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Booms, Busts, Breakouts & Bets: Arizona Cardinals

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As the mercury rises and we inch closer to the football season, our resident fantasy football aficionados, Brad Evans and Derek Brown, profile their favorite Booms, Busts, Breakouts and Bets for every NFL team. Giddy up, gamers. Today’s topic: The Desert Birds.

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Fantasy Football Booms – Cardinals

Kyler Murray, QB

Kyler Murray was on a record-breaking pace out of the gate last season before being derailed by injury. In Weeks 1-11, Murray averaged 264.4 passing yards and 61.9 rushing yards with one rushing score per game as the No. 1 player in all of fantasy football. Murray was a top 10 fantasy quarterback in every game (!) over his first 10 and a top-five quarterback in 70% of games. Over that span, he averaged 29.2 fantasy points per game, which sounds preposterous, but adding further context to his production makes it even more outlandish. Over the last five seasons, only Christian McCaffrey has averaged more fantasy points per game (30.1 2020, 29.5 2019) in a full season. That is the type of season that Murray was headed for before the injury crushed him. Over the final six games of the season, Murray averaged 221.2 passing yards, 33.3 rushing yards and 16.5 fantasy points per game. If Murray stays healthy in 2021, he could break fantasy football. — Derek Brown

Kyler Murray, QB

Draft the Dachshund of the Desert and he’ll surely scurry to a top-five QB output. Adding Rondale Moore’s electricity and A.J. Green (rebirth?) to an arsenal spearheaded by sure-handed workhorse DeAndre Hopkins can only benefit the passer. Murray’s admission he may run less this season could give the apprehensive some pause, but he should still scoot his way to 500-plus yards on the ground with at least six TDs. If the offense does evolve into a more aggressive downfield scheme, he could easily regain ground opportunities lost. In total, 30 vertical strikes are possible on roughly 600 pass attempts. 

And don’t play the uneducated card of, “But, Evans, it’s the Horizontal Raid!” Last season, Arizona ranked No. 10 in total air yards. Kyler absolutely belongs in the same tier as Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson and Mr. Manbun, Aaron Rodgers. — Brad Evans

2021 Fantasy Football Busts – Cardinals

Chase Edmonds, RB

ONE. ONE. That’s how many of Edmonds’ 217 career carries were tallied inside the 5-yard line. As his army of zealots loudly chirp on social media this is the RB’s “SZN,” stark realities remain. He’s a smallish change-of-pace rusher who will continue to surrender valuable red-zone looks to recently acquired, though wet-paper fragile, veteran James Conner and annual goal-line poacher, Murray. 

Some will fall for Kliff Kingsbury’s coachspeak bear trap or the rusher’s weight gain, but don’t be so gullible. Edmonds is a 9- to 10-touch-per-game rusher, nothing more. His WR42 standing in YAC per attempt and unsightly 13.4% missed tackle rate from a season ago only confirm the belief. Need more evidence? His 28 total touches for 88 yards against Miami last year, the only game he was deployed in a featured role, shouldn’t expire confidence. He’ll have ample flex appeal in full PPR formats, but his infrequent TDs imply a top-24 breakthrough some are forecasting is a fever dream. — Brad Evans

Chase Edmonds, RB

The upside case is difficult to make for Chase Edmonds this year despite his palatable ADP (RB27, 78.9 overall). Like Brad pointed out, the easy touchdown opportunities inside the ten-yard line have not been on Edmonds’ plate over the last two seasons. Since 2019 Edmonds has totaled only seven opportunities (carries/targets) inside the ten-yard line. 

For a player competing with newly signed “big back” James Conner and Kyler Murray for touchdown work on the ground and short-area passing work with Rondale Moore, the path to bustville is an easy one to chart. — Derek Brown

Fantasy Football Breakouts for the Cardinals

Rondale Moore, WR

Kliff Kingsbury’s “horizontal raid” (sorry Brad) mighty mouse has arrived. After the failed Andy Isabella experiment is now on life support, Rondale Moore could be the magic elixir to raise this aerial attack to new heights. For all the knocks on Moore coming out of college, the one skill we know he possesses in spades is explosive ability after the catch. 

Moore will be crucial to the game plan on a team that relies upon screens as a key cog in their point-scoring machine. Last year Kyler Murray ranked seventh in screen passing attempts (70). With 39.3% of Moore’s collegiate receptions coming behind the line of scrimmage, we have seen him make something out of nothing with regularity. Moore’s ADP is still too low on an offense that will push the pace and passing rate weekly. — Derek Brown

Rondale Moore, WR

Packed with the energy of multiple thunderstruck Australian swim coaches, Moore is plucky, explosive, versatile and an ideal muse for Kingsbury. While at Purdue, he was the classic example of “give him an each and he’ll take a mile.” Evidenced by his Combine high SPARQ and 4.33 40-yard wheels, he’s a mixture of Darren Sproles and Steve Smith Sr. His stop-start and power-through-contact abilities are nothing short of spectacular. 

Hopkins, A.J. Green and Christian Kirk mitigate his target share, but via screens, quick slants and jet sweeps, he’s capable of reaching 700-800 total yards with a handful of scores. Available at an ADP of WR61 (155.8 overall), he’s a bench prize worth stashing in 12-team leagues. — Brad Evans

Best Bets for the Cardinals 2021

(Use the FTN Prop Shop to uncover the best lines across legal sportsbooks) 

Rondale Moore OVER 545.5 receiving yards (-120, DraftKings)

With Moore’s big-play ability, even in a crowded receiver room, he can easily hit the over here. — Derek Brown

DeAndre Hopkins UNDER 1350.5 receiving yards (-115, PointsBet)

Based on the receiver’s recent admission toward the NFL’s vaccination policy, it’s safe to assume he hasn’t received a single jab. His viewpoint could change, but the odds of him missing at least 10 days during the regular season is substantial. — Brad Evans

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