Heading into their Week 4 matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals (2-1) want to keep the momentum they have built up to this point. However, injuries could derail their aspirations, but it does present an interesting fantasy football opportunity to find value that generally could be lost on a team’s depth chart. Does the Arizona Cardinals offense have enough talent on the depth chart to succeed even if they are missing a key player in Week 4?
12:01 AM Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that WRs DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) and Christian Kirk (ankle) are expected to play if there are no pre-game setbacks. For more on these injuries and what else you can expect from this Cardinals offense against the Panthers, keep reading below.
Cardinals RB and WR depth chart, who will make plays if Hopkins is out?
Kenyan Drake – RB
Look, I know it has been underwhelming having Kenyan Drake in your fantasy lineups, especially given the buzz that he generated ending 2019. Week 4 is when your patience gets rewarded with a top-five performance.
Averaging 4.1 yards per carry, he faces a Panthers rush defense that, in their last 19 games, has allowed 34 rushing touchdowns, including seven of them in their three games this year. They’ve also allowed 1.23 PPR points per opportunity, and Drake hasn’t had fewer than 18 chances in a game yet. Drake also sees the vast majority of plays, out snapping Chase Edmonds 67% to 34%. I am all in on Drake this week for fantasy.
Chase Edmonds – RB
Chase Edmonds has been more of a thorn in Drake managers’ side due to his passing game usage in the Cardinals’ offense. Catching eight of his 11 targets, Edmonds has a clear edge compared to Drake’s five looks. He has been relatively silent on the ground, rushing 12 times for 43 yards and is someone who is a bench stash at best. However, if Drake were to miss time, Edmonds becomes an intriguing week to week upside fantasy play.
DeAndre Hopkins – WR
Here is where things get murky for the Cardinals as DeAndre Hopkins’s status remains up in the air. Hopkins (ankle), a game-time decision, is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup with the Panthers, Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ official site reports. The official designation was a foregone conclusion once coach Kliff Kingsbury referred to his star wideout as a game-time call. Kingsbury’s statement didn’t precisely provide clarity, as he first said “if [Hopkins] can go, he’ll go,” but he then mentioned that it was still early in the season and the team wouldn’t want to put Hopkins on the field “if he isn’t feeling his best.”
Christian Kirk – WR
He missed last week with a groin injury and didn’t practice at all, so it seems unlikely they’ll play him this week, but pay attention to updates. You’re not going to be trusting Kirk in his first game back regardless, as he wasn’t doing much before this injury.
Larry Fitzgerald and Andy Isabella – WR
If possible, I am not trusting either person when it comes to fantasy. Fitzgerald hasn’t scored more than 15.4 PPR points in over a year, and Isabella has seen just seven targets on the season.
Cardinals TE and QB depth chart, Kyler Murray struggling as a passer
You wouldn’t usually say a quarterback is struggling after starting the season with QB5, QB5, and QB10 finishes. However, if not for his incredible athleticism, Kyler Murray would be a disappointment. His 187 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns lead the league at the quarterback position. However, he’s averaged just 7.0 yards per attempt while throwing four touchdowns and five interceptions.
If Hopkins is out for the game, Murray will have to get all of his work on the ground. He is not a surefire QB1 for me in Week 4.
Dan Arnold – TE
Dan Arnold only has six receptions this season and shouldn’t be rostered at this time. Even last week, when Kirk was out, Arnold saw only two targets. As a team, the Cardinals’ tight ends are only seeing 12.5% of the targets. Don’t get too cute and play Arnold this week.
Do the Cardinals have a deep enough depth chart if DeAndre Hopkins is inactive?
I think there is enough talent on the Cardinals offense to still come out with a win against a Panthers team missing Christian McCaffrey. However, for fantasy, we see fewer viable options.
Murray is a low-end QB1, and Drake is a top-five play at RB, but outside of them, I don’t see many other players to start this week. If you want to throw in Isabella, DFS will be the place to do it, not in a weekly format.
Ideally, Hopkins is active and starts, and all of this is a moot point. However, after not practicing all week, it makes me nervous.
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