What Does John Skelton's Benching Mean for Cardinals, Fantasy Owners?

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystNovember 18, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 18:  John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals walks off the field after a turnover on downs against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After winning their first four games, the Arizona Cardinals have been swept up in a six-game losing streak that got it's start when quarterback Kevin Kolb went down with a rib injury. After another pathetic showing from the Arizona offense in the first half of Sunday's matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, head coach Ken Whisenhunt made a switch at quarterback, replacing John Skelton with rookie Ryan Lindley.

The results, were, shall we say, predictable.

Despite six Atlanta turnovers and a 13-0 lead, the Cardinals fell to the Falcons 23-19, with Lindley struggling through a 9-of-20 for 64 yards afternoon.

After the game, Whisenhunt defended his decision to replace Skelton, who missed a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald with a sure touchdown pass, while speaking with Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic.

“We had a play that was open, and you’ve got to make that throw,” Whisenhunt said. “We felt like at that point, we’d give Ryan a chance, see if he could make those throws.”

Regardless of how you feel about the wisdom of Whisenhunt's decision, it appears that his patience is gone where Skelton is concerned, and with no definitive timetable for Kolb's return, fantasy owners' concerns must now turn to the impact of Ryan Lindley on the Arizona offense.

Unfortunately, that can likely be summed up by the phrase "just when you thought things couldn't get worse".

Granted, the team hopes to have starting tailback Beanie Wells back next week, but after LaRod Stephens-Howling gained 100 yards on the ground for the second time this season against Atlanta, the rushing game was one of the few things that actually worked in Week 11. But that's not going to last long with opposing defenses stacking the box against an inexperienced quarterback playing behind the NFL's worst offensive line.

The outlook isn't any better for Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals wideouts. Fitzgerald had already been struggling mightily statistically, but Andre Roberts had actually emerged a bit of late, with each player at least providing lower-end fantasy WR2 value.

Against the Falcons they combined for two catches for 18 yards and no Arizona pass catcher topped 30 yards.

In short, if you have Fitzgerald (or Roberts in deep leagues) then all you can do is hold and hope that Kolb comes back sooner as opposed to later, but with Ryan Lindley under center, all Cardinals' offensive players land on the fantasy 10-foot pole list.

As in don't touch them with one.