Three fantasy football sleepers on the Arizona Cardinals in 2023

Even bad teams score touchdowns, and the Arizona Cardinals are no exception.
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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In every single fantasy football league that I have ever been a part of I have never missed the playoffs. When it comes to selecting players, I adhere to a few guidelines to find those diamonds in the rough before anybody else.

As with any asset one should look to buy low and sell high and this mantra can be applied to fantasy football. In other words, I look for players who are post-hype but are still sticking around with the potential to fill a valuable role on the team. The kinds of players where there is still unrealized upside but due to our brain’s need for instant gratification, we cast them aside if they do not “break out” right away.

Luckily for fantasy owners the Arizona Cardinals are the perfect team for this exercise. There are quite a few talented names that are being overlooked right now simply because of the logo on their helmet.

People are expecting disfunction and incompetence from the worst team in the league but even the worst teams still put points up on the scoreboard. Despite having the worst record in the league last season, the Bears still had Justin Fields finish as a top six fantasy quarterback,

David Montgomery as a solid RB2, and Cole Kmet finish as the eighth best tight end. There is value to be found on any team; now let us take a look at where that value can be found on the Cardinals.

James Conner
Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Arizona Cardinals hold plenty of value in fantasy football for 2023

James Conner

James Conner is overlooked because he is perceived as an inefficient aging running back with injury issues on a bad team. The primary question any fantasy owner should ask themselves is if this is already baked into his price and is it excessive? In my view, the answer is yes on both counts.

Too often people uncritically assume that older running backs have low upside. However, this is often overstated, and I believe James Conner's draft position is a result of this mindset. While it is true that his ceiling is likely capped at around 1100 yards from scrimmage, his average draft position of the 23rd or 24th RB off the board makes this an easy pill to swallow.

Last season, the RB24 was D’andre Swift who only had 931 yards from scrimmage and 10.1 fantasy points per game. The only other running back who averaged even double-digit fantasy points in the RB 20-30 range was Dameon Pierce, with the average production in this range being only 9.1 fantasy points per game.

For context, James Conner averaged 12.0 fantasy points per game in 2022. Is it truly the case that he will regress to the single digits when he already proved he could still be productive in an offense as dysfunctional as the 2022 Arizona Cardinals? I think not but that is what his current ADP is saying.

Conner is currently valued at RB23 and is grouped with players such as Cam Akers, J.K. Dobbins, Rachaad White, and David Montgomery. Conner simply has the clearest path of this group to immediately have a bell cow role and there is no running back on the depth chart that will seriously threaten his workload.

He has a lockdown on goal line touches and is also unlikely to get phased out of the game script because of his pass catching ability. It might not be a pretty season, but James Conner is expected to have a sizeable workload with valuable touches and that is a trait that is becoming increasingly rare in the modern NFL.