Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
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For the past couple of seasons, Palmer has been one of the darlings of the late-round quarterback strategy. A player who could be had for a song in many cases; he can put up great numbers for his price tag. But is that gravy train almost at the end of its track? Palmer is now 37 years old, but he’s among quite a few old men still going strong at the position. He finished last season around QB16, which isn’t bad value if you got him late or paid little for him, but it likely didn’t win many championships for people either. I suspect the days of targeting Palmer as that late-round QB may be nearly over.
We move on from the old starter to his old backup. At 32 years old, Stanton never did quite make much of an impression as a starter in the NFL. In limited duty this past season, he didn’t do anything to dispel the notion that he isn’t much more than a backup in the league. The Cardinals owe him $2.5 million in 2017, so he’ll probably stick around but he isn’t worth targeting.
Hey, what do you know- a quarterback on the roster under 30 years old. The former seventh round pick isn’t going to turn that many more heads. He may have broken Ben Roethlisberger’s passing records at Miami of Ohio, but that will likely be his only claim to fame. If you’re drafted in the seventh round and on your third or fourth team, things aren’t looking too rosy. I expect the Cardinals to draft a quarterback or find more help in free agency.
It took a little while, but we got to a fantasy player everyone wants. Johnson is pretty good. He scored over 400 points in PPR leagues this season, which is a massive number. His huge physical talents really translated on the field this year, as he carried the Arizona offense all season. Through week 16, Johnson only had four games where he scored UNDER 20 points. That’s insane. For comparison, over that same span Jordan Howard, who had a darn good year in his own right, only scored OVER 20 points four times. There’s no two ways about it, it was an incredible season from Johnson – now he needs a good nickname.
DJ’s backup put up a huge season once too. That was a long time ago now. CJ2K (and no, I won’t mock his nickname with a lesser variant) might not have the speed he once had, but he evolved into a useful veteran running back to have around. He’s not likely to get the work he got in the past, but he might not be a bad guy to keep in mind, as the coaching staff seems to like him quite a bit. If something should happen to DJ, CJ might still be around next year to take some of that work. Wait and see what happens with CJ in the off-season, however.
In some ways, the Arizona backfield is like the Island of Misfit RBs. Another guy who used to be worth a lot in fantasy circles, Ellington’s inability to stay healthy derailed his fantasy value and much of his career. Now 28 years old, Ellington is also an unrestricted free agent, so he could be elsewhere in 2017. Perhaps he can find a backfield that doesn’t have a back the caliber of David Johnson anchoring it.
Here we have a pair of running backs who haven’t made names for themselves. Again, it doesn’t help when a stud has taken over, but there isn’t a lot to see here. Williams is at least still signed through ’17, while Taylor is another unrestricted free agent. The backfield behind Johnson may be very different going into next season.
Another year, another 1,000 yard campaign for the venerable Larry Fitz – but we shouldn’t be surprised at this point. Sure, he’s not the WR1 he was in his younger days, but it’s hard to complain about a guy that just keeps producing at a fairly high level. I’d love to have Fitz on my team as my WR2 or WR3, and he’s already guaranteed a return for the 2017 season. Will it be his last? Maybe, but he could still help a few teams win next year as well.
That’s right, this is where we are now with the wide receiver crew in Arizona. Once decorated with name after name, JJ Nelson, the young little firecracker is now probably the WR2. To say Nelson is slight of frame is a vast understatement, but the 5’10” 160 pound wide receiver does possess blazing speed. He showed the ability to utilize that speed to a good deal of success late last season, after forced into starting duty due to some injuries and the departure of Michael Floyd. I like Nelson, and I think he’s worth a look at the right price.
Brown is another player who had a great deal of love at one time, a popular choice for WR2 or WR3 on many fantasy squads. His career has been punctuated with enticing flashes of downfield brilliance, but it’s also been peppered with inconsistency, injury and his sickle cell issues. He might be worth pursuing at the right price.
Now on to the other J Brown on the Cardinals, Jaron. He showed some promise later in the season, and the organization awarded him with an extension through the 2017 season. He’s at least worth keeping an eye on to see where he fits in the wide receiver puzzle next year in Arizona.
Brittan Golden, Marquis Bundy and Aaron Dobson
Arizona has a number of other wide receivers currently rostered. I’m not saying I’d pick any of these guys up, but a lot of things could change in the offseason, so it might be good to keep your ear to the ground on these guys. The famous bust Dobson is currently a Cardinal as well, but haven’t enough owners wasted their time with Dobson already?
Gresham was the #1 tight end in Arizona last year. Let that sink in for a moment. He caught 37 passes for under 400 yards and a whopping two touchdowns. To say Arizona is weak at this position is an understatement. Gresham is the best they have right now, but I wouldn’t touch him personally.
Darren Fells, Troy Niklas and Ifeanyi Momah
This position is grim for the Cardinals. I’m just not sure if it’s truly a talent issue or not. It may have just as much to do with offensive philosophy, as the tight end just hasn’t seen utilization in the Bruce Arians offense. I’d steer clear of tight ends in Arizona entirely for the foreseeable future.