Fantasy instant debate: Cardinals defense hurting?

After losing Karlos Dansby (free agency) and Daryl Washington (suspension), are you at all worried about the Cardinals defense in 2014?

  • Alex Gelhar NFL.com Writer
  • Lots of question marks

If I'm drafting the Cardinals D/ST, I'm absolutely worried. Dansby and Washington delivered a number of impact fantasy plays, including two touchdowns, six interceptions, a handful of fumbles and 9.5 sacks. If I'm starting a tight end against Arizona, however, I'm less worried. Dansby and Washington were great in coverage last season. Both had double digit pass breakups, and Dansby actually led the team with 19. Ernie Sims and Kevin Minter will be hard pressed to match that type of impact and production, and with Tyrann Mathieu still battling back from an ACL and LCL tear, opposing tight ends could be in line for some big numbers when lining up against the Redbirds in 2014.

  • Marcas Grant NFL.com Fantasy Editor
  • Down, but not out

This certainly isn't the defense we thought the Cardinals would be fielding back in March. Larry Foote, Kevin Minter and Ernie Sims certainly aren't equal replacements for Dansby and Washington. It's going to put a lot of pressure on Calais Campbell and the aging John Abraham to get to the quarterback. Dansby's loss could be particularly felt in the passing game after he led the team with four interceptions last season. There will be a dropoff in production, but there is still plenty of talent in this unit, so it shouldn't be dramatic. Arizona might not duplicate its top five finish from 2013, but should still be worth a look in most leagues.

  • Adam Rank NFL.com Writer
  • Nothing to worry about

Nope.

Losing Dansby and Washington will hurt, but the team has enough players ready to step up, led by Kevin Minter who ran the team's defense in OTAs. The biggest reason to like the Birds' D/ST this year is rookie safety Deone Bucannon. He brings a toughness that the Cardinals have lacked from the position in recent years. Realize the Cardinals allowed the most touchdowns to tight ends last year, but Bucannon is going to change all of that noise.

So I'm not concerned at all. Actually, I have the Cardinals as my top D/ST headed into the season. Especially with a return giant like Patrick Peterson, who has the chance to post a touchdown every week. Don't worry about these guys at all.

I'm tremendously worried - because there's already four weeks of the season you're not going to play them - against the 49ers and Seahawks. Owners fall in love with the Cardinals because of their special teams abilities but with other games against Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, Kansas City, Denver and Washington, just how many times are you actually going to play them?

Pass on the Cardinals 'D.

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