The Arizona Cardinals head home for Week 3 of the NFL season, taking on Pete Carroll's struggling Seattle Seahawks team within the raucous confines of University of Phoenix Stadium. With the help of our friends at numberFire.com, we've evaluated the Cardinals primary fantasy football options leading into the first divisional matchup of the 2011 season. From Kevin Kolb, Beanie Wells, and even Larry Fitzgerald the Redbirds carry some interesting options for owners still pouring over last-minute rankings and projections to find out who to sit and who to start.
numberFire.com Projections: 12.24 rushes, 49.16 yards, .32 touchdowns, 1.91 receptions, 12.94 receiving yards, 8.39 fantasy points
Analysis: After a strong opening game against Frank Gore, the Seattle defense fell back to earth in week two, crumbling at the hands of the Steelers' tailback party. Both Pittsburgh running backs -- Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman -- rushed for a touchdown on route to amassing double-digit scoring days early in the game. Meanwhile, through two weeks Beanie Wells has looked like one of the best players in Arizona, and has historically had some of his best games against the Seahawks. Start him.
Injury Update: Wells was limited in practice on Wednesday with a tight hamstring. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said resting him was precautionary and also allowed backup Chester Taylor to get more reps in practice. On Friday, Whisenhunt was typically vague and when asked if Wells was a game-time decision said, "that's fair to say".
Wells himself said he was confident he would play and said they pulled him from practice to get extra rest.
numberFire.com Projections: 20.72 points allowed, 1.79 sacks, 1.51 turnovers, .12 touchdowns, 6.54 fantasy points
Analysis: While the Arizona defense may not be world-beaters, this one's about as easy of a matchup there is. Led by the ineffectual Tavaris Jackson, Seattle has scored just two offensive touchdowns in the opening two weeks, while gaining a league low 191.5 yards per game. With such a vast dearth of talent on the offensive side of the ball, that ineptitude doesn't appear to be changing any time soon. Start the Cardinals with confidence.
numberFire.com Projections: 5.85 receptions, 81.43 yards, 0.63 touchdowns, 11.94 fantasy points
Analysis: At this point we're done doubting Larry Fitzgerald. Last week's seven catch, 133-yard, one touchdown explosion was a masterpiece to watch. All this guy needs to thrive is a competent quarterback and now he has one. Don't even think about sitting him.
numberFire.com Projections: 1.12/1.33 field goal attempts, 1.54 extra points, 5.33 fantasy points
Analysis: Seattle has given up the fourth-most points in the NFC and the fourth-most fantasy points against opposing kickers. Arizona should run away with this one, giving Jay Feely plenty of opportunities to ratchet up the scoreboard.
numberFire.com Projections: 191.51 passing yards, 1.08 touchdowns, 0.74 interceptions, 7.91 rushing yards, 11.89 fantasy points
Analysis: This one isn't a case of dooming Kevin Kolb to poor play against Seattle, but rather, believing Arizona will eventually amass a large lead and render the passing game obsolete, as was the case for Ben Roethlisberger last week. Big Ben still ended up with a marginally good day (298 yards, one touchdown) and Kolb could be in line for something similar, but in this age of fantasy QB dominance, you need more than that from your signal caller.
numberFire.com Projections: 2.38 receptions, 30.24 yards, .23 touchdowns, 4.41 fantasy points
Analysis: Due to Andre Roberts' complete ineffectualness in the Kolb-led offense thus far, the more viable Cardinals second-option seems to be trending towards Early Doucet. Still, the 23-year-old followed up a breakout 105-yard, one touchdown breakout opening week with a two catch, 20-yard clunker against Washington. Until someone can show some consistency, stay away from this whole group of ancillary receivers.
numberFire.com Projections: 2.98 receptions, 37.85 yards, .31 touchdowns, 5.65 fantasy points
Analysis: If there's one thing that the Seahawk defense has done well, it's lock down the tight end position. Seattle has allowed just 62 yards receiving and zero touchdowns from the position despite facing extremely capable players in Vernon Davis and Heath Miller through the first two weeks. At this point, Todd Heap has yet to establish himself (and may somehow be overshadowed by Jeff King) so in no way is he a safe start.