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2024 Fantasy Forecast: Arizona Cardinals

Can Kyler Murray lead this offense to massive fantasy production? Can Marvin Harrison Jr. be a WR1 in 2024? Let's take a look at the fantasy forecast for the Arizona Cardinals in 2024!

The 2023 season began with Kliff Kingsbury being replaced by Jonathan Gannon, a young and upcoming coach who had previously been the Eagles’ defensive coordinator. He’s a young head coach, and turning around Arizona would take some time. 

They focused on the line and defense in their first draft; the 2023 season was tough. Kyler Murray only started eight games due to injuries, and Joshua Dobbs had a few bright spots in his starts but was ultimately traded to the Vikings. The quarterback position was the main reason for the offensive woes, but the ancillary pieces were not helpful. 

James Conner was a bright spot at running back, rushing for over 1,000 yards and seven scores in his age-28 season. Trey McBride emerged as the top target, garnering 81 catches on 106 targets and three scores. Hollywood Brown was the top receiver but is now playing for the KC Chiefs. 

The defense was gouged on the ground and finished at or near the bottom in many statistical categories. The team will need to improve drastically on that side of the ball. 

The Cardinals did win three of their last eight games en route to a 4-13 finish and the fourth overall pick. 

Quarterbacks

Kyler Murray 

Entering his age-27 season, Murray needs to put it all together and stay healthy. He’s missed games in the last three seasons and over half of 2023. The team added Jonah Williams on the line and an elite pass-catching option in the draft. The team is making moves to surround its star QB, and the team is tethered to Murray and his contract until at least 2027.

Photo Courtesy of Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

The offense looked stronger in the second half of the season with Murray at the helm, and he’s better than their other options. And better than probably a third of the other starting QBs. It all depends on him staying healthy and progressing. 

Murray has to improve his efficiency. He has games where he hits 80%, as he did in their Week 17 win over the Eagles. But then, there are games where he throws for under 60% and less than 200 yards. Murray is rushing less, only running for 244 yards and three scores. It’s better for his long-term physical health but hampers his fantasy upside, especially with the inconsistent passing profile. 

With the addition of Williams on the line and the new shiny toy, I see Murray taking a step forward. Yet, I also feel he will never be the elite QB the Arizona Cardinals hoped he would be. 

Projection: 67% Completion, 3,660 yards, 25 TDs, 10 INTs, 390 rushing yards, six rushing TDs

The Backups

Desmond Ridder didn’t pan out in Atlanta and is now Arizona’s backup. It’s a perfect fit for the team, and his skill set is similar to Murray’s, but Ridder doesn’t have as high of a ceiling. It was a great spot for him, and he will likely see playing time, as I have Murray projected to miss three games. 

Clayton Tune was drafted in 2023 and started a game last season, but he isn’t a long-term answer. He should only be on the very deepest of dynasty rosters.

Running Backs

James Conner

It feels like Conner has been written off a half-dozen times, and once again, he proved he was still an effective back. He rushed for 1,040 yards at a 5.0 YPC, adding in 27 receptions, and reached the end zone nine times. 

Photo Courtesy of David Jensen/Icon Sportswire

It was the best season of his career, and he played 13 games for the second time. Conner has always missed at least a few games every season, hindering his ceiling. The Cardinals have always had competition for Conner, and the guy just produces in the lead-back role. 

Projection: 175 carries for 810 yards and six TDs, 25 receptions for 180 yards and three TDs

Trey Benson

Speaking of competition, the Cardinals drafted Benson in the third round. In 2023, he had an underwhelming season for the Florida State Seminoles, and his draft stock took a bit of a hit. 

Benson has great size at 6’0” and 216 pounds, ran a 4.39 40-yard at the Combine, and has a lot to love in his game. He’s a true three-down back and runs with power and contact balance. Benson moves well in space and is an underrated receiver. His vision, decisiveness, and pass blocking will need work to excel in the NFL. 

Projection: 105 carries for 475 yards and three TDs, 15 receptions for 95 yards and a TD

The Stable

A couple of depth options have been successful in the NFL, but they will likely not see enough time to be fantasy-relevant. Michael Carter, former Jets back, had nearly 1,000 total yards as a rookie in 2021, and then the Jets drafted Breece Hall to replace him. Carter would be interesting in this offense if forced into action. 

Former Seahawk DeeJay Dallas provides depth and is better in a third-down role; it would take a lot to fail in front of him for him to see fantasy-relevant snaps. Emari Demercado and Tony Jones round out the stable and are not rosterable in fantasy. 

Wide Receivers

Marvin Harrison Jr. 

It’s hard to remember a receiver who came into college as NFL-ready as Harrison was. Having a Hall of Fame WR as a father likely doesn’t hurt. Harrison comes to the Cardinals, a team with a MASSIVE need for a WR1, and should be the team’s alpha when they take on the Bills on September 8th. 

Photo Courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

Harrison is a solid route runner, has tremendous ball skills, uses his frame to box out defenders, and understands the small nuances to gain separation. He varies the tempo of his routes, uses head fakes and hip shifts, and has crisp and fast footwork. Harrison isn’t the most dangerous after the catch, but that never held back Mike Evans. 

It’s difficult to project Harrison not being impactful in Year 1, and he doesn’t need a lot of time to acclimate. Harrison could push for Rookie of the Year, and the Cardinals have found the WR1 they have been missing since DeAndre Hopkins left the team. 

Projection: 80 catches for 1,150 yards and seven TDs

Michael Wilson

Wilson came to the Cardinals via the 2023 NFL Draft and was taken in the third round. He was impressive when he played at Stanford, but health was a big red flag on his profile. Wilson’s profile was highlighted by the speed at which he played the game and his competitiveness, yet Wilson was considered a raw prospect who needed quite a bit of work.

Wilson had a solid rookie season, catching 38 balls for 565 yards and three scores. He’s a perfect complementary receiver for Harrison, and I love how hard he works on the field. Wilson should settle into his WR2 role, and with Harrison drawing opponents’ CB1, Wilson will have time to grow and be successful. 

Projection: 55 catches for 750 yards and four TDs

Zay Jones

The slot position is currently projected to be manned by Jones, a seven-year veteran. He’s always been a fairly productive receiver, and in the slot, he’s a perfect fit in this offense. Jones will likely not be a massive producer for fantasy, and the TE will get more targets in the middle of the field, capping Jones’ upside.

Projection: 45 catches for 420 yards and two TDs

The Corps

The depth chart drops off rapidly past the starting trio, and I wouldn’t roster many players in fantasy. Chris Moore was brought in from Tennesee and could see fantasy relevance should Harrison or Wilson miss extended time. It’s tough to see him being more than a WR3/Flex, even with playing time. 

At times, Zach Pascal and Greg Dortch have had fantasy value, but never more than bye-week prayers. Each could have minimal value if the depth chart gets decimated. 

Beyond that, players like Dan Chisena, Daniel Arias, Tejhaun Palmer, Xavier Weaver, and Andre Baccellia should not even be considered for fantasy. 

Tight Ends

Trey McBride

One of my favorite players in the 2022 Draft class, McBride, showed a little of what he could do as a rookie, even with Zach Ertz on the team. But last season, he was a TE1 with 81 catches for 825 yards and three TDs. From Week 8 on, he was the TE2 overall and almost TE1, with David Njoku narrowly edging out McBride.

Photo Courtesy of David Jensen/Icon Sportswire

Who was the quarterback during that stretch? It was mostly Murray. With Murray returning in Week 10, he heavily targeted McBride. He averaged 8.25 targets a game and had two TDs and 100-yard games with Murray at the helm. 

McBride is scratching the surface of what he can do, and I expect him to remain the second-leading target option in this offense. Sam LaPorta, Travis Kelce, and even Kyle Pitts get more press than McBride. Don’t sleep on this highly underrated TE. 

Projection: 90 receptions for 915 yards and five TDs

The Bench

The Cardinals selected Tip Reiman in the third round of the draft. He’s a nice TE2 for the team and could be viable for fantasy should McBride miss time. Reiman is primarily a blocking TE but has sure hands and good athleticism. He would take work to be an accomplished pass-catcher, but he wouldn’t be a liability if thrust into more snaps. 

Elijah Higgins, Travis Vokolek, Blake Whiteheart, and Bernhard Seikovits round out the depth chart. Don’t even think about rostering any of these guys. There are some interesting names, just from a name standpoint. B-E-R-N-H-A-R-D … S-E-I-K-O-V-I-T-S … Love it!

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2 Responses

  1. The current reception yardage projected for the RBs, WR, and TE above (3,700) exceed the projected passing yardage for Kyler Murray (3,660) and that is before accounting for the additional yardage to non-fantasy relevant players. If you think the pieces on this offense can achieve those numbers, you have to like Kyler Murray to throw for more yards.

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