2012 Fantasy Football Preview: Arizona Cardinals

Contributed by: Marcus Burnan
Last Updated: Jul 13, 2012 11:26 AM

With the start of the NFL season fast approaching, it's time to look forward to the excitement of fantasy football and preparing our draft strategy; who we want, who we don't want, and what order we will draft in (I usually go RB, QB, WR, WR, TE, RB depending on where I'm drafting from and who's avaliable).

Every team has one or two of those players that everyone wants to draft be it the start quarterback or the elite running back. 

But what of the other players which make up a Fantasy Fraft?  Where do you draft them? 

Here, I will analyze the key players for the Cardinals and give my view as to where the best place to pick them up for your fantasy team.

QB - Kevin Kolb

Kevin Kolb is not a starter in fantasy football, let's get that out of the way first. For one thing, he has a history of injuries which makes him a pretty risky pick for anything other than the backup job.

Kolb had a pretty bad debut season with the Cardinals but this could be attributed to the fact he had mere weeks to learn a brand new system and playbook after his blockbuster trade at the end of July during the lockout shortened offseason.

With a year in the system and a full offseason under his belt not to mention having the great Larry Fitzgerald to throw the rock to, Kolb may turn out to be a pretty decent pick-up...if he stays healthy.

Verdict: A decent pick-up for when you've filled out your starters and are starting on your backups.

RB - Beanie Wells

Beanie Wells has just come off his best season in the NFL, rushing for 1,045 yards and 10 touchdowns. This is despite missing two full games and having a knee injury which affected his production a little.

Wells is one of the top running backs in fantasy. He's the sort of guy you take when all the star name running backs like Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster have been selected. IIf he can continue his production and stay relatively healthy, he may very well be a fantasy steal.

Verdict: Take Wells when the star running backs have gone,  If you need a No. 1, take Wells. To be even more dominant, combine him with a star back coming off injury, like Peterson or Charles, and watch the points roll in every week. 

RB - Ryan Williams

The thing about Ryan Williams is that not much is known about him oustide of his college years. He blew out his patella tendon during preseason of his rookie year.  Cadillac Williams was a running back who suffered the same injury in 2007 and he's never been the same since.

Ryan Williams has the potential to be a huge weapon for the Cardinals if he makes a full recovery from his injury.  Due to how severe the injury was, it's difficult to predict whether he will come back.

For this reason, Williams is a boom or bust player.  To know for sure how well he's recovered.

Verdict: A late-round pick or snap him up off the waivers if he looks to have recovered from his injury.

WR - Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald will definately be taken in the first five picks of the first round. That much I can gurantee.  Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver in the league. He's able to make plays even with poor quarterback play and being double-teamed by opponents. 

Fitzgerald has now got some help in Michael Floyd (who we wil talk about in more detail soon) who will take some coverage off him enabling him to make the sort of plays that he made on a regular basis with Anquan Boldin and Kurt Warner on the team.

All but one of Fitzgerald's eight seasons in the NFL have been 1,000-yard seasons. He consistently offers the kind of production that fantasy owners look for and he'll be expecting another big season in the receiving yards department.

Verdict: A must-have. You do not pass up on Larry Fitzgerald unless you're picking in the first five or six picks.

WR - Michael Floyd

Michael Floyd was drafted to give some help to Fitzgerald.  For this reason, he's expected to have a good season because having Fitzgerald on the opposite side of him will also help Floyd.

Since Floyd is the only rookie on the Cardinals' offense as far as fantasy football goes, he will be my rookie breakout choice.  He may not make 1,000 yards in his first season but I do expect him to have at least six touchdowns.

Verdict: Floyd would be a good pick up in the middle rounds where the talent has thinned out a little. 

TE - Rob Housler/Todd Heap

The tight end position is not Arizona's strongest position. Todd Heap had an injury plagued 2011 season after joining from the Baltimore Ravens. Hopefully his time working with John Lott, the Cardinals' widely respected conditioning coach, has helped him recover from some of the abuse he's taken over the years. 

One of the reasons former Cardinal/Current Raven Anquan Boldin was always playing with bangs and knocks was because he never took part in Lott's offseason conditioning programmes.

I believe Heap still has some gas left in the tank and can be a decent tight end if he manages to stay healthy. His strong point was always his pass catching ability and he may be used in that role again in the 2012 season.

Rob Housler is one of those players who have the potential to be great in years to come. He didn't have a great 2011 season but that was partly down to him being a rookie and partly because the quarterback situation was so unstable.

Housler is my pick to be a sleeper in the 2012 NFL fantasy football season. He has a year under his belt in an NFL offense with a great mentor in Todd Heap.

Verdict: Heap and Housler are both either late round picks or they will be taken in free agency.


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The views and content in this article are not necessarily the opinion of Fantasy Football Champs, www.FFChamps.com, and its in-house experts.