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Arizona Cardinals Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2021

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Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins did not practice on Wednesday and is listed with a rib injury. That's all we know right now. Hopkins played his usual allotment of snaps in last week's win over the Vikings, so this might just be a maintenance day. Check back tomorrow for another update.

The Cardinals on Tuesday placed CB Malcolm Butler on the reserve/retired list. That came a day after NFL Network's Mike Garafolo surprising report that a "personal situation" had Butler considering hanging 'em up. That leaves Byron Murphy and Robert Alford as the top 2 CBs for Arizona. The 3rd isn't yet clear, but 4th-round rookie Marco Wilson might be trending toward occupying that spot. We'll see whether the Cardinals add a contender for the role.

The Cardinals on Monday activated DE J.J. Watt off the PUP list. Watt had been easing back in after he hurt a hamstring during the conditioning test at the start of camp. "We wanted to make sure we were really cautious, make sure he felt 100 percent before we got him back out there," HC Kliff Kingsbury said before practice, per ESPN's Josh Weinfuss. Watt added: "We definitely took our time." Barring some setback, expect Watt to be ready for the season.

The Cardinals on Monday activated RB James Conner from the COVID list. He had landed there Aug. 12 as a high-risk close contact. Conner's return after just 4 days says he never tested positive for the virus. That he was deactivated as a close contact, though, also indicates Conner hasn't been vaccinated. So he's good to go for now. We'll see whether this issue pops back up for him at any point.

The Cardinals on Thursday placed RB James Conner on the COVID list as a high-risk close contact. As long as Conner tests negative, he should be back soon with no reason for further concern. We'll keep an eye out for updates on his situation. Jonathan Ward and Eno Benjamin should see extra reps for as long as Conner is out.

Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury confirmed Monday what most of us expected out of his backfield. "We expect both guys to share the load for the most part," the coach told ESPN's Josh Weinfuss, referring, of course, to RBs Chase Edmonds and James Conner. "We'll play to their strengths," Kingsbury added. "James is obviously a bigger back. Chase, when he had [an] opportunity, did some great things, and we want to make sure we're calling plays that both those guys are comfortable with when they're in and kind of tailor to them." Kingsbury added that "they can both do it all," but it's pretty clear that Conner will hold the edge near the goal line and Edmonds in the passing game -- much like with Edmonds and Kenyan Drake last year. Both remain fine values in current drafting: Edmonds as RB27 in FFPC best-ball formats, Conner at RB38.

We passed along a positive review recently of RB Eno Benjamin's work in training camp, including praise from his head coach. Arizona's initial "unofficial" depth chart, however, lists the 2nd-year back 5th behind Chase Edmonds, James Conner, Jonathan Ward and D.J. Foster. These depth charts, of course, can often prove meaningless, especially this early in the roster-whittling process. But we wouldn't go targeting Benjamin in drafts just yet.

The Cardinals released their 1st "unofficial" depth chart of the year Monday, ahead of Friday's preseason opener against the Cowboys. Unsurprisingly, the team lists DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Christian Kirk as the top 3 receivers. Kirk would have been the only 1 of the 3 in question, with Hopkins an incumbent and Green a veteran arriving on a sizable 1-year free agent deal. Kirk, meanwhile, has missed some practice time with a "minor" (though unspecified) injury, allowing rookie WR Rondale Moore to generate some buzz. We'll see where things go between these 2 the rest of the month. Moore certainly brings the higher ceiling. We'll see if he can push past Kirk before the regular season. Of course, it's also worth noting that these preseason depth charts can sometimes prove meaningless -- especially this early in the process.

Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury says RB Eno Benjamin has improved in some key ways over his rookie year. "I can't tell you how far [Eno] has come from last training camp to now, the way he is approaching the game, study habits, in the classroom," the coach told Darren Urban of the team website. "We all know he is dynamic when the ball is in his hands, but he is starting to do those other things in pass protection and on special teams we have been waiting to see." Those aspects will be key to Benjamin making the roster. He did so last year but spent all 16 games inactive. Making this year's roster wouldn't necessarily make Benjamin fantasy relevant, but it might put him a James Conner (or Chase Edmonds) injury away from being worth a waiver pickup.

Cardinals WR A.J. Green is sidelined with a "minor issue," HC Kliff Kingsbury said Wednesday. Kingsbury wouldn't divulge any other details but did say that he expects Green back sooner rather than later, according to ESPN's Josh Weinfuss. Green was reportedly having a strong start to camp before this injury. We'll see when he's able to get back on the field.

According to Jess Root of Cards Wire, Cardinals RB James Conner has sat out team drills in recent days with an unspecified injury. Jonathan Ward has reportedly stepped in for Conner's reps with the 1st team. We haven't seen any other report of a Conner injury, so we're not concerned about the situation just yet. But it'll be one to monitor, given Conner's injury history.

ESPN's Josh Weinfuss believes Cardinals RBs Chase Edmonds and James Conner will "split the primary reps to start, with whoever has the hot hand getting the ball." Fantasy drafters are clearly expecting Edmonds to lead this backfield, taking him about 3 rounds ahead of Conner. We'll see if we get more clarity on the situation over the next month, but Conner is probably the better shot at ADP right now.

The Cardinals placed DE J.J. Watt on the PUP list Wednesday after the veteran experienced hamstring soreness following Tuesday's conditioning test. According to ESPN's Josh Weinfuss, Watt said he doesn't expect to practice Thursday and isn't sure when he'll return to the field. "We're gonna take it very slow and be very smart about it," Watt said. We'll keep an eye on the situation, but there's no reason for panic at this point.

The Cardinals have announced that 1st-round LB Zaven Collins will start at the "Mike" position, which belonged to Jordan Hicks last season. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the team has given Hicks permission to pursue trade possibilities -- but also renegotiated his contract to a lower salary. So it's possible Hicks remains. Collins' mix of size (259 pounds) a 70th-percentile speed score and production both coming forward and in coverage give him huge immediate IDP upside.

The Cardinals added Purdue WR Rondale Moore with the 49th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Moore turned in 1 of the most impressive freshman seasons you’ll ever see back in 2018, racking up 114 catches for 1,258 yards and 12 TDs. He added 21 carries for 213 yards (10.1 YPC) and 2 TDs while also serving as Purdue’s primary return man. He set a Purdue record with 2,215 all-purpose yards and was named a consensus All-American. Unfortunately, multiple hamstring injuries limited Moore to just 7 games over the past 2 seasons (although he remained uber productive, averaging 9.1 catches and 94 yards per game). Size is also a concern for this 5’7, 180-pounder. There’s only been one 1,000-yard season by a WR 5’7 or shorter in NFL history. Moore has the goods to buck that trend, though. He blazed a 4.29-second 40-yard dash and posted a ridiculous 42.5-inch vertical at his Pro Day to earn a 93rd percentile Relative Athletic Score. The tape shows incredible burst, quickness and change-of-direction to create separation on routes and make plays after the catch. Moore also has RB-like vision on end arounds and jets sweeps. He joins DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green in the Cardinals WR corps. Kirk and Green are both set to hit free agency next offseason. Moore’s arrival is probably the nail in Andy Isabella’s coffin in Arizona.

The Cardinals selected Tulsa LB Zaven Collins with the 16th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Collins is enormous, at 6’5, 259, but his 4.71-second 40 time gives him a 70th-percentile speed score among LBs. Collins made plays regularly in the backfield, logging 25 tackles for loss over his 32 games. He added 8 career passes defensed, with 4 INTs in 2020 alone (8 games). Collins could immediately challenge the roles of either 2020 first-rounder Isaiah Simmons or EDGE Devon Kennard. Simmons never settled into a regular role as a rookie and could remain a moving piece. We'll see what Arizona reveals about its plan.

The Cardinals are signing RB James Conner, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. Conner popped for a big year back in 2018, rushing for 973 yards and 12 scores on 4.5 yards per carry and adding a 55-497-1 receiving line. He hasn't looked like the same guy the past 2 seasons, though, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 6.8 yards per catch. Conner ranked 33rd in Pro Football Focus' rushing grades among 47 RBs with 100+ carries last year. He turns just 26 next month but has dealt with a bunch of injuries, missing 12 games over the last 3 years. Conner and Chase Edmonds figure to battle for snaps this summer. We'll see if the Cardinals add anything else to the backfield in the draft.

RB James Conner had surgery to repair a "very moderate turf toe-type injury" this offseason, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The injury reportedly happened when Conner was riding in a "recreational vehicle." He's expected to be back to 100% by June, per Rapoport. Conner is still toiling on the free-agent market but is visiting the Cardinals today.

Former Lions K Matt Prater is joining the Cardinals on a 2-year deal. It’s an upside landing spot for the reliable fantasy kicker. Arizona ranked 6th in yards and 13th in scoring last year, the 2nd season for HC Kliff Kingsbury

The Cardinals signed WR A.J. Green. No word yet on the terms, but it's likely a cheap, 1-year deal. After playing in just 9 games across 2018 and 2019, Green played all 16 last season -- but set career lows with an ugly 45.2% catch rate and 11.1 yards per catch. He ranked 79th in yards per route run and 66th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade among 84 WRs with 50+ targets. Green turns 33 in July and might just be out of gas. He figures to be no better than 3rd in line for targets in Arizona behind WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk. We'll see if WR Andy Isabella is ready to take on a bigger role in 2021.

Update: It's a 1-year deal worth "up to" $8.5 million with $6 million guaranteed, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

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