Hollywood Brown

The New-Look Cardinals Receiving Corps

With the recent departure of DeAndre Hopkins, the Arizona Cardinals are looking toward a rebuild. What they do over the next 12 months will be pivotal for the team’s future in competing for the divisional crown in the NFC West and returning to the playoffs. With the 49ers and Seahawks set up very well for both the immediate and long-term future, it is imperative that the Cardinals get this transition correct. In this article, I assess this transition period’s impact on the viable fantasy options within the Cardinals’ offense. 

The Depth Chart

Kyler Murray** James Conner Marquise Brown Zach Ertz**
Colt McCoy Keaontay Ingram Rondale Moore Trey McBride
Clayton Tune Corey Clement Greg Dortch Noah Togiai
David Blough Ty’Son Williams Michael Wilson Chris Pierce Jr.
Zach Pascal
Andre Baccellia
Auden Tate
Javon Wims


2023 Projections

To begin, let’s analyze what Hopkins leaves behind. He appeared in nine games during the 2022 season, amassing 64 catches on 96 targets for 717 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged just below a 30% target share in these appearances, which leaves a rather large portion of unclaimed offensive production for the remaining receiving options on the roster. 

Unfortunately, projecting the 2023 volume for the above players isn’t as easy as just spreading Hopkins’ 96 targets around, as Colt McCoy is anticipated to assume the QB1 role for the team until Kyler Murray is finished rehabbing his injury suffered at the end of last season. In the four games McCoy appeared in last season, the Cardinals’ offense only surpassed 15 points once, versus a tanking Rams team led by John Wolford. Despite the offense’s apparent success in this game, McCoy averaged a mere 2.16 seconds in the pocket and a 6.4 aDOT. His time in the pocket was the worst in any game for a Cardinals QB last season, and the 6.4 aDOT was the third worst mark for any QB in the NFL last season. If Colt McCoy is the starter to begin the season, we should expect minimal downfield plays and a ton of check-downs. 

The good news for fantasy players is that McCoy should be throwing many passes in each game, as the game script should dictate that style of play. In his four appearances last season, he averaged 33 pass attempts and a 68.8% completion percentage (or 23 completions/game). In PPR leagues, this should salvage some fantasy value for the Cardinals’ pass catchers, especially if McCoy locks onto one receiver over the others. We shouldn’t expect much in terms of touchdown production, however, as McCoy only threw one in the four games, and the offense as a whole should see a marked regression in scoring until Kyler returns.

There is also one additional piece of the puzzle for projecting the 2023 season. I am not so certain that the Cardinals will be excited to rush Kyler Murray back from a major injury if their season starts as poorly as most are anticipating. The Cardinals could realistically find themselves in the Caleb Williams sweepstakes with a 1-8 start, which puts them in an interesting position of power. Whether they want to draft Caleb Williams or not, it will be vital that Kyler Murray is fully healthy entering next offseason. This would make him a much more enticing trade piece for quarterback-needy teams around the NFL, and the return could expedite their aforementioned rebuild. 

So where does this leave us for the receiving options throughout next season? As the depth chart currently stands, the primary targets on a per-game basis will likely include the following: James Conner, Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, and Trey McBride. In addition, Zach Ertz should return at some point this season, and the rookie Michael Wilson will have a chance to break into the rotation.

James Conner 

James Conner should be the beneficiary of a more conservative offense next season. He averaged five targets per game playing with Colt McCoy. He should also continue to thrive in goal-line scenarios, vulturing touchdowns from the passing attack since there isn’t a great red zone threat amongst the receiving corps. That said, I expect him to have fewer touchdown opportunities than in prior seasons since this offense will be exceptionally bad. An aging running back on a bad offense is not someone that I want on my dynasty team, so if Conner has any surge in value early in the season, I will be actively shopping him for any potential buyers. At best, I am projecting Conner to have around 65 yards/game on the ground and add three catches for 20 yards. Fantasy managers will be praying for him to fall into the end zone every week, which is not a game I like to play.

Marquise Brown

Marquise Brown is a player that I have been notably higher on than most this offseason. It was always expected that Hopkins would play elsewhere in 2023, and I believe this works in his favor. In eight games without Hopkins last season, Brown had 4+ receptions in 7/8 games, 6+ targets in 7/8 games, 9+ targets in 6/8 games, and 10+ targets in 4/8 games. He received eight targets in the two games that he appeared with McCoy playing QB. Brown is the only receiving option in Arizona that I feel “safe” drafting. He should see a steady volume each game, and should Kyler Murray return earlier than expected, I anticipate he would pepper his once-college teammate with targets. As mentioned, the concern for Brown is the expectation that the offense will have extreme difficulty finding the end zone this season. Volume is king in PPR leagues, however, so if I can buy Brown for cheap with the potential of 12+ ppg as a pretty realistic outcome, I am taking advantage of the opportunity. 

Rondale Moore

Rondale Moore is a true Swiss army knife type of player, which leaves his fantasy value extremely volatile. He played in three games with Marquise Brown last season, all of which saw Kyler as the starting QB. Moore saw 5, 8, and 10 targets in those three games but failed to find the end zone in all three games. He made only one appearance with Colt McCoy starting (this without Marquise Brown) and amassed 13 targets for 94 yards. The question is whether we can rely on this volume each game in the upcoming season. While I do not feel as confident in Moore’s consistency compared to Marquise Brown, as mentioned above, volume is king. He will need to rely on a hefty target share for any fantasy manager to trust him in their lineup this season, as he struggled to find the end zone even before the loss of Kyler and Hopkins. Perhaps his best path to high fantasy production is one that sees Brown battle injury yet again this season. 

The above three players should see ~24 targets/game by my projections, and using the previous McCoy statistics (33 attempts/game), nine targets are left for the remaining receiving options. These players include Greg Dortch, Trey McBride, Zach Ertz, and a rotation of Zach Pascal, Michael Wilson, and the remaining running backs. From a fantasy perspective, there simply won’t be enough volume to go around in such a poor offense to expect anything from these options. However, if I am in a rebuilding scenario, McBride would be an interesting target with the expectation of either Caleb Williams or a healthy Kyler Murray in 2024 and Ertz potentially moving on from Arizona. 

Michael Wilson

Despite the lack of volume for the remaining receiving options, I would like to take the opportunity to outline one of the late-round favorites in rookie drafts for many fantasy managers — Michael Wilson. At 6’2” and 213 lbs., Wilson checks the box from a height and weight standpoint. He needs to refine some of his route running to truly excel in the NFL, but he runs with a good tempo and moves well in and out of his breaks. Unfortunately, Wilson never really showed us a full season of solid production during his time at Stanford. His best season was in 2019 when he hauled in 56 catches for 672 yards and five touchdowns. After that, he only appeared in 14 games over his final three seasons. 

Wilson is a player many believe was held down by poor offensive scheme and quarterback play at the college level. Stanford attempted to use him all over the field, including wide receiver screens, quick-outs, and crossers, to get the ball in his hands and showcase his ability after the catch. This suggests at least a potential to develop into a viable PPR fantasy player. We can only use the information that we have, however, and fellow DFF writer Chris Miles outlined some of the analytics behind Wilson in one of his recent tweets. He evaluated draft classes since 2014 and found that Wilson is among a group of rookie wide receivers with Round 3 draft capital, non-early declare status, and whose best season Y/TPA (yards per total pass attempt) is < 2.9. Collectively, these players have averaged 3.69 ppg as rookies, 6.53 ppg in year two, and 3.43 ppg in year three. Though these numbers are far from hopeful, if there were ever an offense that this narrative could change, it just might be the 2023 Arizona Cardinals.


As a whole, this offense might be one that I collectively avoid in the upcoming season, regardless of league type. There are many moving parts, and you would need quite a few things to break the right way to have a fantasy-relevant player on your roster. But if I’m pulling the trigger on someone from the offense now that Hopkins is gone, give me Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, with the potential to be an absolute target hog and prolific PPR player. 

Thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts or questions and would like to discuss them, you can reach out to me on Twitter @Evan_Kerr_. #DFFArmy #AlwaysBeBuilding

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