The Arizona Cardinals season has gone from bad to worse. Quarterback Kyler Murray suffered a torn ACL during Monday’ nights game against the New England Patriots. The non-contact injury was concerning, and further tests confirmed on Tuesday that the quarterback has torn at least his ACL and is done for the 2022 season. What is the fantasy football impact of the injury and how does it affect the Cardinals and head coach Kliff Kingsbury?
Fantasy Football Impact
We are in Week 15 of the NFL season, and for many leagues, this is the first week of fantasy football playoffs. While he hasn’t always been that consistent, Murray at leads is a dual-threat option that could give you extra points from his rushing upside. Through 14 weeks, Murray ranks as the overall QB13 for fantasy football. While he may not have been getting weekly starts, his upside will be missed.
Backup quarterback Colt McCoy figures to take over starting duties. Against the Patriots on Monday, McCoy finished 27 of 40 passing for 246 yards with an interception. The lack of Murray in the offense will also impact the supporting cast of the Cardinals, including running back James Conner and wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore.
If McCoy can generate some early offense in games, Conner shouldn't see a downgrade. Even on Monday, he finished with 15 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown, along with six receptions for 29 more yards. Hopkins led the team in targets with 11 and brought in seven of them for 79 yards, while Brown saw eight targets but only caught four for 34 yards. The only downgrade would be that tertiary receiver, so Moore and Robbie Anderson likely have no value the rest of the way.
Arizona Cardinals Impact
The Cardinals have yet to be eliminated from playoff contention, but that isn’t far off. They take a 4-9 record into Week 15 and a game against the Denver Broncos. The deck is stacked against the Cards as they need to basically win out while having the Washington Commanders, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons to all have very specific game outcomes.
Outside of this season, the Cardinals did just sign Murray to a massive extension. He is due to have a $16 million cap hit in 2023, but that will jump to 51, 45, 55, 43 and 46 million in the coming years. Depending on the severity of the injury, Murray’s recovery timeline could be anywhere from October to the end of December. With Murray’s reliance on his legs, it could take him longer to get fully comfortable and back to 100%. McCoy is under contract for another season, so if he proves serviceable, he could retain the role to start the 23 season until Murray is healthy.
Kliff Kingsbury Impact
Kingsbury is under contract through the 2027 season, but that doesn’t mean he will be the head coach for that long. Prior to the extension, there was speculation that Kingsbury could be headed back to college coaching. When teams struggle during the season and fall short of expectations, the head coach is generally one of the first positions to go. Arizona made the postseason last year but were knocked out in the Wild card round by the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams. The loss particularly stung because of the Rams being divisional opponents that the Cardinals had seen twice during the regular season.
While this injury doesn’t automatically mean Kingsbury will be fired, it puts the team in a tough position the rest of the way. With games against the Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers remaining, a 4-13 season wouldn't bode well for Kingsbury’s chances of being retained.