Update September 4: ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss expects Isabella to secure the WR4 spot behind Fitzgerald, Hopkins and Kirk. It appears like Johnson is set to make the roster over Butler, who had an underwhelming camp. Receivers behind Isabella won’t have much fantasy impact.
Update August 31: Butler and Johnson don’t seem to be making much progress, but Kingsbury says he wants to expand Isabella’s role. Even if Isabella has at least three more talented receivers in front of him, he’s too unique to not find a use for. Expect Kingsbury to get creative when it comes to incorporating Isabella into the offense.
In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.
The Arizona Cardinals made a major upgrade at wide receiver by trading David Johnson and draft capital to bring in DeAndre Hopkins. Having one of the best pass catchers in the NFL available should work wonders for Kyler Murray’s fantasy upside. Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk put up almost identical numbers last year and will likely battle it out for WR2 status. However, in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, four receivers are often on the field.
Hakeem Butler, KeeSean Johnson, and Andy Isabella are all in the mix to become Murray’s see meaningful snaps at wide receiver. None of them have done much in the NFL so far, but at least one of them could have a major role changes ahead.
Arizona’s lack of size on the outside hurt it last year in the red zone, but 6’5” Butler is massive and flourished as a deep threat at Iowa. He can really go up and get the ball and could add another element to the Cardinals’ receiving corp after putting up goose eggs in every statistical category as a rookie.
Johnson was inactive for a good chunk of the season but posted 21 receptions for 187 yards and a score in 2019. Isabella appeared in 19 games and tallied a mere nine receptions for 189 yards and a score.
Isabella should be the favorite to come out on top here. His blazing speed gives him tremendous potential, as he averaged 21 yards per reception last year. That figure will surely drop with more targets, but his dynamic athleticism could be on display a lot more in year two.