Major League Baseball returns after it’s All-Star break, but it’s quickly becoming eclipsed by the monster that in the NFL news cycle as teams get ready for camp. The NFL teams firing things up means we’re getting close to fantasy football time and time for you to start your preparations for your Championship-winning season.
As we continue our fantasy football season previews, today we’ll focus on the Arizona Cardinals as they try and get back into the playoffs out of the improving NFC West. We’re joined today by Scott from our fellow-Fansided blog Raising Zona who was gracious enough to answer our questions about the Cardinals players and their role in fantasy football this year.
Zach Thompson, FantasyCPR: Hey Scott, thanks for helping us out with our Q&A for our season preview. It’s always good to get the opinion of a fan who follows the team on how they’ll be this year. As someone who covers the Cardinals all year round, I’m sure your insight will help us in our fantasy football draft. We’ll start with the obvious question… Who is your QB? I like your receivers and Beanie Wells looked like a legit running back at time last yaer, but who’s the man under center for Arizona coming into the year? What do you think his ceiling is?
Scott, Raising Zona: QB will be a fight between Kevin Kolb, the presumed starter and backup John Skelton. I’m a Kolb man personally. I think people aren’t giving him enough of a chance. I mean, he got booed during the team’s Fan Fest last month. Bad show by Cards fans. Kolb spent most of last season hurt and didn’t have a full off-season with a new playbook. People will compare him to Cam Newton, a rookie, and they will say, well Cam came in as a rookie and did what he did. First of all, Cam was able to get his playbook during that 2-day window players were allowed at team headquarters, so he did have more time. Plus, Cam also played the entire season. Kolb missed more than half of gametime. I will be with Kolb until he shows he can’t do it and failure for me is not an 0-4 preseason either.
Z: I loved the draft pick of Michael Floyd and think he’ll be the best rookie receiver that comes out of last year’s draft. What do you think his upside is and how risky of a pick in a fantasy draft to you feel he is?
Scott, Raising Zona: Well clearly, as far as fantasy value goes, that’s unknown cause although I’m sure the plan is to utilize Floyd often, it’s a matter of getting him the ball and throwing the ball. Larry Fitzgerald is still on the other side of the field. Floyd may be a good guy to draft mid rounds and put on your bench. See how he performs the first month or so. If he isn’t producing, drop him. I agree though, I think he will produce. He was my Cards first round pick in every mock draft I did from January until April. I never wavered.
Z: What does the depth chart look like behind Beanie Wells and is there any kind of time-share? Beanie’s been good when healthy, but how is Arizona going to keep him in the game?
Scott, Raising Zona: One of the bigger unknowns. The reason for that is his backup Ryan Williams is coming off a major injury that kept him out all of last season. If Williams shows in the preseason he can go – Wells will have a nice backup who can spell him for stretches. Otherwise, there is no plan b and the running game will look a lot like 2011 and Beanie may end up having to play hurt at times again.
Z: Do you see any reason why Larry Fitzgerald isn’t a sure-fire top 10 WR?
Scott, Raising Zona: No. Who would think otherwise? Someone on crack?
Z: Is there a player on the Cardinals offense you see having a breakout year?
Scott, Raising Zona: Rob Housler, TE. Would have been a breakout last year if he and the QB’s could have gotten on the same page.
Z: Patrick Peterson seemed to be a big boost in the return game as well as on defense. Will the Cardinals defense take another step forward this year or do you see regression coming?
Scott, Raising Zona: Defense should be better. They get Greg Toler back in the defensive backfield. He missed all of last season thanks to an injury. They were depleted depth wise in the defensive backfield. They have a couple of stud linebackers in Sam Acho and Daryl Washington.
Z: Last one, give me your realistic expectation for the Cardinals this season, and then your perfect scenario. Can they realistically make the playoffs?
Scott, Raising Zona: Realistically, 9-7 at best. They finished 8-8 last season and this year’s team is better and healthier – right now. However they finished 8-8 after starting 1-6. With the way the schedule is built this year, they won’t repeat that if they fall to 1-6 to start. If they are 4-4 or 5-3 half-way through – they have a legit shot at 10 wins, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Yes, they can make the playoffs, but they will need to win at least 1 of 2 against the 49′ers or the best they can hope for is a wild-card, which they came within one game of getting last season.