The Arizona Cardinals offense was a colossal disappointment for Fantasy Football managers in 2022 even before Kyler Murray got injured. Now, with DeAndre Hopkins released and Murray to potentially miss a large portion of the season, this is an offense it seems like everyone is staying away from in 2023. However, there remains James Conner, a true workhorse back who you can get for pennies on the dollar. Second-year tight end Trey McBride should also be on your radar among other skill positions players going in the later rounds thanks to the uncertainty of Murray's timetable.
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Cardinals' entire team outlook, including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for notable Cardinals players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
- NFC West: | |
Cardinals 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
The once-promising Kliff Kingsbury era came to an ignominious end, and the Cardinals probably just need to hit the reset button. Kyler Murray's youth and contract probably make it hard to actually do that, which leaves them in limbo coming off his torn ACL. With DeAndre Hopkins' release, this is, at the very least, a soft reset.
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Burning question: What can we expect from Murray?
Murray will be about nine months removed from his torn ACL by the start of training camp, so it's not unreasonable to think he'll be ready for Week 1. But he probably won't be fully himself, and given how much he still relies on his scrambling ability, it's fair to assume he'll be limited, especially early on. If it forces him to improve as a passer, that might not be a bad thing, but the expectation should be that he struggles to start the season.
Cardinals player projections
|QB||Kyler Murray||PA: 569, YD: 3980, TD: 23, INT: 10; RUSH -- ATT: 71, YD: 320, TD: 2|
|RB||James Conner||CAR: 237, YD: 948, TD: 8; TAR: 63, REC: 48, YD: 362, TD: 2|
|RB||Chase Edmonds||CAR: 135, YD: 539, TD: 4; TAR: 50, REC: 37, YD: 260, TD: 2|
|WR||Marquise Brown||TAR: 142, REC: 82, YD: 907, TD: 6|
|WR||Rondale Moore||TAR: 102, REC: 75, YD: 757, TD: 4|
|WR||Michael Wilson||TAR: 57, REC: 31, YD: 344 TD: 2|
|TE||Zach Ertz||TAR: 91, REC: 57, YD: 544, TD: 4|
2023 NFL Draft class
1. (6) Paris Johnson, OL
2. (41) BJ Ojulari, DE
3. (72) Garrett Williams, DB
3. (94) Michael Wilson, WR
4. (122) Jon Gaines, OL
5. (139) Clayton Tune, QB
5. (168) Owen Pappoe, LB
6. (180) Kei'Trel Clark, DB
6. (213) Dante Stills, DT
Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 23rd easiest
- RB PSoS: 29th easiest
- WR PSoS: 22nd easiest
- TE PSoS: 29th easiest
|1||Sep 10, 2023||@Washington||1:00 pm||FOX||FedEx Field|
|2||Sep 17, 2023||vsN.Y. Giants||4:05 pm||FOX||State Farm Stadium|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||vsDallas||4:25 pm||FOX||State Farm Stadium|
|4||Oct 1, 2023||@San Francisco||4:25 pm||FOX||Levi's Stadium|
|5||Oct 8, 2023||vsCincinnati||4:05 pm||FOX||State Farm Stadium|
|6||Oct 15, 2023||@L.A. Rams||4:25 pm||FOX||SoFi Stadium|
|7||Oct 22, 2023||@Seattle||4:05 pm||FOX||Lumen Field|
|8||Oct 29, 2023||vsBaltimore||4:25 pm||State Farm Stadium|
|9||Nov 5, 2023||@Cleveland||1:00 pm||Cleveland Browns Stadium|
|10||Nov 12, 2023||vsAtlanta||4:05 pm||State Farm Stadium|
|11||Nov 19, 2023||@Houston||1:00 pm||NRG Stadium|
|12||Nov 26, 2023||vsL.A. Rams||4:05 pm||FOX||State Farm Stadium|
|13||Dec 3, 2023||@Pittsburgh||1:00 pm||Acrisure Stadium|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||vsSan Francisco||4:05 pm||State Farm Stadium|
|16||Dec 24, 2023||@Chicago||4:25 pm||FOX||Soldier Field|
|17||Dec 31, 2023||@Philadelphia||1:00 pm||FOX||Lincoln Financial Field|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||vsSeattle||TBA||—||State Farm Stadium|
Cardinals 2023 player outlooks
By Heath Cummings unless otherwise noted
QB Kyler Murray
Until he's fully cleared to return to action, we are not drafting Murray as anything more than a backup QB in a one-QB league, no earlier than the double-digit rounds. Since Murray's injury happened in December it's quite possible he will not be ready for Week 1, and he could even begin the season on the PUP list. The injury isn't the only obstacle for Murray; he'll be learning a new offense as his team undergoes a rebuild and he'll be doing it without his No. 1 wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. The injury also means we shouldn't expect as much rushing from Murray this year, and he hasn't been great as a passer without Hopkins. All those things being said, Murray still has top-five upside when he's healthy and should still be valued as a top-10 QB in Dynasty. He's an excellent buy candidate for rebuilding teams.
QB Colt McCoy
If Kyler Murray is not ready for the start of the season, McCoy will battle Clayton Tune to start in Murray's place. We expect McCoy to win that battle in training camp, which would make McCoy worthy of a roster spot in any league that allows you to start more than one quarterback. McCoy averaged 242 yards passing in the two games he played more than 90% of the snaps, but he only threw one touchdown pass on the season compared to three interceptions. Even in a two-quarterback league, you won't want to start him unless you are truly desperate.
RB James Conner
We're drafting Conner as a No. 2 running back in Round 4 or 5 of most Fantasy leagues. At 28, Conner is approaching old for a running back and he's missed at least three games in four of the past five seasons. All that makes it pretty shocking that the Cardinals did nothing to shore up their running back room behind him, leaving Keaontay Ingram and Corey Clement as his top competition. That should signal that Conner will be a workhorse back for as long as he holds up. It's a different coaching staff, but last year that looked like a six-week stretch where Conner played almost 90% of the snaps, produced more than 100 yards per game and outscored everyone but Josh Jacobs on a per-game basis.
RB Keaontay Ingram
Ingram only touched the ball 26 times in 12 games as a rookie and had more plays go for no gain or a loss than he did plays that gained more than five yards. That's why we don't have him ranked as someone who should be drafted. Still, Ingram is the No. 2 back on the Cardinals' depth chart behind 28-year-old James Conner, who has missed six games the past two years and nearly a full season over the past four. It's likely at some point the Cardinals will have little choice but to give Ingram 15 to 20 touches and see what happens. For that reason, he's a strong hold in Dynasty and someone you should expect to be fighting for on the waiver wire at some point this year.
WR Marquise Brown
With DeAndre Hopkins gone, Brown has an excellent chance to be the true No. 1 for the Cardinals. Now we just have to figure out who is throwing him the ball. Last year, Brown played six games with Kyler Murray and without Hopkins. In those games, he was on a 17-game pace for 122 catches, 1,374 yards, and eight touchdowns on 181 targets. With Kliff Kingsbury gone, we don't expect that type of pass volume in Arizona, but if Murray gets healthy, Brown would absolutely be ranked as a starter. For now, with Murray still uncertain for the start of the season, we ranked Brown as a No. 3 receiver who should be drafted in Round 6 or 7.
WR Rondale Moore
You should start looking for Moore as early as Round 10 in a PPR league. If he stays healthy, he could provide a big value at that cost. Moore took a step forward in 2022, earning eight or more targets in five of his seven healthy games. He also became a more complete receiver, lining up outside on 41.9% of his routes as opposed to 16.6% his rookie year. With DeAndre Hopkins gone, Moore has an excellent chance to be the team's No. 2 wide receiver. Still, he only played more than four games in a season once in college, and his isn't the only injury of concern because we still don't know when Kyler Murray will be ready. Moore is still just 23 years old so he's even more valuable in Dynasty leagues.
WR Greg Dortch
We are not suggesting you draft Dortch in most redraft leagues, but that does not mean you should forget about him either. He played at least 70% of the snaps in six games last year and scored at least 13 PPR Fantasy points in five of those games. With DeAndre Hopkins gone, it's possible the Cardinals move Dortch or Rondale Moore outside and they both start alongside Marquise Brown. It's more likely that Michael Wilson takes Hopkins' snaps outside and Dortch needs an injury to find the field. With Moore's injury history going back to college, that is more likely than not. Dortch is a fine stash in deeper leagues and in Dynasty. If he gets on the field, we would expect production.
WR Michael Wilson
Wilson is most valuable in Dynasty leagues because he is a rookie receiver with an uncertain QB situation and a lot of competition for targets. We like him in Round 3 of rookie drafts. For now, we are avoiding him in all but the deepest of redraft leagues, but a good training camp could change that. Wilson is a raw prospect who has struggled with injuries in college, but he is also one of the only receivers over 6-foot on the Cardinals roster. In other words, if he shines in camp there should be a spot on the field for him.
TE Trey McBride
McBride started the final eight games of the season and struggled like most rookie tight ends do. He only averaged 30 yards per game, though he did flash in Week 17 with seven catches for 78 yards and a score. McBride was a truly elite producer in college with a rare 1,100-yard season in his final year at Colorado State. So he is a strong hold in Dynasty leagues, with the expectation he will eventually be a starter. But it will be hard to roster him in redraft leagues as long Zach Ertz is ahead of him on the depth chart. If something happens to move McBride atop the depth chart, expect him to move into our top 15.
Due to the expected ineptitude from the Cardinals offense, we are not advising drafting Prater as a top-20 kicker. If Kyler Murray returns and the Cardinals are better than expected then that could change. For now, you should leave Prater on the waiver wire.
Due to five defensive touchdowns, the Cardinals actually finished last year as a top-12 defense. But they were in the bottom half of the league in terms of yards allowed, sacks, and turnovers forced. They also gave up the second-most points in the NFL. While the arrival of Jonathan Gannon could one day turn this team into a defensive juggernaut, 2023 is probably not the year, especially if Kyler Murray is out and the offense cannot stay on the field. Leave the Cardinals defense on the waiver wire, even with a great first matchup against Washington.