Most Underrated Player: Arizona Cardinals
Updated: Jul 21
Published by Michael Garrity
The Cardinals offense upgraded drastically in the offseason, as they sent former RB David Johnson, and two future draft picks to the Texans in exchange for the best Wideout in football. That man is DeAndre Hopkins. With another addition of Kenyan Drake, and Kyler Murray entering his sophomore season healthy, the Cardinals offense has as many weapons as any other offense in the NFL. With the noticeable superstars of Murray, Drake, and Hopkins, there is someone else on the offense that can make an impact as well. The player I’m talking about is Christian Kirk.
Kirk entered the league as a second round pick with high expectations, as he was a solid player at Texas A&M. Kirk’s freshman year was cut short in Week 13 as he suffered a broken foot. His season was still solid, as he posted 43 receptions for 590 yards and three touchdowns in just seven starts. He earned PFWA All-Rookie team honors in 2018. He put up six double-digit fantasy point performances in that 13 game span. In his sophomore season, he improved drastically as he acquired 40 more targets than his rookie season. That led to an increase in stats, in which he improved to 68 receptions for 709 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. He paired that with eight double-digit fantasy point performances, two more than last year. His drop rate even went down, he went from 5.9% to 3.7% with more targets.
He finished the season with 100.2 fantasy points, which put him at WR46 on the year. All mediocre numbers. Signing Hopkins will definitely hurt Kirk’s chances of improving his stats. With Hopkins reaching 7+ targets in each game last year, Kirk will struggle to find the ball. One thing that does help him out is his SN%, which never went below 86. This means Kirk was on the field for more than 86% of offensive snaps every game he played last year. With Kirk being the WR2 for Arizona, I doubt that number will drop any lower.
Although Hopkins does pose a serious threat to Kirk’s numbers this year, the Cardinals have a recent history of not making productive fantasy wide receivers. Only ONE wideout has finished in the Top-10 since 2015. Some could say this situation is similar to Odell Beckham’s in Cleveland: he enters as a phenomenal fantasy talent, yet hasn’t produced Top-5 numbers.
Kirk’s ADP is currently in the mid-8th round, which is good value for a WR2 on a team. At this point in your draft, you should be looking for solid bench players that could be weekly streams depending on matchups. Kirk’s SOS is favorable for 2020, as it ranks 14th easiest among WR’s in the NFL. Provided Kirk stays healthy, I would expect a slight uptick in everything across the board this season.