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2021 Dynasty Capsule: Arizona Cardinals

What can you expect from Arizona’s dynasty stars in 2020?

Every year, we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the prior NFL season. 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.”

Hopes were high in Arizona heading into the 2020 season. The Cardinals traded for (stole) one of the top receivers in the game in DeAndre Hopkins, giving reigning Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray a much-needed weapon. They were also seemingly set at the running back position with Kenyan Drake who was acquired in the middle of the 2019 season and proceeded to run for over 600 yards and score eight touchdowns in the last eight games of that season.

But while everything was in place for the Cardinals’ offense to take off, they only finished in the middle of the pack in scoring with 25.6 points per game. No Cardinals runner topped 1,000 yards while the second-leading receiver (behind who else? Hopkins) was Christian Kirk at 621 yards. Let’s see what happened to the Cardinals on their way to an extremely mediocre season.

QUARTERBACK

Kyler Murray (Overall ADP: 56.8; QB4)

Age: 23

After a rookie season in which Murray threw for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns and ran for 544 more yards and four touchdowns, the sky was the limit when it came to Murray’s dynasty potential. Part of a new breed that scored fantasy points through the air AND on the ground, his low-end QB1 fantasy finish in 2019 was his floor. In turn, his dynasty ADP shot up from being the ninth quarterback taken all the way up fourth.

So, did Murray deliver after being anointed a top-five dynasty quarterback? Yes. Relative to other quarterbacks at least. He barely missed out on 4,000 passing yards but did up his touchdown total to 26. He also upped his rushing total to 819 yards and his 11 rushing touchdowns were good for 11th in the league and second behind only Cam Newton. In the end, Murray finished exactly at his ADP of QB4.

There will be Murray dynasty owners who may have been disappointed in the 2020 season, certainly if you only focused on the passing game. After all, the Cardinals brought in coach Kliff Kingsbury specifically for his passing game acumen and Murray finished just 13th in the league in passing yards and 12th in passing touchdowns. Luckily, his ground game more than made up for it and propelled him back to a top-five finish.

Chris Streveler (Overall ADP: N/A)

Age: 26

You’d be forgiven if you’d never heard of Streveler before the 2020 season. He played at small school South Dakota for his college ball where he was Murray-esque, passing for 30 touchdowns and running for 11 more his last season. He then took his talents to Canada to play in the CFL where he caught the attention of the Cardinals who signed him over two years ago. He saw limited action this year when Murray missed a half and was ok in his 16 pass attempts but didn’t do anything to challenge Murray (or any other starter in the league).

RUNNING BACK

Kenyan Drake (Overall ADP: 50: RB21)

Age: 27

The 2020 season was a mixed bag for Drake and his dynasty owners. On one hand, he was finally given the starting job on an NFL offense after years of effective, but limited action. And as noted above, his eight-game debut with the Cardinals meant a hopeful 2020 season. But while Drake totaled a career-high 955 yards rushing, to go along with ten touchdowns, it appears those numbers were more a function of volume than skill.

His 4.0 yards-per-carry average was a half-yard below his career average and a full yard below what he averaged as a Cardinal in 2019. He also managed to see fewer receiving numbers over the course of a whole season (25 receptions for 137 yards) than he did in half of one last year (28 receptions for 171 yards). In all, Drake finished as the 16th-highest scoring running back in (PPR) fantasy scoring, yet it felt like he left a lot of yards on the field.

Chase Edmonds (Overall ADP: 148; RB49)

Age: 24

The biggest surprise (value) of the Cardinals’ offense had to be Edmonds. The fourth-round pick from 2018 proved to be a PPR machine, totaling 53 receptions for 402 yards and four touchdowns to go along with his 448 yards on the ground and another touchdown. He finished as the 21st-highest scoring running back while seeing just 150 touches. Compare that to Drake’s 16th-ranked finish on 265 touches, more than 100 more and helps explain why their respective dynasty values inched closer and closer throughout the year.

WIDE RECEIVER

DeAndre Hopkins (Overall ADP: 11; WR3)

Age: 28

Any concern that a change of scenery would be a detriment to Hopkins’ dynasty value was quickly squashed in week one of the 2020 season. At San Francisco, Hopkins caught 14 receptions for 151 yards in what was the beginning of a 1,400 yard, six-touchdown campaign. He delivered almost exactly at his ADP, finishing as fantasy’s fourth-highest scoring receiver.

Christian Kirk (Overall ADP: 71; WR35)

Age: 24

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much by way of fantasy success at receiver after Hopkins. Kirk, who seems to be continually on the verge of a breakout, failed to do so yet again, totaling just 621 yards across 14 games. He did manage to notch a career-high six touchdowns but that does little to mitigate a season with just one game over 86 yards.

Compared to Kirk’s ADP and the expectations of the entire Cardinals offense, 2020 was an absolute bust.

Larry Fitzgerald (Overall ADP: 183; WR76)

At long last, 2020 may have been the last we see of Fitzgerald. It was, by far, the worst statistical season of his 17-year career. He totaled just over 400 yards on 54 receptions – both career lows – but still good for third and second on the team, respectively. If there was a silver lining to Fitzgerald’s season, it’s that he finished the season ranked almost exactly as high as his ADP before the season. He provided the appropriate value despite the decline.

Andy Isabella (Overall ADP:186; WR79)

Age: 24

Much like Kirk, Isabella is perpetually on the verge of a breakout. Drafted in the late second round in 2019, there was hope that Isabella could contribute immediately in his rookie season. That didn’t happen as he managed just 189 yards on 13 targets. This year was supposed to be different with a year under his and his starting quarterback’s belt. But it was more of the same as he managed just 224 yards on 21 receptions, giving him a paltry 10.7 yards per catch. In terms of fantasy scoring, Isabella finished well outside his ADP, ending as the 113th-highest scoring receiver in 2020.

KeeSean Johnson (Overall ADP: 204; WR84)

Age: 24

Johnson brought up the rear of disappointing Cardinal receivers, catching just 15 receptions for 173 yards and no touchdowns. The sixth-rounder finished 145th in fantasy scoring, well outside his ADP.

TIGHT END

Dan Arnold (Overall ADP: 270; TE38)

Age: 25

It’s fair to say that if Arnold never plays another snap in the NFL, he’s already exceeded expectations. Undrafted as a receiver out of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2017, Arnold sparingly caught passes in New Orleans over three injury-riddled seasons before catching on with the Cards at the end of the 2019 season.

He did manage to see two touchdowns on just ten targets to close out the season, but it certainly wasn’t interpreted as the precursor to any sort of breakout. But that’s what happened in 2020 as Arnold played every game, saw 45 targets, and caught 31 of them for 438 yards and four touchdowns. In terms of fantasy scoring, Arnold finished as a low-end TE2 and far surpassed his ADP entering the season.

Maxx Williams (Overall ADP: N/A)

Age: 26

Rarely has a tight end drafted so high to start his professional career produced so little. Taken 55th overall in 2015, Williams never topped 300 yards in any of his four seasons as a Raven before not topping 300 yards in Arizona this season. He’s accrued just 78 receptions for 699 yards and four touchdowns across his five-year career – what Travis Kelce would call a half-season. Williams is done.

2021 Dynasty Capsule: Arizona Cardinals
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Massmonic
1 year ago

Eno Benjamin?

James Nall
Reply to  Massmonic
1 year ago

Maybe they left him out cause he didn’t have a single stat? That’s my best guess.

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