2016 Draft Kit

Cardinals defense won’t have to do all the heavy lifting in 2015

Arizona Cardinals

2014 Record: 11-5, Wild Card, 2-3 in last five

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Four downs

1st: 23rd in DVOA* overall offense (19st pass, 30th rush) | 7th in DVOA* overall defense (14th pass, 6th run)

2nd: Most effective team in the NFL against slot/bench WR2 (6.3 pass attempts per game, 48.2 receiving yards per game) and third-best against receiving RBs (6.4, 29.7) but fifth worst against tight ends (7.5, 66.2), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.

3rd: Key loss: CB Antonio Cromartie | Key addition: OG Mike Iupati

4th: The Cardinals made headlines this offseason when they hired Jen Welter, who is believed to be the NFL’s first woman coach. Fantasy owners can expect them to make more headlines that benefit their teams this season. The return of Carson Palmer to full health could be huge. He had 11 TDs to only three interceptions before being hurt after his sixth game last season. The offense features future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald, budding star Michael Floyd and second-year receiver John Brown, who has high expectations. Arizona’s top running back, Andre Ellington is a top-tier pass-catcher, but health is a concern with him. The addition of Mike Iupati should help Ellington, or whoever runs the ball for an offense that was 30th in the NFL in that category last season. Arizona was carried by its defense in 2014 despite an anemic offense. The departure of Antonio Cromartie will hurt. He had at least three interceptions in every season since 2009. However, word at training camp is that he’s lost a step, so maybe Arizona made the right call. Putting the right player across from star DB Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers at present, will be key. The Cardinals also added Lamarr Woodley, who missed 18 games the last three seasons, and Sean Weatherspoon, who missed 12 in the last two. If both of them can put together a healthy string the Cardinals defense could be even better in 2015.

*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.





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