Week 3 Recap:
Arizona Cardinals at the Buffalo Bills
Quarterback: This was a rough week for Carson Palmer. The Bills brought a lot of extra pressure early, and as a result Palmer struggled. Palmer is not the most mobile quarterback. Throughout the game, his passes to the outside and deep shots were often inaccurate, whether overthrown, thrown wide, or thrown low, and I saw his receivers save him multiple times. I think this was because of the pressure the Bills brought early and often. If he is playing a blitz happy defense, I think he will struggle. Palmer only looked comfortable when they were throwing short, quicker passes and running the ball a lot. They did this in the 2nd quarter and sustained a 9 minute, 15 second drive that resulted in a touchdown. They had to abandon the ball control offense, and then Palmer started having a lot of luck throwing to the Bills receivers.
He threw four interceptions in garbage time, but I think this was because he was trying to make something happen being down by 27 early in the 4th quarter. He made a lot of lower percentage throws. His first interception looked like a miscommunication with John Brown; Brown cut outside at the top of his route and Palmer threw it inside. It was a helluva catch by Stephen Gilmore though. His second INT was a jump ball that he threw to Floyd deep, but Floyd was in double coverage and the ball was slightly underthrown. His third came on another deep shot to Floyd that was underthrown. If he put more air under this one it would have been a touchdown rather than another Gilmore pick. His final INT came with just over a minute left in the 4th. Palmer barely underthrows a jump ball to Floyd deep, and Corey White just outmuscles Floyd to seal the game.
Running Back: I don’t think there’s anything to say here. This is David Johnson’s backfield. He has quickness, speed, strength, great hands, and great vision. I don’t own any shares of him this year because I was concerned about split carries, but man was I wrong. I barely saw Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington. Chris Johnson will be the cuff to own here. I wouldn’t play him unless you absolutely had to, and the Cardinals aren’t playing on the east coast.
Wide Receiver: The big three receivers here got a fairly even share of the targets in this game. It seemed like I saw a lot more of Fitz and John Brown early when the game was close. Michael Floyd got a lot of targets when they were in constant catch-up mode, three of which were poorly thrown interceptions by Palmer. I only included Jaron Brown because he’s an interesting prospect for dynasty or deeper leagues. Fitzgerald caught a lot of the underneath and quicker timing routes, Floyd got a lot of the deeper targets, and John Brown was seemingly targeted all over the field. I value Fitzgerald as a high-end WR2, and Floyd and John Brown as a low-end WR2s. They all have WR1 upside in the right match up, or if they happen to catch a couple of TDs like Fitzgerald did in week 1.
Arizona Cardinals Receiver Target Distribution against Buffalo Bills Week 3
On the season, Fitzgerald has seen the highest number of the targets and snaps. He’s an excellent blocking receiver, so he rarely leaves the field. He also has the surest hands out of all three of the receivers. To be fair, Floyd got a lot of deep, low percentage shots in the Bills game, so his catch percentage in this game was low. This also affected his season long stats. All of that being said, there were a few plays to Floyd early where he dropped what should have been easy catches. Brown is clearly their number 3, playing around 50% of the snaps in each of the first three weeks. Jaron Brown is only interesting this year in dynasty and deeper leagues.
Arizona Cardinals Receiver Target Distribution in 2016
|Player||Rec||Tgts||Catch %||Yds||TD||Snap %|
Tight End: The Cardinals don’t really use their tight ends all that much. If you’re in a deeper league, I couldn’t tell you which guy I would play from this offense. I guess it would be Fells if I absolutely had to play a Cardinals TE. Fells caught his two dump off targets in this game, and Gresham ran into the CB who was covering him on his single target. I would only use these guys if there is literally no other viable option on waivers.
Quarterback: Tyrod Taylor saved his day with his rushing, but he was dreadful as a passer. He had a clean pocket for the most part, but his accuracy is a serious issue. He had 14 completions on 25 attempts for 119 yards, no touchdowns, and 1 INT. He’s a QB2 in pretty much all formats especially with Sammy Watkins out for at least 8 weeks. He may have good passing weeks if he happens to hit a receiver on a deep bomb, or maybe Shady can catch a screen and take it to the house. I was not impressed with him as a passer.
Running Back: There’s not much to discuss here. Shady played almost all of the snaps until the game got out of hand. He has acceleration, quickness, speed, soft hands, and excellent vision. He was every bit as good as David Johnson. Bush was not seen once. Gillislee and Williams each had 3 rush attempts, but Gillislee was first in line for carries after Shady. Williams was only seen in the second half when the game was pretty well in hand. If you want to handcuff one of them to Shady then Gillislee is your guy.
Wide Receiver: Sammy Watkins please come back! Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot here for fantasy purposes. Especially given how poorly Taylor played. I wouldn’t count on any Bills WR as anything more than a WR3/flex play. Robert Woods got the majority of the targets, but he did not look good in doing so. Walt Powell only had one bad drop that I saw, and he had some very impressive runs after the catch. In the 3rd quarter he slipped and still managed to plunge forward for a gain of around 10 yards. Powell is a speculative add at best though. Marquise Goodwin got some bad passes thrown his way, but he also had some nasty drops. I wouldn’t look to him to provide any fantasy value.
Buffalo Bills Receiver Target Distribution Against Arizona Cardinals Week 3
Tight End: This was a tough game to watch for the Buffalo tight ends. Charles Clay got two targets, and didn’t catch either one. He will have games where he has a lot of catches and maybe one will be for a touchdown, but he just looked bad in this game. I don’t know that I could trust him except in the deepest of leagues.
Written By: Adam Drewery – Follow Adam on the Fantasy Life App @ad87 or on Twitter @adrewery87