The Arizona Cardinals' roller-coaster presses on into Week 9 of the NFL season. Fresh off another uniquely stunning loss, the Redbirds travel back home to take on fellow floundering division affiliate, the St. Louis Rams. While there may not be much star power to display on Sunday, viable fantasy options will be prevalent with the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Beanie Wells, Steven Jackson, and Brandon Lloyd. With the help of numberFire.com, we've we've put together a comprehensive list of sit/start projections for this NFC West matchup.
numberFire.com Projections: 5.26 receptions, 74.22 yards, 0.56 touchdowns, 10.83 fantasy points
Analysis: Larry Fitzgerald is inherently frustrating because of who he is and the situation he's trapped in. Each week it gets harder and harder to recommend Fitz because of the Cardinals' inconsistent offense, yet somehow just three or four catches ends up pushing him into double-digits by the end of the day.
Even still, this week is different. You start him without hesitation. The Rams secondary has given up huge days to wideouts in five of seven weeks. Fitzgerald will make that six of eight.
numberFire.com Projections: 20.47 rushes, 88.09 yards, 0.70 touchdowns, 1.46 receptions, 9.87 receiving yards, 13.91 fantasy points
Analysis: Until last week, Old Reliable had been one of the sneaky steals of the 2011 fantasy football season. Just as he always does, S-Jax had pulled double-digit points in every healthy start but one, handedly paying back any owners who believed the aging workhorse had another good year in him.
But that all changed after last week's 31-point romp over the New Orleans Saints. Now the fantasy football world is back on notice of Jackson, who heads into Arizona for what could be the easiest matchup of the year. The Cardinals frontline has gifted monstrous days to backs of late, handing out three touchdowns apiece to Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. Another big performance could be right up Jackson's alley.
numberFire.com Projections: 5.07 receptions, 78.63 yards, .36 touchdowns, 9.99 fantasy points
Analysis: Do you want to know how bad the Cardinals secondary is? The team has given up double-digit outings to eight opposing receivers in just seven games. That's a whole different level of awful.
In the meantime, Brandon Lloyd's future has shined much brighter since leaving the tepid mess that is the Denver Broncos. In two games with St. Louis, Lloyd has collected 25 targets and the gravy train doesn't look like it'll stop anytime soon. Hitch your wagon to B. Lloyd and revel as it rains points on Sunday.
numberFire.com Projections: 25.78 points allowed, 1.95 sacks, 1.73 turnovers, .19 touchdowns, 6.50 fantasy points
Analysis: This decision doesn't even have anything to do with the Cardinals. Fantasy defenses are averaging an astounding 13.57 points per week against St. Louis. Other than Seattle, no other team even comes close to approaching that level of ineptitude. The Rams offense is that bad. It's rare to hear this, but have faith in the Cardinals D.
numberFire.com Projections: 227.40 passing yards, 1.26 touchdowns, 1.12 interceptions, 13.05 fantasy points
Analysis: With Kevin Kolb listed as doubtful, the starting reins fall to second-year man John Skelton. By all accounts Skelton has improved since his underwhelming four-game run at the end of the 2010 season. Still, even with a generous Rams secondary across with him, can you really put your faith in the former-fifth round pick?
numberFire.com Projections: 16.47 rushes, 70.29 yards, 0.60 touchdowns, 3.68 receptions, 29.91 receiving yards, 13.57 fantasy points
Analysis: This is a gut call; nothing more, nothing less. The Rams have been gracious to virtually every opposing running back they've played, giving up huge days to the likes of Ryan Torain and DeMarco Murray. Still, something about Wells' lingering knee injury is unsettling. If you have confidence in the youngster, go for it. As for me, I'm sitting this one out.
Sam Bradford/A.J. Feeley
numberFire.com Projections: 226.40 passing yards, 1.32 touchdowns, 14.44 fantasy points/163.90 passing yards, 1.75 touchdowns, 13.03 fantasy points
Analysis: Regardless of who plays, neither of these guys should touch your starting lineup. Bradford has been shaky all year and the ankle injury probably won't do any favors for his regression. Meanwhile, Feeley's season-high is nine points. Nothing about this screams "good decision".