Week 3 of no fantasy football and I feel barren. No sweet waiver moves to make or trades to fill out your team, nothing. Good thing daily fantasy is a thing because going cold turkey to normal football would be rough.
Anyways, in the last LAFB Network coach background, we covered Freddie Kitchens and the Browns. This time around we have Kliff Kingsbury from the Arizona Cardinals. Many of you remember Kingsbury and the Cardinals because they are one of the Rams division rivals.
But you may also remember the commotion that Kingsbury brewed at the beginning of the season. Kliff wasn’t exactly the most winning Head Coach (HC) when he left Texas Tech so his signing to the Arizona Cardinals was a bit head-scratching.
Then an interview surfaced from before he had become HC for the Cardinals that he thought Kyler Murray should be considered the Number 1 draft pick in the upcoming year. Low and behold Kingsbury becomes the Cardinals HC who just so happens to have the first pick in the upcoming draft.
Kliff Kingsbury At The Helm Of The Arizona Cardinals
Like the previous coach article; I will go from Kingsbury’s best position to worst. Unlike Freddie Kitchens, Kliff Kingsbury improved the value of each position this season.
Receiving Game – Wide Receivers
Rec. Yards – 1,806
Targets – 279
Completions – 158
Rec. TD – 11
Rec. Yards – 2,593
Targets – 369
Completions – 238
Rec. TD – 11
This year the Arizona Cardinals weren’t exactly lighting up the highlight reels on ESPN but what they did do was raise some eyebrows. If you tally all the points from this season and the last, you would find that last season the Cardinals WRs scored 404 fantasy points. This season they reached 563.
What does it mean? Well, last season Josh Rosen was running the backfield and we all know how that turned out. Not to mention, last season Christian Kirk wasn’t a household name for fantasy goers. This season we saw both of those things change.
Kyler Murray is under center and Christian Kirk had only one less target than Larry Fitzgerald. Not only was Kirk right behind Fitzgerald in targets but after the season ended and the final stats were laid to rest; Kirk finished with 709 receiving yards while Larry hauled in 804.
This might lead you to conclude that Fitzgerald should have been the WR to have on your roster but Kirk has a special category of abilities that Fitzgerald hasn’t tapped into. Christian Kirk not only caught balls but he had 10 rushing attempts this season for 93 yards. This ultimately totaled Kirk at 802 scrimmage yards and proved that both WRs were fairly equal in value.
Naturally, if the best position that came out of the Arizona Cardinals 2019-2020 season was the WR, then the QB is to follow.
Pass Yds – 2,884
Completions – 283
Attempts – 495
Pass TDs – 15
Interceptions – 18
Rush Yds – 145
Rush TDs – 0
Pass Yds – 3,797
Completions – 349
Attempts – 542
Pass TDs – 20
Interceptions – 12
Rush Yds – 544
Rush TDs – 4
So because I know all you readers are fluent in LAFB Network articles you noticed that this analysis includes Rushing Yards and TDs for the QB position, while the other did not. The simple explanation would be that Kyler Murray knew how to scramble and Josh Rosen just got caught in the pocket too much.
However, I don’t believe that to be the case. Sure Kyler had to scramble but I also think the Cardinals ran QB sneaks or rushing plays for Kyler specifically. Josh Rosen had rushing numbers identical to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning for the season, whereas Kyler actually has scoring plays and many attempts.
Sounds weird using Brady or Manning’s name in the same sentence as Josh Rosen? Yeah, I thought so too. Kyler Murray was no Brady or Manning this season either but his stats this season compared to those of last are off the charts. Nearly 1,000 more passing yards, five TDs, and six interceptions shows how much of an improvement Murray was from Rosen.
If that’s not enough to persuade you that Murray and Kingsbury hit it off, maybe Murray’s completion percentage will. Last season Rosen finished with a 55.2% completion rate. This season the pair of Murray and Kingsbury finished with a completion rate of 64.4% a stout 9.2% increase.
Rush Yds – 1,194
Attempts – 332
Rush TDs – 9
Targets – 109
Completions – 79
Rec. Yds – 603
Rec. TDs – 3
Rush Yds – 1,396
Attempts – 293
Rush TDs – 14
Targets – 104
Completions – 77
Rec. Yds – 659
Rec. TDs – 5
Sometimes I think I should highlight these stats in different colors like in a notebook so it would be easier to follow along. Unfortunately, yah boi is not literate in computer language so I cannot write the script for the website to do the colorful things. Although what I can do is point out the swell stats that the rushing game produced this year.
Like the Browns, Kingsbury’s Cardinals managed to gain more rushing yards in less attempt this season when compared to the last. Last season, the Cardinals averaged 3.6 yards a rush. This season that average jumped to 4.8 yards a rush. And this is only considering the RBs, none of Murray’s yardage.
Normally this would be a good quality but when it is considering the fact that the Cardinals had three different starting RBs; that’s pretty fantastic. The season started with David Johnson, then switched to Chase Edmonds when DJ was injured, then went to Kenyan Drake after a trade with the Miami Dolphins.
In nine starts David Johnson finished with 345 rushing yards and two TDs. Edmunds started two games for 303 rushing yards and four TDs. And Drake finished Arizona’s season with eight starts for 643 yards and eight TDs.
*Note these numbers are focusing exclusively on the rushing game and not any running back receiving stats.
There are some WR rushing attempts sprinkled in there but that’s been covered earlier in the piece. The primary RB at the time definitely gets his share of the pie when he is on the field. Even though DJ had a couple rushing scores, he still hauled in four receiving TDs. Edmunds had four rushing TDs and a receiving TD. Without a doubt Kliff Kingsbury brought the rushing game and RB position to a new level in Arizona.
Passing Game – Tight End
Rec. Yds – 475
Targets – 84
Completions – 46
Rec. TD – 1
Rec. Yds – 545
Targets – 56
Completions – 40
Rec. TDs – 4
Kingsbury concluded the fantasy relevance of his offense with the TE position being the worst of his positional players. The main thing that stuck out to me was the target count.
In one season the targets for TEs dropped by 28 targets.
This led me to revert back to the QB comparison between Rosen and Murray. I’m thinking that Rosen had so many TE targets because of the conservative play that he embodied as a new QB in the league. Murray, on the other hand, came in a rookie but slung the ball around as if he were still in his red Sooners jersey.
The other thing that popped out was the completions and how dynamic they were. The Cardinals were averaging a fat 10.3 yards per reception to the TE last season but this season it jumped to 13.6 yards. The jump has me thinking that the TE specific plays were a reoccurring theme this season, while last season they might have been Rosen’s safety net.
Should Kliff Kingsbury keep his Head Coaching gig? MOST DEFINITELY! I am no more than a simple man who gathers numbers but I would have to assume that if you are a new HC and manage to improve all your positional players’ stats, you should remain in your position. There might be a little dynamic duo action going on in Arizona but for fantasy purposes; that’s wonderful. The more NFL teams involved in the season, the more players we have to pick from to gather points for our teams.