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Eyes of the Guru Preseason, Part 2: NFC West

An overview of defenses in the NFC West with an emphasis on individual defensive players and their fantasy value.

Arizona Cardinals

Defensive Linemen

With the loss of Calais Campbell to free agency the Cardinals defensive line will no longer scare anyone. Robert Nkemdiche is the player the organization hopes will step up in place of Campbell, but so far he has presented more questions than answers. Nkemdiche was the team's first round pick last year so he carries a lot of expectation. After turning heads at times over the summer of his rookie year, his work ethic was called into question by Bruce Arians. Nkemdiche then missed most of the season recovering from ankle and elbow injuries. When he did get on the field (73 snaps) there was little impact. Teammate Frostee Rucker said Nkemdiche has changed for the better and has been working hard since the end of last season, including extra technique and conditioning work after team activities in May. In fact all reports from this offseason had been encouraging right up to June 6th when he pulled a hamstring and was not able to finish minicamp. Nkemdiche has the physical gifts to be both a successful player in Arizona's scheme and a quality fantasy option. Between the constant injury issues and lackluster production of 41 solo tackles and 6 sacks in 29 games for Ole Miss, I am not able to help being a little pessimistic about him. I might consider using a late/last round pick on Nkemdiche based on upside.


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