The Arizona Cardinals have not been a team where fantasy owners flock to in order to fill their fantasy football roster. That will be different for the 2013 season. The Cardinals have a legitimate NFL quarterback in Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Fitzgerald is not a surprising fantasy option to me, though.
The three most surprising fantasy options for the Cardinals will be Palmer, Floyd and Taylor. Taylor you ask? That’s Stepfan Taylor. Yes, the rookie fifth-round pick out of Stanford. If you have read any of my stuff, you already know I am a big fan of the Taylor pick.
Palmer probably the least surprising, but with this offense, he will throw for over 4,000 yards and 25-plus touchdowns. Palmer will have several big plays with so many weapons. With Fitzgerald demanding double coverage, Floyd and Roberts will be running freely, and Head Coach Bruce Arians will not hesitate to take shots down-field. That is well-documented.
Floyd is being picked by many to have a breakout year. The second-year wide receiver came on late last year and finished strongly at San Francisco with eight catches, 166 yards, and one touchdown. Brian Hoyer was throwing to him in that game. I think Palmer will be far better and be much more consistent for Floyd (and everyone else).
That brings me back to Taylor. Taylor is extremely intelligent, obviously by graduating from Stanford. He is also a three-down back and already has NFL level pass protection skills. All of which are very important factors required by an Arians system running back.
Taylor may get a slow start to the year with veteran Rashard Mendenhall the starter, but I suspect it will not be long until the Cardinals have their three-down back of the future in games getting the bulk of the playing time. That playing time will include plenty of goal-line carries racking up those fantasy points, similar to Mendenhall’s fantasy successes in Pittsburgh with Arians.