Kickoff: Sunday, November 21st at 4:25 PM ET
Location: Lumen Field, Seattle, WA
Betting Odds: ARI -2.5, 50 total via Oddsshark
Kyler Murray (Sit, low-end QB1 at best if he plays), Colt McCoy (Sit)
After looking like the best team in the NFC in Week 9 in a thorough dismantling of San Francisco, Arizona crashed back to Earth last week with a crushing defeat at the hands of the Panthers. Kyler Murray was sorely missed and there are still questions surrounding his health heading into a divisional matchup with Seattle this week. Reports last week indicated Murray was close to returning but the team elected to hold him out. With Arizona’s BYE looming following this week’s game, will the team let Murray get extra time to heal up, or is the divisional opponent enough to risk further aggravation? That’s unfortunately the question fantasy managers will look for answers to as early as possible as we approach Week 11. As of this writing, we don’t have reports from Arizona’s practice and Murray’s participation, if any, in it. If Murray was unable to practice yesterday, expectations should be low that he’ll suit up on Sunday. With a late kickoff, I’d recommend fantasy managers with a second viable option that plays tonight or early on Sunday to start them even if Murray is cleared to play. If not, closely monitor reports coming out of Arizona and hope Murray returns to the field this week. THURSDAY AM UPDATE: The initial injury prognosis included a 1-3 week recovery time and Murray is nearing the end of that timeframe. Murray indicated he’s “close” to returning and a limited practice yesterday is encouraging. Murray is trending towards playing, but he may be limited. If he gets in good practices leading up to the game, I’d consider him a low-end QB1 for the week.
Colt McCoy did what was asked of him in Week 9 as Arizona cruised to victory over San Francisco but struggled mightily against Carolina last week before exiting early with a pectoral injury. Reports indicate it is a pain management issue and shouldn’t cause McCoy to miss any time if Murray were unable to go but it’s hard to recommend McCoy as a startable option even if he gets the nod against Seattle. Perhaps McCoy will be worth consideration if Arizona’s WRs return to full health, but I see him as not better than QB15-20 even then. McCoy might be worth a spot start for fantasy managers in a pinch, but there are better options out there in Week 11.
James Conner (Start, RB2), Eno Benjamin (Sit)
If I had told you before the season started that, through 10 weeks, James Conner would be leading the NFL in TDs you likely would have scoffed at that idea but here we are and there he is. Conner has been everything the Cardinals could have hoped for and more when they signed him this offseason and he is now the unquestioned starter while Chase Edmonds recovers from an ankle injury suffered in Week 9. Conner has 12 TDs on the season and has four games with multiple TDs despite playing in a committee with Edmonds leading up to Week 9. Conner has an injury history of his own, which is worth mentioning, but same more than 75% of the snaps following Edmonds’ injury. Conner is also not a liability in the passing game which helps him stay on the field in passing situations, further solidifying his floor. Conner has displayed RB1 upside several times this season but fantasy managers should consider him a solid RB2 this week with the questions surrounding the QB position and the presence of…
Eno Benjamin. While Conner has stepped into Edmonds’ role as lead RB, Arizona is comfortable giving Benjamin Conner’s old role to give Conner breathers and keep him healthy for the duration of the game and season. Benjamin showed some nice attributes in Week 9, bowling over a defender en route to his first NFL TD and giving the team confidence he can handle a part-time role without any major adjustments to the game plan. Benjamin has not been a factor in the passing game yet and he is still behind Conner on the depth chart, but Benjamin looks like a solid option for Arizona. Fantasy managers, on the other hand, should not trust Benjamin in their lineups because of his limited role in the offense. Sit Benjamin this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DeAndre Hopkins (Sit), A.J. Green (Start, WR3/Flex), Christian Kirk (Start, WR3/Flex), Rondale Moore (Sit), Zach Ertz (Start, low-end TE1)
Much like Murray, fantasy managers have been forced to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to DeAndre Hopkins and whether or not he’ll suit up. Hopkins has missed the team’s last two games and hasn’t practiced in nearly a month as he tries to recover from a hamstring injury. A divisional matchup awaits this week which could push Hopkins to play but the impending BYE may play a deciding factor when thinking about long-term health. Hopkins has been effective against Seattle during his career, averaging six receptions, 101 yards, and 0.5 TDs against them but the specter of reaggravation pushes him down the rankings a bit. If he’s playing you almost have to start him, but fantasy managers should temper their expectations and be happy with WR3 numbers from D-Hop. THURSDAY AM UPDATE: Hopkins did not participate in practice yesterday and I’d say he’s closer to “doubtful” than “questionable”. With a BYE following this week’s game, I think the team gives him the additional time to heal. If he plays, his talent still makes him an appealing option, but I’d start making plans for him to miss another week if I were considering starting him.
After missing Arizona’s Week 9 game as a result of being placed on the COVID-Reserve list, A.J. Green returned to the lineup last week but was virtually nonexistent. Green recorded five targets from McCoy but was able to gather in only a sole reception for four yards. It was a bad game all around for Arizona, but playing from behind for the majority of the game would tend to lead to inflated passing numbers as the team tries to come back. That simply wasn’t the case last week and the entirety of the offense sputtered. Green should be better this week with a full week of practices with McCoy but it’s hard to trust him unless Murray is confirmed to return this week. Green could sneak into the WR3 tier if Hopkins is out again, but likely no higher. I’d lean towards benching Green this week but he might be an emergency Flex option for fantasy managers navigating BYEs and injuries. THURSDAY AM UPDATE: It looks like Hopkins will miss another game, bumping up Green’s outlook a bit. I’d drop him into the WR3 tier now and he is a viable option for fantasy managers struggling with injuries and BYEs at the position.
Christian Kirk had the best fantasy game last week, which frankly isn’t saying much as he finished with seven receptions for 58 yards on eight targets. Kirk did lead the team in all those categories but barely registered as a blip on the fantasy radar with that production. Kirk has been a consistent producer for Arizona this season, so he’s established a floor for fantasy managers but his ceiling isn’t a whole lot higher. The absences of Hopkins and Green have pushed more targets in his direction, but he hasn’t done much more with them. I can see a scenario where Arizona keeps Hopkins and Murray out through the BYE which gives Kirk one more opportunity to earn the solid trust of fantasy managers. Look for WR3 production from Kirk in Week 11.
After Week 2, Rondale Moore looked like a league-winning acquisition when he finished with seven receptions for 114 yards and a TD and showed playmaking ability along the way. Since then, Moore has yet to eclipse 60 yards in a game and has fewer than five receptions in all but two games since his breakout. Even with the litany of injuries ravaging Arizona’s WRs, Moore has been unable to establish himself as a weekly threat. As such, fantasy managers should look elsewhere for WR help this week.
After rumors and rumblings all offseason, Philadelphia finally got the right offer for Zach Ertz and shipped the three-time Pro Bowler to Arizona for a player and a fifth-round draft pick last month. Ertz has been a reliable option for both Murray and McCoy, hauling in three or four receptions in each of his first four games with the team and reaching 40 yards in three of them. Ertz has changed the outlook for TEs in Arizona and is still a reliable option for fantasy managers. Ertz still has TD upside put his floor is just low enough to keep him in the bottom half of the TE1 tier. Still, Ertz is a fine option this week for fantasy managers and should produce no worse than low-end TE1 numbers.
Russell Wilson (Start, low-end QB1)
It was a disappointing return for Russell Wilson in his first action since fracturing a finger against the Rams in Week 5 as Wilson was stifled all night in a shutout loss to the Packers. Wilson had one of his worst games in Week 10, going 20-of-40 for 161 yards and two INTs. Wilson did scramble to the tune of 28 yards, but it wasn’t enough to salvage a bad day. Arizona has been stingy this season against opposing QBs, allowing just 220 yards per game, but has surrendered multiple TD passes in half their games. Now that Wilson has a game back under his belt, I expect a better performance against a division rival he’s had success against in the past. As recently as last season, Wilson had a game of 388 passing yards, three passing TDs (with three INTs), and 84 rushing yards in a 37-34 loss to the Cardinals. Wilson provides immense upside with his ability as a runner which keeps him as a viable QB1 this week.
Chris Carson (Sit), Alex Collins (Start, RB2)
It seems like every fantasy-relevant player has questions surrounding his availability and Chris Carson is next on our list. Carson has been sidelined since Week 4 with a neck injury that the team is, rightfully, being very cautious with. HC Pete Carroll indicated the team would “revisit” Carson’s availability following yesterday’s practice but we’ve got no word on that front yet. Even if Carson were cleared to play it’s hard to envision a scenario in which he’d get a large workload after such a lengthy layoff. Unless news comes out that Carson is going to be out indefinitely he’s a worthy roster stash for a potential fantasy playoff run but he simply can’t be trusted this week. Keep him on your bench for at least one more week. THURSDAY AM UPDATE: Carson was unable to participate in practice yesterday and rumors are starting to circulate that Injured Reserve is a distinct possibility.
In Carson’s absence, Alex Collins has seen an increased workload but has been able to exceed 50 yards just once and has only one TD during that span. The return of a fully game-ready Wilson should help open up rushing lanes which should lead to a slightly better game statistically for Collins. Collins has been a non-factor in the passing game to this point, however, limiting his upside for fantasy managers. Collins should see enough volume to return respectable fantasy numbers but it’s hard to see him moving higher than the RB2 tier given his production in recent weeks. If Carson returns, Collins becomes irrelevant for fantasy managers, so keep tabs on information coming out of Seattle before locking in Collins.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
D.K. Metcalf (Start, WR1), Tyler Lockett (Start, WR2), Gerald Everett (Sit)
There are two options in the Seattle passing game and both look like viable starts this week for fantasy managers. First, D.K. Metcalf is still behind Tyler Lockett in targets, as he’s been since joining the team, and the two are almost equal across the board. Metcalf trails Lockett in targets (66 to 64) and receptions (43 to 42) but edges Lockett in yards (606 to 602) and has a sizable lead in TDs (8 to 3). Metcalf is the prototypical “big” WR at 6-4 and 235 pounds while Lockett provides the speed element to the passing game. Arizona has allowed just one WR to eclipse 100 yards against them but has surrendered 13 TDs to the position this season. Metcalf gets the nod as a WR1 option because of his TD upside while Lockett provides WR2 value because of his deep speed and prowess. Either is a viable starting option for fantasy managers in Week 11.
Gerald Everett has his best game as a Seahawk by far last week as he caught all eight of his targets for 63 yards. Everett was a pre-season sleeper for many but hasn’t been as involved in the offense as expected when joining the team. Everett typically only sees two or three targets per game and hasn’t been a factor when Seattle approaches the end zone. While the usage last week was encouraging, it looks more like an outlier than the beginning of a trend. Fantasy managers should find an alternative option at TE this week.