Category Archives: Arizona Cardinals

Post Draft Rookie Positional Ranks: QB’s

We here at the Art of Score realize the amount of over-saturation and further more, the absurdity of handing out draft grades to players and teams before guys have even played one down of professional football.  However, we also realize the demand for some type of fantasy feedback, particularly for those of you in dynasty drafts who will be drafting players before you get to see any of these guys in pads.

As such, we’re going to give you these positional rankings now – put them in your input file, and let’s watch how they change over the course of the summer.

QB’s

1.) Teddy Bridgewater – Vikings – I’ve felt all along from a talent perspective Bridgewater was the best QB in this draft.   Going to Minnesota is pretty good for him for a few reasons.  First if he struggles in camp and isn’t ready for the season there’s no QB in the NFL that says “stopgap” more than Matt Cassel – so the Vikes shouldn’t feel pressured to start Bridgewater if he’s not ready.  Second, Norv Turner apparently pushed for Ted (I feel weird to keep calling him “Teddy”) so Turner believes in him and will design the offense for him.  And third the Vikings will still emphasis the run game under Adrian Peterson – as anyone will tell you a heavy run game can slow down pass rushers, and give an inexperienced QB more time to make quality decisions.  In redraft leagues, unless Bridgewater clearly wins the job out of preseason, and looks very good doing it – I’m probably not drafting him – even as a low end backup.  He’s going to take some time I predict – but in dynasty drafts he’s one of the few QB assets I’d like to have from 2014.  Probably a mid 2nd round dynasty pick.

2.) Tom Savage – Texans – Ok I know the next two guys on this list have more hype, seem more pro-ready, and have zero chance of not starting at some point in 2014.  But to me with Savage you play the long game here and see if you win.  You’ll hear a lot of buzz about Ryan Mallet coming to Houston and if that happens it probably pushes off Savage’s debut 2 seasons or so (I don’t believe in Mallet).  And in 2-3 years Arian Foster and Andre Johnson could be gone from what was an explosive offense.   However, what makes Savage attractive in spite of this uncertainty is that he has better tools than most at the position – he has better size, better accuracy, and better decision making than Manziel, and he’s got a better arm than Bortles.  In redraft leagues he’s a non draft for 2014 – on the off-chance he comes in as the 2014 starter, a backup to a low risk starter (Manning, Rodgers, Brees, etc) might be feasible.  In dynasty rookie drafts – if you have a development roster spot – spending a 3rd or 4th rd pick on him may yield you a top 15 QB in a few seasons.

3.) Johnny Manziel – Browns – Crazy is as crazy does.  In less than a week, Josh Gordon has started to face the possibility of a year long suspension, reports have surfaced that most of the Browns scouting department and coaches wanted Teddy Bridgewater, and that the owner Jim Haslam apparently overruled everyone on the advice of a homeless dude.  Now, whether that last part is just an urban legend, or a terribly misguided PR move – I don’t know, and I don’t care.   Look Manziel is polarizing, so no matter what I say about him you are going to have your opinion on whether he can play in this league.   I think he’s the type of guy to have 3-4 seasons of a few highlight plays, be generally mediocre – be loved or hated way beyond that level, and then slip into the ether. He’s smaller and slower than RG3, doesn’t seem to have the decision making that Russel Wilson has, and lacks the accuracy of Andrew Luck.   Yet I’m supposed to believe somehow that this guy is the league’s next superstar?  Not buying it.  Assuming he starts this year in Cleveland in redraft formats he may be worth looking at from the perspective of his scrambling – but keep in mind that usually has a shelf life (as RG3 found out) – and he has low end backup value on that.  In rookie drafts, the guy is going to be drafted 2nd round, whether it’s by you depends whether you think Manziel has game beyond his legs.  If I was drafting in dynasty I would pick him if I thought he would have a highlight or two his rookie year and then try to trade him.

4.) Blake Bortles – Jaguars – Well the Jags believe in him so he’ll probably be given the keys to drive asap. Bortles has great height and weight for an NFL QB, and he’s fairly mobile – but I am highly skeptical of his ability to throw the ball. In college he had a ton, and I mean probably the majority of his time in a one read system – complete with extremely short drops of 2 or less.  A lot of QB’s look great in bubble screen systems – but can he throw the ball down the field?  I say not really, but based on a draft position this guy will be a starter in the league for at least 2-3 seasons.  For redraft purposes he is undraftable to me even if he’s the opening day starter, I mean if he heats up you can also try a waiver wire on him.  In rookie drafts, if you’re fairly desperate for a backup QB you can take him in the late 3rd or 4th rounds knowing that at least he’ll start some games this year.

5.) Jimmy Garoppolo – Patriots – A testament to how weak this QB class seems to me is that I’m putting Garoppolo over players that have a much clearer path to starting.  If the Pats hadn’t chosen Jimmy he may well have been the 2nd or 3rd best QB fantasy option in this draft.  As it stands right now Garoppolo is undraftable in redraft leagues, and in dynasty leagues is a high risk pick that depends a lot on how you view him.  I think Jimmy is talented, I think learning under Brady would be good for him, but I also think it’s impossible to know if he’s the next Pat’s QB.  And if he’s not New England’s successor than you have to check the trajectory of guys like Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallet (to be determined) and figure out if you like his FA chances in 3 seasons.   I would take a flier on him in dynasty leagues if you have a developmental spot he seems to be exactly the player you hold that spot for, and unlike Mallet I believe that the possibility of the Pats job may be up for grabs by the end of his rookie contract.  I’d take him over Bortles in dynasty at about the same spot in the draft if my team already had a competent backup QB on the roster.

THE REST

Derrick Carr – Raiders – nobody wants to get involved with the Raiders’ mess do they?

Logan Thomas – Cardinals – The most fascinating of the QB’s to me unpredictable.  A better Cam Newton?  Or out of the league in 2 years?

Zach Mettenberger – Titans – Not a great potential guy, but path to QB may only be blocked by shaky and often injured Locker.

Aaron Murray – Chiefs – Small, lack of arm strength, and recovering from a torn ACL.  May have some intangibles.  May also have been drafted solely for contract leverage with Alex Smith.

David Fales – Bears – Getting to work with Trestman is nice, working with Cavanaugh is even better.  Capable backup player – ironically may have a career a lot like recently departed Josh McCown.

AJ McCarron – Bengals – McCarron seems to have some potential starter traits good arm, size, decision making average.  But he’s missing something elite – and he’s not going to find it in Cincy behind Dalton.

Tajh Boyd – Jets – A run 1st QB 3rd string back up to Geno Smith and Michael Vick. I don’t see Boyd ever starting an NFL game.

Keith Wenning – Ravens – Wenning is probably a better QB than 2 or 3 of the guys that went ahead of him in the draft.  But he’s clearly on track for NFL career backup…although that career may last longer than people think.

Garret Gilbert – Rams – Possible conversion to WR? Either way Bradford has nothing to worry about from QB competition.

 

:by Mike

 

 

2013 – Week 6 Waiver Add/Drop

2 weeks ago we recommended this WR Terrance Williams and RB Andre Ellington.  (and for the record Jeremy Kerley as well). We saw the trends – hopefully you did too.  Both players move up on the priority list and  are shorter term adds as described below, but they can help you get through the bye weeks.

As always what we’ll do here is make recommendations on 3 levels. Level 1 guys are so obvious that they were either drafted in your league on draft day already, or you will have to fight with other owners over them on the wire. Level 2 guys are decent risks that may not always pan out, but more of them may be available in your league to serve your purposes.  And finally level 3 guys are more of the longshot homerun guys – but if your need is great, or if you play in a deep league – these might be the only guys you have a chance at….

Level 1

TE Garret Graham– Owen Daniels is out for 4 to 6 weeks with a broken leg.  Even with Daniels in there he was a borderline “get.”  Now he is a top tier get.  Yes, the QB situation could be in flux with Houston, but with daniels out, Graham becomes the defacto #2 target behind Andre Johnson.

QB Nick Foles – Yep, I’m advising the add of a guy that hasn’t won a job yet.  Chip Kelly can give all the endorsements to Michael Vick he wants, but the simple truth is, if Vick doesn’t go this weekend – and Foles plays well – consider the possibility that the Eagles starting QB is on your league’s waiver wire right now.  But, but – Nick Foles isn’t the same player as Vick they won’t tie themselves to him longer than the injury to Vick?  Won’t they?  Can Chip Kelly not adapt if Foles proves a better play to win?   Will Vick struggle with injuries all year?  All I know is this – after being on the outs and being droppable even in medium size dynasty leagues this past offseason – Foles has moved up to dynasty prospect for certain, and in my mind almost a 50% chance at being a fantasy factor in 2013.  Own Michael Vick in a league?  Probably time to grab Foles.  Don’t own Vick, and have a player to drop?  Absolutely take a chance and see how this pans out over the next few games.

QB Brandon Weeden – Listen, I know what you thinking, Brandon Weeden, really?  He is the clear cut #1 in Cleveland now.  Freeman isn’t a threat as he landed in Minnesota and Jason Campbell was the #3 QB a few weeks ago.  He is not a top flight player by any means, but he could end up being a good bye and/or injury replacement.  QB’s are hard to come by at this point in the season if you absolutely have to have a warm body at the QB position currently with a job Weeden is an ok consolation prize to your Foles’ lotto ticket.

WR Vincent Brown- He has 14 catches the past 2 weeks.  Malcom Floyd is out for the year.  Brown and Keenan Allen(who you should have picked up last week)  are the starters.   Rivers is playing well and looking for Brown.  He is a WR3/flex play based on opponent and bye /injury situation.

Level 2

RB Andre Ellington- He is slowly supplanting Rashard Mendenhall at RB.  After this week, I think he is worth a flex play.  If he is still available in your league, he is a great pick up moving forward.  Last week.  7 carries for 52 yards and 4 catches for 31yards.

RB Zac Stacey –  The Rams are a mess, I think Benny Cunningham is a better player, and 78 yards doesn’t normally scream fantasy stud. But all that said, Stacey played well enough to get his turn at the Rams starting job – and as at least the 2nd most talented RB on the team he could very well win the job with 2 solid games in a row. Will that happen? I don’t know, and if it does you’re likely in for a lot of temporary flex play production as opposed to RB2 style returns. However, at this time of year starting RB’s are hard to come by, so take your chances.

DEF Cardinals – Did you see what they did to the Panthers last week?  Darryl Washington is back and he is a monster.  If you don’t know him, watch this guy. He and Dansby had great games last week. They have a good front and Patrick Peterson.  A match up play, but they will match up well against most teams especially at home.

WR Harry Douglas – Ok, Harry, I am sorry. I don’t really like you much. It’s nothing personal.  It’s not you it’s me.  However, you are good pickup this week based on the news that Julio Jones if out for the year and that Roddy White tweaked his ankle again.

WR Terrance Williams – He is probably gone after last week’s performance, but if he is still there grab him.  He will remain a good WR3 until Miles Austin gets back. Then, it will be interesting to see how he is used and how many targets he gets.  He is worth a roster spot for a few weeks, especially if you have the roster space.

DEF Jets – This is another team with a great front seven (Panthers, Browns) that we like.  I don’t think they will be world beaters every week, but if you are struggling on D they are definitely worth the pickup.

TE Jeff Cumberland- Holmes is out.  Winslow is getting phased out and there aren’t a lot of options at TE out there.  He is inconsistent at best with Geno Smith at QB, but if you are desperate, he might be worth a look.

Level 3 Preemptive Strike! Dynasty league or deep redraft pay attention. We are talking to you all here.

QB TJ Yates – Oh Matt Schaub… You know all about his troubles.  The man looks to have lost his confidence.   He soon might lose his job.   If you have the roster space and are in need of a 3rd QB.  You might want to think about grabbing him. Houston still has a great running game and  2 good WR’s.  He would be good insurance moving into the playoff push and you would keep him away from other teams in your league

RB Andre Brown – Andre.  Remember that movie about the seal named Andre?  It reminds me in no way of Andre Brown.  Brown is recovering from his surgery and nearing his return.  Brandon Jacobs is slow and is running that way.  David Wilson has a bad neck and host of other issues. Get him now before the rest of your league catches on.

WR Percy Harvin – He is probably a couple of weeks away from being back. Do not wait until they announce he will be playing to pick him up. If you do, you might get beat out for him.  If you have the roster space and are weak at WR.  He could be just what you need for your playoff push.

Drops

Rams D – The served their use against the Jags this past week.  Aside from that game, they have been awful.   Drop them for a better option.

 

:by Ron & Mike

2013 Week 3 – Waiver Wire Add/Drop

Ok, so win or lose in week one you should always be ready to try to improve your team. The weekly waiver wire/or FA pool in your league will always be monitored by your league mates for gems so you need to do that as well.

It’s tough to make generalizations over who to actually add every week – everything depends on your individual team and the makeup of your league. So what we’ll do here is make recommendations on 3 levels. Level 1 guys are so obvious that they were either drafted in your league on draft day already, or you will have to fight with other owners over them on the wire. Level 2 guys are decent risks that may not always pan out, but more of them may be available in your league to serve your purposes. And finally level 3 guys are more of the longshot homerun guys – but if your need is great, or if you play in a deep league – these might be the only guys you have a chance at….

Level 1

WR DeAndre Hopkins – Even before Hopkins 7 catch 117 yard, game winning TD performance this weekend – he was a trendy late round fantasy draft pick.  Now, if he’s somehow available in more shallow leagues – he will be a top priority add for most.  I would make the pickup if you can, but temper expectations – at best Hopkins is still the 4th target on the team in the redzone.  Better to think of him as a potential Wr3 than anything more if you’re adding him,  but if Andre Johnson’s concussion lingers he could be a WR2 for a few weeks.

RB Knowshon Moreno – Again in your league the window to acquire this guy may have passed, but if not grab him up.  All preseason I have thought Moreno was clearly the best RB option Denver had- and the only question was opportunity. He’ll be an inconsistent performer thanks to the style of offense, but Moreno is finally looking like a NFL starter.  Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball have been just awful , and the Broncos schedule over the next 6-8 games has some of the softest run defenses in the league on it.

WR Josh Gordon – Josh should be owned in all leagues, but I know he’s not.  Some people don’t like drafting players who are guaranteed to miss time and so in shallow leagues Gordon could be sitting out there.  Gordon is coming off of his 2 game suspension and looks to slide right back into his #1 WR spot in Cleveland.   It’s not all good news, he has to come back to either Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell at QB – but Gordon had good chemistry with Weeden last season – and you’re just not going to find many #1 targets sitting there on the waiver wire in week 3.

Level 2

WR Eddie Royal  – If I had told you that Eddie Royal would’ve had 5 touchdowns this year – you would have smiled a little in disbelief and then said something like “well, that’s good for him”.  If I had told you he’d have 5 TD’s after 2 weeks you’d probably just walk away from me without saying a word – and probably in a very hurried manner muttering fearfully under your breath.  And yet, here we are – to some degree it makes sense.  Royal is the most veteran WR on the Chargers – heck after the injury to D. Alexander and Malcom Floyd’s horrific looking neck injury – he’s the only NFL veteran WR really on the club.    Is he going to go stretches where you can’t count on him?  Probably.  But right now he has a very good thing going with Philip Rivers – and I’m a firm believer that he will stay in the mix there b/c they simply need his experience.

TE Charles Clay – Everyone’s looking for consistency at the TE position, and while I’m not ready to lock Clay up as the next big thing at the position – he certainly should be in your consideration for an add.   He seems to be a favorite of Tannehill in the short passing game, and they even game him a goal line carry as a sort of fullback hybrid.  If Clay joins your team as a TE2 or a matchup dependent TE there’s a decent chance by year’s end he’s your starter over some of the guys that turn out to be disappointments.  After Clay’s huge game this weekend this will likely be the last week you can even try to get him off the wire – but for those of you struggling at tightend he has to be worth rostering.

RB James Starks – I’m not a huge believer in Starks.  In fact, neither were the Packers to the point where they nearly cut him this preseason.  But this is opportunity that you can’t pass up.  The concussion injury to rookie RB Eddie Lacy isn’t likely to be a long term issue, but Starks is the primary backup even with Lacy healthy – and can work his way into 3rd down looks at worst.  The time to grab Starks may have already passed in your league – but if not, try to pick him up.  In the worst case scenario he’s a flex play for a few weeks.

WR Santonio Holmes – Holmes looked good in the downpour vs New England.  He looked healthy most of all and that alone makes him worth considering in most leagues.  Unfortunately he has a rookie QB on a bad team to work with, along with his own personal mental lapses at points.  He’s worth a gamble as a Wr4 with the hopes that the chemistry between him and Geno can grow over the season.

Level 3

RB Donald Brown – To me, I look at Donald Brown and see talent – NFL starting talent.  The problem is, the Colts don’t seem to share my opinion.  Brown started the year behind the brittle Ahmad Bradshaw, and the underwhelming Vic Ballard.  Now with a season ending  injury to Ballard, it would seem like Brown should be in line for carries and passing game touches while being right behind an injury prone starter in a good offense.  Should be fantasy gold potential right?  Well, it’s the Colts and they don’t like him – word out of Indy is they will look at adding a veteran RB to come in and try out.  For the time being Brown is a tentative add with the hopes that his team doesn’t block him from time.

RB Andre Ellington – The rookie seems to have won the 3rd down running back gig in Arizona.  Ellington is fast, and to me little else….however, he plays behind Rashard Mendenhall who is coming off major knee surgery and his 60 total yards 1 TD performance this weekend may out him on the radar in deep leagues.   Yes, the primary backup in Arizona officially right now is Alfsono Smith – but Smith’s 2.1 YPC has been terrible and there’s no upside to owning him at all.  Ellington by contrast is at least involved in the passing game and again in deep league’s may be worth monitoring while he’s actually on your roster.

WR Robert Woods – A deep league add as a WR5 with a small chance to move up to WR3 this season,  Woods is coming off a nice 4 catch 68 yard day.  As EJ Manuel improves throughout the year Woods is due for an increase in targets, and I like what I’ve watched from Woods so far this year.  Fantasy owners slotted him in behind rookie WR’s like WR Marcus Wheaton or Keenan Allen, but it’s clear early that Woods was more NFL ready than those guys and others.  In dynasty formats Woods was likely drafted and currently owned, but if you’re playing a deep redraft league (especially PPR) and are having WR issues – Woods is looking more and more like a WR add and hold.

Players to Drop

RB Ronnie Hillman – How far down has Hillman’s stock fumbled?  Consider that this past weekend against the Giants, Montee Ball fumbled near the goalline and was benched.  Knshown Moreno came in to take the bulk of the work,  and Montee Ball was even seen in the game again near the goalline late in the game.  All while Hillman got one carry for 3 yards.   It’s time to face the facts if you own Hillman your Denver RB “lotto” pick is bust.

WR Kenny Britt – If you’re in a deep league, or a dynasty league I guess you hold him and bench him for possibly all of 2013 – barring your own personal emergency.  But in redraft leagues of standard size – it’s time to let Britt go.  I know it hurts – he really does have amazing potential. The problem is…Jake Locker does not.  Britt is only going to get more frustrated and then disinterested as the year goes on.

RB Mark Ingram – You can only really cut Ingram in shallow leagues because of his high profile potential and workload but man, if you can…that has to feel good.  No more watching him plod for about 2 yards a carry, no more watching him go down like he took a shot from a cannon every time a defender grazes him, no more sub 5 point days from your fantasy starting RB (or flex RB).  If you can somehow drop him for Moreno, do so and you may never stop smiling.

 

 

:by Mike

 

Preseason Week 1: Arizona at Green Bay

Arizona

QB Carson Palmer’s strange odyssey through the NFL opened a new chapter with an efficient and effective debut for the Cardinals.  I would champion Palmer as a sneaky top 12 fantasy QB this year, but for his health and playing behind a traditionally awful Arizona O- Line.  Toss in new coach Bruce Arians who loves to throw deep and gets his QB hit a ton (last year in Indy his scheme was at least partly responsible for rookie QB Andrew Luck taking the most hits in the league) and I just can’t get too excited about Palmer.   He has the weapons, and the arm strength, and the experience – but he doesn’t have the Oline, a safe scheme, or a young body – and playing San Fran, Seattle, and St Louis for over  1/3 of his schedule is bound to get him hurt…if not killed.

The Cardinals started RB Alfonso Smith in this one while RB Rashard Mendenhall and RB Ryan Williams sat with injuries.   There was nothing to like about Smith’s performance and nothing to like about the lack of the 2 guys ahead of him who sat out.  Mendenhall should be back for the next preseason game, but Ryan Williams looks like he may be headed down a similar career path as former Cards RB Beanie Wells – who is a FA with no interest from teams this season due to his chronic injuries.

Rookie RB Stephan Taylor got a massive 20 carry workload (64 yards total) in this one.  Over such a sample size of course he had ups and downs – and my evaluation of him is that way as well – he seems to have good vision, makes solid cuts and above average choices – but he seems to lack some fluidity and speed.  Often times he got where he was going, but it looked like it was painful to develop – against NFL starters I’m not sure he would have even the limited success he did here.

Green Bay

WR James Jones and TE Jermichael Finely have been two players I’ve always been down on because of inconsistent play.  And I’m not talking about inconsistent fantasy production- that can be dependent on a lot of things – I’m talking about dropping the football.   Jones caught a 50 yarder in this one, and was targeted on a bad throw in the endzone,  on the 1st play when the Packers were inside the 10.  So with WR Jordy Nelson out with injury, and Randal Cobb expected to be battling his biceps injury most of the season, Jones will see his stock continue to trend up.   If he can hang on to the ball he could be as a high as a WR 2 on your fantasy team in 2013.  You’ll want to draft him like he’s a WR3 however and hope for that upside.

Finley has been said to be having an excellent camp, and Rodgers looked for him early in the 1st drive on a nice 7 yard quick timing route.  But, just when I start believing even a little in him Finley drops a TD pass from Rodgers on the Packers 2nd play inside the 5 yard line.  I don’t think Finely ever gets it together and becomes a fantasy dominant TE, ever since he burst on to the scene he’s regressed season after season – I’m starting to think players like Jared Cook have a chance to pass him this season.  It’s just tough to like a guy with stone hands.

If you feel uneasy about the Broncos potential RB mess – welcome to Green Bay 2013.   They  started this one with RB James Starks who is said to be on the roster bubble this year.  Starks ran hard (12 carries for 38 yards), but he did get stuffed at the goaline, and running hard in Green Bay has these past few years meant modest production at best.

RB Jonathan Frankin was next up, the “other” rookie RB that Green Bay drafted.  Franklin looked like an all around RB – threw a nice block in pass protection on LB Darryl Washington, caught 2 passes for 12 yards, and ran ok without much results (6 carries for 14 yards) he had all of his carries behind the 2nd unit OL.

RB Alex Green the “other” veteran said to be on the roster bubble was next.  I like Green – but I admit he’s probably going to be a roster causality.   It wasn’t a good sign for him when in his 1st series they gave him the ball once on a shotgun draw which had no blocking, and then he didn’t get another carry for over a quarter (Franklin rotated back in during this time).  He mostly encountered no blocking with the 3rd and 4th stringers – and it will be tough for him to move up the depth chart.

RB Ed Lacy and RB Dujan Harris who might both be the real starting candidates for this team did not play.   When they get added to the mix you’ll be looking at a true 5 man competition – for a job where the RB might be better than the OL.