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Fantasy Impact: Kliff Kingsbury to the Cardinals

kliff kingsbury cardinals coach

The air raid offense has made it to the NFL in the being of former Texas Tech quarterback Kingsbury, who found national prominence throwing for 5000 yards and 45 touchdowns for Mike Leach in 2002. After garnering a throws it short and throws it often reputation as a head coach from the Mike Leach tree one has to wonder what Kingsbury has in store for the Cardinals.

After a nondescript playing career in the NFL and CFL Kingsbury went into quarterback coaching under Kevin Sumlin at the University of Houston and Texas A & M before getting the head coaching job at Texas Tech.  At TTU Kingsbury coached NFL players Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes, Deandre Washington, Keke Coutee and Jakeem Grant.

While this looks on the surface like a big stock up for Josh Rosen, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, there is also reason to be optimistic about David Johnson. The Red Raiders run/pass splits under Kingsbury tell the story of a coach that is adaptable. Some years the split was close to 37% run 63% pass but in years when he had a good running game the splits were about 44% run 56% pass. In those years that were heavier on the run Deandre Washington rushed for more than 1000 yards with a high of 1400 yards. In 2018 without a clear-cut runner four different backs rushed for 295 yards or more and averaged 4.0 ypc or higher.

The Cardinals had the worst rushing, passing and overall offense in the NFL in 2018 so there is no place to go but up. Larry Fitzgerald was steady as ever but is clearly in the twilight of a hall of fame career. I would be looking for a WR3/4 farewell tour from Larry. Christian Kirk had a good rookie year catching 43/590/3 and has a promising future. I’d be looking for Kirk to jump up from his 2018 WR5 finish to WR3 with WR2 upside on 2019. David Johnson struggled at the beginning of the season under OC Mike McCoy but started to improve after Byron Leftwich took over and finished as RB9. DJ will hold steady in the low RB1 range. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen had his struggles and a lot of the issues can be tied directly to the offensive line which lost 43 games to injury. There are some talented pieces to start with but improving the offensive line needs to be priority number one so the first-round quarterback Rosen has a chance to develop. Kingsbury averaged over 80 plays per game at Texas A & M while the Cardinals averaged 56 plays per game in 2019 down from 66 from Bruce Arians last season in 2017. This shows that the Cards will be more upbeat this year providing more fantasy points.

With the first overall pick in hand the Cards have some ammunition to work with so I would not be surprised to see them move around to get more picks. Arizona also has the 9th most projected 2019 cap space according to spotrac.com so they can be active in the free agent market as well.

2019 fantasy success will come down to Kingsbury building a good staff and letting them do their jobs. If they are effective using the draft capital and open cap space there is a young offense core to build around the offense, like I said earlier, can’t go anywhere but up.


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