After seven weeks of going through every division in the National Football League, we’ve reached the end of the player movement series.
We started with the AFC North and the NFC North. We moved on to the AFC East and the NFC East, then the AFC South and the NFC South. Last week, we tackled the AFC West and now we finish up the with the NFC West.
Now that we’ve gone through every team in the league, you should know the players that are on new teams, and you should be (almost) ready for draft day.
Whether your league is drafting already or you are completing a mock draft, it’s never too early to start preparing (or trash talking).
Even though we saved the NFC West for last, there is probably the fewest players that have moved in and out of this division than any of the others. However, that’s not going to stop us from analyzing the NFC West player movement.
Without further ado, let’s look at the player movement in the NFC West and how the departures and additions affect each player’s Fantasy value for 2015.
While the Arizona Cardinals struggled with injuries in 2014, they did not make a lot of offensive changes to their roster. Tight end John Carlson chose to retire, leaving a void at the position. Currently, Darren Fells is the starting tight end, but don’t expect this position to have any Fantasy value. The Cardinals have depth at wide receiver, and they added depth at running back.
In the draft, they added rookie running back David Johnson, who has decent pass-catching skills, but may be lacking the between-the-tackles burst that running backs need. Andre Ellington will still be the starter, but keep Johnson in mind as a late round draft pick.
After the Seattle Seahawks lost the Super Bowl when they couldn’t convert a pass at the goal line, they apparently decided they needed to boost their red zone attack. Who better to add than former New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham? Graham had 10 touchdowns last year (down from 16 in 2013), although he was playing with an injured shoulder for most of the season.
There is talk about Graham’s Fantasy value taking a hit by moving to the Seahawks. Sure, Seattle has more of a run-based attack than a passing attack, but they still want a big tight end to throw the ball to in the red zone. Graham may be asked to block more, and he may not give you the 1,000 yard season that you got in 2013 and were hoping for in 2014, but he’s still in the top tier of tight ends. The tight end landscape is pretty sparse this year, so trust that Graham’s talent will pay off, even in Seattle.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers lost a running back and a wide receiver and they gained a running back and a wide receiver. The question is: did they actually improve their roster with those moves? By replacing Frank Gore with Reggie Bush, it’s hard to say. Carlos Hyde will be the lead back, but he will share carries with not only Bush, but also Kendall Hunter and possibly rookie Mike Davis.
Bush will be the primary back for passing downs, as that’s where he’s shown he can succeed. He had an injury-plagued 2014 season, but if he can stay healthy, he does have RB2/3 value in PPR leagues. Keep in mind, however, that he is 30 years old, and hasn’t been the picture of health. In his nine seasons in the NFL, he’s played all 16 games twice (once was his rookie season).
At wide receiver, the 49ers lost Michael Crabtree and added Torrey Smith. Smith will slide in the No. 2 wide receiver role, opposite Anquan Boldin. Colin Kaepernick does have a big arm, and that is where Smith shines. He is a deep threat receiver, which is tough when plugging him in your Fantasy lineups because he can just as easily go 2-for-25 as he can go 5/75/1.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) July 2, 2015
However, because of the team and the situation, Smith is a WR3. Having him on the field will also help Vernon Davis (as defenses will have to spread out across all the pass-catching weapons).
St. Louis Rams
Similar to the San Francisco 49ers, the Rams lost players at the quarterback and running back position, and then replaced them. However, unlike the 49ers, it is clear that the Rams improved their roster by these off-season moves.
They lost Zac Stacy, but drafted rookie Todd Gurley at running back. The flaw with Gurley is health. He is coming off ACL reconstruction surgery and it isn’t clear if he will be ready by Week 1. He claims that’s his goal, but how many times have we heard players list off lofty goals?
The current No. 1 running back on the roster is Tre Mason. The job is Mason’s and the Rams would be foolish to rush Gurley into the lineup when Mason is fully capable of handling the load (as he did last season).
At quarterback, oft-injured Sam Bradford is no longer on the team. His back-up (and adequate fill-in, as shown in 2014) Shaun Hill is also gone. Instead, the Rams have acquired Nick Foles and Case Keenum. While Keenum isn’t exactly an upgrade on Hill, Foles is an upgrade on Bradford.
Sure, Foles had a rough 2014 season (although he did have an injured shoulder), but he had a great 2013 season. Which Foles is the real one? The 27 touchdown / two interception quarterback of 2013? Or the 13 touchdown, 10 interception quarterback of 2014? While it’s easy to say that the 2013 stats aren’t what Foles is really about, could he really fake it for an entire season?
We will see what his performance looks like in 2015 with the Rams. The weapons he has aren’t nearly as good as what he had in Philadelphia, but if he can just manage the game and not turn the ball over, he’s a serviceable QB2 in Fantasy.
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- Week 14 Target Watch: 18 more targets for Antonio Brown - December 16, 2017