09 Aug Fantasy Football Pre-Season Primer: NFC West
By: Mike Stromme – @stromme_93
Its time to examine to the NFC West Division. So far I have broken down the other NFC divisions and you can find those articles listed below. Also tune into the Best Damn NFL Show Ever and Ever here.
While the re-signing of Chris Johnson is interesting from an obscure sense of who to blow your FAAB budget on if/when David Johnson goes down with something catastrophic, the real intrigue lies with the wideouts.
John Brown was kind of a metaphor for the Cardinals’ season a year ago. He was disappointing in 2016, but it turns out he was dealing with an aggressive case of sickle-cell trait in addition to a cyst on his spine; suddenly his struggles seem understandable. He also battled through a bunch of soft-tissue injuries, but many believe that was a side effect of the sickle-cell trait.
Anyways, he seems to have personally personally rectified both ailments over the offseason. According to him, and
those around him, he’s feeling 100%.
Sickle-cell trait, while it can be detrimental, is very manageable. Terrell Owens battled the ailment early in his career. Atlanta Falcons’ running back Tevin Coleman also deals with sickle cell-trait.
“Smoke looks like Smoke again,” said head coach Bruce Arians when asked about Brown’s progress during OTAs.
Not only is Brown healthy again, he reportedly lived with Carson Palmer over the offseason in order to “build chemistry.
Let’s see how “Smoke” holds up this month. Watch his progress out of Glendale.
Los Angeles Rams:
Just like their “cross-town rivals” in the Chargers, the Rams made a coaching change as well. The team moved from Jeff Fisher’s painfully outdated “three yards and a cloud of dust” offense and brought in a man who’s literally young enough to be his son in former Washington Redskins OC Sean McVay.
Under Fisher, 2016 first overall pick Jared Goff did not look ready for the NFL level one bit. Goff had a rookie season that reminded many of all-time infamous draft bust, Ryan Leaf.
While I think it’s much too early to call a number one draft pick a bust after just seven games, what I saw from Goff was rather concerning. That being said, I believe the change from an offense that was just about as innovative as the Commodore 64 will do the sophomore QB some good. McVay will implement a quick-release, West Coast-style offense that will should be similar to the offense Goff ran at Cal.
Getting the ball to Robert Woods, Tavon Austin, 2017 Senior Bowl standout Cooper Kupp and TEs Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett in a quick, reactionary fashion could prove to pay dividends. Goff and McVay have been in communication since McVay was hired back in January and he claimed to have the vast majority of McVay’s offense down-pat following OTAs.
Let’s see how Goff and this new passing offense handle themselves when up against foreign defenses. The key to turning this perpetually inept offense around will be the chemistry between Goff and his receivers.
San Francisco 49ers:
Over the offseason, we saw the changing of the guard at the HC position. Out went the failed Chip Kelly experiment, and in came Kyle Shanahan.
At face value, this looks like an entirely new offense. However, Shanahan and first year GM John Lynch have done a tremendous job of finding pieces that Shanahan has worked with before; QB Brian Hoyer, WRs Pierre Garcon and Aldrick Robinson, RB Tim Hightower and even TE Logan Paulsen are all on this 49er roster and have all
played under Shanahan in previous spots.
Shanahan ran a prolific offense in Atlanta last season, he also did a fine job with Robert Griffin III in Washington in 2012 and even had the 2014 Cleveland Browns competing for a Wild Card spot for a while.
There’s an adjustment period with many teams that change coaching staffs, the reason mainly being that the personnel is learning the playbook. This team is littered with veteran players who know this offense from previous experience, let’s see if that helps this up and coming franchise get back to it’s winning ways. Let’s watch for how players like RBs Carlos Hyde and rookie Joe Williams, WRs Marquise Goodwin and Jeremy Kerley and TE Vance McDonald, adjust to the new offensive playbook.
Ever since Marshawn Lynch left the team following the 2015 season, the Seattle Seahawks have had a glaring need for a running game. The Seahawks went from rushing for 5.3 YPC as a team in 2014, to a measly 3.9 in 2016.
Over the offseason, the team signed former Green Bay Packer Eddie Lacy. Lacy joins incumbents Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, both of which have shown flashes of brilliance in the past before a rash of injuries stalled the careers of both running backs.
Lacy, who isn’t the model of perfect health either, will compete with the other two for regular playing time in OC Darrell Bevell’s offense. Lacy’s main competition will be Rawls, given that their skill sets are very similar. Prosise, who showed brief, albeit brilliant, skills as a pass catching back, will more than likely be on the field for most passing downs. The other two will compete for the regular between-the-tackle duties.
While the main competition in this backfield will be between those three, there is a wild card in all this mess. The wild card being rookie RB Chris Carson, a 2017 7th round draft pick out of Oklahoma State. Carson, who spent two seasons as a Cowboy, rushed for 5.1 YPC on 213 carries for his collegiate career. An unknown by many, Carson has “done nothing but impress” thus far in Seahawk camp.
All fantasy owners NEED to monitor this situation, there could be MAJOR value to be had.