Arizona wide receiver Marquise Brown deserves a second look from fantasy football managers as we enter the 2023 NFL season. Many analysts and hobbyists alike are fading the Arizona Cardinals as a whole. While it’s clear this upcoming season will be rough for the team, we shouldn’t be so quick to write off everyone. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown to at least make an informed decision on his fantasy value.
As an Arizona native, I feel obligated to support the Cardinals through both good times and bad. This season will be a difficult one, but hang in there, Bird Gang! The best-case scenario for the team would be a sooner rather than later-return for quarterback Kyler Murray. Unfortunately, in all likelihood, the team won’t rush their investment back onto the field, which means we’ll probably see him in the second half of the season. So what does that mean for the production of the Cardinals offense and, more specifically, Marquise Brown?
Marquise Brown 2023 Fantasy Football Outlook
To prepare for this article, I caught up with my friend and Cardinals beat reporter, Donnie Druin. He recently wrote a piece about the Cardinals having the most expensive wide receiver room in the NFL. Apparently, 23.3% of the salary cap, or $53.4 million, is allocated to the salaries of wide receivers on the Cardinals roster. That’s hard to wrap your head around for a team that’s not likely to be competitive this season! The salary of Marquise Brown takes up nearly 6% of that with $13.4 million, second only to DeAndre Hopkins. But with Friday’s breaking news… there’s about to be more free cap space!
Here’s what nobody is really talking about when it comes to Hollywood Brown… He’s a free agent next year. So what does that mean for his production this year? Not much, really. The Cardinals will likely try to extend his contract. Last season was his breakout year, although the bulk of it occurred in the first six weeks of the season with Hopkins out. Then he injured his foot. Pre-injury, he was averaging 10.6 targets per game and 18.3 ppg. He was barely notable post-injury, but we got to see how explosive he and Kyler Murray are together.
Despite being less productive following his injury and Murray being out for the first half of the season, fantasy football managers should take the chance on him. While the Cardinals won’t likely be a winning team this season, individual players like Brown will still see valuable action. And maybe even more action than before. With Friday’s news of the Cardinals releasing Hopkins, that only really leaves Marquise Brown as the WR1. Rondale Moore is the slot option but has had trouble staying healthy and Greg Dortch is well… Greg Dortch.
If you were ever on the fence about picking up Marquise Brown for your fantasy roster, now is the time to climb down. He’s the easy option for targets and really won’t have any competition for target share on that deep outside route. You’ll get plenty of yards and hopefully plenty of TD opportunities as well. Remember, you don’t need the entire team to be performing, just your guy!
A Look Inside the Arizona Cardinals
Editor’s Note: We don’t want to leave you hanging on the rest of the team. While Kelly focused on Marquise Brown in fantasy football, here is a quick look at the other fantasy-relevant Cardinals by Ryan Weisse.
Murray will likely miss time this year, and there is still no definitive timetable for how many games. If it’s three of four, he’s worth a late-round flyer as your backup QB. If it’s eight or more, there is a good chance that Arizona is so bad they don’t bring him back in 2023 at all. So leave him for another manager to waste a pick.
Conner has been a fantasy star since joining Arizona. He handles almost all of the work and scores TDs. What more can you ask for? To make matters better, everybody seems to doubt him. His draft cost is never that high. He is basically the perfect RB2 that you can land with an RB3 price tag.
There was hope that Ingram would take a more significant role in the offense after the Cardinals jettisoned Eno Benjamin. Instead, he touched the ball just 31 times as a rookie and appears to be an afterthought. However, he is a good pass catcher, and James Conner has an injury history. So you’re not drafting Ingram, but don’t be surprised if he pops up on a waiver priority list in 2023.
Rondale Moore might be the WR most affected by the Murray injury. They will lean on Brown and Hopkins if there is a backup QB. Last year, Moore only played eight games but averaged seven targets per game. He is an ideal slot WR but has only scored two touchdowns in his career. Unless Hopkins is traded, Moore is hard to trust in 2023 and impossible to draft with the team’s current state.
Much like Hopkins, Ertz was good in 2022 but missed time. He’s also entering his age-33 season and seems out of place on a rebuilding team. With last year’s rookie TE1, Trey McBride, nipping at his heels, we’re either going to see a split or Ertz moving on to a contending team. If he’s in Arizona, he’s too risky to draft. However, he could still have some value if he ends up on a tight-end-needy team.
McBride’s value hinges on what happens with Ertz. The Cardinals’ new OC comes from Cleveland, so using two tight ends is very much a possibility, but it would cap the upside of both. McBride didn’t do anything special in limited playing time last year, but life is hard for rookie tight ends. We can expect growth in Year 2, but how much depends on his role. If Ertz is gone, and McBride is the TE1, he is worth a late-round flyer.
We will be covering every team this offseason. So check back here often for all of our A Look Inside articles.