Welcome to Week 13 of the NFL schedule. SB Nation Arizona is your source for all Arizona Cardinals-related fantasy football analysis. Need some last minute predictions, help setting lineups, or info on who to sit and who to start? We're here for you.
This week we take a look at the potential fantasy impact of Derek Anderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Beanie Wells, and Tim Hightower. We'll also peek over at the 1st place Rams two offensive stars, rookie phenom Sam Bradford and the always-reliable Steven Jackson.
Derek Anderson: Well, the run had to stop somewhere. In true Cardinals fashion, just as Derek Anderson seemed to have reached some level of consistency (at least in fantasy terms), he goes out and puts up four points under the Monday night lights. There might be a lesson somewhere in there.
After four consecutive outings of 10+ points, D.A. laid the stinker of the year against the 49ers, most likely killing the playoff chances of anyone who put faith in the signal caller as we march through these last few weeks of the fantasy season.
This week the Cardinals will face the relatively-giving Rams' secondary, yet, I'm not even sure that it matters. At this point, any faith placed in D.A. to carry your fantasy team is entirely misguided. He doesn't go out there and laugh. Nothing's funny to him. I'm done.
(I couldn't help myself.)
Fantasy Prediction: 17-39, 224 yards, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown
Larry Fitzgerald: In what will surely become a running theme throughout this column, the Cardinal Plague struck Fitz just as hard as the rest of the offense. By coming away with just three points on Monday night, Larry notched in his sixth under-ten-point performance of Arizona's eleven game season -- an astounding number considering the pedigree and history of the man once revered as the best wide receiver in the NFL.
Still, in 13 career games against St. Louis, Fitzgerald has caught a ludicrous 12 touchdown receptions. Even more impressive, he has recorded a touchdown in each of the two teams' past four matchups.
The precedent is set. It's just a matter of whether Fitzgerald can overcome the personal challenges this team forces upon itself each weekend.
Fantasy Prediction: 6 receptions, 53 yards, 0 touchdown
Steve Breaston: The month of November was not kind to the young Michigan alum. Breaston averaged just 6.17 fantasy points per game throughout the Thanksgiving season, and has not topped the ten-point mark since October 31st. The early season chemistry between Derek Anderson and Steve seems to have gone by the wayside, and shows no indication of returning.
That being said, Breaston gashed the Rams for 132 yards receiving the first time the teams met this season. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the challenged St. Louis secondary could reignite the fourth-year player's season. Of course, like everything else with the Cardinals, don't count on it.
It should be noted that Breaston's knee is still bothering him, thus the receiver's status is still hovering around probable/questionable. Still, this injury lingered around last week as well, and Steve ended up playing, so it shouldn't end up being a big deal.
Fantasy Prediction: 6 receptions, 94 yards, 1 touchdown
Beanie Wells: Congratulations go out to Beanie Wells for accounting for 100% of the Cardinals rushing yards in their Monday night loss to San Francisco.
The sum total of his efforts: 13 yards.
Without his lone reception -- good for 43 yards -- Wells would have come away with yet another historically bad fantasy day. To be matters in perspective, Arian Foster scored more points in Week 1 than Beanie has scored all season. That, my friends, is the genesis of a lost fantasy season.
After a whole week campaigning for more carries, Wells fumbled the handoff on the Cardinals first offensive play of the game. He ended up getting just five more carries. Whisenhunt doesn't tolerate these kind of mistakes from his running backs, so don't be surprised if this week's backfield gameplan is Tim Hightower-heavy.
Fantasy Prediction: 6 carries, 22 yards, 0 receptions, 0 touchdowns
Tim Hightower: If you started Tim Hightower last week, you would have been better served just leaving that RB spot empty. It could have saved you the frustration and embarrassment of starting a player that literally did nothing. Five carries, zero yards. 0.00 points.
Still, you have to figure that somebody is going to get the carries for this offense, and right now its looking like Tim might be that man by default. He scored a touchdown in the team's first meeting with the Rams, and some goal line work isn't out of the question, so you certainly could do worse than pinning your hopes on Hightower.
Fantasy Prediction: 12 carries, 43 yards, 3 receptions, 30 yards, 1 touchdown
Sam Bradford: I'm going to be honest. Coming out of college, I thought Sam Bradford was relatively overrated. Needless to say, I was wrong. The kid is already the best quarterback in the division, the recipient of the "NFL's offensive rookie of the month" award in consecutive months, and the sure-fire "Rookie of the Year" winner.
Even in Week 1 against the Cardinals, Bradford may have thrown three interceptions, but he showed incredible poise in the pocket, throwing the ball a preposterous 55 times in his first NFL start. Since then, the young man has done nothing but improve.
In his past six games, the former-Sooner has thrown for 1307 yards, 11 touchdowns, and just one interception. More importantly, however, the once-futile Rams have come away with three victories in those contests.
The most successful strategy of the fantasy season has been to start whoever the Cardinals face, and this week is no exception. Bradford will be out for revenge as he takes on the first team that handed him an official NFL loss. Along those lines, he is a great sleeper play if you are in need of a quarterback on Sunday.
Fantasy Prediction: 32-44, 324 yards, 0 interceptions, 2 touchdowns
Steven Jackson: After representing the model of consistency for the first seven weeks -- averaging 12.88 fantasy points per contest -- Jackson has hit a mid-season slump. Three of his past four performances have resulted in just six fantasy points.
It doesn't matter though, as the Cardinals have been the cure to any offensive ailment this season. Last week Brian Westbrook joined the club. Coming into Monday night, Westbrook had run the ball five times for nine yards, and accumulated just 4.70 fantasy points throughout the season. What happens? The old man explodes for 136 rushing yards, a touchdown, and 19.60 points. That's the magic of the Cardinals.
Steven Jackson could join the ever-growing list of Cardinal slump-busters on Sunday. In all likelihood, the Rams will be ahead early on in this game, thus opening up the floodgates to the running game. Start him without hesitation.
Fantasy Prediction: 28 carries, 131 yards, 3 receptions, 25 yards, 1 touchdown
Note: All point totals are based off of YahooSports.com's default fantasy scoring system.