Arizona Cardinals

NFC West

2017 Schedule

  • Week 1

    ARI @ DET


    1:00 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

Arizona Cardinals - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview




Don’t sleep on the Cardinals this year. There is some real talent on this offense. Interestingly enough, the Cardinals face a tough strength of schedule for QBs (#21), but fairly decent for WRs (#10).  Palmer is going to need some help, and for the first time in a long time, he just might have the weapons around him to break back into the top 10 for fantasy QBs. Once upon a time, Palmer called that area his stomping ground. In 2005 he was the #1 fantasy QB, one year later he ranked #5, and in 2007 he was #9. He has the best chance since then to crack the top 10. Pyro pegs him as a sleeper, although I don’t know if he really qualifies as such. He is more like a MILF. He was definitely hot at one time, some years have passed since then, but he is still do-able. 


Last year was his first year with the Cardinals and thus his first year in the Bruce Arians offense. Arians, who likes to have his QBs do long drops in order to run a wide receiver deep, has accommodated Palmer’s style. Last year, we saw more three step drops, quicker reads, and of course, he uses the tight ends primarily as a blocking position. How did this work for Palmer? He put up 4,274 yards, the most of his career (Palmer came into the league in 2004). Those numbers should increase as does Palmer’s familiarity with the system. Last year, Palmer completed 362 passes, the most since 2007. He threw 24 TDs with 22 INTs. He needs to reduce the interceptions. They accounted for – 44 points, tied for the worst out of the top 20 fantasy QBs. Looking at his 2013 fantasy points, while the INTs are not good, his points from yards are exceptional. Generally, you want a guy who relies on his fantasy value from yardage, not TDs, as they are just too hard to replicate. Palmer’s yardage accounted for 78.7% of his fantasy value. That is the highest out of the top 20 QBs. If he can manage the turnovers, and just toss a few more TDs, he can crack the top 10. That is a great value. As of mid-August, his ADP shows him going after guys like Andy Dalton and Johnny Manziel. Pyro likes Palmer better than both of those cats. Pairing Palmer with a Cutler or a Tannehill could make for a winning combination.






Larry Fitzgerald is undoubtedly a stand up guy. However, while we like his character, Pyro does not have him ranked inside their top 20 this year. He finished last season ranked at fantasy WR #16. One of the reasons I like Palmer is the very reason I am leery of Fitz. Last year, Larry was touchdown dependant for his fantasy value. In fact, no other WR in the top 20 was more touchdown dependant than him. TDs accounted for 38.9% of his fantasy value. Last year, he had 10 touchdowns. The year before, he had 4. This just shows you how unpredictable touchdowns can be. If you want to dissect the TD Dependency chart for yourself, it is just 1 of the 19 tabs available on the latest version of the draft kit. Plus, you get extra pieces like the multiple draft manifestos, relevant rookies, and more.


There is no question that Larry is a durable player. However, he is just not as dependable as he once was. Last year was the second year in a row he failed to gain over 1,000 yards. While he will still get you catches, last year he had 82, he is not used as the down field threat he once was. That role has been passed to Floyd. I still like Larry in PPR leagues. Just be aware, he seems to be targeted less as Floyd’s looks are on the rise. Larry was targeted just 136 times last year. That is the lowest number of targets he has been given since 2006. Larry is being overvalued. He still has the big name recognition. As of mid-August, his ADP shows him going in the 4th round for 12 team leagues. He is being drafted as the 17th WR off the board. That is too high for a guy who may not end up in the top 20 this year. 



Michael Floyd



Quite frankly, there is only room for one Arizona receiver to fit in the fantasy top 20. Like I said, that player is not Larry Fitz. This is the first year Pyro is ranking Michael Floyd ahead of Fitzgerald. Last year, Floyd came in at WR #23 in fantasy. He actually had more yards than Fitz 1,054 to 954. Once again, Larry ranked higher primarily due to his scoring, which as discussed, is not the stat to use when building a team. A much better indicator is the percentage of points coming from yardage. In Floyd’s case, that is 77.8%, which is 5th highest for the top 25 ranked receivers from last year. The fact is, Floyd catches passes at almost exactly the same percentage rate than Fitzgerald does, and he is several yards further downfield when he is targeted. This is one of my favorite ways to identify a good receiver.  Floyd’s catch percentage is 61.1%, to Larry’s 61.2%. However, on average, Larry is only 7.12 yards down field when he is targeted and Floyd is 9.76 yards downfield. The boy has the skills and could possibly get near the top 10. As of mid-August, his ADP has him going behind Fitzgerald and guys like Roddy White and Andre Johnson, all of whom are Pyro ranks below Michael Floyd. His ADP has him going in the 5th round as WR. That spells a great value for you. 





So there has been some scuttlebutt about John Brown. I am not referring to the anti-war ballad by Bob Dylan.





Nor am I referring to the reggae dub band, or even the famed abolitionist. I am talking about the rookie WR out of Pittsburgh State. Brown has a slight frame, 5’11” and 179 pounds. These dimensions don’t instill confidence, but hopefully, no one will be able to catch the kid. Brown is a burner with 4.34 speed.  He reminds me of T.Y. Hilton. He could be a crucial piece in this offense if he supplants Ted Ginn at the #3 spot. Brown was a surprising third round pick that has been sensational in camp. He has played himself from a special teams guy into the lineup. If you want to dominate your league, you have to pay attention to training camp news like this. Houdini goes deeper into this under the radar guy and other camp news and notes on the podcast: episode 25, show 138 “Training Camp Insight for all 32 Teams”.






The other WR to note is Ted Ginn. He is currently their special teams return man. Last year, he had 36 receptions for 556 yards and 5 receiving TDs. Both Ginn and Brown are ranked in the 90’s as of version 4 of the draft kit. You pretty much know what you are getting out of Ginn, who has a low ceiling. Between the two, I would rather roll with Brown. At the very end of the draft, you want to take a flyer on guys who are unproven, who might just pop. We have not seen Brown’s ceiling, he could be one of those guys that lights it up out of nowhere. Keep watching the preseason. The best way to get a feel for guys is to see some tape on them.





If you were downloading the Pyro podcast last year, than chances are you had Andre “the Duke” Ellington on your team. He was just another one of those guys that Pyro unearthed far before his name was mentioned anywhere else. Damn, the Duke sure can play!





Ellington finished the season as the 24th best fantasy RB. That is impressive considering he did not play at all in week 1 and he was not given double digit carries until the 8th game. In fact, the only problem was the fact that he did not get the ball enough. It was almost maddening to see how effective he was and yet the coaching staff did not utilize him. In his 2013 rookie season, Ellington ran the ball 118 times and totaled 652 rushing yards and scoring 3 rushing TDs. He averaged an amazing 5.53 yards per carry. Out of all running backs who carried the ball at least 100 times last year, Ellington’s 5.53 was the absolute highest. He also adds points in the passing game. He caught 39 balls for 371 yards and another TD. Of Ellington’s total fantasy value, 51.6% came from rushing yards. What is nice to see, especially in a PPR format, is the fact that his receiving yards accounted for 29.4% of his value. Out of the top 30 running backs, only four other players had a higher receiving yard value. He is a duel threat in the offense. Arians has talked about getting him the ball more this season, which was plainly obvious to everyone last year except, well, Arians. For some reason, last year Rashard Mendenhall got 217 carries for a whopping 3.2 yards per carry. Mendenhall is a thing of the past, and all signs look to point to a big year for “The Duke”. Without a doubt, he should receive a vast majority of the looks for the Cardinals this year.  If that happens, he can easily be a top 10 guy. Ellington is going smack in the middle of the 3rd round. That is just about right. The only worry is that Arians continues to under utilize “The Duke”. The flip side to that is the question. If he does see 20 -25 looks a game, will he be able to with stand the toll it takes on the body? At 5’10”, 199 pounds, he is not exactly an imposing figure. Regardless, the boy has amazing skills and could pay off big time in 2014.


Behind “The Duke”, the Cardinals have Stepfan Taylor. Taylor had one game last year where he carried the ball 14 times. Aside from that, the most carries he got in a game was 5. There were several games where he did not touch the ball at all. Listed at #3 on the depth chart currently is Jonathan Dwyer. However, chances are he moves into the #2 spot for the regular season. Dwyer is entering his 5th year. The last two years in a row, he averaged 4 yards a carry. There were a couple games in 2012 that he showed flashes, but nothing ever materialized. Although he is a big back and one would think he would have a nose for the end zone, the dude has scored only 2 TDs in his career. Here is the thing: Dwyer comes from Pittsburgh and was there for a while under Bruce Arians. The two are familiar with one another. We all saw what Arians did with Mendenhall last year. If you do draft “The Duke” it would not be crazy to pick yourself up a Dwyer voodoo doll just in case Bruce gets some crazy notions and wants to get cute like he did last year. Really though, Ellington is just too good not to play, Arians is talking a good talk as of right now, but none the less, keep that doll handy just in case.



As far as the tight end position goes, they have John Carlson, who comes from a long line of talented pass catching Notre Dame tight ends. The Cardinals have the 31st ranked schedule at the position. When asked about how he might utilize his tight end as a pass catcher in his offensive scheme, Arians responded: “Wait, you mean those guys are allowed to run routes?” Alright, so maybe those weren’t his EXACT words, but it is unfortunate for Carlson, who really does have nice hands and can run a clean route, that he is playing in a system that ignores the tight end in the passing game.



Defensively, they should finish just outside the top 5 inside the top 10. 



By Mo



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Birds of Prey: The 2008 Cardinals

Ken Wisenhunt was hired after the firing of Dennis Green and led the team to an 8-8 record in his first season at the helm. 2007 was a season with a mash up of Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart at quarterback that would eventually be their undoing. The 2008 season began much more promising as Kurt Warner was named the starter from week one and the Cardinals would begin the season 7-3. The 2008 Cardinals Team was a group that finished the season with a 9-7 record but everyone knew they did not want to play them going into the playoffs. Kurt Warner would end up starting all sixteen games in 2008 and complete 402 of his 599 attempts for 4,582 yards and 30 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.

The 2008 Cardinals featured a number of future hall of famers starting with Kurt Warner to Edgerrin James to the dynamic duo on the outside of Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston who although not a hall of famer racked up over 1,000 yards receiving. Edgerrin James would be slowed by injuries all season long and finish with just 514 yards on the ground and being used in a committee with rookie Tim Hightower who would punch in 10 touchdowns on the season in addition being the third down back and compiling 629 total yards. The passing attack however was not slowed as Larry Fitzgerald caught 96 passes for 1,434 yards and 12 touchdowns, Anquan Boldin caught 89 passes for 1,038 yards and 11 scores, and Steve Breaston added 77 catches for 1,003 yards and three trips to the endzone. All three receivers would finish the season as top 30 options in fantasy with Larry leading all receivers in standard scoring.

9-7 was good enough to win the NFC West in 2008 and get the fourth seed in the playoffs. The Cardinals would host the Falcons and the young gun Matt Ryan in the first round of the playoffs. The game had no shortage of aerial excellence as Warner would throw a 42 yard touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald and a 71-yarder to Anquan Boldin. The Cardinals would advance to the next round by a score of 30-24 and take on the number two seeded Carolina Panthers.

The Carolina Panthers were heavily favored going into the game but the Cardinals would provide a balanced offensive attack that would stun the Panthers. Hightower, James, and Fitzgerald would all score in the first half and Neil Rackers would tack on 4 field goals throughout the game on the way to a 33-13 victory on the road. Fitzgerald would set the franchise record for receiving yards in a postseason game with a stat line of 8 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. The defense had also played much better than they had at any point during the season as they would force Jake Delhomme into six turnovers. The Cardinals would end up hosting the Eagles in the next round as they were the sixth seed that upset the number one seed New York Giants the previous week in what would be the Cardinals first NFC Championship game in their history.

The NFC Championship game started off in familiar fashion with Warner taking the team down the field after the opening kickoff and throwing a touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald. In the second quarter Warner would find Fitzgerald again, this time for a 62 yard score. Warner and Fitzgerald would hook up again for a one yard score before the half. The Cardinals would go into the half with a 24-6 lead but the Eagles would storm back after halftime and take a 25-24 lead. Warner would lead the Cardinals back in the fourth quarter and score on an eight-yard pass to Tim Hightower, then complete the two-point conversion to Ben Patrick.  Fitzgerald would finish the day with 152 yards receiving and three touchdowns. The Cardinals would hold on for the victory and secure the first Superbowl appearance in franchise history. Larry Fitzgerald caught 23 passes for a postseason record 419 yards and five touchdowns during their postseason run to the Superbowl.

Superbowl XLIII would feature the Arizona Cardinals against the Pittsburgh Steelers with Wisenhunt facing his former team in Tampa Bay. The Cardinals were looking to win their first NFL Championship since 1947, which is the longest drought in the NFL, while the Steelers were looking to become the first franchise to win six Superbowls. The Cardinals would start the game slow scoring only a touchdown through the first three quarters and also a costly interception that would be returned 100-yards by James Harrison just before the half. Trailing 20-7 at the start of the fourth quarter the Cardinals would storm back with 16 unanswered points that included a 64-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald. The Steelers got the ball back with 2:37 left in the game and marched 78 yards for a score with Santonio Holmes capping it off with a 6 yard touchdown catch that will go down as one of the best in Superbowl history. Holmes would be named the MVP after accounting for 73 of the final 78 yards and totaling 9 catches for 131 yards and this brilliant toe-dragging touchdown:

Fitzgerald would catch 7 passes for 127 yards and two scores in the Superbowl. His four game stretch in the Cardinals postseason that year is something to be marveled at as he caught 30 passes for 546 yards and seven touchdowns. The Cardinals were one of the more exciting teams to watch in the NFL that season and showed that the spread offense could work at the highest levels of football as they nearly secured a Championship if it weren’t for Santonio Holmes heroics on the final drive.



By Stagg Party

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Larry Legend of the Gridiron

Larry Fitzgerald is the best Cardinal Wide Receiver ever and it is not even close. Fitz leads the franchise in almost every receiving category including receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Fitz’s closest competitor for the top spot among Cardinal receivers belongs to former teammate Anquan Boldin, but Fitz is the unquestioned GOAT when it comes to the Cardinals.  Larry is known as one of the best pass catchers of his generation because of his polished route running, incredible catch radius, and unmatched hands. Larry Fitzgerald is so well respected among his peers that many of them strive to be invited to his receiver camp that is said to be the best in the business.

Larry has had some up and down play at the quarterback position but has been very good for his ten year NFL career to this point. Fitzgerald has compiled 846 catches for 11,367 yards and 87 touchdowns to this point in his career and is showing no signs of slowing down as he had a mild resurgence in 2013 with Carson Palmer at the helm. Fitz has caught over 100 passes twice in his career and has caught double digit touchdown passes in 5 seasons. Fitz’s best season came in 2008 with Kurt Warner as his quarterback, Fitz caught 96 passes for 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns and helped the franchise to an eventual Superbowl birth. Larry Fitzgerald caught 23 passes for a postseason record 419 yards and five touchdowns during their postseason run.

Larry will go down as one of the best receivers of his generation along with teammate Anquan Boldin as they currently rank 28th and 29th on the all time receiving yards list, and to think these guys played together. Larry Legend is a name not commonly thrown around but for Fitzgerald it is fitting.


Larry fitz chart



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They are who we thought they were!!!

Dennis Green was a very angry individual and it all came to a head when the Cardinals took on the Bears on Monday Night Football in October. The Bears entered the game undefeated at 5-0 and the Cardinals entered the game reeling at 1-4. The Cardinals would jump on the Bears with a 20 point lead at the half. The Cardinals had already defeated the Bears in Week 3 of the pre-season so they knew who they were and this rant ensued:



This rant along with the collapse itself was one of the reasons the Cardinals opted to fire Green after the season and hire Ken Wisenhunt. The rant has since been referenced many of times including being featured in a Coors light which can be seen here:



By Stagg Party

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