2023 Fantasy Football Arizona Cardinals Preview

by Richard Savill

The cornerstone of fantasy foootball forecasting is causal analysis. For instance, we know Dalvin Cook was released by the Vikings; therefore, we can easily look to Alexander Mattison as the likely fantasy beneficiary. But most of fantasy football involves simple management of depth chart priority, just like this 2023 Fantasy Football Arizona Cardinals Preview.

Most people involved in fantasy football know the basics, and this is all on page one. However, with the Arizona Cardinals, we enter a much more complicated shift. The firing of Kliff Kingsbury after a 4-13 season ends a rather underwhelming period for the team.

The Cardinals' offense under Kingsbury was often erratic and lacked hard-etched game planning. This was true again in 2022. They lost their last seven games of the season and had only a single win against their division rivals.

So, the Cardinals not only have a new head coach for 2023, Jonathan Gannon, but also a new general manager, Monti Ossenfort. Gannon was the Eagles' defensive coordinator who took them to the Super Bowl. Controversy surrounded his hiring, as the Eagles claimed the Cardinals tampered with Gannon's focus following the NFC Championship. It is far too early to be doing head coaching reconnaissance.

As for Ossenfort, this is his first promotion to general manager following his stint with the Tennessee Titans as director of player personnel. Ossenfort has a long history in the realm of NFL scouting, so it will be interesting to see what he and Gannon have in mind for the direction Arizona will take.

Defensive coaches often, but not always, favor a ball-control ground offense. At one time, the Cardinals were deep in wide receiving talent led by Larry Fitzgerald, but the times, they are a-changin'.

2023 Fantasy Football Arizona Cardinals Preview

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The first problem for the Cardinals' fantasy prospects begins with Kyler Murray, who is expected to enter camp on the PUP list and may not start the season due to his ACL tear in December. Whether or not he is draftable depends on how his progress unfolds through August. However, missing camp is never a good sign, especially considering that a new coach is trying to prepare a new system for Week 1.

Considering the above situation, we should now focus on Colt McCoy in the meantime. Our opinions of McCoy have changed over the years in various ways. He has been one of those "hot and cold" journeyman backups, but there are worse options in the NFL.

Generally, I believe your fantasy Cardinals are in relatively safe hands with McCoy.

Running Backs

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James Conner was a popular pick last year due to his high workload, but his role might change depending on the direction Gannon and OC Drew Petzing want to take the team. Regardless, it is likely that Conner will remain the primary choice due to the weak depth chart behind him.

Keaontay Ingram is a late-round draft option but holds little standalone value. If Conner were to miss any time in 2023, it would likely turn into a full committee with Corey Clement. Emari Demercado, an undrafted free agent, is the only rookie in the group.

We should take the Cardinals' backfield seriously in fantasy this season. With Conner currently ranked well-outside the top 10 in ADP for running backs, he appears to be a bargain for those prioritizing wide receivers in the early rounds.

Wide Receivers

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The only reasonable chance for a 1000-yard receiver from this group is Marquise Brown. The uncertainty at quarterback raises questions about Brown's fantasy upside. However, considering how ADP tends to overreact to uncertain situations, Brown is a prime candidate for an ADP bargain. The departure of DeAndre Hopkins all but guarantees an increase in target volume.

Rondale Moore is ranked on the lower end, but should not remain undrafted in any league. At best, Moore is a WR4, but his target share should rise in line with Hopkins' departure as well.

For those who enjoy testing rookies in fantasy, the Cardinals drafted Michael Wilson from Stanford at number 94. Due to the aforementioned situation, the chances of an unexpected breakout are very low. Nevertheless, Wilson could easily surpass Dortch in three-wide sets. He's a player worth monitoring.

Tight Ends

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The fantasy chapter of Zach Ertz's upside is closing. Once a must-own player in Philadelphia, Ertz is beginning to feel the sting of injuries. As things stand, he may not be ready for Week 1 due to ACL/MCL tears suffered last November.

Trey McBride is projected to be the number one tight end for the Cardinals, but his value is currently no better than a dart-throw bye-week fill.

Final Verdict

The Cardinals are a team in transition after cleaning house with a new general manager, head coach, and offensive/defensive coordinators. Expectations for fantasy production are dampened by Kyler Murray's injury, casting a shadow on the team's skill players. However, there are bargains available for those willing to take the risks. Marquise Brown and James Conner are the only must-own fantasy targets as we approach 2023.

That does it for our 2023 Fantasy Football Arizona Cardinals Preview. Check out the rest of our Fantasy Football content!

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