NFC West Pre Draft Offseason Risers & Fallers
Our fourth and final NFC division brings us out west where there are a lot of intriguing stories and
interesting dynasty players. Iʼm circling this division as the one that could be the most active at adding pass catchers in the draft. Three out of four of the teams could use at least one receiver or could add a tight end. But letʼs not get ahead of ourselves (weʼll circle back after the draft to see how this division gets shaken up) but for now lets dive in to how theyʼve handled the offseason so far.
Coaching Changes - The illustrious Steve Wilkes Era is over and Arizona has turned the team over to the former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. Tom Clements will be the Offensive Coordinator, but Kingsbury
is reportedly going to call the plays. Vance Joseph will take over the defense in the desert.
Free Agency - The loss of Iupati may be noteworthy for this offense, but they replaced him with J.R.
Sweezy and also brought in Max Garcia so I expect the O-line to be just fine. Kevin White was brought in to help the WR core and has generated some offseason buzz with Kingsbury expressing optimism over
Whiteʼs ceiling. Charles Clay was also added to compete for snaps at TE and may end up with the most inline snaps on the team.
Risers - In theory, all of the pass catchers should benefit from the new offense under Kingsbury. First of all, thereʼs almost no where to go but up considering the historical ineptitude of the Cardinals offense last
season. Secondly, Kingsbury is expected to deploy a pass heavy offense based on his history. Of course, all of this is highly dependent on what he can get from the Quarterback position. Josh Rosen certainly underwhelmed in his first season to say the least, but there are reasons to think he can rebound in a better system a la Jared Goff. That is, of course, if he is given the opportunity to do so. There are many trade rumors surrounding Rosen right now and the Cardinals have been linked to Kyler Murray with the first overall pick later this month. Christian Kirk is ready to take over as the primary target in Arizona sooner than later and 2019 could be a breakout if he can stay healthy. Fitz should still see his reliable targets and I wouldnʼt be shocked to see him do very well in PPR leagues which makes him a very cheap add in dynasty leagues where heʼs practically free. Kevin White, Chad Williams and Trent Sherfield could be competing for playing time and it is worth monitoring reports in camp about these players. Donʼt sleep on Ricky Seals- Jones either. He could be a great post hype sleeper even with the addition of
Charles Clay. David Johnson has a chance to bounce back as well and is one of the best weapons out of the backfield in the entire NFL. If utilized as such, he could easily go back to being one of the top tier RBʼs in fantasy.
Fallers - Itʼs hard to fall when youʼre already at the bottom, but just keep an eye on the Rosen situation. If he stays in Arizona and they draft Murray he could be irrelevant fast.
Los Angeles Rams
Coaching Changes - Some shuffling around, but this is still the Sean McCoy show.
Free Agency - Roger Saffold left for Tennessee, and CJ Anderson heads to Detroit. Blake Bortles was
brought in to back up Jared Goff.
Risers - Letʼs talk about Robert Woods and why heʼs my favorite buy in dynasty leagues right now. Iʼve seen him go for a 2019 2nd and 3rd round pick which is a STEAL. Much of the concern about him seems to surround the impending return of Cooper Kupp and the thought that his role will diminish with Kupp back in the lineup. Lucky for you, Iʼve done the math and that thought process doesnʼt add up. Last season Robert Woods played with Cooper Kupp in 7 games and without him in 9 (I threw out week 10 when Kupp tore his ACL during the game). With Kupp he averaged more targets, more receptions, more receiving yards and more TDʼs. In PPR leagues Woods finished 11th among WRʼs and could easily finish
as a WR1 again this season yet heʼs valued like heʼs more of a WR3. Buy, Buy, Buy. CJ Andersonʼs departure certainly uncomplicated things for Todd Gurley. Allowing CJA to leave shows at least some confidence in Gurleyʼs health and I still have him as the 2nd best RB in dynasty right now behind Saquon Barkley.
Fallers - The players who will be impacted the most by Cooper Kuppʼs return will probably be Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee. Both of these TEʼs saw an uptick in targets in Kupps absence and I would expect them to go back to their more typical target share in 2019 if all of their weapons stay healthy.
San Francisco 49ers
Coaching Changes - None
Free Agency - Tevin Coleman and Jordan Matthews were both signed and outside of losing a punter the team retained basically everyone from last season.
Risers - The player Iʼm most excited about on this team is Dante Pettis who began to break out a bit at the end of last season when he averaged 6.2 targets, 4 receptions and 61.8 receiving yards per game
which if you extrapolate that out to 16 games he would have almost 100 targets and 1,000 yards. Donʼt forget that was with Nick Mullins at QB and if he can develop the same level of chemistry with Garoppolo he could be in for a very good 2019. With Jimmy G back under center this offense will finally have a chance to take the shape Kyle Shanahan dreamed about going into 2018. I donʼt think this team is done at the WR position but if they are Iʼll probably like Marquise Goodwin more than most. The chemistry
with Jimmy Garoppolo was there in 2017 and thereʼs at least a decent chance that will continue. George Kittle is amazing and I have no problem with people who value him as the TE1 in dynasty leagues. I have him at 2 for now behind Kelce but Kittle is clearly equally as gifted.
Fallers - Jerrick McKinnon never got a chance to show what he can do as the lead back in 2018 and that
opportunity is a bit murky heading into 2019 with the signing of Tevin Coleman. I still expect McKinnon to be the lead back here, but Coleman will see plenty of opportunities which leads to a much lower ceiling than we thought last season. Add in the injury history and Iʼd rather someone else take on the risk.
Coaching Changes - None
Free Agency - The loss of Sweezy could hurt their interior O-Line and Mike Davisʼ departure takes away
some of their RB depth, but they did bring in Iupati and with a little luck RB depth shouldnʼt be an issue for this team.
Risers - Has Tyler Lockett redefined his game? He might have. On the one hand, he finished the year with 10 TDʼs on over 1000 yards and finished 16th in ppr fantasy points. He also had a very high week to week floor when you consider he only had single digit ppr fantasy points 3 times. On the flip side, Lockett only reached 100 yards receiving one time during the entire 2019 regular season and topped 20 ppr fantasy points only once as well. We once thought of him as a high ceiling low floor receiver, but is the opposite now true? Is he more of a high floor guy without a crazy high ceiling? While I do think his floor is higher on a week to week basis than we once thought, I donʼt think his ceiling is as limited as it might seem at
first glance. He still has elite skills and with the decline of Doug Baldwin he may be the only reliable option in this passing game at this time. Theyʼll probably add to their TE/Receiving core in the draft, but even if they do Lockett is a reliable WR2 in ppr leagues and I think you can buy him for a little cheaper than that right now.
Fallers - The play calling on this team will offer plenty of opportunities for both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, but there has to at least be a little concern with your Chris Carson shares. Rashaad
Penny is coming into his second year, appears to be on the rise and Pete Carroll isnʼt doing anything to quiet down the idea that Penny could overtake Carson all together. Weʼve certainly learned to take Carrollʼs comments with a grain of salt, but we also know that competition at each position is encouraged and he wonʼt shy away from playing the best player whoever that may be. Iʼm still ultimately betting on Carson here, but Penny will be given chances and has the talent to take advantage. Injuries have begun to pile up on Doug Baldwin. He recently had offseason sports hernia surgery and will miss a lot of the teams offseason workouts. While he could be back for training camp, weʼve seen him and the Seahawks slow play his recovery in the past and it wouldnʼt be a surprise to see them do it again this season. You canʼt sell him right now so you just have to ride it out, but Iʼd be looking for any kind of window to get
value in return.