Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Arizona Cardinals

What can the Arizona Cardinals do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.

Inside the Locker Room
with Scott Bordow, Arizona Republic

Can Beanie Wells stay healthy and build on his breakout 2011 campaign?
Even if Wells does stay healthy it’s unlikely he’ll equal or better his 2011 numbers, when he ran for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s because the Cardinals plan to split his carries with second-year back Ryan Williams, who missed all of last season with an patella tendon injury. The Cardinals were raving about Williams in training camp before he got hurt. Wells will probably get the ball at the goal line because he’s the bigger back, but his injury history and Williams’ availability should make fantasy players beware.

Which “first-year” player will have a bigger fantasy impact in the desert, Williams or Michael Floyd?
Floyd is the pick because he’ll be the No. 2 receiver barring a holdout or injury, and Williams will split time with Wells at tailback. Floyd also will benefit from all the attention Larry Fitzgerald gets on the other side. Teams that decide to double Fitzgerald will try to cover Floyd one-on-one with their second-best defensive back. Also, at 6'3" and 225 pounds, Floyd will be an enticing target in the end zone.

Does Todd Heap have any fantasy gas left in the tank or is Rob Housler the better pick?
Heap produced when he played last season, but the problem is he doesn’t play enough. The Cardinals love Housler’s ability to get deep down the middle of the field, and his 2011 statistics (12 catches, 133 yards, no TDs) would have been much better had Kolb not underthrown him so many times. Neither tight end will put up big numbers, but Housler has more potential.

Athlon's Best Bets

Sleeper: Rob Housler, TE
Deep-Sleeper: Ryan Williams, RB
Overvalued: Beanie Wells, RB
Top Rookie: Michael Floyd, WR
Bounce-Back: Kevin Kolb, QB
Top IDP: Daryl Washington, LB

2012 Draft Class

1. Michael Floyd WR 6-3 225 Notre Dame  
3. Jamell Fleming CB 5-11 206 Oklahoma  
4. Bobby Massie T 6-6 316 Ole Miss  
5. Senio Kelemete G 6-4 301 Washington  
6. Justin Bethel S 6-0 190 Presbyterian  
6. Ryan Lindley QB 6-4 230 San Diego State  
7. Nate Potter T 6-6 300 Boise State

Fantasy Impact: The Cardinals have been looking for a reliable No. 2 receiver to pair with Larry Fitzgerald since Anquan Boldin was traded to Baltimore. Michael Floyd struggled with injuries at Notre Dame but should be a valuable addition to the passing attack and will help take some of the pressure off of Fitzgerald. Jamell Fleming should contend for snaps as Arizona’s No. 3 corner, while Bobby Massie and Senio Kelemete help improve the depth on the offensive line. Ryan Lindley has upside but needs a year or two of development before pushing for playing time.

Fantasy Playoff Run: Weeks 14-16 (at SEA, DET, CHI)

Two home games against teams traveling nearly across the country are never a bad thing come playoff time. And Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd will face two defenses at home that were sixth- and 11th-worst against fantasy receivers last season. Seattle and Chicago were in the top half of the league against the run, so the Cards’ receivers may be leaned upon more.

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