All aboard the hype train. Arizona has finished last in the NFC West the past two seasons but many believe this is the year the exciting Cardinals can finally translate their young talent into results. Let's break down how the high-flying Cards will perform in the 2020 Fantasy Football Arizona Cardinals preview.
First-overall pick Kyler Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury's air raid offense paid immediate dividends for Arizona, as the team improved by two wins and scored over six points per game more compared to 2018. The offense continued to improve in the second half of the season, following the acquisition of running back Kenyan Drake.
After making another big splash by acquiring star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson many are looking at the Cardinals as a sleeper team to compete in the division and one of the best places to find fantasy production in 2020.
With a mix of young and veteran talent, Arizona is shaping up to be one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL.
2020 Fantasy Football Arizona Cardinals Preview
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Murray was excellent in his first NFL season, racking up 3,722 passing yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 544 yards and four additional touchdowns. Murray's passing performances were inconsistent, as he passed for under 200 yards six separate times, but he still finished as QB7 thanks to his contributions on the ground.
With one year of NFL experience to learn the finer points of Kingsbury's offense, Murray is primed for a breakout 2020 season. His Fantasypros rank of QB5 (63 overall) puts him in the second tier of quarterbacks that owners will need to invest a fifth or sixth-round pick in. Murray's ceiling can go even higher if he is able to improve on his poor 3.7 percent touchdown rate, which sat 27th of 32 qualified passers.
Expected second-year improvement and the addition of Hopkins gives Murray top-three upside at the QB position.
Drake went on a rampage after the midseason trade to Arizona, averaging 5.23 YPC and scoring eight touchdowns in eight games. Drake was RB4 from Weeks 9-17 behind Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, and Ezekiel Elliott.
Many believe that Drake is destined to be an elite running back as Arizona's permanent starter. However, this isn't the first time Drake has parlayed a half-season outburst into elite Fantasy value. Drake exploded as a starter in 2017 when then Dolphins teammate Damien Williams was injured. Like 2019, Drake finished the second half of the season as a top-10 (RB8) Fantasy option.
Drake has everyone believing his hype once again and has become a popular pick in the second round. It's very possible that Drake can finally put together a good full season but there are some signs that Drake could regress once again.
After his explosive Cards debut, Drake endured a four-game stretch where he averaged just 3.4 YPC and was held out of the endzone. He bookended his first year in the desert with a remarkable three-game stretch, rushing for 363 yards and seven touchdowns.
So which version is the real Drake? If he plays a full season, the former Alabama back will likely finish as a top-15 RB with some inconsistency.
Chase Edmonds showed he is also a very talented option by averaging over 5.0 YPC in 2019. In a Week 5 victory over the Giants, Edmonds rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns. He was never given a proper opportunity to follow up his performance thanks to a hamstring injury. Edmonds showed he deserves some carries and can fill in if Drake struggles. He's just a handcuff now but a must-draft behind one of the biggest risk-reward players in the draft.
Despite having to learn a new offense, Hopkins remains one of the top receivers in Fantasy. The 28-year old is coming off a "down" year, receiving 150 targets for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns, all three-year lows. While the Arizona offense will likely run smoother than the Texans', owners shouldn't expect Nuk to regain his 2018 form right away.
Moving to a new offense is difficult, even more so with an uncertain offseason ahead. Hopkins will undoubtedly see the most targets in this WR corps but the number will likely fall lower than the 166 he has averaged over the past five seasons. Hopkins is still an elite WR1 who likely traded some volume for playing in a more prolific offensive scheme.
Kirk will be the WR2 in the Arizona offense after catching 68 passes for 709 yards last season. The third-year receiver had his season partially derailed early, missing three games with an ankle sprain. Kirk looked like Murray's favorite target when healthy, averaging a team-leading 7.8 targets per game. Kirk should have an easier time finding open space with Hopkins sharing the field. He finished last season as WR40 despite missing three games. His draft position is very close to his floor in a full season with plenty of room for profit.
Fitzgerald will return for a 17th season and will be 37 for the kickoff of Week 1. The veteran has aged gracefully but will be the No. 3 option in this offense. Fitzgerald was a low-end WR3 last year and will be a fringe bench option or bye-week fill-in with Hopkins in the lineup.
Williams is a non-factor for Fantasy purposes. The 26-year-old has averaged just over 15 receptions per season over the last three years with three combined touchdowns.
The Arizona offense is one of the most explosive offenses in the league, boasting three players who could finish top-5 at their position. Murray and Hopkins specifically have an outside shot to finish QB1 and WR1 respectively.
While the offensive side of the ball comes together, the defense remains a work in progress. The Cardinals will likely be forced into several shootouts, further boosting the value of everyone in the offense.
Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2020 season.
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