If you’ve been following along with this series, you may have noticed a trend; I’m ordering them in concordance with how I feel the division will play out in the upcoming year. But for those of you not scoring at home, that means I think Arizona will indeed finish dead last in the mighty NFC West. I’m sorry I’m not sorry Cardinal fans (*cough, cough* @ReganFP).
While I have no doubt the modest upgrades will help the team improve from last year (like that would be hard), I do believe any and all improvements will be marginal at best.
When he’s not on his back, Carson Palmer should be able to accidentally find Larry Fitzgerald enough to see his stud receiver-type numbers return to some form of normalcy, but outside of that there really shouldn’t be too much to excite Cardinal fans; on a real or fake level. Unless of course, you play IDP…
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Arizona Cardinals (Base: 3-4)
If you don’t land Larry Fitz in your draft and have your heart set on coming home with a member of the “Desert Birds” (and you don’t wanna be stuck trottin Palmer out there every week), you’d be wise to jump on one of the few IDP-worthy players that the Card’s offer. It’s slim pickin’s because after all, you don’t finish 17th in scoring defense with a team full of all-pro’s.
Calais Campbell: 3-4 Defensive End’s rarely live up to their 4-3 counterparts in the fantasy realm, but Campbell may be the exception. He still won’t post the sack numbers of a top-of-the-line 4-3 end, but he makes up for it with many more tackles. He went from 60 total tackles in 2010, to 72 in 2011, and was on pace to surpass that had he not missed 3 games this last season. And just because he doesn’t have monstrous sack totals, doesn’t mean he’s a slouch in that department. Per PFF, over the last 3 seasons he has increased his PRP (Pass Rush Productivity), and likely would have eclipsed his career high sack total of 8 (set in 2011) had he not missed those 3 games due to injury. Despite the 3-4 tag, he still can be your DL1.
Daryl Washington: I don’t need to say too much here, Washington’s resume speaks for itself. He’s been a beast the past two seasons, but last year is when he put it all together. Unfortunately, he’s gonna miss the first 4 games of the year due to suspension, and could potentially miss even more depending on the results of his domestic dispute case. His redraft value takes a big hit, but being that he’s only entering his 4th season, his dynasty value is still through the roof–provided he can get his head on straight that is. When he plays, he’s an unquestioned LB1 and may be the best IDP player overall.
Karlos Dansby: Dansby rejoins the Cardinals after 3 seasons with Miami, and will fill in for Washington while he’s on sabbatical. Dansby has always had a nose for the ball; he has registered over 100 total tackles 4 times in his career, including last year where he had over 100 solo tackles alone. When Washington returns, Dansby should still stay on the field and will likely move to the 2nd inside LB position. And, given the nature of the defense, he’ll be given the occasional blitzing responsibility as well. He should post good tackle numbers as well as a handful of sacks, and can be a low-end LB1.
Kevin Minter(R): Depending on how much time Washington misses, Minter could see his fair share of playing time. He’s still a work in progress when it comes to pass coverage, but he’s a very good tackler and is adept at shedding blocks to bring down ball carriers. Somebody to keep an eye on in keeper and dynasty formats.
Patrick Peterson: As a corner back, especially one who doesn’t get a ton of tackles, Peterson’s value will come mostly with his ability to get his hands on the ball. He has 9 interceptions in his first 2 seasons, and he should be able to come down with a few in ’13 as well. He also provides value in leagues that reward for punt/kick off TD’s, but he may lose some opportunities in that department due to the arrival of our next contestant…
Tyrann Mathieu(R): The Honey Badger has been drawing rave reviews thus far in OTA’s, and the aforementioned Palmer has gone even as far as to compare him to Troy Polamalu. While I may question the QB’s comp and wonder if he’s taken one to many to the dome, there’s no denying Mathieu’s play making ability. Obviously there will be the constant threat of suspension, but I’m gonna play me a hunch and say he ends up contributing nicely to an otherwise mediocre defense. Expect him to play a key role on special teams, and may even unseat the ancient one, Yeremiah Bell, by season’s end.
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Yeremiah Bell: Speaking of the ancient one; after a long tenured career with Miami and one quick spell with the Jets of New York, Bell brings his tackling prowess to the desert. Bell has been a tackling machine and one of the most consistent IDP-ers for the past several seasons. He’s lost a step or two over the years, but should still account for anywhere between 80-90 total tackles. He can be a solid DB2.
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