The quarterback position for the Arizona Cardinals took the biggest hit as far as fantasy football terms goes this past off-season. With the departure of veteran quarterback Kurt Warner, there is a changing of the guard in the desert and there is no one who could benefit more from this than Matt Leinart.
Entering his fifth season in the NFL, Leinart has a combined pass attempt number of just over 200 for the past three seasons. While he has the weapons at his helm to help the transition, his passing percentage and quarterback ranking has never been more than suspect. Leinart enters the 2010/11 fantasy football season as nothing more than a mid-low tier QB2 in deeper leagues.
Backups: Derek Anderson, John Skelton
The Cardinals are sitting very good at the running back position heading into the season as they are led by both,Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower. Combined the duo have only three years of NFL experience, yet last season they combined for nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards while chiming in with 15 touchdowns. Individually, they were not very far apart statistically, but it is expected that Wells will see more of the percentage of touches heading into the 2010/11 season. With the departure of wide receiver Anquan Boldin and Warner, the passing game looks to have some competition from their running game.
Heading into fantasy football drafts, expect Wells to be a mid-level RB2 in deeper leagues while Hightower should hold his own as a RB3. Improvement from both backs is expected.
Backups: LaRod Stephens-Rowling, Jason Wright, Nehemian Broughton
Larry Fitzgerald is undoubtedly the man amongst men at the wide receiver position for Arizona. Regularly being a top-5 fantasy football WR, Fitzgerald’s numbers should suffer some with Warner retiring and Boldin having been traded to the Baltimore Ravens. Fitzgerald had his worst yardage season since 2006 as he went for 1,092 yards yet he put in his best work in the end zone having caught a career best 13 touchdown passes. He hovered around the century mark in receptions for the fourth time in five years so consistency is no problem for him. With Leinart tossing the rock though, Fitzgerald’s numbers may suffer some. But then again with the added looks that will come with the departure of Boldin, that could be a wash. I recommend to stay cautious, but when all is said and done Fitzgerald should find himself amongst the best once again.
Helping Fitzgerald is Steve Breaston and Early Doucet. Both had shown promise in limited roles last year. Breaston was a solid WR3 for Arizona as he had caught 55 passes, 3 of which went for touchdowns and Doucet, while inferior in stats, still had a few solid games near the end of the season. They both look to take a step up in their offensive roles for 2010/11 so it remains to be seen how they will react. But with the balance of the Arizona offense, neither player should have much of a problem. Either way, when it comes to fantasy football, neither are in high-demand, let alone any type of demand to be quite honest. Breaston could turn out to be a serviceable backup bench receiver for your team in deeper leagues while Doucet should go undrafted.
Backups: Andre Roberts, Onrea Jones, Ed Gant
When it comes to fantasy football tight ends, no one ever enters their respective drafts, even in the Phoenix area, and quivers about possibly landing one of their stud tight ends. That is because they simply never have one. Their offense is designed to focus more on the long ball and running game, allowing the tight end position to concern themselves more with blocking schemes rather than running routes. Their lead tight end is Ben Patrick who had gone for just over 100 receiving yards last season to go with 2 touchdowns. Those numbers means that he is not necessarily breaking down the door for sleeper of the year. Pass on him as he will be nothing more than waiver wire fodder.
Backups: Stephen Spach, Anthony Becht
Chris Ziza is a fantasy football fanatic who can be found at Working Man Sports. He hosts a daily Fantasy Football Breakdown Show that you can participate in now until the end of the 2010/11 Super Bowl, helping guide your way to fantasy football domination.