2013 Outlook: Neither injury nor diminished skills explain Fitzgerald's disastrous '12 season, in which he finished 21st in receptions and 35th in receiving yards among WRs. It was all about the QB. Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer combined for a 55.4 percent completion rate, 11 TD passes and 21 INTs. Drafting Fitz this season is a vote that new Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians can solve Arizona's signal-calling mess. Maybe Carson Palmer is the answer; we're not convinced his elbow ever recovered to pre-injury strength, but at least you can be sure he and Arians will combine to take shots. Anyway, we're buying low in Fitz: He's way too physically gifted and mentally tough not to bounce back.
2013 Outlook: In '12, Mendenhall tried to return nine months after a torn ACL, but he looked slow. It's probably not fair to hold that effort against him, but it is fair to remember that Mendy was never a compelling RB talent even when healthy. His past fantasy glory came as a result of short TDs: 27 of his 29 career rushing scores have come from inside an opponent's 10. His old Steelers coordinator Bruce Arians is now the head man in Arizona, so despite battling minor injuries in training camp Mendenhall should win the starting job. The real question: Will the Cardinals regularly get near the goal line?
2013 Outlook: Floyd had a strong finish to his rookie year, totaling 15 catches for 213 yards and a score against the Bears and Niners in the season's final two weeks. But to that point, it had been a rough go for the first-round pick. In the season's first seven games, Floyd saw three targets or fewer six times. The arrival of Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians in Arizona should help make the Cardinals' downfield passing game more legit. Floyd is 6-foot-3 and runs a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, so a breakout is possible. Plus, we give him a chance to take over as a starting outside receiver while Andre Roberts mans the slot.
2013 Outlook: Roberts was respectable in the first half of 2012, but he vanished as the Cardinals' QBs got worse. This year, Carson Palmer gives all Arizona's aerial weapons a better chance, but Roberts has usage concerns. Larry Fitzgerald is the obvious No. 1 WR, and last year's first-round draft choice, Michael Floyd, will see an increase in playing time. Our guess is that Floyd will win the starting outside spot opposite Fitz, and Roberts will have to be content running in three-receiver sets and manning the slot. There's value in such a role, but he's probably the third-most draftable Cardinals WR.
2013 Outlook: Palmer will never be the player he was from '05 to '07. His arm has never fully bounced back from a serious '08 elbow injury, he holds the football too long and takes too many shots, and his decision making is now perennially suspect. He moves from Oakland to Arizona, where at least he's got a potential Hall-of-Fame WR in Larry Fitzgerald. But he'll play behind an O-line that's inexperienced at best, and new head coach Bruce Arians will almost certainly wish he could have the six-years-ago version of Palmer's throwing arm. Expect interceptions and inconsistency.
2013 Outlook: Coming out of Virginia Tech, Williams was known as an explosive playmaker with every-down potential, but he missed his entire rookie year with a torn patellar tendon, then lost 11 games to a shoulder injury in '12. He came into this summer with a chance to claim early-down work, but he's battled a knee problem throughout August and reportedly could find himself cut by September. It's a long way to fall for a former second-round pick who has tremendous acceleration and elusiveness, but it's just tough to trust Williams ever staying healthy.
2013 Outlook: Ellington has a bit of C.J. Spiller in him, and we don't only say that because both men went to Clemson. Ellington makes plays on the perimeter and in the open field, and he fashioned some fine inside runs during his senior season, too, albeit against smaller collegiate competition. The Cardinals already have Rashard Mendenhall in place as the starter and also drafted Stepfan Taylor, so the depth chart is clogged. But of these backs, Ellington probably has the most open-field shake, and he's not timid about pass blocking. We can see him getting in the mix during his rookie year.
2013 Outlook: Taylor posted great stats at Stanford, but his game tape is uninspiring. He's slow to the hole and gets what's blocked, but nothing more. He's neither a battering ram nor an above-average athlete, and if he sees time in the Cardinals backfield he'll immediately evoke his new teammate, Rashard Mendenhall, for his pedestrian speed and lack of elusiveness. Arizona also has another fellow rookie in Andre Ellington on its roster, meaning Taylor is no sure bet to see offensive snaps in his inaugural campaign. We'd look elsewhere for a deep-league or dynasty keeper.
2013 Outlook: Housler fits the mold of so many young tight ends these days: He's big, athletic and he hasn't done nearly enough on an NFL gridiron to prove he's ready to be a fantasy asset. That could change. The Cardinals will seek to improve their QB play in 2013, relying on a late-career Carson Palmer to stir the echoes, but their offensive line is such a work in progress that it's foolish to make promises. After all, Housler has yet to score a professional TD, plus he suffered an ankle sprain during the preseason that could limit him to begin the regular year. Tread lightly.
2013 Outlook: Arizona's 22 interceptions were bested only by Chicago last season, but Patrick Peterson is the last man standing in this secondary. Greg Toler, Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson are gone, while rookie Tyrann Mathieu, Jerraud Powers, Antoine Cason, Yeremiah Bell and Rashad Johnson step in. Calais Campbell and Dan Williams are stout up front (Darnell Dockett fell off a cliff in '12) and John Abraham will be fascinating converting to 3-4 linebacker, but Daryl Washington is suspended for the first four games of '13. It's nice owning a piece of Peterson's and Mathieu's special-teams playmaking greatness. But for all the talent the Cardinals have in some spots, they're untested in others.
2013 Outlook: Remember that game in '10 when Feely kicked five field goals, four extra points, and also ran for a TD on a fake attempt? Yeah, that was awesome. Alas, his time in Arizona has been fallow, as Feely hasn't topped 28 field-goal attempts in any of this three seasons as a Cardinal. Nor do we imagine that the advent of Carson Palmer to the desert will result in a cornucopia of extra-point tries. Feely is a good guy entering his 13th season, but he should be on the outside of your fantasy team looking in.
2013 Outlook: Four different men started games under center for the Cards in '12, and they all were terrible. So the Cardinals brought in Carson Palmer to be the starter this year, with Stanton as his backup. Stanton spent the '11 campaign with the Colts learning Bruce Arians' offensive system, so he should have a leg up here, as Arians is the new head man in Arizona. Palmer is 33 and really hasn't played well since '07, so we're not ruling out the possibility that Stanton gets some game action in '13.