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Player Outlooks (2021)
QB Kyler Murray: The rushing numbers that Murray put up last season (819 yards and 11 scores) makes him a high-end QB1 for most, but might he disappoint in 2021? The production declined dramatically down the stretch (season-long pace of 491 rushing yards and two touchdowns over the final seven games), and New England might have laid out a blueprint to slow him down. Progression as a passer—particularly from the pocket—is key for Murray remaining an elite option with several worthy candidates behind Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen this year.
RB Chase Edmonds: Earning pass-game work ahead of Kenyan Drake (who the Raiders signed to essentially be their third-down back) is a big plus for how Arizona views Edmonds, and he projects to get first crack at the lead role in what could be a fairly even split with James Conner. The upside will be determined by just how much of the split Edmonds is able to take hold of, but he should at least be a strong low-end RB2/FLEX with a high floor in full PPR leagues.
RB James Conner: Durability has been the bigger issue than talent for Conner, so the Cardinals could be getting a steal if he stays healthy. However, one concern about a shared backfield is that Conner wasn’t very effective when given single-digit carries with the Steelers, and Kliff Kingsbury isn’t known for being a run-heavy coach. Touchdowns and “closing” opportunities will be important.
RB Eno Benjamin: Benjamin is highly unlikely to have a chance at redraft value behind Edmonds and Conner, but he remains a name to file away. In his final two years at Arizona State, the second-year runner totaled 3,335 yards and 31 touchdowns.
WR DeAndre Hopkins: A new team didn’t limit Hopkins’ overall production with a 115/1,407/6 line, but as those who rostered him know, the volatility certainly increased from week-to-week. Plus, the Cardinals adding James Conner, A.J. Green, and second-rounder Rondale Moore gives them even more weapons, and we might see fewer shootouts if the defensive additions pan out. He will go safely in the second round for most leagues, but Hopkins could be a better target if he falls to the third.
WR A.J. Green: He will turn 33 next month and could have his best football well behind him, but Arizona signed Green to a healthy contract this offseason ($8 million)—suggesting they have a significant role in mind for the former All-Pro. Based on what Kyler Murray has shown as a passer thus far in his career, though, Green is a questionable fit in a league that has slanted more towards speed/separation. The veteran is a late-round flier.
WR Christian Kirk: Kirk has been a somewhat frustrating player to start his career, but he is still just 24, and the big games scattered across the past three years have shown his potential. Perhaps we will see more of a vertical attack in Year 3 of the Kingsbury system, which would fit with Kirk’s strengths as a target that can a) get deep on his own, and b) benefit from more space underneath.
WR Rondale Moore: As stated for A.J. Green, the NFL wants speed in today’s game—and Moore (4.29 40-yard dash) brings plenty of it. Look for Arizona to give the rookie manufactured touches and use him as a potential dynamite returner, but any explosive showings could be difficult to predict in Year 1.
WR Andy Isabella: Isabella only played 27% of the team’s offensive snaps last season, and the writing could be on the wall for him after Arizona drafted Rondale Moore in April. Even in an offense that could use plenty of 10 personnel, Isabella appears to be closer to the roster bubble than reliable fantasy production.
TEs Maxx Williams and Darrell Daniels: Dan Arnold was productive for the Cardinals on 45 targets last season (31/438/4), but Williams and/or Daniels don’t have that same upside at tight end. In a big year for the current Arizona regime, we’d bet the offense will rely on Kingsbury’s bread and butter by highlighting the wideouts in the passing game.
Best 2021 value: RB Chase Edmonds (FantasyPros ECR: RB27)
There are a lot of players that will need touches for the Cardinals, but Edmonds’ floor makes him the best value of the bunch, as he will have his hand in both the passing attack and ground game. For those in best ball leagues, we would recommend avoiding a heavy Arizona stack because of how thin it could spread you; the offense isn’t at the level of teams like Kansas City or Buffalo.
Best dynasty investment: WR Rondale Moore
Moore is expected to be a better real-life player than fantasy option as a rookie, but the No. 49 overall pick is a pocket rocket at five-foot-seven with a 42.5-inch vertical in addition to the 4.29 speed. At worst, Moore will hopefully show enough flashes to boost his stock a meaningful amount heading into 2022.
Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.
Stat to know
Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.
Hopkins’ name elevates him slightly, imo.
Murray is the #2 fantasy quarterback this year behind only Mahomes.
Good to see these again
Nice morning read, I’ll be back for more
Kyler has plenty of pieces.