The struggles of Carson Palmer at the end of the 2015 NFL season overshadowed his strong performances throughout the majority of the year.
In a brutal playoff game against the Carolina Panthers, Palmer threw four interceptions, completing just 23 of his 40 passing attempts. After a 13-win season, that meltdown was especially disappointing.
But because he started off so strong, Fantasy players are especially curious as to whether or not they should draft Carson Palmer in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues.
Let’s take a look…
2015 Fantasy Football Review: Carson Palmer
Last season, Palmer posted the best stats of his career in terms of passing yards and touchdowns.
- Carson Palmer 2015 Stats: 4,671 passing yards
- Carson Palmer 2015 Stats: 35 touchdown passes
As I previously mentioned, Palmer started off the year strong. Before Week 15, Palmer averaged 307 passing yards and 2.3 touchdown passes per game. He had six games with three or more touchdown passes from Weeks 1-11.
But over his final three games of the regular season, Palmer started to regress. He averaged just 222 passing yards per game and threw four touchdown passes. He also threw two interceptions from Weeks 15-17.
Palmer’s performances against the Seattle Seahawks was particularly telling as to how he can perform when healthy. In Week 10, the 36-year old quarterback torched the Seahawks’ defense. He completed 29 out of 48 passes, recorded 363 passing yards, and finished the day with three touchdown passes.
Week 17, though, was a completely different story.
The veteran quarterback couldn’t get anything going on offense. He only completed 12 passes for 129 passing yards, and threw one touchdown and one pick.
Some Fantasy players may still feel the hangover of Palmer’s final performances, which will drive down his price in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues. But if you look at the bigger picture, Palmer was one of the best quarterbacks to own.
He only finished with 22 fewer Fantasy points than Russell Wilson, who finished as the third-highest scoring quarterback in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues. If Palmer had been healthy at the end of the year, he could have cracked the top three.
Carson Palmer 2016 Fantasy Football Weapons
Palmer has some of the best weapons in the NFL around him.
This could be Larry Fitzgerald’s final season, but the 32-year old receiver showed he could still be productive in 2015. He was a beast in PPR leagues, hauling in 109 passes for 1,215 receiving yards. Outside of Fitzgerald, Palmer should have a healthy Michael Floyd to start the season. Floyd got a slow start after dislocating three of his fingers in training camp, but he really turned it on after Week 7.
From Weeks 8-17, Floyd had five, 100-receiving yard performances. He’s currently available at the end of Round 5, which makes him a huge steal.
While it was a little difficult to start him on a weekly basis, John Brown took a big step forward in his second year with the Cardinals. After hauling in 48 receptions and totaling 696 receiving yards in 2014, the 26-year old receiver finished 2015 with 65 receptions and 1,003 yards. He’s currently being drafted at the end of Round 7, which I especially love for MFL 10 leagues.
Even as a WR 3, this speedster should be on your radar if he’s available in Round 7 in August.
Outside of his main receivers, Palmer is especially lucky to have some of the best pass-catching backs in the league on the roster. Behind David Johnson, the Cardinals are stacked with Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington. Those three backs last season combined for 663 receiving yards.
Carson Palmer: 2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
The biggest concern behind drafting Palmer is his age. He’s going to be 37 near the end of the season, which is where he let Fantasy players down in 2015.
The offensive line ranked 17th in 2015, which was a big step forward from the 24th-place ranking this unit received in 2014. The offensive line did a solid job of keeping Palmer upright in 2015, as he tied with Brian Hoyer and Blaine Gabbert as the 22nd-most sacked quarterback. The Cardinals added Evan Boehm (C) and Cole Toner (OT) in the 2016 NFL Draft to help sure up the offensive line.
For 2016 Fantasy Football leagues, you have to make sure to find a backup for Palmer. Whether he gets hurt early or starts slowing down towards the end of the year, you can’t just hope he will make it through a 16-game season unscathed.
But since Palmer is currently a seventh-round pick, you aren’t taking a huge risk. Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins are all available several rounds behind Palmer. All would be suitable backups behind Palmer.
For his price, Palmer is a good deal as long as you get an insurance policy to protect yourself late in the season.