Cardinals Fantasy News
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 3:07am
RB Stepfan Taylor filling in for Andre Ellington (neck) was telling in terms of the battle for the second running back job. It’s between Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer, but with head coach Bruce Arians’ decision to run Taylor with the starters, it appears that he’s leading the backup running back race. The importance of winning the second spot this year is greater than past years because of Arians’ decision to use more two-back sets.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 3:06am
He’s been one of the talks of camp, but Cardinals WR Michael Floyd put his offseason improvement on display Tuesday. On one pass, Floyd got a step behind cornerback Patrick Peterson for a touchdown that sailed in just beyond Peterson’s reach. Floyd then hauled in another score over cornerback Justin Bethel. Earlier Tuesday, quarterback Carson Palmer praised Floyd’s size and his ability to overpower cornerbacks, which was the case Tuesday. Bethel is listed as 6-0 and Peterson 6-1, but Floyd played taller and bigger than the 6-2, 220 pounds he’s listed as.
Floyd broke out in his second season with a 66 catches for 1,054 yards and five TDs, gaining at least 90 yards and/or finding the endzone in seven of his last 11 games. He should continue to progress as he enters his third year in the league.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 2:54am
Cornerback Patrick Peterson says he has reached agreement on a five-year, $70 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, with $48 million guaranteed.
Peterson revealed the terms via twitter Tuesday night. The Cardinals announced the deal a short time later, but did not disclose the terms.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 8:38am
The 49ers addressed their injury-riddled running back corps Monday by agreeing to terms with former Arizona Cardinals running back Alfonso Smith, according to a league source.
Smith joins a unit hit hard by injuries since training camp practices began Thursday. Kendall Hunter, the incumbent No. 2 back behind Frank Gore, sustained a season-ending knee injury Friday, then LaMichael James dislocated an elbow Sunday that could sideline him for a month.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 6:14pm
The Panthers didn’t really need sixth-round running back Tyler Gaffney this year anyway, so when he was injured recently, stashing him on IR made sense.
But the Patriots had other ideas.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Patriots claimed Gaffney off waivers, even though he needs season-ending knee surgery.
It’s similar to their 2012 claim of injured Giants tight end Jake Ballard, meaning one of these days those unwritten rules are going to have to be written down.
This time a year, if a player is placed on IR he must first clear waivers before heading to IR. It's an unwritten rule, but perfectly in a team's right to make a claim on an injured player. It's likely why the Colts have yet to place Vick Ballard on IR. The Panthers tried to sneak Gaffney through waivers to sign another player, which turned out to be Fozzy Whittaker...
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 4:21pm
The Cardinals are losing a dangerous playmaker on offense and punt returns. Patrick Peterson will no longer field punts or line up wide, the star cornerback revealed Sunday, per the team's official website. Peterson said the move will allow him to focus on becoming an even better cover corner, via AZCentral.com. He'll remain on call to return punts in a reserve capacity.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim said that RB Andre Ellington has gained 8-10 pounds of muscle to increase his durability.
Rashad Mendenhall retired, and the Cardinals didn’t do much of anything at RB in free agency (outside of signing Jonathan Dwyer), so the path is clear for Ellington to become a feature back. HC Bruce Arians says he wants to build the offense around the diminutive RB, but that they’ll be careful not to overwork him, implying that they may limit his short-yardage work. He was the #25 RB in 2013 on 10.4 touches per game, but averaged 12.4 touches in his last 11 games. In that span, he averaged 9.3 FP, which are low-end RB2 numbers. Arians’ offenses don’t utilize the running back heavily in the passing game, but with the way he has been gushing about Ellington’s skill set, that may change. Ellington averaged 0.771 fantasy points per touch in 2013, so if he can maintain that production at a 15-touch workload, he’s looking at an average of 11.6 FP per game. Those are high-end RB2 numbers.
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 12:30pm
Expect to see a lot of two tight end sets by the Lions, which will give them an opportunity to mix things up pre-snap and move pieces around. Ebron can play in-line, in the slot and outside, which will give offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterback Matthew Stafford a lot of options after reading defenses. Ebron gives Stafford something he hasn’t had from that position in his five years in Detroit. In Ebron, Stafford has a tight end that can take a five-yard pass and turn it into an 80-yard touchdown. He also has a player who can run by defenders down the seam and create mismatches from the tight end position.
The Lions want Ebron to fill the Jimmy Graham role in new OC Joe Lombardi’s offense, so he should see playing time immediately despite the presence of Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria. Of the 21 tight ends who have been drafted in the first round in the last 10 years, 14 have managed to play at least 14 games. They averaged 35-371-2.6, or #31 TE numbers. (Oddly enough, that's where Brandon Pettigrew finished in 2013.) It usually takes a while for a young tight end to make a fantasy impact, though there has been the occasional exception. Jeremy Shockey (#3 TE in 2002), Heath Miller (#11 in 2005) and Dustin Keller (#14 in 2008) all posted TE1 or fringe-TE1 numbers as rookie first round picks. Cam Cleeland, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and John Carlson all had a TE1-type impact as rookies even though they weren't drafted in the first round. Ebron is an intriguing TE2-type in a potent offense, but he's no shoo-in to make a big fantasy impact in his first season, especially if he’s struggling to learn the offense, which was the case in OTAs.
Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers on the potential workload of RB Andre Ellington: "I think they'd like to keep his touches around 20."
We currently project Ellington for 15.3 touches per game and he's our #15 RB in standard formats (#12 in PPR). If he actually gets 20 touches per game, he'll likely finish as a solid fantasy RB1. Only eight running backs averaged 20-plus touches in 2013, so Ellington is more likely to finish under than threshold.
Sunday, July 20, 2014, 11:00pm
Cardinals beat writer Josh Weinfuss on RB Andre Ellington's potential for goal line carries: "I think Andre Ellington is capable of being a short-yardage workhorse, but I don't see Cardinals coach Bruce Arians using him there all the time. I think Ellington will certainly get the call on a few occasions, but I can see Stepfan Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer getting more of the short-yardage carries. And don't be surprised if Robert Hughes -- if he ends up making the roster and staying healthy -- will be responsible for some of those situations as well."
HC Bruce Arians says he wants to build the offense around the diminutive RB, but that they’ll be careful not to overwork him, implying that they may limit his short-yardage work. He was the #25 RB in 2013 on 10.4 touches per game, but averaged 12.4 touches in his last 11 games. In that span, he averaged 9.3 FP, which are low-end RB2 numbers. Arians’ offenses don’t utilize the running back heavily in the passing game, but with the way he has been gushing about Ellington’s skill set, that may change. Ellington averaged 0.771 fantasy points per touch in 2013, so if he can maintain that production at a 15-touch workload, he’s looking at an average of 11.6 FP per game. Those are high-end RB2 numbers.
The Panthers are better at receiver than they were a year ago. Nothing against Steve L Smith, but at 35 he was no better than a No. 2 receiver and at the end of his career. Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon really weren't big losses when you look at it closely. Hixon wouldn't have been a loss at all were it not for the game-winning touchdown against New Orleans. The key here will be chemistry, but first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin looks like a red zone beast at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. Free agent signees Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant are solid possession receivers, and more dependable than the players they replaced. Who steps up as the fourth receiver will be the biggest question, whether it's free agent Tiquan Underwood or one of the young receivers. The Panthers plan to run a lot more two tight-end sets makes that less critical.
We project Cotchery and Benjamin to start but believe that Greg Olsen will once again lead the team in catches. Benjamin has upside, but Cotchery is a dirt cheap WR5/WR6 option available in the final rounds.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 9:34am
DeMarco Murray, who is coming off his first 1,000-yard season, and Lance Dunbar are locks to make the Dallas roster. Joseph Randle has the inside track for the No. 3 job and would likely take over the every-down role if something were to happen to Murray. He will be pushed by Ryan Williams, who is a former second-round pick. He was unable to stay healthy in his time with the Arizona Cardinals but he has natural ability that could push him by Randle, a fifth-round pick last year.
Murray's handcuff could be an important roster spot on your fantasy team as he often struggles to stay healthy for a full season. It looks like Randle has the inside track but Williams could be an interesting name to watch in camp.
Friday, July 11, 2014, 9:59pm
There are several reasons Mike Brown is in Minnesota this week, but the biggest one is simple. There’s really nowhere else he would rather be. The same is true of Cecil Shorts III, who – like Brown, his teammate in the Jaguars’ wide receivers corps – is in Minneapolis, Minn., with a slew of NFL wide receivers and quarterbacks at Larry Fitzgerald’s annual offseason workout camp at the University of Minnesota.
It generally isn't until about now, with training camp just around the corner, that Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph starts keeping a close eye on his weight. He has always worked out in the offseason, with an eye toward getting ready for the season, but Rudolph will admit he has also used his training regimen as justification to cut some nutritional corners. Rudolph started keeping a closer leash on his diet in February, with an eye toward slimming down before the Vikings' voluntary veterans' minicamp in April. He is now about 260 pounds, he said, after playing at 275 last season, and with a more active role in the Vikings' passing game likely awaiting him this season, Rudolph has been working to refine his skills as a receiver.
Rudolph is working out at Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald's training camp this week, training with Fitz and a group of receivers for the fourth year. He has been drilling his speed in and out of his cuts with Fitzgerald's trainer, Bill Welle. In a scheme that has traditionally rewarded tight ends, Rudolph could see the payoff this season. We currently rank Rudolph 9th among our TEs with an ADP of the 10th round, but outside of the top-three, everyone can look the same when it's time to draft that position. Perhaps Rudolph is a name to keep in mind as someone to step up this season among a large group of second tier players.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 12:27pm
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerlad wears gloves — post practice. Usually, in practice, he just tapes up his thumbs. “Every day after practice I put gloves on — they are these really tight, stiff mitts, and they make you work extremely hard to close and open your hands,” Fitz says. “It strengthens my hands, especially the thumbs — your thumbs are really what control your grip.” “I’m obsessed with my craft,” he said. “I just want to squeeze every single drop out of the lemon that I possibly can. I don’t want to have any regrets, and to this point I can sleep at night.”
Fitz's days as a top-five fantasy WR may be behind him, but he's shaping up to be a solid WR2. We have him ranked 14th and he has an ADP of the fourth round. With WR Michael Floyd on the other side, and the electric Andre Ellington at RB, there is plenty of talent surrounding Fitzgerald, but that could end up being a good thing.
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