Wednesday, May 30, 2012

32 in 32: Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals won 8 games last season despite having a -13 turnover differential. That is a pretty amazing feat, and as great a story as John Skelton might be, he is not your answer at quarterback. It is really easy to get caught up in a player who has a few decent games and wins despite the odds. I completely get that, but the guy threw 14 interceptions in 8 games played compared to only 11 touchdowns. There is just no way you can deal with someone who is going to average two interceptions per game. If he played a whole season he would have more interceptions than most teams have touchdown passes. Unlike Skelton, Kevin Kolb had a 57.7% (respectable) completion percentage and threw 8 interceptions to 9 touchdowns. Those are not great numbers, but you can't help but think that the Cards would have done better without some of Skelton's 0TD-2INT games. Kolb needs to realize that he can just chuck the ball downfield to Larry more often; an area where he is out-shined by Skelton. I expect Kolb to win out on accuracy in training camp, but if this team doesn't do better at protecting its quarterbacks, they allowed 54 sacks last season, nobody is going to be able to stay healthy for the whole season.

Regardless of who is throwing the ball, Larry Fitzgerald will be a wonderful option at WR. I don't need to talk him up, there is virtually no chance that this guy will be less than a top 5 receiver in the NFL this year. Fitzgerald apparently lobbied for the addition of Michael Floyd before the draft, and then saw his dream come true on April 28th. Floyd looks to take Early Doucet's place as the number-two receiver, opposite Larry. I don't think Floyd will have a 1,000 yard season, but I think he could come close. Depending on how well he sniffs out the end-zone, he might just be worth a late round pick. Doucet, on the other hand, probably maxed out his value at 700 yards and 5 touchdowns last season. Color me shocked if he beats out Floyd for the number two spot.The tight end position is one of weakness for the Cardinals. I don't think Todd Heap can break out of last season's funk.

Beanie Wells was the only productive runner for the Cardinals last season. If it weren't for the addition of Ryan Williams in the draft, I would project another big season out of Wells. In all honesty, I don't know how many carries Williams will take from Wells this season. If Wells can still get 15 or so carries per game then his value will remain as a decent flex player. I think that can happen and I would imagine that Wells gets drafted between the 7th and 10th rounds in most leagues. If I am looking for a back in that area, though, I would go with Donald Brown. Williams will probably miss out on being fantasy-relevant this season, but it couldn't hurt to draft him late and hope that he beats out Wells for the top spot on the depth chart.

The Cardinals have a decent defense that might be worth drafting thanks to the return power of Patrick Peterson.

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