Nelson didn't bring in his only target during Sunday's 34-0 road defeat to the Rams. Nelson appears to be a person non grata within the Cardinals offense, but his offensive snap count increased from one in the season opener to 23 in this contest. Outside of Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson and rookie running back Chase Edmonds, there's been little to note among the rest of the skill-position players. Due to the lack of output from wide receivers Chad Williams (no catches on six targets) and Christian Kirk (five receptions for 31 yards on seven targets), Nelson could begin a march up the depth chart, especially if Fitzgerald's hamstring injury affects his workload.
Nelson took the field for just one snap in Sunday's season opening loss to the Redskins, but head coach Steven Wilks indicated the Cardinals' big deficit effected the play-calling, Kyle Odegard of the Cardinals' official site reports. It is unclear why a big deficit would be anything but helpful for a wide receiver, but it sounds like Nelson could potentially be in line for more snaps going foward. Still, he is fourth on the depth chart and not on any fantasy radar at the moment.
Nelson has combined for two catches (on three targets) for 10 yards through two preseason games. The coaching staff under Steve Wilks doesn't appear to hold Nelson in high regard if his exhibition workload is any indication. So far, all of Nelson's looks have come from rookie signal caller Josh Rosen rather than expected Week 1 starter Sam Bradford. Moreover, Nelson has accumulated just a trio of targets on 34 offensive snaps. When roster cuts are due Sept. 1, he may be saved by the fact he has one year remaining on his rookie deal, but Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and Chad Williams appear locked into the top three spots on the wide receiver depth chart.
Nelson is in the mix for the No. 2 wide receiver spot behind Larry Fitzgerald, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. Aside from Fitzgerald and 2017 third-round pick Chad Williams, Nelson is the sole holdover from last year's receiving corps, which lost John and Jaron Brown to free agency. Nelson is thus the top non-Fitz incumbent, but the Cardinals replaced the Browns with Christian Kirk, a second-rounder in April, and free agents Brice Butler and Greg Little. Primarily seen as a deep threat in his three pro seasons, Nelson has improved his route tree, as intimated by wide receivers coach Kevin Garver, who said Nelson "runs really good routes." Nelson added that he's "all over the place" in new coordinator Mike McCoy's offense. If Nelson bumps up his career-best 48 percent share of the offensive snaps from a season ago, the opportunity afforded him could result in a true breakout campaign.
Nelson snagged one of three targets for a 46-yard gain and added a seven-yard run during Sunday's 20-15 loss to Washington. The game snapped an eight-game streak during which Nelson failed to total 50 yards in a game. He opened the season with two such performances in his first five contests, but he's struggled with the quarterback carousel and scope of his own role this season. Don't expect the return of Drew Stanton to make things any better. In Stanton's two starts earlier this season, Nelson combined for two catches and 32 yards off six targets.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/07||@San Francisco 49ers||27||29.00|
|8||10/28||San Francisco 49ers||27||29.00|
|10||11/11||@Kansas City Chiefs||21||25.33|
|12||11/25||@Los Angeles Chargers||31||33.00|
|13||12/02||@Green Bay Packers||25||27.67|
|16||12/23||Los Angeles Rams||1||11.33|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||54||25||458||3||19||18.32||65|