The Arizona Cardinals have been a team with some reliable fantasy players over the years, but after this past 2016/17 season some major questions involving their Wide Receivers are raised. As we all know Larry Fitzgerald is one of the greatest wide receivers to have ever played the game, both for Fantasy and in real life. As he gets older his productivity does diminish but not enough to rule him out of fantasy relevance. In fact he scored on average 11.2 points a game for fantasy owners and remains a great fantasy pick up as he tends to go later in the drafts. Fitzgerald confirmed that he will be back for the 2017/18 season which means the number one spot on the Cardinals is not available. That does not mean though another Wide Receiver can’t be fantasy relevant.
We saw Michael Floyd was cut and has moved away from the Cardinals. The former first round pick left open a spot to be filled. After Floyd left we saw John Brown and J.J. Nelson both were able to become fantasy superstars on random weeks through the season. both interesting break through candidates for next season. Here is the pros and cons we saw with these two wide receivers.
Pros – Has been fantasy relevant before and has had the targets that show Palmer (who will also be back for 2017/18, looks his way. He is fast, able to catch the ball and would be a great WR opposite of Fitzgerald.
Cons – Dealt with issues from his sickle cell trait all season. Missing multiple games and not able to play to his fullest during some games. What could be seen as a pro from this though is reports have come in saying Brown has his sickle cell trait under control and will be full fledged in this upcoming season. He will most likely go late in the draft because people are hung up on last season.
Pros – He is so stupid fast. He may be one of the fastest players in the NFL. He was fantasy relevant multiple times last season with big plays down the field. He even beat out Richard Sherman once. He does not play the same receiving roll as Fitzgerald and won’t be competing with him for targets. Nelson is young and could have a long career with the Cardinals.
Cons – A lot of those pros above could be cons too. He was fantasy relevant but it was hard to predict when he would break out and when he would barely get any targets. He is a big play guy. From weeks 13 to 16 Nelson scored 62.6 total points (an average of 15.7/game) with only 10 total receptions. He really relied on the big plays and that is a hard receiver to play regularly. If you do like to take risks though, and the match up is good, it is fun to play one big play guy a week. Another pro or con is he is young. Nelson was a fifth round pick in 2015 and now entering his third season he could be expected to break through, or still in that third-string position.
These two receivers are two that I would expect to not be drafted until the end of the draft so there is not too much risk in picking one of them up in hopes they become a break out WR1 or WR2. We still do not know what the free agent pool or rookie draft class could end up doing for the Cardinals and if they draft high on a wide receiver or pay for a free agent, that would taint the possibilities for one of these two to break out with Fitzgerald already a top target.