2019 Fantasy Football Preview: NFC West

Friday, Jul 5, 2019 at 12:00 pm ET

Training camps will be here before you know it followed quickly by the preseason. That means that fantasy drafts are right around the corner as is your fantasy research. Let's start that research with the NFC West.

Aggregated team reviews are below.

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers San Francisco 49ers

Rewind time back to July 2018 and imagine if someone had told you that TE George Kittle would have been the fantasy must-have TE... Yeah...but that's exactly what happened. Kittle became the team's best catcher and remains an elite option at his position. The question for the Niners is who will emerge in the backfield? Newly-acquired RB Tevin Coleman joins Matt Breida and the return of Jerick McKinnon - a ton of talent but utilization remains to be seen.

Top Fantasy Player

George Kittle

George Kittle - TE

George Kittle is one of three rare tight ends who has wide receiver-like expectations, which is why you shouldn't be surprised to see him get picked before 30th overall. He set an NFL record last year with 1,377 yards, more than any tight end. That might be hard to replicate, but it's nuts to think he'll finish with only five touchdowns again. Kittle should keep up his average of 8.3 targets per game, but with Jimmy Garoppolo returning to the field, his efficiency should rise after 25 percent of his 2018 targets were uncatchable.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBJimmy Garoppolo22nd$3
RBMatt Breida43rd$4
WRDante Pettis34th$9
TEGeorge Kittle2nd$41

Sleeper: Deebo Samuel

The 49ers selected rookie receiver Deebo Samuel in the second round of the NFL Draft from South Carolina, and he's expected to compete for a starting job right away. Samuel will compete with Marquise Goodwin to be the starter opposite Dante Pettis, but Samuel should be one of the top three receivers for the 49ers this season even if he doesn't start. With Jimmy Garoppolo coming back from last year's torn ACL, this passing game should have the chance to improve in a big way, with Samuel playing a prominent role. Now, obviously, George Kittle will also be a focal point, as will the running backs out of the backfield. But don't be surprised if Samuel is the best wide receiver in San Francisco this season or just behind Pettis. And he could be the best rookie receiver in 2019 given his clear path to targets in the 49ers' offense. He's worth a late-round pick in seasonal leagues and a potential first-round pick in rookie-only drafts.

Breakout: Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to return in time for training camp coming off last year's torn ACL, and he has the chance to be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this season. He only appeared in three games in 2018 before getting hurt, but he scored at least 20 Fantasy points in two of them. And in 2017, Garoppolo made five starts for the 49ers, scoring at least 22 Fantasy points in two of those outings. One of the biggest reasons to like Garoppolo as a Fantasy quarterback is coach Kyle Shanahan, who got nine games of at least 20 Fantasy points from his trio of passers, including C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. Garoppolo still has to prove himself and his health, but there's a lot to like about him this season. Plan on drafting Garoppolo with a late-round pick in all formats.

Bust Alert: Tevin Coleman

Tevin Coleman will be reunited with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco this season, which should be great for his Fantasy value. If he can hold off Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida for the starting job, Coleman could be in line for a big year, which is why he's worth drafting toward the end of Round 5 or beginning of Round 6 in all formats. It could be a messy backfield rotation for the 49ers if McKinnon (ACL) and Breida (pectoral) are healthy as expected for training camp. While Coleman should get the majority of work, he might not dominate touches. But if McKinnon and/or Breida miss significant time, Coleman's Fantasy value could skyrocket. We like Coleman as more of a flex option than a guaranteed starter in most leagues, but Shanahan has done well with running backs in the past, including Coleman in Atlanta. That rapport could help Coleman have a big year in 2019.

Seattle Seahawks Seattle Seahawks

Last year's most prolific rush offense returns with RB Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. The problem is that neither are safe fantasy picks. Carson is the more efficient back, but Penny will definitely push him for playing time. The offense remains centered around QB Russell Wilson, who may not have thrown as much as we wanted him to, but his efficiency and touchdowns keep him in the Top 10 conversation.

Top Fantasy Player

Chris Carson

Chris Carson - RB

Chris Carson has the upside of a No. 1 running back, but with his injury history and Rashaad Penny nipping at his heels, you can't draft him like one. It's better to wait until the late third or early fourth round, which mitigates some of your risk and leaves you plenty of room for upside. The most likely situation is that Carson and Penny split the load and there's enough work for both to be relevant. Expect a solid No. 2 running back with around 1,300 total yards.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBRussell Wilson6th$16
RBChris Carson27th$18
WRDK Metcalf60th$1
TENick Vannett32nd$0

Sleeper: Will Dissly

Will Dissly could be a sleeper Fantasy tight end this season, but first he has to prove he's healthy after last year's knee injury. And coach Pete Carroll said in March that Dissly might not be ready until training camp. He appeared in four games in 2018 before getting hurt, but he scored at least 13 PPR points in two of those outings. Keep an eye on his recovery, and Dissly could be worth a late-round flier in all leagues if he's healthy for the start of the season

Breakout: Rashaad Penny

How much does pedigree matter to you? If you want to bet on a first-round pick over a seventh-rounder, you'll want to make Penny your target in the Seahawks' backfield with a mid-round pick. Chris Carson should open the season as the top option in the rushing game, but Penny offers explosiveness Carson can't touch. Whether that will make Penny a better option in the long run remains to be seen, but it's worth getting him on your bench just in case.

Bust Alert: Tyler Lockett

It wouldn't be wise to expect Lockett to repeat his 2018 efficiency, because virtually no one ever has. But with Doug Baldwin gone, there's enough upside here to make him worth a fourth- or fifth-round pick depending on format. Lockett should lead the Seahawks in targets, though they do figure to be one of the more run-heavy offenses in the league.

Los Angeles Rams Los Angeles Rams

The Rams offense is incredibly prolific with plenty of fantasy-relevant players that will get drafted. Todd Gurley has fantasy owners nervous with arthritic knees likley to limit his production. Cooper Kupp will be back after missing time last season, but he'll round out an impressive array of targets for Jared Goff to throw to. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks are as dynamic as can be. They finished the season as Top 15 receivers and will likely repeat that in 2019.

Top Fantasy Player

Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley - RB

A late-season swoon followed by unconfirmed reports of an arthritic knee and a prominent running back addition via the NFL Draft have sent Todd Gurley's Fantasy stock tumbling into Round 2. Justifiable? Look, if Gurley isn't at 100 percent and at risk to miss playing time, then Round 2 might be too soon! But you shouldn't lose sight of Gurley's track record -- 25 games of 11-plus non-PPR Fantasy points in his last 29 games with 40 total touchdowns and over 1,800 total yards per season. If he's splitting carries, he'll be hard-pressed to duplicate those numbers. If someone takes Gurley in Round 1, he or she is doing you a favor.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBJared Goff12th$8
RBTodd Gurley10th$36
WRBrandin Cooks15th$25
TEGerald Everett25th$1

Sleeper: Darrell Henderson

The Rams selected rookie running back Darrell Henderson in the third round of the NFL Draft from Memphis, and he's expected to be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Todd Gurley. That should make him a popular Fantasy option given the concerns about Gurley's knee following the end of last season. Gurley missed two games at the end of the regular season in 2018 and then struggled in the playoffs, and reports surfaced that his knee could be a long-term problem. After drafting Henderson, Rams coach Sean McVay said the team could use more two-back formations this year, with Henderson competing with Malcolm Brown for that secondary role. We expect Henderson to win the job, and he's someone to consider as a sleeper with a mid-round pick in seasonal leagues. And obviously his value would skyrocket if Gurley missed any time due to injury. In rookie-only drafts, Henderson should be selected early in Round 2.

Breakout: Cooper Kupp

Cooper Kupp is expected to be ready for training camp after suffering a torn ACL last year, and he's worth drafting in Round 5 in all formats. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off. Kupp scored at least 12 PPR points in six of the eight games he appeared in last season, including five games with at least 17 PPR points. The Rams are loaded with talent with Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, but Jared Goff loves leaning on Kupp. In his six healthy games in 2018, Kupp averaged 7.8 targets per game. And if you take those six games over a 16-game pace, Kupp would have finished with 93 catches for 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns. It's not reasonable to expect that type of production, especially the touchdowns, but Kupp is a No. 2 receiver to target in all leagues. Just make sure he's back at 100 percent by training camp as expected.

Bust Alert: Todd Gurley

As of this writing in mid-June, there's no scarier player than Gurley. Take him too early, and you might have drafted a timebomb. Avoid him, and you might be giving a league mate the #1 fantasy RB in the 2nd or 3rd round. We'll all need to watch him and the situation closely throughout the summer to figure out where Gurley belongs in August drafts.

Arizona Cardinals Arizona Cardinals

There's plenty of skill in the desert, but how will it all come together? Kyler Murray brings enthusiasm but he'll need some time to get adjusted to the NFL. David Johnson returns after a disappointing season. In fact, the Cardinals offense was disappointing having run the second-fewest plays in the NFL last year. Consider Arizona to be a work in progress.

Top Fantasy Player

David Johnson

David Johnson - RB

David Johnson remains a contender for a first-round selection because of his pedigree and the offensive scheme change in Arizona. It can't be because of his 2018 season, where he technically finished as a top-10 running back but was maddeningly inconsistent. It can't be because of his 2017 season, when he damaged his wrist and missed 15 games. The arrival of Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray to the Cardinals signals a move to the ballyhooed Air Raid offense, which should put Johnson in position to get a lot of touches. Working with a running quarterback like Murray should help rejuvenate his rushing average. He's among the highest-risk, highest-reward running backs you'll consider.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBKyler Murray17th$10
RBDavid Johnson6th$53
WRLarry Fitzgerald41st$8
TERicky Seals-Jones29th$0

Sleeper: Christian Kirk

Christian Kirk has the chance to be a quality Fantasy receiver in 2019, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 6 in all leagues. Under the circumstances of the Cardinals poor offense in 2018, it was a pleasant surprise to see Kirk perform adequately as a rookie and help Fantasy players before suffering a foot injury in Week 13. He missed the final four games of the season, but he's fine now. And before getting hurt, Kirk scored double digits in PPR points in six of his final 10 games. With quarterback Kyler Murray and coach Kliff Kingsbury, there's a lot to like about this Arizona offense. And even with the addition of Hakeem Butler and Andy Isabella to go with Larry Fitzgerald, we should still see Kirk get a healthy amount of targets. Kirk is worth trusting as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with the chance to be a starting option by the end of the year.

Breakout: David Johnson

Call it more of a redemption or bounce back and less than a breakout season. We all know what David Johnson is capable of. We haven't seen Kliff Kingsbury's offense in the NFL yet. We also haven't seen Kyler Murray in the NFL yet. If either of those proves unready for the big stage, it'd be bad news for lots of Cardinals. But we feel good about betting on a suddenly talented group running what has been a highly efficient scheme. Johnson adds a sprinkle of safety to his fantasy outlook by ranking among the league's biggest workhorses. He's just fine in the middle of Round 1 -- with upside to the top of the position if Operation Kingsbury hits.

Bust Alert: Larry Fitzgerald

Is this the year Larry Fitzgerald slows down? As he continues to age, his price continues to go down, meaning you can potentially take a chance on the future Hall of Famer for just an eighth-round pick in 2019. At that point in the draft, it's worth it to see if Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray can coax yet another bounce back season from Fitzgerald. There's more competition than ever for targets in Arizona, but the top options besides Fitzgerald are inexperienced at the NFL level. Don't be stunned if he's still the top option for the Cardinals.

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