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Fantasy Forecast: 2021 Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals are a fantasy gold mine. @OmalTheAlleyCat highlights which of these offensive studs you should be targeting this offseason.

The offensive pieces will never be better timed for success than in 2021 for the Arizona Cardinals. We are looking at offensive firepower that can keep up with any team in the league, which of course, means we will want pieces from this team. Breaking down each fantasy-relevant position, I will present my outlook on the players that will help or hurt our dynasty teams. To put it mildly, your gonna want someone from Arizona this year.

Kyler Murray

Year three for the former two-sport athlete, this is when the jump happens for the great ones. By this time, Kyler would have familiarity with his offensive scheme, but more importantly, the speed of the game is now something he is well adapted to. Health will always be in question when it comes to someone Kyler’s height, but in fantasy football, I always say it with my chest “I don’t play scared. I play to win”. 

Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins have this year’s stack-of-the-year feeling. Think what Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams did last season. Neither will be cheap, but the reward can be well worth the investment. It’s right in front of all our faces if we don’t ignore it. Whatever the price is in your dynasty leagues, don’t overthink this one, people. Kyler Murray is about to own the NFL in 2021.

In single quarterback leagues, you can trade for Kyler. Giving a 2022 first-round pick and a respectable receiver like Brandon Cooks will get the conversation started bare minimum. In Superflex leagues, I wouldn’t even suggest breaking your roster to acquire him. That makes it all that much more important to get any pieces in this offense.

James Conner/ Chase Edmonds

James Conner to Arizona in an offense this great gives me “Arian Foster vibes.” In a world where James Conner is healthy for a better part of the season, he has a path to being one of the best buy lows of the offseason. “Win now” teams are the only ones who should even be making this consideration because odds are this will be Conner’s last hurrah in the NFL with major fantasy implications.

Patrick Breen/ The Republic

There might not be a bigger cult following for a backup RB than there is for Chase Edmonds. Where is the same love for Nyheem Hines or J.D. McKissic? Even if James Conner gets injured in the early stages of the season, I don’t see Chase Edmonds ever being a workhorse in this league. That does not out rule the possibility of his cult followers striking gold this season. Every year we see dump-off third-down running backs sneak into the back end of the RB1’s. I’m not betting on it, but the case for Chase Edmonds being an RB1 this year isn’t as hard to make as some would think.

I can see both James Conner and Chase Edmonds having multiple 20+ point games apiece this season. I’m not opposed to trading for either running back. Chase Edmonds is the one that I believe a dynasty team can use. If you can manage to give a 2022 second-round pick and a tiny add-on for Chase Edmonds, don’t hesitate to get this trade done.

DeAndre Hopkins

Charles Krupa/ AP

I’ll say it till my face turns purple, this is the DeAndre Hopkins era, and most of the fantasy community are taking it for granted. I wrote an article earlier this offseason about the best wide receiver in the NFL. 

Let me break down for you a quick case for D-Hop. In his prime at 28, DeAndre Hopkins was great his entire career. Missing one game his whole NFL and NCAA career at Clemson, Hopkins is a pillar of health. If and when Kyler rocketships to the moon this season, it will be on the back of an electric offense centered around the man they call NUK.

Sending multiple future first’s is one way to go about getting DeAndre’s services. Still, I bet it won’t get it done. Now trading Allen Robinson or DJ Moore and with a future first is how you’ll acquire the receiver that I believe will end the year as the WR1 overall in all scoring formats.

Other Receivers

Going into year four, many people are out on Christian Kirk. It sounds like a great time to buy low, especially when we want pieces in this Arizona offense. There is clear upside in a man that is battling injuries misfortunes and getting his feet in the league. With Dan Arnold leaving for Carolina and Larry Fitzgerald yet to resign with the Cardinals, we will likely see more slot usage for Christian Kirk. I can’t help but feel he ends the season as a WR3 in PPR leagues.

Rob Schumacher/ The Republic

Rondale Moore is a next-level athlete and has only one knock on his game, his size. Unlike back in the day, receivers aren’t getting destroyed over the middle. Today’s NFL is geared more toward player safety. Speedsters can run wild and not have their careers cut short. With Rondale Moore or even Andy Isabella on the field, Kliff Kingsbury’s offense will always have an electric speedster that can blow the roof off a defense. I believe Rondale takes a few weeks to get acclimated to the Arizona offense. This means we can find a buy-low window early in the season. Hop on this opportunity because when he has his first blowup game, the Rondale Moore shareholder will more than likely laugh at any offers. For more on Rondale, Lake Slabach wrote a rookie profile on him back in February.

It’s not often you’ll see a future hall of fame receiver go to one of the best offenses in the league, and nobody even notices. Welcome to Arizona AJ Green! It’s too bad the best quarterback play of this legend’s career would come in the twilight of his career that also happens to be riddled with soft tissue injuries. Crazier things have happened than a veteran resurgence, but I’m steering clear from the former Cinncinati Bengal.

The forgotten position

The tight ends in Arizona will need some help in free agency or the draft in the next few years. Maxx Williams is a serviceable blocking tight end that will do his job, but I do not expect him to receive any notable targets, even with Dan Arnold clearing up any doubt of who the starter is. Nothing to see here. Maxx Williams should stay in free agency in even the deepest leagues.

I like making moves for Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore. It is time and value that will make the moves great for your team. Don’t wait until Christian Kirk blows up the first two weeks of the season. Don’t overpay when you can get Rondale after a likely slow start. The bold with expendable assets could make dumber moves than trading a 2022 fourth, let’s say for AJ Green, but nothing serious should be offered for the veteran. Worth noting Andy Isabella is at the line of “shouldn’t be available in free agency,” but I don’t want him on any of my rosters.

What is the Ceiling?

This is not a hot take. The Arizona Cardinals are going to be fun to watch in 2021. We have a possible MVP candidate in Kyler Murray. We got the best wide receiver in the league, running backs that can sneak into the RB1’s, and young receivers with serious promise. The only thing that can hold them back would be inept head coaching. It’s a good thing Kliff Kingsbury isn’t Adam Gase, and we at least have some hope for our dynasty dreams. Arizona is going to help bring fantasy teams to glory one way or another. This isn’t a car show, we are racing. The Arizona Cardinals may as well be a Lamborghini that we are driving into this season.

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