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 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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After 15 seasons with the Cardinals, Raiders, and Bengals, Palmer called it a career. I know this is supposed to be about the players you should care about from a dynasty perspective, but I couldn’t put together this piece without mentioning Palmer. Though he never got to the big game, he had a fantastic career and he will be missed. Is it possible he has a change of heart and joins some QB-needy contender next year? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bank on it.
The journeyman QB out of USC hasn’t really done anything to merit a particularly close look. He’s also an unrestricted free agent (as are ALL of the other Arizona quarterbacks) and I doubt he ends up worth owning.
Another journeyman, another UFA. In case you haven’t seen the story, the Cardinals have a lot of questions at QB to answer. I’m not sure Gabbert is one of them.
Stanton rounds out the UFA, journeyman triumvirate here. Maybe none of them end up on next year’s roster, but perhaps Stanton has the best shot to be a bridge starter or stick around as a backup.
After a monstrous season last year, roughly one million fantasy owners cried out at once when Johnson dislocated his wrist in week one of the season. It was a tough break for many, as Johnson was the cornerstone on many rosters. The do-it-all back saw great success both on the ground and through the air in 2016, and we all hope he can return to form in 2018. He was already THE player to own in Arizona, and depending on what happens this off-season, he may be the only Cardinal you want to own.
It’s hard to believe how far AD has fallen. It happens to the very best (and Peterson was indeed the very best for a decade) but it’s still disheartening to see it happen. I’m a Bears fan, so I found myself tortured again and again by Peterson’s unbelievable talent.
Many still had high hopes when he landed in New Orleans last off-season, and I was among them. I thought he still had it in him, especially with a good offensive line, and I thought perhaps Sean Payton could help ignite that old fire. But it just didn’t work out, and AD later found himself a Cardinal.
Peterson is technically under contract, but the Cards could save $4m or so by cutting him this off-season. I’m not sure what value he has left, but if you own him you might as well hold him and see what happens – if you get one last trade window, I’d take it.
A 230 pound-plus back, Penny at least brings a little something different to the table in the Cardinals backfield. He’s only 24 but only managed a few looks later in the season and had “okay” production, where he was able to score twice in limited action. Many thought of him as a potential dark-horse candidate before the season, but I can only really see him getting limited action, perhaps as a guy to spell DJ occasionally next season.
The Cardinals drafted Logan in the fifth round out of North Carolina. He is considered a change of pace guy with good receiving ability, utility and a speedy 4.37 forty. Logan never got to show those wheels in his rookie season due to a wrist injury that landed him on the IR. He doesn’t project as much more than a complementary back, but we’ve seen some value from that type of player in recent years. (See Johnson, Duke, and Riddick, Theo.)
Williams has been a marginal and unspectacular producer when called upon. He’s also an unrestricted free agent and Cardinals are obviously going to have to heavily rebuild. He could stay around as a backup in Arizona, but he could just as easily land somewhere else.
Foster, an Arizona State prospect, went undrafted last year but landed a spot on the Patriots’ roster. One interesting tidbit about Foster is that Dion Lewis beat him out for one of the final roster spots in ‘17. He landed on the Patriots’ practice squad and was signed to the Cardinals 53-man roster later in the season. Foster actually spent a season as a receiver in college and has great acceleration and lateral quickness. Like many players on the Arizona roster, he’s a bit of a wildcard.
There’s not much to see here. He’s an undrafted free agent and did just sign a futures deal. But depending on who Arizona keeps around, maybe keep an eye on Victor.
While many thought Fitz would be a useful guy to have on your dynasty roster, few expected the huge season he put out. Fitz was the WR3 in standard PPR through week 16. And you most certainly wouldn’t have paid WR3 prices to get him. I’m sure he was on many championship rosters this past season, but that season is now over.
With Palmer and Arians both retiring, the biggest remaining question in Arizona is whether or not Fitz will come back for another season. (Trust me, google “Larry Fitzgerald retirement” and see what you get!) He’s had a hall of fame career, but like many great, great players he’s still missing that ring. The rub there, of course, is that Arizona doesn’t look anywhere close to competing, and Fitzgerald has always seemed to put loyalty to the Cardinals above his own resume. Like many, I’d love to see him go somewhere else and make it to the big game, but for now, we all have to wait and see.
Nelson started his 2017 season quite strong, putting up 38 points over the first 2 games of the year. After that, the wheels came off. He only crested 10 points one more time for the remainder of the season. Nelson has flashed real upside at times, but at other times he can disappear. He’s one of those all-or-nothing types, so whether he’s worth a spot on your roster is up to you.
He can reel in a couple big plays and make a great week but disappear the next. And with the chaos in Arizona, it’s hard to say what his long-term future might be. He is one of the only receivers actually under contract for 2018, however. Maybe he could still put it all together and combine that blazing speed with more consistency.
Remember when Ol’ Smoke was the bee’s knees? I took him in a startup a couple of seasons back and was really happy to get what I saw as a young player on the rise. My, how times have changed. Health issues have wreaked havoc on an otherwise promising career for Brown, and those missed games have combined with missed opportunities when he did play. Brown is now an unrestricted free agent, and with the state of the Cardinals, I could easily see him choosing to try starting over elsewhere. I think he still has a great deal of talent, and perhaps he can still fulfill that early promise.
If there’s a recurring theme in Arizona, it’s the prevalence of question marks and unrestricted free agents. Jaron Brown is also free and clear to seek employment elsewhere, and he could easily end up on a different roster. Jaron Brown often looked much better than the other Brown on the roster, and at the very least was MUCH more present and consistent. Brown did put up career highs this past season, and I could very easily see him sticking around. He’s just not the kind of guy that gets anyone especially excited. There is a chance he gets a regular role next season, so keep your ear to the ground.
A favorite later round rookie for many last year, I found myself drafting Williams in a couple of places. But at that time I still thought of Arizona as a good place to own wide receivers. With the departures of Palmer and Arians, I’m not so sure of that anymore. And considering the strength at RB, I could easily see the Cardinals transition to a different style of offense.
Mike McCoy is the new coordinator under new head coach Steve Wilks, and McCoy has run a number of attacks in the past, so it’s hard to say. Williams also didn’t set the world on fire when he got his opportunities, so his future is murky. I liked him coming out, but I’m not so sure anymore.
Brittan Golden, Carlton Agudosi, and Rashad Ross
Another of those Cardinals UFAs, Golden is a 29 year old journeyman. I won’t expect anyone is banging on the table to bring him back to the desert. Both Agudosi and Ross received futures deals recently, so they should at least be on your radar. Agudosi is intriguing due to his 6’6” frame, but he didn’t do much at Rutgers and has a lot to prove.
RSJ (I don’t know if anyone calls him that, but hey, this is my article) was one of the darlings of fantasy late in the season. He came out of nowhere to overcome a bleak tight end position and put up some solid numbers later in the year.
RSJ was a five-star recruit wide receiver coming out of high school, but never quite lived up to that billing in the college game. His 6’5” frame and inability to separate led him to convert to tight end for the draft, but his name was never called on draft day. The Cardinals took a shot on him, and so far that shot has paid off. Tight end in the desert has been a bit of a dead zone, but perhaps RSJ can change that. He at least has a strong opportunity to be the TE1 in Arizona next season.
Gresham is one of those guys that has drifted in and out of the Tight End conversation in fantasy. TE is such a tough position that we often find ourselves grasping at straws to fill out a lineup. Every once in a while, Gresham is one of those straws. But, sadly, Gresham didn’t manage to score double-digit points a single game all season. The Cardinals offense has never been friendly to tight ends, but maybe that will change with the new regime. I’m just not sure the near 30-year-old Gresham would be the beneficiary.
Niklas is the last interesting tight end prospect in Arizona, but that might be a stretch. Niklas has struggled to stay healthy so far in his young career, and when healthy he has been inconsistent at best. Still, there is no “shoe-in” on the roster at tight end and Niklas could still challenge. Niklas is a UFA, but I don’t expect he’ll have a ton of suitors due to his current resume.
Gabe Holmes and Ifeanyi Momah
Just a couple more names here, really. Unless there are many injuries or surprises, I don’t expect either to be rostered that much next season.