Who will take over for Ryan Williams in Arizona, anyone Fantasy Football draft-worthy...or will Beanie Wells have a break-out 2011?
I don't believe that the big-impact Fantasy Football RB for the Arizona Cardinals for 2011, is actually on the roster at the moment. I would theorize the following conspiracy theory in Arizona...
Beanie Wells has done nothing but disappoint for two years. Even at his best/healthiest, Wells is a limited RB...a pounding-style RB, with hands of stone in the passing game. Kevin Kolb runs a quick pace Offense, and utilizes check-downs to the RB often...and he really can't do that with Wells. Beanie has been oft injured, and has frustrated coaches with work-ethic, ball-security and attitude. Even if Wells does well this season, there is no way the Cardinals (smelling a possible divisional crown) will rely on Beanie teamed LaRod Stephens-Howling or Alfonso Smith...they have to get a more established/skilled "speed-RB" with good hands in the passing game.
There will be a flood of RBs coming loose in as NFL teams make their cut downs, it won't necessarily be pretty...but there might be a hidden-gem in there. Also, teams will make RBs available in trade (pre-cutting) if they have some value in the open market. Where that matters for Fantasy Football 2011 is, a decent name RB going to Arizona is going to have an instant Fantasy Football Draft value...as high as a top-20 RB pick. If you think that's not possible, consider some of the theories on my list...
The RB that Arizona will/has to target is a smaller RB. No need to add another bruiser with Wells. If I put on my NFL GM hat, and I was in the Cardinals shoes...here would be names on my list to go after...cheap. Everyone on this list could be a productive NFL RB according to our computer models...with a few of them possessing some NFL star/elite data points.
My candidates for top-10 best Fantasy Football RBs for the Arizona Cardinals by 2011 end:
1) Steve Slaton, RB Texans -- Think about it. If a fully healthy Steve Slaton was traded to Arizona tonight, and your Fantasy Football Draft was tomorrow...Slaton would go from a likely undrafted RB, to a top 20-25 in the blink of an eye. Slaton has not shown a massive decline in talent the past 1-2 years...he just got outplayed by Arian Foster in 2010 (who didn't?), and thus Slaton sat and watched. Pre-2010, Steve Slaton was an in demand Fantasy Football RB. He did have a neck issue/surgery a couple years ago...but ran the ball fine in the 2010 preseason, and returned kicks for the Texans in 2010. His crime is mostly that he is not as good in the Texans system as Foster is. Now with Ben Tate showing that he is a potential monster RB too...Slaton could be had via trade easily, more likely he will be cut. Either way, Slaton on the Cardinals might be a Fantasy Football match made in heaven. We have been directing clients to take Slaton in the 14-15th Round of 12-14 team Fantasy Football Drafts now, to play this gamble...knowing it may not hit, but if it does...it's a late-round Home Run. *Slaton has been battling a hamstring injury in camp, making the likelihood that he will be released, not traded.
2) Ryan Grant, RB Packers -- We think Grant will be traded or released. Too much RB talent on the Packers depth chart, no reason to keep the elder-statesman that is coming off a missed season due to injury. They didn't need him last year to win a Super Bowl. We haven't been excited by how Grant has looked this preseason coming off that injury.
3) Tashard Choice, RB Cowboys -- Will the Cowboys finally let Choice go? They drafted DeMarco Murray, they have given a push to Lonyae Miller this preseason, and UDFA Philip Tanner has looked better than any of them this preseason. Choice needs a chance, if he gets moved to Arizona...instant top 20-25 RB in Fantasy Football Drafts the same day.
4) Jalen Parmele, RB Ravens -- Our computer analysis has been very high on Parmele since coming out of college, but he has been buried behind Ray Rice. Much like Tashard Choice, Parmele needs a chance to show his skills. Possible to be cut out of lack of need, but the Ravens have been holding him for years as their Ray Rice insurance chip.
5) Mike Goodson, RB Panthers -- Goodson definitely won't be cut/released...this would have to be a trade, if even available. Goodson would flash into the top 20-25 RBs for Fantasy Football Drafts on this hypothetical move.
6) Joe McKnight, RB Jets -- He never seemed to fit with the Jets. Was a top RB coming out of High School, and supposed to be all-world at USC...but he was just decently productive in college. McKnight had a 100+ yard game in his one start in 2010 (Week-17 against Buffalo). Has some skills, and is potentially going to be available for pickup from waivers soon.
7) Joique Bell, RB Saints -- Bell had turned heads in Buffalo's camp in 2010, and with the Saints in 2011. A 5'11, 220 pound pit-bull RB...and a massive producer at small college -- Wayne State. The Saints have plenty of RBs, they likely will reluctantly let Bell go in the next few days.
8) Nic Grigsby, RB Miami -- We are very high on the UDFA RB. We match Grigsby to Arizona, as who knows if any UDFA RB will stick with their original team...and Grigsby was an off & on star at the University of Arizona. If released by Miami, this would be a perfect landing spot. However, we don't think Miami will cut Grigsby.
9) Antone Smith, RB Atlanta -- Smith has some very interesting physical measurables, but the Falcons have plenty of RBs locked in or competing for roster spots. If I were an NFL team, I would "kick the tires" on Smith.
10) Derrick Locke, RB Philly/Free-Agent -- A 2011 UDFA rookie just recently released by the Eagles. Either Locke has "issues", or he was buried with no hope on the Eagles depth chart. Locke runs a sub 4.4 40-time, and was fairly productive at Kentucky. Available for a look-see right now.
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