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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Team Talk: Arizona Cardinals

By Adam Filadelfo (@FNTSYArchitect)

The NFL draft has come and gone which means it is now time to take a look at all the teams heading into the 2015 season from a fantasy football perspective. What each team did (or didn't do) last season is now irrelevant as the slate is wiped clean and each team starts with the same record. It's time to take a look at our first team, the Arizona Cardinals and some of the key players with regards to fantasy football.

Carson Palmer- Quarterback- The former USC signal caller began his 2014 season averaging over 21 fantasy points per game but an ACL injury derailed his last 10 games and subsequently the Arizona Cardinals season. Before the injury, Palmer passed for over 1,600 yards and 11 touchdowns to only three interceptions. Head Coach Bruce Arians believes Carson Palmer will be ready for the start of the 2015 season and if he's right, fantasy owners can count on drafting Palmer later in their drafts. He will make a more than adequate backup to slot in on a bye week or a starting quarterback if you wait to grab your quarterback in your drafts.

Andre Ellington- Running Back- Some fantasy owners may see Andre Ellington's 2014 season as a disappointment where other may look at it as the start of something big. Either way, Ellington was highly effective in the passing game accounting for 46 receptions for almost 400 yards on 64 targets. Most fantasy owners are going to expect the number of targets and receptions to rise in the coming season in order for Ellington to remain an early round target on draft day. He did have six games with double digit fantasy points in 2014 and was battling a foot injury since before the season even started so there is plenty of optimism for Ellington heading into 2015.

Larry Fitzgerald- Wide Receiver- The days of Fitzgerald being an elite fantasy receiver are behind him. In 14 games played in 2014, he averaged a pedestrian 6.5 fantasy points per game and had only three games where he scored double digit fantasy points. Fellow receivers John Brown and Michael Floyd have surpassed Fitzgerald as the top wide out on the team.

Michael Floyd- Wide Receiver- Deemed a major disappointment to fantasy owners expecting Floyd to break out in a major way in 2014, he averaged only 7.5 fantasy points per game and finished the season with 47 catches on only 99 targets. He didn't have his biggest game of the season until week 17 where most fantasy owners had already finished up their season. 2015 will be a make or break year for Michael Floyd.

John Brown- Wide Receiver- Clearly the top wide out for the Cardinals in 2014, John Brown finished his rookie season averaging over six fantasy points per game and a team leading 103 targets and five touchdowns. With a healthy Carson Palmer throwing passes to him, fantasy owners can expect bigger and better things from the second year receiver in 2015.

Patrick Peterson- Defensive Back- For those fantasy owners that play in Individual Defensive Players leagues (IDP for short), Patrick Peterson averaged five fantasy points per game and finished with three interceptions and 44 solo tackles. He also added two games of double digit fantasy points to his 2014 resume. It's difficult to trust a defensive back each week in fantasy football seeing how their points are awarded mainly by interceptions but Peterson also returns punts/kicks on occasion and is one of the better defensive backs in the NFL.

D/ST- As a team, the Arizona Cardinals were ranked in the top ten of fantasy defenses last season. While the defense played well versus the pass, they really stood out versus the run allowing only a single touchdown all season. The loss of Antonio Cromartie could hurt their backfield this season as well as their former defensive coordinator leaving to coach the New York Jets. The Cardinals may not have the stand out defense they had last season, but it should be a defense fantasy owners can count on later in their drafts.