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Player Outlooks (2023)
QB Kyler Murray: Murray is almost certainly going to miss a chunk of the year while recovering from a torn ACL—and Arizona being out of contention early might even lead to him not seeing the field at all in 2023. The upside is worth investing in if you have an IR spot in your league, but Murray probably won’t do a ton of running when he’s back, and the release of DeAndre Hopkins limits the overall upside of the offense. That said, the former No. 1 overall pick will want to showcase his talent when healthy as the Cardinals potentially pick at the top of the draft again in 2024.
QB Colt McCoy: The presumed favorite to be under center to start the season, McCoy was a solid game manager by completing 68.2% of his passes in four appearances last season, but the passing attack should be scaled back under a new coaching staff (McCoy threw it 37.0 times per game aside from one week where he left early). He probably won’t be a recommended streamer versus a very difficult early-season schedule.
QB Clayton Tune: Murray’s status makes three quarterbacks worth mentioning here, and Tune is the notably only option selected by the new regime. The fifth-round rookie doesn’t lack for confidence—saying “I think I’m the best quarterback in this class” during his post-draft conference call—and there would seem to be a real chance of him making starts in 2023. Still, he should probably be viewed as more of a cheap dynasty investment.
RB James Conner: The balance between the Cardinals being projected as one of the worst teams in the league and Conner having a clear runway for a huge workload is challenging to balance, but one definite negative for early in the year is how brutal the schedule is over the first five weeks (@ WAS, v NYG, v DAL, @ SF, v CIN). That could spell trouble for a veteran back that has had trouble staying healthy throughout his career—though it should be pointed out that Conner was sensational down the stretch last season with fantasy-point totals of 22.1, 12.4, 19.5, 20.4, 16.6, 21.5, and 12.5 over his final seven appearances.
RB Keaontay Ingram: Arizona has a very thin depth chart behind James Conner, and Ingram is expected to get the first shot as the clear backup heading into his second season. As a rookie, Ingram rushed 27 times for 60 yards and one touchdown, but the offensive line should be improved with No. 6 overall pick Paris Johnson Jr. joining the group.
RB Corey Clement: Clement hasn’t gotten an extended opportunity to play since being a difference-maker for the Eagles with a 100-yard receiving game in Super Bowl LII, but he started the finale with James Conner out last year and brings a steady game that can get him on the field. The veteran is still relatively young entering his age-28/29 season.
WR Marquise Brown: The Cardinals releasing DeAndre Hopkins was at least a boost for Brown’s WR3 case, but it’s ironic that he’s now in a shaky situation while his former team (Baltimore) is now set to throw the ball around. Still, “Hollywood” is a No. 1 wideout on an offense that will likely play from behind, and perhaps a new system will open up the big-play ability after Brown averaged 18.3 yards per reception at Oklahoma (compared to 11.7 yards per reception in the NFL).
WR Rondale Moore: For those who didn’t see it, the excitement shown by Jonathan Gannon when greeting Moore after being hired was funny, and the offense could draw up a bunch of designed touches for him as a way to move the ball with a questionable quarterback situation. After a season-long pace of 100 receptions and 1,005 receiving yards in seven full games last season, Moore’s size at five-foot-seven shouldn’t hold him back versus NFL competition, and we like him as both a redraft and dynasty investment.
WR Greg Dortch: Dortch worked his way into a significant role last season for the Cardinals, and he performed very well with 52 receptions (on 64 targets) for 467 yards and two touchdowns. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense was an ideal fit for him, though, and now Dortch will be behind Rondale Moore and will likely see decreased volume whether or not everyone is healthy.
WR Michael Wilson: The No. 94 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Wilson’s outlook appears much more favorable following the release of DeAndre Hopkins, and he could be a starter alongside Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore to open his career. Still, the rookie might profile as a role player at the next level, and Arizona could go with heavy 12 personnel if Zach Ertz is healthy to limit his redraft appeal.
WR Zach Pascal: Pascal came over with new head coach Jonathan Gannon from Philadelphia, and he is another contender to win the No. 3 job after limited opportunities with the top-heavy Eagles in 2022. The 28-year-old has a couple of seasons with 600+ yards and five touchdowns in his career, so low-end FLEX value isn’t impossible—particularly if/when Kyler Murray returns.
TE Zach Ertz: The status of Ertz—who turns 33 in November—is up in the air as he recovers from a torn ACL, but he performed at a high level last year with a 17-game pace of 87 receptions, 744 yards, and eight touchdowns. If Arizona is going to be competitive this year, it would make sense to lean on a Pro Bowl tight end, so targets should be there for Ertz (when healthy) with DeAndre Hopkins gone. He can pay dividends late in the year.
TE Trey McBride: A slow recovery for Ertz (or perhaps even a trade) would open the door for McBride to be a solid TE2 option, and he showed well when featured last year in Week 17 by catching seven-of-ten targets for 78 yards and a touchdown. However, the production was extremely limited when Ertz was healthy, and McBride didn’t form a strong connection with Colt McCoy. The second-year tight end will be watched closely in the summer.
Best IDP value: LB Isaiah Simmons
Simmons hasn’t been given a defined role through three seasons, but he’s flashed big-time playmaking ability—including last year with 4.0 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a touchdown. With the Cardinals perhaps transitioning Zaven Collins to the edge, Simmons can be unleashed as the top linebacker with rare versatility under a new coaching staff.
Stat to know (via draft guide)
In six games with DeAndre Hopkins suspended last season, Marquise Brown caught 43 passes for 485 yards and three touchdowns—giving him a 17-game pace of 122/1,374/8.