Daily Dr. Roto — July 16, 2018
Arizona Cardinals Team Preview
Outlook: The Cardinals come into the season with a new Head Coach (Steve Wilks) and a new young QB (Josh Rosen). At best, this is a team that hopes to end up .500 in a very tough NFC West.
QB: Sam Bradford will be the team’s starter so long as he is healthy. Even if he plays, I cannot endorse using Bradford as anything more than a third QB in a Best Ball format as his injury history is so long that there is just no way that I see him playing eight games, let alone 16. When he plays, Bradford is efficient and can get the ball out to his receivers. He lacks a great deep ball, and he cannot leave the pocket making him a sitting duck for big defensive lineman coming his way. If I were drafting, I would much rather own shares of rookie QB Josh Rosen. Rosen is brash, arrogant, and divisive in the locker room, but he has a cannon for an arm and is probably the most pro-ready QB in this draft class. If Bradford is healthy, I expect Rosen to sit for at least the first six to eight games, but if Bradford gets hurt before then, Rosen will start. Get Rosen in dynasty formats now, as I think he will turn into a special player down the road.
RB: Most Fantasy owners drafted David Johnson as the #1 overall pick in 2017. Sadly, Johnson’s season ended abruptly with a dislocated wrist that he suffered in Week 1. Back in 2016, Johnson was the ultimate Fantasy weapon, scoring 16 rushing TDs and catching 80 passes. While I don’t expect those type of numbers from him again, he is most certainly worthy of a top-five selection in any Fantasy format. Backing up Johnson this season will be rookie RB Chase Edmonds out of Fordham. Edmonds did not have much fanfare at the draft, but he was one of the most productive running back in FCS history. Think of him as a slightly bigger Bryan Westbrook as he enters the NFL.
WR: Insider sources at Scout Fantasy Sports uncovered that former Cardinals head coach, Bruce Arians, made a concerted effort to feed Larry Fitzgerald the football in 2017. The same sources do not expect that to happen as much this season, so look for Fitzgerald’s overall targets to go down about 10-15%. This still makes Fitzgerald the Cardinals WR1, but I am not sure that he should be drafted earlier than Round 4 in most Fantasy leagues. Certainly, in non-PPR formats and ½ PPR formats, I would drop him down into Rounds 5-6. The Cardinals added young Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk with their 2018 second round draft pick. Although Kirk is not a huge target, he has terrific body control and excellent hands. I would expect him to start immediately as the team’s slot receiver. Their other receivers include J.J. Nelson and Dallas Cowboys castoff Brice Butler. With Johnson, Fitzgerald, and Kirk getting the bulk of the targets, I am not sure that either Nelson or Butler are worth being drafted in shallow leagues.
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TE: Keep your eye on Ricky Seals-Jones as a late round TE2 deep sleeper. Seals-Jones was a former wide receiver at Texas A&M which shows that he has a pretty good handle on route running and figuring out ways to get past slower defenders. I worry a bit about his strength as a blocker (which could keep him off the field for early down plays), but he could get 40+ receptions in this offense, especially with Bradford’s affinity to throwing to the TE.
K: Phil Dawson still can boom it, but he is held back by an offense that will struggle to move the football. David Johnson’s return should help the offense considerably, but Dawson is best served as a streaming kicker on the waiver wire.
D: Expect the Cardinals to be more aggressive this season on defense but having to play Goff, Wilson, and Jimmy G six times during the season makes them nothing more than a second defense in a best ball format.
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