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Hard Knocks In Season Cardinals: Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, James Conner (2022)

May 23, 2022
Kyler Murray

It’s official. This year HBO Max will feature another in-season spin-off of the popular NFL reality television show, Hard Knocks. The second in-season edition of the series will feature the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have storylines galore, and they even feature a player nicknamed Hollywood, making them an obvious fit for such a production. Let’s take a look at a few of the top fantasy-relevant players on the Arizona Cardinals to watch on 2022 Hard Knocks In Season.

James Conner (RB)
James Conner will be the Cardinal’s dependable workhorse again in 2022. In Weeks 9-14, he never played less than 77% of the snaps averaging 21.8 touches and 114.4 total yards per game. He was the RB2 in fantasy behind only Jonathan Taylor in that five-game span. His 18 total touchdowns seem hard to replicate at first glance, but it isn’t. Last season Arizona was eighth in red zone rushing rate. Conner has minimal competition on the depth chart that could take him off the field on passing downs or near paydirt.

Marquise Brown (WR)
Marquise Brown seems slated for a massive target share in the Arizona Cardinals’ pass-heavy offense. Brown posted a top-12 target share last season (23%) with Baltimore. The speedy wideout also commanded a whopping 27% target share back in 2018 at Oklahoma – the last time he played with Murray. Christian Kirk was WR12 during the last four weeks without Hopkins in the lineup. The Cardinals paid a premium to acquire Brown, so fantasy managers should expect them to use him plenty. Brace yourself for Brown to skyrocket up 2022 best-ball rankings as a top-20 fantasy WR option.

Zach Ertz (TE)
Tight end Zach Ertz is the other big winner in the wake of DeAndre Hopkins‘ suspension. The former Eagle broke out in the Arizona Cardinals offense during the last four weeks of the season with Hopkins sidelined. Ertz was TE4 over that stretch averaging seven receptions per game (24% target share).

CTAs

Kyler Murray (QB)
Last season was another tale of two halves for Kyler Murray. In Weeks 1-8, with DeAndre Hopkins healthy, he was on fire as the QB6 completing 72.6% of his passes with 8.8 yards per attempt while averaging 284.5 passing yards per game. After Week 9, with Hopkins banged up and in and out of the lineup, Murray was the QB16 with a 65.3% completion rate, 6.7 yards per attempt, and 251.8 passing yards per game. Fast forward to this season, and Hopkins is now slated to miss the first six games of the season. The trade to acquire Marquise Brown‘s services and drafting Trey McBride will help, but it’s understandable to tread carefully with Kyler Murray exposure this season.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR)
DeAndre Hopkins is being suspended six games for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy. The alpha WR falls into the WR3/4 range for redraft purposes. He won’t fall as much in best-ball based on the format, but it’s hard to imagine drafting Hopkins over Marquise Brown with the six-game suspension baked in.

Rondale Moore (WR)
Rondale Moore is entering his second season with a straightforward path for an expanded role in the Cardinals’ offense. He flashed his potential early on for Arizona in 2021, with 182 receiving yards in his first two NFL games. But Kliff Kingsbury never opted to go back to Moore with the likes of A.J. Green and Christian Kirk playing solid roles. We should see Moore – and his dead-last 1.3 aDOT – experience significant growth in Year 2 especially with DeAndre Hopkins suspended for the first six weeks of the season.


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