The Arizona Cardinals offense took a step forward in 2020, if not the big leap many were hoping for. Kyler Murray's legs are still the engine that pushes the offense forward, but there are question marks beyond DeAndre Hopkins. Hopefully rookie Rondale Moore can be the No. 2 they need to really take a step forward.
Ranking in parentheses
Record: 8-8 (14)
PPG: 25.6 (13)
YPG: 384.6 (6)
Pass YPG: 244.8 (17)
Rush YPG: 139.8 (7)
PAPG: 35.9 (15)
RAPG: 29.9 (6)
2020 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 23.1
That's what Kyler Murray's Fantasy point average was in his final seven games, not including Week 17 when he only played 47% of the snaps. That would have made him QB13 for the season. And, it's not just an arbitrary endpoint, as Murray suffered a shoulder injury in Week 9 against the Dolphins that clearly limited him, whether he admits it or not.
Here's what the split before and after the injury looked like:
- First 8 games: 266.3 pass yards per game, 7.6 Y/A, 5.7% TD rate, 67.9 rush yards on 9.5 attempts per game, 8 rush TD, 33.2 Fantasy points per game
- Next 7 games: 250.6 pass yards per game, 6.5 Y/A, 3.7% TD rate, 39.0 rush yards on 7.9 attempts per game, 3 rush TD, 23.1 Fantasy points per game
If the shoulder injury was the reason for his decline, then there's no worries. And that seems like a pretty good excuse. However, it could also just be that Murray got off to a hot start and the league figured out Kliff Kingsbury's offense. I'm inclined to believe the former, but you can't ignore that slide.
Available opportunity from departures
48 RB targets
84 WR targets
24 TE targets
Rankings and projections
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Kyler Murray||PA: 592, YD: 4435, TD: 28, INT: 13; RUSH -- ATT: 115, YD: 633, TD: 9|
|RB||James Conner||CAR: 221, YD: 927, TD: 7; TAR: 41, REC: 30, YD: 233, TD: 2|
|RB||Chase Edmonds||CAR: 134, YD: 591, TD: 5; TAR: 77, REC: 55, YD: 443, TD: 3|
|WR||DeAndre Hopkins||TAR: 156, REC: 109, YD: 1320, TD: 8|
|WR||Rondale Moore||TAR: 89, REC: 60, YD: 686, TD: 4|
|WR||A.J. Green||TAR: 83, REC: 50, YD: 551, TD: 4|
|WR||Christian Kirk||TAR: 78, REC: 50, YD: 638, TD: 4|
Can Kyler Murray make a leap as a passer?
Murray was better in 2020 than his rookie season, to be sure, but he was still mostly valuable in Fantasy because of his rushing. It's not like he needs to improve dramatically to be among the best QBs in Fantasy -- he was sixth in scoring last season -- but there's another level he can get to if the passing game improves. Rondale Moore's after-the-catch ability could be the missing piece for a team that likes to prioritize shorter throws to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers.
Sleeper, breakout and bust
Moore played just seven games in 2019 and 2020 due to injuries, so you have to go back to his freshman season at Purdue to see what a full season from him looks like. And it was a heck of a freshman season, as he caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns while adding 213 rushing yards and two more carries. He had 500 more receiving yards than anyone else on the team, so it's not like he was doing this in some high-octane passing game.
Moore is small at 5-foot-7 but has proven to be very tough to bring down after the catch and likely would have been a first-rounder if not for injury concerns. This offense has relied heavily on designed short throws that allow the wide receivers to get the ball in space with blocking, and if Moore's skills translate, he should thrive in that role. If this offense takes a big step forward, Moore should play a big part in that.
There really isn't another great option for the breakout here besides Murray, so we'll pick him for the second season in a row. He improved in his second season, but I think it's fair to say he wasn't quite as good as we hoped after a hot start. There's still QB1 upside here, especially with how effective he was in the red zone last season. He'll need to improve as a passer, but with Moore and even an over-the-hill A.J. Green, there's more talent here than last season. He's my QB2, because I think the upside might be higher than any non-Patrick Mahomes QB.
There isn't really good option for a bust candidate for the Cardinals. Edmonds and Conner figure to get drafted as fringe No. 2 RBs in the same range as each other, as they should. I don't really think there's any risk in DeAndre Hopkins, who still averaged 18.7 PPR points per game even in that stretch where Murray struggled.
So, I guess I'll go with A.J. Green, who probably shouldn't be drafted in the vast majority of leagues. He looked pretty much finished in Cincinnati, and I'm not sure why we would expect a big bounce-back in a crowded receiving corps. However, he is a name you know, and you might be tempted to turn his way in the later rounds. There's really no need.