2013 Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper Radar: Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton
The quarterback situation for the Arizona Cardinals was certainly a mess last season, with injuries and ineffectiveness leading to four guys making at least one start (Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer). The re-shuffling of the depth chart has started under new head coach Bruce Arians, as Kolb was released after an agreement could not be reached to restructure his contract and Drew Stanton was signed to a three-year deal.
It’s possible the Cardinals turn to April’s draft for a quarterback, but all indications are Arians is comfortable using Stanton as his starter in 2013. Stanton was Andrew Luck’s backup with the Indianapolis Colts last season, and Arians was the offensive coordinator there as well as interim head coach for the majority of the season. That familiarity with Arians’ offensive system automatically gives Stanton the advantage over Skelton, Lindley and Hoyer if any competition for the starting job takes place.
Should fantasy football owners have Stanton on their radar?
Stanton’s NFL body of work is not extensive, with just 13 games played and four starts on his resume. He spent his first four seasons with the Detroit Lions, starting three games during the 2010 season, and has totaled 187 pass attempts (104 completions) and 1,158 passing yards with five touchdowns and nine interceptions over five seasons.
Stanton has the arm strength and mobility to succeed as a pro, but he is not an accurate passer (55.6 career completion percentage) and is now too old (29 in May) to be considered a long-term solution at quarterback for any team. But at this point he looks like the best option Arizona has under center, which speaks more to the rest of the group than his own shortcomings or lack of experience.
The Cardinals have some talent in place at the skill positions, headlined of course by wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but the rest of the wide receiver group has potential. Andre Roberts had a solid season in (64 receptions, 759 yards and five touchdowns) and 2012 first-round pick Michael Floyd has start potential despite an up-and-down rookie season (45 catches, 562 yards, two touchdowns). Tight end Rob Housler showed his potential with 45 receptions last season, and new Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim has already mentioned him as a budding star.
Arizona will have some change in their backfield rotation, with Chris “Beanie” Wells being let go and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall being signed to replace him. Mendenhall is another player Arians is familiar with, as the two were together in Pittsburgh when Arians was offensive coordinator there. 2011 second-round pick Ryan Williams, who has played just five games over two seasons, should also be in the mix if he can stay healthy.
Stanton is not going to suddenly become a top tier fantasy quarterback next season, but there are pieces in place to set him up for success if Arians remains committed to starting him. It’s possible someone simply beats him out for the starting job in training camp or he does not hold the job for all 16 games, but for now Stanton is worth consideration as a low-end QB2 in deep leagues.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.