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Fantasy Football Team Previews: Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray was impressive as a rookie. Can he take a step forward in his sophomore season?
Can Kyler Murray lead the Arizona Cardinals in 2020? (Twitter // @AroundTheNFL)

2019 Summary

Record: 5-10-1 (4th in NFC West)

2019 Offensive Points Per-Game: 22.6 (T-16th)

2019 Total Defense-adjusted Value Over Average: -5.8% (20th)

The Arizona Cardinals completed its first season with Kliff Kingsbury as head coach. Overall, the results were mixed, but the team did end the year winning two of its final three games. The offense specifically shined, combining for 89 points across those three games. Rookie QB Kyler Murray performed well, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year honours. The defense struggled in a difficult NFC West, and will need to take a step forward in 2020.

Major additions

  • DE, Jordan Philips
  • OLB, Devon Kennard
  • OLB, De’Vondre Campbell
  • WR, DeAndre Hopkins
  • LB, Isaiah Simmons
  • T, Josh Jones
  • RB, Eno Benjamin

Major subtractions

  • TE, Charles Clay
  • LB, Cassius Marsh
  • RB, David Johnson

4 major storylines for 2020

Can Kyler Murray take a step forward in Yr. 2?

The 2019 NFL Draft No. 1 overall pick lived up to the hype in his rookie season. Murray took home Offensive Rookie of the Year honours and demonstrated that he has the potential to become a premier starter in the league. Murray benefitted more than any other QB in the NFL this offseason, as the Cardinals added all-pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the mix. His mobility (544 rushing yards last season) is a huge benefit to go along with the smart decision-making he demonstrated in Yr. 1 with a 20:12 TD:INT ratio and above average 64.4% completion percentage.

Will DeAndre Hopkins remain dominant with the Cardinals?

Hopkins demonstrated excellent chemistry with Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson. Now, with an offseason that’s been largely impacted by COVID-19, Hopkins will have to forge a relationship with the youthful Murray. Hopkins is in the prime of his career and one of the best at his position in the game. He finished top-10 in receptions and receiving yards last season, but his success in Arizona will be dependant on his relationship with Murray.

Will Kliff Kingsbury’s offense thrive?

Kingsbury made an instant impact on the NFL in 2019. The Cardinals’ offense operated out of four wide receiver sets on 31% of its plays last season. The next closest offense, the Seattle Seahawks, utilized that formation on just 8% of its plays. With a year of NFL experience under his belt, and a talented WR room which features Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and Andy Isabella, can Kingsbury’s air raid attack flourish?

Can Kenyan Drake finally become ‘The Guy?’

Drake truthers have waited a really long time for this moment, but it finally seems that Drake will get his chance at leading a backfield. The Miami Dolphins’ reluctance to lean on the 26-year-old was puzzling, as he completed four-straight seasons with a yards-per-carry of 4.5 or more, and now has three-straight seasons of 50+ receptions. Drake should flourish as both a runner and pass-catcher with Arizona in 2020.

Sleeper: WR, Christian Kirk

Bust: WR, DeAndre Hopkins

I’m a little worried about Hopkins acclimating to a new team and system during an offseason which has been as unsettling as this one. Building a bond with a new QB in a completely new offense is not something that happens overnight. Hopkins’ talent and ability to win against any corner in the NFL will help, but it may take some time for him to hit his stride given the heavily altered nature of this offseason. If you’re drafting him as a late first-round pick, you can’t really tolerate an adjustment period.

Cardinals Players in Rally Towel’s Top-200 Fantasy Football Rankings

14. WR, DeAndre Hopkins

17. RB, Kenyan Drake

68. QB, Kyler Murray

69. WR, Christian Kirk

163. RB, Chase Edmonds

178. WR, Larry Fitzgerald

186. WR, Andy Isabella

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