Fantasy Football: 2019 outlook for Cardinals wide receiver Hakeem Butler
The Arizona Cardinals completely revamped their team and built a new future in just one offseason. The main piece of that puzzle was a quarterback and first overall pick Kyler Murray. He wasn’t the only elite talent the Cardinals got in that draft though.
Wide receiver Hakeem Butler was heavily considered one of the best talents at the position and a potential first-round pick. Instead, Arizona somehow got him in the fourth. Butler joins Christian Kirk and fellow rookie Andy Isabella as the new wave of talent at the position for the Cardinals.
Of course, veteran Larry Fitzgerald will be there as a safety net and mentor. This is good news for their futures, as it’s hard to think of a better person to learn from than one of the best to ever do it.
However, we aren’t talking about Butler’s future right now. We’re merely talking about 2019. What will his role be in his rookie year, and how will that affect his fantasy outlook? What should you expect from the receiver and when should you consider drafting him?
Admittedly, Hakeem Butler is an extremely curious and hard to nail down case. He’s a rookie receiver with another rookie and a one-year guy on his sides. Therefore, anyone can take control of the significant role and become the main target – there’s nothing set yet.
This is further a conundrum when you take into consideration the quarterback. Murray is also a rookie, which means two things.
First of all, he doesn’t have a rapport with anyone. There won’t be a receiver he’s been throwing to for years – meaning anyone can emerge as his favorite.
It also means he is a question mark. There are a lot of people (myself included) that believe Kyler Murray is going to be a fantastic quarterback in the NFL. However, as of right now he’s an unknown.
Butler isn’t going into an offense with a proven veteran quarterback. He’s not going to have Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers to make him better. Going into a spot with an established star is only going to help. The thing is though – Murray could come into the league and be that star.
He could also come in and make the team wish they had just an average veteran QB in his place.
Therefore, a lot of Butler’s success leans on himself. It also leans on Murray though.
With that in mind, we’re going to go with the safe money and say Murray looks strong in his rookie year. That leaves everything else up to Butler.
The receiver will get a lot of playing time, and already has something going for him. At 6’5″ – he’s the tallest receiver on the roster. He’s not just a tall target though, as his supreme athleticism makes Butler an absolute threat from anywhere.
This will help to establish him as a fantastic deep threat and an obvious red zone target. Therefore, even if he isn’t raking up tons of receptions in year one, he’ll probably pick up a decent chunk of yards and plenty of touchdowns.
With the other two young talents and the veteran in Fitzgerald (who will still get his fair share of receptions), Butler probably won’t even see that many targets his way outside of the deep balls and red zone opportunities.
With that in mind, he has a lot of fantasy value thanks to the touchdown potential – but nothing crazy. He could be a boom-or-bust candidate. Some weeks he’ll capitalize on his small number of targets with a big reception and two-plus touchdowns – leading to a boatload of fantasy points. Other weeks he’ll be silent though.
Butler’s probably best utilized on your bench, as someone you only use on bye weeks or due to injuries. Maybe play a matchup here-or-there.
No matter what you decide to do with him, he should be a middle-of-the-draft selection and should be good for some massive weeks (if you choose to roll the dice with him) that might win you a game or two.