2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Cardinals' fortunes in Kyler Murray's hands

A team at the beginning of a deep rebuild hit 'reset' again, adding coach Kliff Kingsbury, selecting Kyler Murray No. 1 overall, and trading last year's first-rounder, Josh Rosen, to the Dolphins. Murray has the potential to make for a dynamic backfield with David Johnson, but 2019 will probably still be rough. Still, this isn't a team without talent at the skill positions; it's the line that will determine whether the Cardinals can make some noise.   

2018 Review

Record: 3-13 (32nd in NFL)
Points per game: 14.1 (32)
Yards per game: 241.6 (32)
Pass YPG: 157.7 (32)
Rush YPG: 83.9 (32)
Pass attempts per game: 30.9 (29)
Rush attempts per game: 22.2 (28) 

2018 Fantasy finishes

QB: Josh Rosen* -- QB34
RB: David Johnson -- RB9; Chase Edmonds -- RB71
WR: Larry Fitzgerald -- WR30; Christian Kirk -- WR57
TE: Ricky Seals-Jones -- TE27
*No longer with team

Number to know: 902

The Cardinals ran the second-fewest plays in the NFL last season, just ahead of the Dolphins. Of course, they also finished at or near the bottom of the league in just about every other relevant offensive number as well. With Kingsbury in town, just how fast they will play is a major 2019 storyline.

2019 Offseason

"It's putting guys in space. That's what the offense does; it puts people in space. It makes defenders make decisions. I think it can be very dangerous." - Kyler Murray 

Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (1st year - previously Head Coach, Texas Tech)
Offensive Coordinator: None
Passing Game Coordinator/QB Coach: Tom Clements (1st year - previously Assistant Head Coach, GB)  

Draft Picks 

1. (1) Kyler Murray, QB
2. (33) Byron Murphy, CB
2. (62) Andy Isabella, WR
3. (65) Zach Allen, DE
4. (103) Hakeem Butler, WR
5. (139) Deionte Thompson, S
6. (174) KeeSean Johnson, WR
6. (179) Lamont Gaillard, C
7. (248) Joshua Miles, T
7. (249) Michael Dogbe, DE
7. (254) Caleb Wilson, TE 

Free Agency Additions

QB Brett Hundley; WR Kevin White; WR Damiere Byrd; TE Charles Clay; OL J.R. Sweezy; OL Max Garcia; DL Terrell Suggs; DL Darius Philon; LB Jordan Hicks; LB Brooks Reed; DB Robert Alford; DB Tramaine Brock; DB Josh Shaw

Key Departures

 QB Josh Rosen; TE Jermaine Gresham; G Mike Iupati; S Antoine Bethea

Rankings and Projections

Player
Kyler MurrayQB12QB14QB20
David JohnsonRB6RB6RB9
Chase EdmondsN/ARB60RB60
Christian KirkWR32WR30WR31
Larry FitzgeraldWR42WR39WR44
Andy IsabellaWR56N/AN/A
Hakeem ButlerN/AWR55N/A
Ricky Seals-JonesTE31TE25N/A
Zane GonzalesK30K32K18
Cardinals DSTDST26DST26DST24
Heath Cummings' Projected Offensive stats
QB Kyler Murray 4,125 YD, 24 TD, 14 INT; 352 Rush YD, 2 TD
RB David Johnson 240 ATT, 984 YD, 8 TD; 61 REC, 541 YD, 3 TD
RB Chase Edmonds 96 ATT, 384 YD, 2 TD; 18 REC, 106 YD
WR Christian Kirk 110 TAR, 69 REC, 915 YD, 5 TD
WR Larry Fitzgerald 110 TAR, 70 REC, 718 YD, 5 TD
WR Hakeem Butler 66 TAR, 40 REC, 555 YD, 4 TD
WR Andy Isabella 66 TAR, 43 REC, 558 YD, 4 TD
TE Ricky Seals-Jones 28 TAR, 22 REC, 231 YD, 1 TD

Biggest question

Which rookie receiver will play the most?

"All of the Cardinals rookie receivers, along with second-year pro Christian Kirk, have the versatility to line up everywhere. On the other hand, Larry Fitzgerald ran routes from the slot 76 percent of the time last year. I'd bet on Hakeem Butler getting the most snaps among the rookies because of his 6-foot-5 size and experience working along the sideline in college. He's good late-round pick material." -- Dave Richard

One sleeper, one breakout, and one bust

Sleeper: Andy Isabella, WR

If you never saw Andy Isabella play in college, we don't blame you: UMass didn't get on national television much. But he was one of the most productive receivers in the nation, finishing his senior year with 102 catches, 1,698 yards, and 13 touchdowns — giving him 231 catches, 3,526 yards and 30 touchdowns for his career. Isabella is on the smaller side, but he ran a 4.31 40-yard dash, and could be a dangerous weapon for Murray as the two grow together. 

Breakout: David Johnson, RB

Maybe a bounceback? Maybe a "re-breakout?" Johnson managed to finish in the top 10 at RB last season, but it took him accounting for more than 40% of the team's offensive touchdowns to get there. With Kingsbury and Murray in town, Johnson should be in a much-improved offense, and hopefully we'll see him back to being a focal point of the passing game, too. Johnson is too dangerous a weapon to not bounce back in a much-improved situation. 

Bust: Larry Fitzgerald 

One of the oldest adages in sports is also one of the truest: Age is undefeated. Fitzgerald put together three straight 1,000-yard seasons from ages 32-34, but saw his yards per target fall from 7.2 to 6.6 from 2017 to 2018. He finished with 734 yards, and that was with 29.0% of the team's targets going his way. With Kirk ready to take a step forward and Butler and Isabella around, Fitzgerald might be in wholly unfamilar territory as his career draws to a close: as an afterthought. 

So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge season, and find out.

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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