Leinart, Warner battle in Arizona

A recent report out of Arizona suggested that while Matt Leinart remains atop the Cardinals’ depth chart, Kurt Warner is very much in the mix. If you’re a fantasy football enthusiast, you’re pulling for the latter.

Leinart struggled at the start of last season before an injured collarbone landed him on the sidelines. Enter Warner, who would finish with 3,417 passing yards and 28 total touchdowns in his absence.

Matt Leinart, QB
Arizona Cardinals

2007 Statistics
Comp: 60
Att: 112
Yards: 647
TD/INT: 2/4

The veteran was one of the better waiver-wire additions in fantasy land and led countless owners to a league championship. Furthermore, he’d be a Top-10 fantasy quarterback headed into this season if not for the presence of Leinart.

While head coach Ken Whisenhunt told the Arizona Republic that Leinart has made “major strides” in the offseason, it’s still hard not to think about last season’s failures (not to mention pictures of him in a hot tub with college co-eds).

But because a move to Warner could be seen as a setback to the Cardinals’ franchise, the Southern California product is still seen as the favorite to open this season as the starter and remains a better option in fantasy drafts. That perception will have a trickle-down effect on the team’s talented duo of wide receivers, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.

While both remain prominent options in fantasy land, Fitzgerald and Boldin would have more value with Warner under center. It should also be noted that in the three starts Leinart, Boldin and Fitzgerald were all active last season, Leinart seemed to favor Boldin in the pass attack. The Florida State product recorded 22 receptions, 286 yards and three touchdowns, while Fitzgerald had 15 receptions, 192 yards and no touchdowns.

As it stands, Leinart should be seen as no more than a middle- to late-round flier in seasonal formats. The potential for statistical success is evident, but Leinart has much to prove before he earns a prominent role in fantasy circles. Should he falter and lose the top spot, I’d look for Warner to rank right up there with Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Derek Anderson and Matt Hasselbeck at the quarterback position.

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