Fantasy football player rankings adjusted at the time: Ernie Nevers and Larry Fitzgerald fly high for Arizona Cardinals

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the creation of fantasy football, Athleticism reviews the best fantasy players and fantasy seasons in NFL history.

A detailed look at the system used to rate historical fantasy performance can be found in our Top Fantasy Players of All Time introduction page, but here is a brief summary.

Fantasy player performance is adjusted through the era so that players who dominated during low-scoring eras can compete against players who racked up huge point totals in higher-scoring eras.

Once these adjustments are made, players are then credited for having a starter-caliber season (one point), a quality season (one point), an impact campaign (1.5 points), or being an elite starter (two points). These points are cumulative and measured in both non-PPR and PPR and serve as the basis for determining who the best fantasy players in NFL history are.

Now that we’re done with the preliminaries, let’s take a look at the best fantasy players in Arizona Cardinals team history!

(Note: The numbers listed below are for player performance on Cardinals.)

All-Time Fantastic Starting Lineup

QB: Jim Hart

AR: Ernie Nevers

AR: Ollie Matson

WR: Larry Fitzgerald

Answering Machine: Mal Kutner

TE: Jackie Smith

SuperFLEX: Sonny Randle


Quarterback – Jim Hart

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
8 5 1.5 2 8 5 1.5 2 33

Hart was Air Coryell’s original quarterback, as the arrival of Don Coryell as the Cardinals head coach in 1973 transformed Hart from an occasional low-level QB1 to one of the best quarterbacks- fantastic fullbacks in the league. From 1973 to 1976, Hart ranked fifth in career points, behind only Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Ken Anderson and Bert Jones. Hart had another QB1-caliber season after Coryell’s departure in 1977, but that combination saw Hart end his career with eight starter-caliber campaigns, a total tied for third place all-time in the league. history of the Cardinals.

Running back — Ernie Nevers

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
3 3 4.5 6 3 3 4.5 6 33

Nevers was a phenomenon in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He scored a fantastic 87 points in 1931, a season in which only 10 players totaled more than 30 points and the average starter totaled 12 points. This performance is so incredible that it is considered the best fantasy season in NFL history, but Nevers’ best game actually came in 1929 when he scored all 40 points in the Bears’ destruction of Chicago 40-6 by the Cardinals on Thanksgiving Day. He set an NFL record that still stands to this day.

Running back — Ollie Matson

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
6 4 1.5 0 6 4 0 0 21.5

Matson is best known for being part of one of the biggest trades in NFL history when the Rams dealt eight players and a draft pick to Chicago to acquire Matson from the Cardinals in 1958. It’s easy to understand why Los Angeles wanted Matson, as he had posted five Top 7 non-PPR finishes and four Top 6 PPR finishes in his first six years with the Cardinals.

Matson won this honor by a small margin over Otis Anderson. Here are Anderson’s career point totals:

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
6 4 0 0 5 4 0 0 19

Matson and Anderson are tied for the most starting and quality seasons among Cardinals running backs, but Matson had a 2.5-point advantage in career points and thus won the tiebreaker.

Wide Receiver – Larry Fitzgerald

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
13 5 0 0 12 6 0 0 36

Fitzgerald ranks second in league history in non-PPR starting caliber seasons by a wide receiver, behind only the incomparable Jerry Rice, who has 16. Fitzgerald ranked first or second in points no PPR and PPR in 2005 and 2008 and had seven Top 7 finishes in PPR WR points. His 311.1 PPR points in 2008 still represent the highest WR PPR total in Cardinals history.

Wide Receiver – Mal Kutner

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career Points
4 3 4.5 6 4 3 4.5 6 35

Kutner only played five seasons in the NFL, all with the Chicago Cardinals, but he certainly made the most of his limited time in the league. Kutner’s 1947 season was the best adjusted performance at the time by a Cardinals wide receiver, but it could be argued that Kutner’s 1948 campaign was even better. During that season, Kutner led the league in receiving yards and had 14 receiving touchdowns despite only 41 assists in 12 games. The total of 14 scoring receptions still ranks tied for second most in Cardinals history. Kutner finished with three perfect 11-point career seasons and thus earned that starting catcher spot over Sonny Randle.

Tight end — Jackie Smith

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
11 5 1.5 2 ten 4 1.5 2 37

Smith is one of five tight ends to have posted more than 10 non-PPR starting caliber seasons (Tony Gonzalez, Shannon Sharpe, Antonio Gates and Jason Witten being the others) and tied for fifth with Ozzie Newsome with 10 PPR starting caliber. seasons. Smith ranked in the Top 8 in TE PPR points from 1964-1970 and had consecutive No. 1 consensus TE seasons in 1967-68. He is the only Cardinals tight end to ever post 130+ PPR points, meaning his 234.1 PPR points in 1967 remains the record total for Cardinals tight ends over 100 points 55 years after the have displayed.

SuperFlex—Sonny Randle

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
6 4 1.5 2 5 4 1.5 2 26

Randle’s 1960 season was a strong contender for the Cardinals’ best wide receiver season of all time, as his 15 receiving touchdowns in just 12 games that year still ranks as the club record in that category. Randle never quite reached that level of production again, but he had three non-PPR Top 8 and three PPR Top 10 finishes in 1960-63.

Randle won that spot by a small margin over Roy Green, Neil Lomax and Mel Gray. Here are their career point totals:

Roy Green’s numbers:

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career Points
7 2 3 0 7 2 3 0 24

Neil Lomax’s numbers:

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
5 2 3 2 5 2 3 2 24

Mel Gray’s numbers:

Entrance Quality Impact Elite PPR Street PPR qual PRP impact PPR Elite Career points
7 4 1.5 0 7 2 1.5 0 23

Best era-adjusted fantasy seasons of all time

QB: Neil Lomax, 1984 (290 points)

RB: David Johnson, 2016 (328 non-PPR, 407.8 PPR)

WR: Mal Kutner, 1947 (134.4 non-PPR, 177.4 PPR)

TE: Jackie Smith, 1967 (178.1 non-PPR, 234.1 PPR)

SuperFLEX: Ernie Nevers, 1931 (87 non PPR, 87 PPR)

(Top photo: George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Comments are closed.