Finishing off the NFC West, are the Arizona Cardinals. During the beginning of free agency, the 49ers lured Kurt Warner to the Bay in a private jet, but God stepped in, and Warner stayed with the Cardinals (wonder why Bill Walsh was against Warner QBing our team?). For 49ers fans, this is bad news, for fantasy football players, this is good news. The weapons in Arizona's pass offense are formidable, and Kurt Warner, even at age 63, has gas in the tank. Let's see which Cardinals were going where, and how often.
Cardinals results in 30 mock drafts:
- Larry Fitzgerald WR - Avg. Selection* 6.9; Percent Drafted 100%
- Anquan Boldin WR - Avg. Selection 26; Percent Drafted 100%
- Kurt Warner QB - Avg. Selection 37; Percent Drafted 100%
- Chris Wells RB - Avg. Selection 85; Percent Drafted 100%
- Steve Breaston - Avg. Selection 103; Percent Drafted 100%
- Tim Hightower - Avg. Selection 122; Percent Draft 17%
*- 100th overall selection=10th pick in round 10 (10-man); 6th pick in round 9 (12-man); 3rd pick in round 8 (14-man)
After the jump, I'll break down the Cards and pretty much advise to grab whichever one you like best, just don't stack your roster with Arizona players, you'll be in trouble. I've got the usual Ask the Nation question at the end, so stay awake until its over...
Draft These Guys
Drafting Fitzgerald isn't my only analysis, and saying he's the best WR in fantasy football is obvious. Draft the best WR in fantasy football, when the time is right. It's not often that I'll recommend drafting a WR in round 1, but if you sit at pick 7 or 8 (especially in a 10 man league), it might be wise to select Fitz, and snag a RB early in round 2. By then, you'll not only have the best WR option, but a pretty good RB1 (like possibly Frank Gore) on your roster. Fitz had 7 100 yard games in '08, 3 games with 2 TDs and in the games he didn't acheive 100 yards, he scored 8 TDs. Fantasy Forecast: 1500 total yards, 15 TDs
Old man Warner is a good QB1 in any league format. However, you'll have to invest a fairly high pick in order to land the veteran bomber. With targets like Fitzgerald, Boldin, and Breaston, its hard not to give Warner the nod, even if you have use that mid-30 selection to land him. If you've got 2 RBs, and a stud WR in a 10-man league and Warner is available in Round 4, grab him. In a deeper league, say 14-teams, Warner will require you to invest a high third round selection. At that point, I'd recommend drafting RB or WR and getting a QB in the following round (if Warner is your best QB option). Fantasy Forecast: 3900 pass yards, 30 TDs, 13 INTs
Call it a Hand-cuff
Here's the deal with Breaston (29th in fantasy scoring at WR in '08): he's a guy you'll want to start on occasion, against favourable match-ups. If you draft Anquan Boldin, I definitely recommend hand-cuffing Steve Breaston, and by that I mean, making sure you get him. If Boldin gets injured Breaston is a good fantasy start. In games Boldin missed in 2008, Breaston totaled 279 yards and 2 TDs (4 contests, roughly 10 fantasy pts per game). Even if you are without Q or Fitz, Breaston is a pretty good WR3 in deep leagues, and a nice reserve in 10-man leagues. There's bound to be a few matchups where Arizona is "airing" it out. Fantasy Forecast: 900 total yards, 5 Total TDs (1 Ret. TD)
Maybe think Twice about Q
Arizona's number 2 receiver finished 9th in fantasy scoring at WR in 2008. Boldin suffered through some injuries in 2008 and missed 4 games, he also missed 4 games in 2007. Despite the missed time, Boldin has posted 20 TDs in the past two seasons. However, Boldin was a dud in crunch time, posting just 96 receiving yards combined in weeks 14,15, and 16 (he missed week 16). With a gunslinger like Warner and the best WR in the NFL across from Boldin, this WR2 is a pretty solid WR1 for your fantasy team. I recommend waiting until after pick 30 (Round 4 in 10 man leagues) to draft Boldin. I would draft T.J. Houshmanzadeh over Boldin, simply because Housh went around pick 40 and will have more points by season's end. Fantasy Forecast: 1000 total yards, 8 TDs
The Arizona back field
Tim Hightower/Chris Wells
Wells is the obvious choice of the two for fantasy purpose, but I can't help but wonder if a pick in the 80s is worth the potential of Chris Wells. At this point, you'll be looking at a back up RB, or a WR3, or QB or TE... well you get the point. If you find yourself stacked with talent and Wells is on the board, I would still be hard pressed to recommend Beanie. Rookie RBs did well in 2008 (Forte, Slaton, Johnson), but with Tim Hightower playing fantasy goblin, Wells may be worth passing over. Hightower is a risky selection, because it will be hard for him to repeat his 2008 season in which he finisedh with 636 total yards, and 10 TDs. Fantasy forecast: Wells 750 total yards, 4 Total TDs; Hightower 450 total yards, 7 total TDs
Ask the Nation
How high are you willing to draft Larry Fitzgerald in your fantasy league?
(all fantasy stats are based on 2007-2008 Yahoo! Standard Public league scoring)