Cardinals 2018 arizona cardinals Fantasy Preview

The 2017 Cardinals improved on their 7-8-1 record from the previous season. That was about the only thing that got better for the Redbirds last year. Arizona finished with some of its worst offensive totals since the 2014 season, a campaign that saw Carson Palmer lost to a knee injury after six games at a time when David Johnson was still matriculating at Northern Iowa. Speaking of Johnson, part of the Cardinal woes stemmed from the season-ending wrist injury he suffered in Week 1. Neither of his replacements – Adrian Peterson, Kerwynn Williams, and Chris Johnson – provided any real fantasy relevance. Things only got worse once Palmer went on injured reserve midway through the season. It wasn't all bad. Like death and taxes, Larry Fitzgerald was again an offensive constant. The veteran caught 100 passes and topped 1,000 receiving yards for the third consecutive season on his way to another top 10 fantasy receiver finish. The next closest Arizona receiver (J.J. Nelson) had less than half of Fitzgerald's yardage total. Even the Cardinals' once-vaunted fantasy defense took a major step back in 2017. A group that consistently had been a top 10 stop unit over the past five seasons ended last year a pedestrian 16th, with few signs that they could regain their past glory in 2018.

31

David
Johnson

RB - Cardinals

FACT: David Johnson returns with the hopes of kickstarting an offense that ranked 30th in red zone production last season, scoring on just 41.7 percent of its red zone opportunities. During Johnson's breakout 2016 campaign, Arizona was the sixth-best red zone offense with scores on nearly 65 percent of its chances.
Offseason Moves

There was plenty of turnover this offseason, especially in Arizona's quarterback room. Gone are Carson Palmer (retirement), Matt Barkley (Bengals), Blaine Gabbert (Titans), and Drew Stanton (Browns). In their place, the Cardinals signed free agents Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon while spending the 10th overall pick in the draft on UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen. Similarly, Arizona drafted Texas A&M receiver Christian Kirk in the second round to mitigate the loss of wideouts John Brown (Ravens) and Jaron Brown (Seahawks). Fourth-round running back Chase Edmonds from Fordham offers some roster depth but isn't likely to make much of a fantasy impact. On the defensive side, the Cardinals lost safety Tyrann Mathieu to the Houston Texans, leaving another big hole in a defense that wasn't quite the same last season.

Sleepers & Busts

The Cardinals (and fantasy fans) are looking for a reliable receiver not named Larry Fitzgerald, which could bode well for J.J. Nelson and Brice Butler. Kirk could also see targets, though his greater impact could end up being on special teams. Bradford is the anticipated starter entering training camp, but Rosen is expected to compete for the job and could end up in the starting role if Bradford is injured or falters. However, it's not worth spending a draft pick on Rosen outside of dynasty rookie drafts. From time immemorial, the Cardinals have been in search of a productive tight end and there's hope that Ricky Seals-Jones can be the answer to that positional riddle, even if he's no more than a streaming option. It's hard to suggest with a straight face that David Johnson could be a bust in 2018 but anyone hoping for a repeat of his phenomenal 2016 season is likely going to be disappointed.

Fantasy Depth Chart
POSFIRSTSECONDTHIRDOTHER
QB Sam Bradford Josh Rosen Mike Glennon
RB David Johnson Elijhaa Penny Chase Edmonds
WR Larry Fitzgerald J.J. Nelson Brice Butler Christian Kirk
TE Ricky Seals-Jones Jermaine Gresham
K Phil Dawson Matt McCrane