Rostering any Arizona Cardinal in 2014 proved to be disastrous for your team. Carson Palmer only played six games, Andre Ellington dealt with nagging injuries the entire year, and Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd couldn’t be supported by horrible quarterback play. There really wasn’t any bright spot aside from the occasional big play from John Brown.
At this moment, Carson Palmer and Andre Ellington are supposedly healthy, so how should you feel about drafting any Arizona Cardinals in 2015?
Carson Palmer: Palmer was playing at an elite level before tearing his ACL last year. Through six games, he had 261.2 yards per game, 11 touchdowns, and only three interceptions.
Now 35-years-old, Palmer is getting to that point where one more injury could be his last, and he is a far from safe fantasy option in 2015.
While he is playing, he should be trusted to put up big points, but he isn’t worth the risk anymore. The weapons are there, and Bruce Arians offense has always been kind to quarterbacks.
Palmer is currently our 21st ranked quarterback for 2015 but offers much more upside compared to those ranked around him. Obviously Palmer shouldn’t be drafted to be your number one quarterback, but he has the potential to turn into your starter as long as he stays healthy.
Andre Ellington: There is nothing more frustrating than when a player plays through an injury and you’re forced to contemplate starting him every week. That is what happened with Ellington throughout the duration of the 12 games he played in 2014. Ellington injured his foot in the preseason, then his hip, and finally went on the I.R. to repair a hernia.
It’s been reported that Ellington is now 100 percent but after a more than frustrating season it’s hard to get behind drafting Ellington. What happened last year has surely left a bad taste in people’s mouth.
After his breakout 2013, Ellington’s numbers dropped significantly in 2014, but if he’s healthy should he jump to the top of your wishlist for 2015? I don’t think so.
Johnson is bigger and just as fast as the much smaller Ellington. Ellington is currently our 23rd ranked running back, and I’d rather take a risk on someone that I think will keep the starting job through the year.
David Johnson: Johnson is a much bigger version of Andre Ellington, both are shifty, pass-catching running backs. As reported, the Cardinals plan on using Johnson exactly how the use Ellington. One isn’t going to be thunder and lightning ala the combo of LenDale White and Chris Johnson.
Still, the Cardinals drafted Johnson in the third round for a reason, and he could carve out his own role.
It remains to be seen whether or not Johnson and Ellington cancel each other out or does one run away with the starting role. Right now, this is a difficult situation to predict, most likely I’d stay away from Ellington and take a chance on Johnson later.
Michael Floyd: It was expected that Floyd would continue his 2013 breakout, but once Carson Palmer got hurt it was difficult for anyone on the offense to do anything. Compared to 2013, Floyd was down 18 receptions and 200 yards.
If there is one player on the Cardinals that I’m not afraid of, it’s Michael Floyd. He is the number one receiver and Carson Palmer is going to look his way a lot.
Larry Fitzgerald is close to the end, and John Brown isn’t going to steal targets from Floyd. The only concern with Floyd is that true number one receivers should have success regardless of who is at quarterback, however, one could make the argument that Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas are as bad as it gets. Floyd is our 28th ranked wide receiver for 2015, and I think I talked myself into moving him up a few spots.
Larry Fitzgerald: It’s clear that Fitzgerald’s best years are behind him, but it was only a year ago that he reeled in 82 passes for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The story is the same for Fitzgerald as it is for Floyd, without Carson Palmer he was basically rendered useless. Still, Fitzgerald hasn’t been at his best for the past three years, and even with Palmer back it’s hard to get excited about him.
At the moment, it’s probably best to avoid Fitzgerald all together and go for someone with higher upside at your fourth of fifth receiver.
John Brown: Brown had a nice season as a rookie in 2014 with 48 catches for 696 yards and six touchdowns. Despite the quarterback play, Brown actually had success because he is nearly uncoverable with his 4.3 speed.
Despite being so fast, as it stands he is most likely going to be Carson Palmer’s third target. However, he offers a lot more potential at a cheaper price than Larry Fitzgerald.
It probably wouldn’t be a surprise if Brown eventually becomes the number two receiver, but right now he is too much of a boom or bust.
Tight End: Bruce Arians’ offense has never been kind to tight ends, and that is not going to change in 2015. Troy Niklas was drafted in 2014 to be the number one tight end but only played three games, and is once again dealing with an ankle injury that is going to require minor surgery. It remains to be seen whether or not he will ready for the start of the season, but even if he is, Niklas is more of a blocker than a pass-catcher.