all. The downside risk is this front office is already clearing cap space and traded down multiple times in this last draft to re-set this roster. A Murray trade next offseason would only save $5M and come with $46M in dead money, but that's the new NFL (see: Matt Ryan, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, etc). If the Cardinals are 2-8 when Murray is ready, why risk losing a potentially elite 1st overall pick by starting Murray (or risk him looking bad when needing to offload his contract?)... Even if Murray does return early, it's unlikely he'll be running as often as he did prior to his injury (see: Dak Prescott) and he won't have DeAndre Hopkins either. Last year's 18.9 fantasy points per game (low-end QB1) would be a relative ceiling in my projections. For now, his backup is veteran Colt McCoy, who has a 1.7 TD% and 6.6 YPA on 231 attempts over the last two years. The OL will not help either of these QBs out.
Marquise Brown will be a full time player, largely on the perimeter. In eight (8) games without Hopkins last year, he averaged 13.9 fantasy points on 13.3 expected fantasy points, which is fine WR2 production. The caveat is that was largely with Murray, not McCoy. Over the entire season, Hollywood was the WR35 per game in fantasy points over replacement. I'll draft him as a boom-bust WR3. ... It's a competition behind him for both 2- and 3-WR sets. Rondale Moore (5'7/180) is a slot by trade, but he did play on the outside on 43% of dropbacks last year and played in 77% of the Cardinals' 2-WR sets when he was active. Very likely a 3-WR set starter based on pedigree already, it's possible Moore plays more 2-WR snaps than people realize. His primary competition comes from Zach Pascal (6'2/219), who received a 2-year, $4.5M contract from this new front office, one with ties to Pascal from Philly. Pascal offers versatility (career 60% slot rate) and size, even though he's never been a volume player. ... Their backups likely will be $1M slot-only WR Greg Dortch (5'7/175) and 3rd-round rookie boundary WR Michael Wilson (6'2/213). If Dortch cracks the starting lineup, expect Moore to kick outside as that's what happened in Week 4 and Week 7 last season.
At TE, it's unclear when Ertz (ACL + MCL) will be ready and if he'll even play in Arizona. They won't save much money by releasing him, but they will if another team opts to trade for him. That scenario seems fairly unlikely, though possible. Either way, this tanking Cardinals roster will want to see what they have with 23-year-old McBride, who was quite bad on a per-snap basis but did run the 3rd most routes per game among all NFL TEs from Week 10 on last year. I'm buying late in drafts even though he only averaged 5.4 points on 5.6 expected points in games without Ertz last year.
Nothing has really changed at RB from last year. Conner averaged 17.6 half PPR points on 15.5 expected half PPR points in his six (6) games without Kyler late last year. The 28-year-old RB has a $9.4M cap hit this year, the 8th highest at the position. 2022 6th-rounder Ingram was unable to carve out any meaningful role behind Conner. Perhaps that changes this year with new leadership having no ties to either player, but there's no real indication of playing time changing right now. Conner's 2022 advanced stats were in line with his career averages: 4.3 yards per carry (4.2 career), 2.8 yards after contact per carry (2.8 career), 58% elusiveness rating (58% career), and 0.9 yards per route run (1.2 career).
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WR33 Marquise Brown (64.6 overall) --> Mixing in
RB27 James Conner (87.0 overall) --> Mixing in
RB64 Rondale Moore (141.4 overall) --> BUY
QB22 Kyler Murray (164.1 overall) --> Soft fade
TE27 Trey McBride (202.9 overall) --> BUY