Fantasy Team Preview: Cardinals

Overall outlook: Can a new quarterback – even one on the downside – make Larry Fitzgerald an impact fantasy player again? And can a retooled offensive line help this team run a bit for a change?

Bye week: 9

Quarterback: Carson Palmer

Ranked 18th with 264.3 fantasy points in 2012 … In 15 games, was 10th in passing yards (4,018), eighth in attempts (565), ninth in completions (345) and T-15 in touchdown passes (22) … May not have the arm to thrive in head coach Bruce Arians’ downfield passing offense, but isn’t completely washed up at age 33 … Mid-level QB2, at best.

Running back: Rashard Mendenhall

Ran just 51 times for 182 yards during an injury-shortened 2012 … Combined for 2,201 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in 2010-11 … Was declared the team’s lead back by Arians during the offseason, but missed some camp time in early August with patella tendinitis … Going as an RB3, and a risky one at that.

Running back: Ryan Williams

Carried 58 times for 164 yards in 2012 before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 5 … Was a popular offseason sleeper, but slipping on draftboards due to a sore knee that limited him early in camp … RB5 with upside.

Running back: Stepfan Taylor

The Cardinals drafted Taylor in the fifth round out of Stanford … 215-pound, north-south runner could be interesting if Williams gets buried or cut … Dynasty league consideration.

Wide receiver: Larry Fitzgerald

Suffered through a miserable 2012, ranking 42nd among wide receivers with 103.8 points as his quarterbacks often missed him by several thousand feet … Ranked 21st with 71 receptions, 35th with 798 receiving yards, and scored four touchdowns … Even a mediocre Palmer represents a huge improvement over the Cardinals’ 2012 quarterbacks, and puts the terrific Fitz back in the fantasy WR1 conversation.

Wide receiver: Michael Floyd

Ranked 67th among wide receivers with 66.2 fantasy points in 2012 … As a rookie, was T-55 in receptions (45) and 64th in receiving yards (562) while scoring twice … The word “breakout” seems to accompany Floyd’s name wherever it appears … Looks to be a WR4 on most draft boards.

Wide receiver: Andre Roberts

Had a solid 2012 campaign, ranking 37th among fantasy wideouts with 108.8 points … Was 29th in targets (113), T-27 in receptions (64) and 40th in yardage (758) while scoring five times … Could be an interesting PPR option while lining up in the slot, but looks like a late-round pick even in that format.

Tight end: Rob Housler

Caught 45 passes for 417 yards in 2012 … Arians, who likes to use his tight ends, suggested that Housler could catch 80 passes after seeing him in OTAs … Has promise as a TE2.

Placekicker: Jay Feely

Ranked T-20 with 111 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 21st in field goal attempts, T-18 in field goals made (25), and T-28 in extra points (25) … Even with the prospect of an improved offense, there’s no need to draft Feely.

Team defense

T-10 with 125 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 12th in yards allowed (5,405), 17th in points allowed (357), T-11 in sacks (38), second in interceptions (22), T-13 in fumble recoveries (11) and T-14 in touchdowns (four) … Those are decent numbers considering that the unit didn’t get a touchdown from CB Patrick Peterson, who scored four times in 2011 … Can be drafted as a top-10 fantasy defense.

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