Key fantasy questions around the NFC West
(This is the seventh of an eight-part, four-week series from Pat Thorman attempting to answer pressing fantasy football questions in each of the NFL’s divisions. Follow the whole series here.)
As we do every July during the run-up to training camp, let’s take a spin around the league to ask – and attempt to correctly answer – one fantasy-relevant question of each team. Links to all divisions can be found here, and the NFC West is up next. This season, the division takes on the mostly strong defenses of the AFC West and NFC North.
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Is anyone in the desert draftable other than David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald?
We know the big names in Arizona. There are only two, and one doesn’t last long. Johnson almost certainly won’t be available after the fourth overall pick. He often goes ahead of Ezekiel Elliott, and several sharp analysts have him as their top fantasy player. That may be a bridge too far, given the likelihood the Cardinals stink and won’t score many touchdowns, but it is by no means blasphemous.
Even if Johnson isn’t pounding away leads into the fourth quarter, he will be active in the passing game before and after Arizona is in comeback mode – and a reception is far more valuable for fantasy running backs than a handoff.
New head coach Steve Wilks said everything his offense does will start up front, and priority number one is running the football — but words are wind. The Cardinals have the league’s toughest schedule, via Warren Sharp, and that doesn’t exactly lend itself to copious handoffs.
While his offensive line won’t help Johnson’s rushing production – we have them ranked 27th, with question marks throughout – quick dump-offs to he and Fitzgerald will likely be plentiful.
The annually underrated Fitzgerald is, once again, being drafted too late. Picking him is not the most exciting move, unless marked-down wideouts who consistently produce 100-catch seasons and smash draft cost get your juices flowing — which they should.