Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers, 8:25 PM
Location: Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA
Weather Forecast: Clear
Gametime Temperature: 60°F
Probability of Precipitation: 0%
Wind Impact: LIGHT – NW at 3 MPH
QB Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer struggled against the Rams on Sunday, throwing for 288 yards, a touchdown and a pick before being knocked out of the game with a concussion. Palmer has struggled this season with turnovers, and the Cardinals are a disappointing 1-3 to start the year. Palmer was supposed to be a steady producer, but has thrown only six touchdowns compared to five interceptions so far.
If he’s cleared for Thursday night’s game against the 49ers, he should be worth starting. The 49ers just lost their best defensive player – LB Navorro Bowman – for the season and have allowed eight touchdown passes to opposing teams this year, including two to rookie Dak Prescott this past Sunday. Watch the injury status though, because if he doesn’t clear concussion protocol, he won’t play. Be ready for a last minute lineup change.
It was announced Palmer will not play Thursday night. Be sure to get him out of your lineups.
QB Drew Stanton
Drew Stanton didn’t do so well filling in for Carson Palmer on Sunday after Palmer left with a concussion. He completed only four of 11 attempts for 37 yards and a pair of interceptions as the Cardinals lost to the division rival Rams. Stanton will be the player who benefits from Palmer missing Thursday night’s matchup against the 49ers, but fantasy owners should shy away from the veteran backup. Even though the 49ers are below-average against the pass this season, it’s hard to get excited about a backup QB on a Thursday night. If you have another option, it might be better to look elsewhere.
RB David Johnson
David Johnson didn’t find the end zone on Sunday, but he got a full workload with 17 carries and four receptions for a total of 124 yards from scrimmage. He leads all running backs with 210 receiving yards so far this season and has been every bit as explosive as advertised. He’s been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing first quarter of the season for the Cardinals.
This week should be another excellent game for Johnson. The 49ers have allowed more rushing yards than any other team in the league this year and gave up 138 yards at 6.0 yards per carry to Ezekiel Elliott last week. Johnson should get another full workload on Thursday night, and he should be active as an elite RB1 in all league formats.
RB Andre Ellington
Andre Ellington only had two touches for four total yards on Sunday against the Rams, but with Chris Johnson injured and placed on IR this week, he could be in line for an increased workload. Ellington has shown explosiveness and versatility in the past and could be used as a change-of-pace back moving forward. He also becomes the primary handcuff to David Johnson. He’s unlikely to get a ton of looks on Thursday night (and should likely be left out of your starting lineup), but he’s worth watching in case the Cardinals decide to increase his role — especially in PPR leagues since he caught 46 passes two seasons ago.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
Larry Fitzgerald had only 62 yards on Sunday against the Rams, but he was targeted seven times and caught five passes. After starting the season on fire, Fitz has cooled off a bit over the last two weeks, failing to find the end zone since Week 2 against the Bucs. Still, he’s a big part of the Cardinals passing game and should be good as a steady option in most leagues.
This week, Fitzgerald has a nice matchup against the 49ers, who have allowed eight touchdown passes so far this season. However, with Carson Palmer possibly out with a concussion for Thursday night’s game, Fitzgerald should be knocked down a bit. He’s still worth starting, but if Palmer misses the game, he’s more of a WR3 option than a solid WR2.
With Palmer out Thursday night, Fitzgerald is a borderline WR2/WR3 option, even in a good matchup. Fitzgerald should still get targets, but he’s not likely to put up big numbers with Drew Stanton behind center.
WR Michael Floyd
Michael Floyd was hobbled a bit last week and only caught three of the seven balls thrown his way for 36 yards. He did score the team’s only touchdown, however, and remains a solid WR2/WR3 option in most leagues. The Cardinals threw the ball 47 times last week, and if Floyd is healthy, he should see a nice share of those passes every game.
This week is a nice matchup for Floyd, going up against a below-average 49ers pass defense that lost their best player in LB Navorro Bowman to what looks to be a season-ending injury. Floyd should be a borderline WR2/WR3 option in most leagues if Carson Palmer starts, but he could be a low-end WR3 (at best) if Palmer doesn’t pass the concussion protocol he’s in and misses the game. Be ready for a last minute lineup change.
Palmer is out Thursday night, and Floyd is far less likely to put up big numbers with Drew Stanton behind center. Fantasy owners should consider Floyd a low-end WR3 at best, with risk.
WR John Brown
After not doing much in the first two games of the season, John Brown has had double-digit targets the past two weeks. He finished last week’s loss to the Rams with 10 catches on 16 targets for 144 yards. Brown is a talented playmaker who should be a solid WR3 option in most weeks, as he sees the field for over 50 percent of the offensive snaps in most games.
This week, Brown faces a 49ers defense that has allowed eight touchdown passes so far this season and should be a reasonable matchup for the Cardinals offense. However, QB Carson Palmer is in the concussion protocol. If Palmer starts, then Brown can be in your lineup. If Palmer is out, be ready for a last minute lineup change, because Brown becomes a risky WR3 option in most leagues with Drew Stanton at the helm.
With Palmer out Thursday night, Brown still has potential for targets, but he’s a much riskier option and should be considered a low-end WR3 option in most leagues.
San Francisco 49ers
QB Blaine Gabbert
Gabbert threw for 196 yards, one touchdown and one interception last week against Dallas in what has become a pretty typical stat line for him. He also scrambled for another 27 yards but he’s not going to get a lot done in that respect. Last week was Gabbert’s third game under 200 yards passing this season. That’s unlikely to change much this week against Arizona, which has allowed just four TD passes in four games. Gabbert did have 318 yards and a TD in the last meeting between these two teams, though it only added up to 13 points for the 49ers. You can do better.
RB Carlos Hyde
Hyde had 15 carries for 74 yards and a score last week against Dallas, but added just one catch for 5 yards. His 16 touches in that game were his second fewest of the season but he now leads the NFC with five rushing touchdowns. Arizona has allowed three rushing TDs by opposing running backs this season, so there’s some hope here. Play Hyde as a No. 2 back and hope he gets 20-25 touches.
WR Torrey Smith
Smith had just one catch for three yards last week against Dallas and has nine for the season. No thanks.
WR Jeremy Kerley
Kerley had six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown to serve as San Francisco’s top offensive threat last week at Dallas. He’s now had two productive games and two that were pretty much nothing. That’s what you’re going to get from this San Francisco passing game. Kerley also is dealing with an ankle injury that had him very limited at practice this week. Make sure you check his status before playing him, but don’t expect anything more than a flex play here.
WR Quinton Patton
Since catching five passes for 60 yards in Week 1, Patton has five catches for 46 yards in three games since, including one for 13 last week. No thanks.
TE Garrett Celek
Celek had five catches for 79 yards last week in something of a career day. But Arizona hasn’t allowed more than five TE catches or 52 yards in a game this season. Vance McDonald also could return this week, which would further limit Celek’s effectiveness. Take a pass on him.
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