The Arizona Cardinals finished 2019 last in the NFC West with a (5-10-1) record. The team ranked 17th in points scored, 10th in rushing yards averaging 124.4 a game, and 23rd in passing yards averaging 217.3 yards per game. Kliff Kingsbury ideally likes to run a lot of 10 personnel, 4 wide receiver sets, as we saw early in 2019 before they had to get away from it. He would like to use this personnel to stretch the defense out and open lanes for his backs and mobile quarterback. Kenyan Drake last year ran into stacked boxes on just 5% of his runs illustrating how effective this can be. The fact that the team doesn’t have a notable tight end leads us to believe this is the personnel Kingsbury wants to deploy, also the fact that the team has three backs in Drake, Edmonds, and now Benjamin that all fit this scheme. When the team isn’t in 10 personnel they will likely be in 11 personnel.
Kyler Murray (QB) – Kyler Murray enters his sophomore year behind a serviceable offensive line. The big unit up front is better in pass protection then they are in blocking for the backs. The team drafted Josh Jones in the third who figures to be the team’s starting RT sooner rather than later. Murray in his rookie season looked very much like a player who is capable of being a starter in this league for a long time; year two figures to be even better, as he takes the next step in his development as a pro. In year one Murray demonstrated everything we want to see in a quarterback touch, timing, accuracy, and arm strength. While watching the tape from last season one thing really stands out and that is how well he throws the ball. Another thing that stands out is how he gets out of trouble with his elusiveness, as he is able to spin and use his mobility to escape. There were times early in the season that he held onto the ball to long and danced too much behind the line leading to sacks, but as the season went on he was able to clean that up considerably. As the season closed Murray was showing confidence and poise in the pocket and we feel the sky is the limit for Murray this season with all the weapons around him.
Fantasy Spin: Kyler Murray’s ADP certainly has climbed since the edition of DeAndre Hopkins which is a drag because prior too, Murray was looking like a draft day steal. Currently Murray has an ADP of 49 making him an early 5th round pick (5.1 in 12 teamers). We have Murray ranked as our 5th quarterback in redraft and in dynasty as our 3rd ranked quarterback entering the 2020 season, making him a high end QB1.
Kenyan Drake/Chase Edmonds/Eno Benjamin (RB) – the Kingsbury offense isn’t one in which the backs line up and pound the rock 300 times a season. This is a pass first offense with a ground game that is schemed. As stated above Kingsbury likes to spread the defense out, which then lightens the box, for the backs to exploit. Drake is a great fit for this type of schemed attack, as he is very explosive. Drake will also be a major factor in the passing attack as well, as he has great hands and open field vision. We should see plenty of times where Murray gets the ball into his hands in open space for big chunk plays this season. Drake has the upside you want in a running back. You look at where he ranked in terms of rushing yards after being moved to Arizona last season, 6th among all running backs. He did have some monster games that helped that number but in 6 of the 8 games in the desert he finished as a top 24 back ensuring to us that his floor is safe and his ceiling is high, exactly what we want in a fantasy asset.
Fantasy Spin: Drake has league winning potential as we saw at the end of 2019. In Miami we were all ready to right him off and give up. In Miami we have to remember he was only given the ball over a dozen times in 15 games out of a possible 54. In those 15 games he averaged 16.8 fantasy points per game. In his move to Arizona we saw Drake average 19.2 fantasy points per game, which would rank 3rd best at the position during that span. Drake now being in an offense that figures to lead the league in offensive snaps is money for fantasy. We have Drake ranked as a back end RB1 in redraft as our 11th running back and as a mid-range RB2 in dynasty ranked as our 15th running back entering 2020. Chase Edmonds flashed in 2019 and showed he can be a fantasy asset when given an opportunity, but we feel that opportunity will not be there unless Drake went down. With that being said he comes in as our 50th ranked running back in redraft and 48th in dynasty. Eno Benjamin offers little to no redraft value, as we have him as our RB74 and in dynasty ranks as our 69th running back.
DeAndre Hopkins/Christian Kirk/Larry Fitzgerald /Others (WR) – This offense in terms of fantasy upside has to be leading the NFL entering 2020. The wide receiver depth alone is unbelievable if you sit down and look at it. DeAndre Hopkins comes over via a trade with the Texans and figures to be the team’s top pass catcher. Hopkins will likely not see the target share he saw in Houston as this team boasts the deepest wide receiver corps in the league. In fact looking at the depth we see at least 6 legit pass catchers, and that’s not including Kenyan Drake out of the backfield. Christian Kirk flashed last season and will receive looks. Larry Fitzgerald will be the guy in the slot again for yet another season and will get looks. Then you look at the trio of second year players ready to take a leap forward in Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson, and Hakeem Butler. Butler is very intriguing to us as he has potential to be a big time receiver in this league. Butler is a big wide receiver who moves exceptionally well. He played primarily as an X in college but can play all over the formation, inside, outside; middle he can do it all. Butler is physical and great after the catch, which is key in an offense that figures to feature a lot of quick throws and relying on receivers to make plays after the catch. Isabella profiles as a quick slot receiver who showed game breaking speed last season against the tough San Francisco defense. All these players can be moved around the formation creating a very versatile receiving corps, which will cause many defensive coordinators to pull their hair out. The team doesn’t have a tight end of note other than former Baltimore Raven Maxx Williams who will be used at times for his great run blocking when the team is in 11 personnel.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins was always a top pick at the position for fantasy due to not so much his talent but his opportunity. In Houston we became accustomed to his target dominance in that offense, due to lack of competition. The move to Arizona hurts him in that area. His current ADP is 9th making him a mid-first round pick in normal 12 team league. This ADP is too costly for us. We have D-Hop ranked as our 6th wide receiver behind target monsters such as Michael Thomas, Devante Adams, Julio Jones, and the upside of Tyreek Hill in redraft entering 2020. In dynasty formats we view Hopkins as our 5th ranked wide receiver. Christian Kirk comes in as the next receiver to own in this offense. We have ranked as our WR49 and WR40 in redraft and dynasty entering 2020. Larry Fitzgerald comes into 2020 ranked as our WR62 in redraft and WR119 in dynasty. Andy Isabella is ranked in dynasty as our WR79 and in redraft as WR90. Hakeem Butler is ranked as our WR103 in redraft. Butler is ranked in Dynasty as our WR113 while KeeSean Johnson is ranked as our WR114 in the same format.
Defense – this unit ranked towards the bottom (28th) in points allowed in 2019. This unit ranked towards the bottom in rush yards allowed (23rd) allowing an average of 120.1 yards per game. They were even more susceptible to the pass allowing the second most in the league allowing an average of 281.9 yards per game. The team was able to land LB Isaiah Simmons who was a top 8 prospect in this year’s draft class, and likely will play all over that defense. Linebacker is where the team needed to upgrade the most and did so with not only Simmons but De’Voundre Campbell from Atlanta who is solid as well.
Fantasy Spin: This unit last year was our tight end cheat code. This year we think they will be better in that department, but still as an overall unit will be underwhelming and not worth a look in drafts. Entering 2020 this unit ranks as our 29th defense.
Strength of Schedule
The Cardinals wide receiver corps will face the 2nd toughest schedule this fantasy regular season. Their playoff schedule will be the 14th toughest during weeks 14-16. Drake will be looking at the 5th easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season. The back will then have the 11th easiest schedule during the fantasy playoffs. Murray will face the 12th easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season, and the 11th toughest during weeks 14-16. Williams will face the 11th easiest fantasy regular season schedule and will face the 16th toughest playoff schedule from weeks 14-16.