The once-promising Kliff Kingsbury era came to an ignominious end, and the Cardinals probably just need to hit the reset button. Kyler Murray's youth and contract probably make it hard to actually do that, which leaves them in limbo coming off his torn ACL. With DeAndre Hopkins' release, this is, at the very least, a soft reset, and with Murray's status for Week 1 very much in question, this could be a Fantasy wasteland.
Record: 4-13 (30)
PPG: 20.0 (21)
YPG: 323.5 (22)
Pass YPG: 213.3 (18)
Rush YPG: 110.2 (22)
PAPG: 39.1 (4)
RAPG: 25.5 (20)
2022 Fantasy finishes
QB: Kyler Murray QB21 (QB13 in PPG)
RB: James Conner RB19; Eno Benjamin* RB54
WR: Marquise Brown WR44; DeAndre Hopkins* WR47; Greg Dortch WR60; Rondale Moore WR83
TE: Zach Ertz TE20; Trey McBride TE40
*No longer with team
Number to know: 4.21
That's how many more points per game Kyler Murray has averaged in games with DeAndre Hopkins vs. without in his career, per the RotoViz.com Game Splits Tool. The Hopkins era in Arizona is not widely viewed as a success, but Murray played a lot better with him – he also averaged 7.68 yards per attempt with Hopkins active, compared to 6.58 without him. I'm not ready to give up on Murray – I quite like him as a late-round stash with upside if I'm not going to invest in one of the elite QBs – but between the recovery from injury and the absence of Hopkins, the decks are stacked against him.
1. (6) Paris Johnson, OL
2. (41) BJ Ojulari, DE
3. (72) Garrett Williams, DB
3. (94) Michael Wilson, WR
4. (122) Jon Gaines, OL
5. (139) Clayton Tune, QB
5. (168) Owen Pappoe, LB
6. (180) Kei'Trel Clark, DB
6. (213) Dante Stills, DT
LB Kyzir White
106 carries, 39 RB targets, 167 WR targets, 10 TE targets
Rankings and projections
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Kyler Murray||PA: 569, YD: 3980, TD: 23, INT: 10; RUSH -- ATT: 71, YD: 320, TD: 2|
|RB||James Conner||CAR: 237, YD: 948, TD: 8; TAR: 63, REC: 48, YD: 362, TD: 2|
|RB||Chase Edmonds||CAR: 135, YD: 539, TD: 4; TAR: 50, REC: 37, YD: 260, TD: 2|
|WR||Marquise Brown||TAR: 142, REC: 82, YD: 907, TD: 6|
|WR||Rondale Moore||TAR: 102, REC: 75, YD: 757, TD: 4|
|WR||Michael Wilson||TAR: 57, REC: 31, YD: 344 TD: 2|
|TE||Zach Ertz||TAR: 91, REC: 57, YD: 544, TD: 4|
What can we even expect from Kyler Murray?
Murray will be about nine months removed from his torn ACL by the start of training camp, so it's not unreasonable to think he'll be ready for Week 1. But he probably won't be fully himself, and given how much he still relies on his scrambling ability, it's fair to assume he'll be limited, especially early on. If it forces him to improve as a passer, that might not be a bad thing, but the expectation should be that he struggles to start the season.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
This might be the third consecutive season I've listed Moore as a sleeper for the Cardinals, which brings to mind that old quip bout the definition of insanity. I'd be more worried about that if there was any risk involved in drafting him, but with an NFC ADP of 149.63 as of early July, he's going to go undrafted in as many leagues as he gets selected. And Moore actually was quite useful for Fantasy last season, averaging 14.1 PPR points per game over a six-game stretch between Weeks 5 and 10 last season. Moore has had trouble staying healthy and he's stuck in what could be a pretty dreadful offense, but if they use him as a high-volume, short-area target again, he's shown he can be productive in that role. At a price of "free," why not see if he can do it again?
Consistency and health have been the two things working against Brown throughout his career, but the case for him breaking out was already made last season. He played six games without Hopkins to open the season and averaged 18.25 PPR points per game – that would have been good for WR7 over a full season if he sustained it. Given the concerns around Murray's availability for Week 1, I don't expect Brown to actually repeat that. But he's shown the ability to at least hang around those rare airs for a month and a half, and he'll have the opportunity to do so again.
At RB25 in ADP, I really don't have much of a problem with Conner at his price, because it represents a good balance between his upside and the possibility of things going wrong. But we are talking about a 28-year-old without supreme athleticism who has struggled to stay healthy in the past and whose entire case as a Fantasy option is based on the lack of competition for touches. If things don't go wrong for Conner, he has fringe RB1 upside because he's going to have an every-down role, including third down and goal-line situations, even in a bad offense. But, because he's propped up by opportunity, any threat to his dominance of touches could leach his value quickly. I suspect Conner will be the guy here through the season, but if any of the backups show any kind of spark in any phase of the game, it could turn into a committee quickly. This is a classic dead zone RB.