Cardinals @ Broncos
Final Score: Broncos 24, Cardinals 15
Writer: Brett Ford (@fadethatman on Twitter)
The Cardinals and Broncos were at Mile High… with both teams about a mile away from the playoffs. In what was supposed to be a dynamic matchup between Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, it was instead a war of attrition between Colt McCoy and Brett Rypien.
Let’s be honest with ourselves here. You didn’t watch this game. I didn’t want to either, but here we are.
Let’s just get this over with.
Colt McCoy: 13/21, 78 Yards, INT | 2 Carries, 2 Yards
Trace McSorley: 7/15, 95 Yards, 2 INT | 1 Carry, 8 Yards
Nobody here started Colt McCoy, right?
He struggled, completing 13 passes for just 78 yards – an average of 3.7 yards per completed pass. Gross. He exited the game in the third quarter with a presumed concussion… mercifully.
Trace McSorley wasn’t much better as he completed just under half of his passes including a pair of interceptions.
Now onto their third-string quarterback, the Arizona Cardinals’ offense is completely bench-worthy at this point of the year. Even DeAndre Hopkins is probably not a viable starting wide receiver anymore. It’s not looking good in the desert.
James Conner: 16 Carries, 63 Yards, TD | 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 28 Yards
Keaontay Ingram: 1 Carry
James Conner may have been the lone bright spot in the Cardinals’ offense, galloping 63 yards on 16 carries and adding three catches for 28 yards as well. For those willing to gamble, (or just lacking any alternatives) Conner may see enough opportunity in the coming weeks to justify throwing him in the starting lineup. Two of Conner’s three receptions came from McSorley check-downs… so we’ll see.
Keontay Ingram got one carry and gained as many yards as you and I did on Sunday. This is Conner’s backfield.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
DeAndre Hopkins: 11 Targets, 7 Receptions, 60 Yards
Trey McBride: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 55 Yards
Marquise Brown: 8 Targets, 4 Receptions, 19 Yards
Maxx Williams: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 11 Yards
A.J. Green: 2 Targets
Robbie Anderson: 2 Targets
DeAndre Hopkins dominated the Cardinals’ target share, garnering 11 targets on 36 combined passing attempts between McCoy and McSorley. He pulled in seven catches for 60 yards. In 27 offensive snaps with McSorley under center (15 pass attempts), Hopkins was targeted five times for a 33% target share. For those gasping at straws for a reason to start the Arizona wide receiver, his large target share with McSorley under center may be enough, though the average depth of completion for McSorley may dictate Hopkins only being a PPR option and certainly downgrades him from a low-end WR1 to a low-end WR2 or flex play.
Rookie tight end Trey McBride popped for 55 yards on four catches. Marquise Brown was extremely disappointing with just 19 receiving yards on four catches despite eight targets. He’ll be on my bench, especially if McSorley is the starter next week.
Brett Rypien: 21/26, 197 Yards, TD, INT | 2 Carries, -2 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost), 1 Fumble (Recovered)
Have you ever hiked up a mountain, laid on your back, and looked up at the sky with an unobstructed view? Brett Rypien did on Sunday. Seven times. Went he wasn’t on his back, he was actually relatively efficient, completing 21 of his 26 attempts for 197 yards.
Late in the game, Rypien even threw a touchdown pass, finding his tight end… no, not THAT one… his third-string tight end for a score.
UTEP alumni Eric Tomlinson gets a touchdown today for the Broncos! ⛏
— Sidelines – UTEP (@SSN_UTEP) December 18, 2022
Rypien made some really nice throws, like the one below, on the rare occasion he was given a clean pocket. He could be a decent desperation option for super-flex leagues. I mean you can’t do any worse than Russell Wilson.
Latavius Murray: 24 Carries, 130 Yards, TD | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 12 Yards
Marlon Mack: 5 Carries, 37 Yards, TD | 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 26 Yards
Devine Ozigbo: 2 Carries, 2 Yards
Just like we all drew it up… league-winning RB1 from the Broncos backfield… Latavius Murray?
Murray was outstanding, posting his first 100+ yard rushing game since Week 18 of last season (as a member of the Ravens). He toted the ball 24 (!!!) times, averaging over 5.0 yards per carry and pirouetted his way into the end zone late in the game to seal the win for the Broncos.
Latavius Murray waltzes his was into the end zone 🕺pic.twitter.com/hw06Spk3ny
— Broncos Country (@BroncoCountryCP) December 18, 2022
Digging deeper into the “Washed Up Running Back” bag, Marlon Mack scored his first rushing touchdown since 2019 and has now found the end zone in consecutive games. He looks… good… and he’s received double-digit opportunities in each of his last two games. I hate to endorse a backup running back in one of the league’s worst offenses, but Marlon Mack is at least interesting in deep, DEEP formats.
Just like we drew it up: league-winner Marlon Mack. 😍 pic.twitter.com/8ixIKzUXyX
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) December 18, 2022
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Jerry Jeudy: 8 Targets, 7 Receptions, 76 Yards
Brandon Johnson: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 30 Yards
Eric Tomlinson: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 28 Yards, TD
Greg Dulcich: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 11 Yards
Freddie Swain: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 9 Yards
Eric Saubert: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 5 Yards
With Courtland Sutton sidelined, Jerry Jeudy has emerged as the alpha pass-catcher in the Broncos offense, leading the team in targets in consecutive weeks now, pulling in seven of his eight targets for 76 yards in this one. He has shown some solid chemistry with Rypien and is a solid WR3/Flex play moving forward.
The Denver Broncos’ practice squad receiving corps had a great game. Some guy named Brandon Johnson caught three passes while Eric Tomlinson out-produced starter Greg Dulcich, including a touchdown catch. It appears that the chemistry Dulcich showed with Wilson in each of the past two weeks (eight targets in each game) has not translated to Rypien. Fantasy managers may want to peek at the waiver wire for alternatives moving forward, though the talent is definitely still there.