IDP Fantasy Preview: NFC West

IDP Fantasy Preview: NFC West

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IDP Fantasy Preview: NFC West

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Every year there are new faces in new places – not just players, but coaches too.  With those changes come scheme changes, and value changes with regard to fantasy football.  Which is why drafting off stats from the previous year isn’t a wise thing to do. However, reading each divisional IDP preview update would be a wise thing to do. If you have any additional questions please feel free to email me at gallo@thehuddle.com or find me on twitter @SteveGalloNFL.

Arizona Cardinals

HC: Bruce Arians
DC: Todd Bowles
Base Defensive Scheme: 3-4
Scheme Change: No


Defensive Line
There are certain players that will produce no matter the scheme that they are in and Calais Campbell is one of those types of players. Campbell didn’t miss a beat last year without Ray Horton as his DC and Todd Bowles taking over. Campbell finished as DL7 and I see no reason he won’t have a repeat as a DL1 this year. The loss of Darnell Docket for the year due to injury is a blow to the Cardinals defense but I don’t see it impacting Campbell’s production.

Linebacker
Daryl Washington somehow found a way to outdo himself from last year. Unfortunately, by outdo I mean he went from being suspended 4 games last year to a year-long ban for 2014. What. A. Knucklehead. Last year, Karlos Dansby stepped up and had a fantastic fantasy season but this year he’s now in Cleveland. My hope was that Kevin Minter would be the one to benefit from Washington’s suspension but between a strained pectoral muscle and word that he was leaving the field in sub-packages in favor of Larry Foote I’ve had to lower my expectations for him. If he surprises and stays on the field for three downs he’ll be a priority waiver wire add.

Secondary
In the secondary, Tyrann Mathieu is recovering from tearing his ACL and LCL and there’s a good chance he’ll be ready to play come week 1, but with how deep the DB position is there’s no need to reach for Mathieu so I’d recommend letting someone else draft him this year. If rookie Deone Bucannon finds a way to take over as the starting SS then he’ll be a viable fantasy option but not until then.

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St. Louis Rams

HC: Jeff Fisher
DC: Greg Williams
Base Defensive Scheme: 4-3
Scheme Change: No


Defensive Line
There isn’t anything to like about Robert Quinn, well except that you need to burn a 5th or 6th round pick to roster him. For the most part he’s being taken after J.J. Watt but I think he’s a slightly safer pick than Watt is this year. Across from Quinn is Chris Long and I’ve long written how I don’t like Long for fantasy purposes. He’s just far too inconsistent and doesn’t have the upside that I like from a DL2. In DT mandatory leagues, Aaron Donald is going to be a player that IDP owners are going to absolutely love.

Linebacker
James Laurinaitis doesn’t have the upside of players like Lavonte David, Luke Kuechly, Vontaze Burfict or Karlos Dansby but he is a consistent performer that you can plug into your lineup on a weekly basis. I’m high on Alex Ogletree this year – I’m looking for a top-5 season – and I think we see him build on his top-10 finish from last year. He’s not coming at a discount in drafts (ADP LB7) so if you want him it’s going to cost you.

Secondary
At DB, T.J. McDonald is a player that fits my “wait on DB” strategy. He’s a player that in many leagues will go undrafted but his upside is DB2. Not bad for a guy that you can get in the last round of your draft. If you don’t draft him and he’s on your waiver wire I’ll be shocked if he’s there beyond week 2.

San Francisco 49ers

HC: Jim Harbaugh
DC: Vic Fangio
Base Defensive Scheme: 3-4
Scheme Change: No


Defensive Line
Justin Smith is getting up in age and at this point in his career I recommend against relying on him for fantasy purposes.

Linebacker
Prior to 2012, in this same IDP preview article I said that Patrick Willis wouldn’t be a top-10 LB – he finished as LB15, and that was after being the ADP LB1 that preseason. Last year Willis finished as LB32. Granted he missed a few games but even his PPG average wouldn’t push him into LB1 land. This year, I see Willis having a return to glory of sort. With Navorro Bowman being out until later in the season, the chance that Aldon Smith ends up suspended, and with Justin Smith aging, there’s going to be plenty of tackles for Willis to snatch up and use to make him a top-10 LB again. Bowman won’t return to the field until much later this season but if you have a deep enough bench he’s someone, much like Josh Gordon, who can pay huge dividends if and when he’s back on the field. I’m not expecting Michael Wilhoite or Chris Borland to be consistent fantasy producers while Bowman is sidelined. Quite the contrary, if they are drafted in your league I expect them to be one of the first players that owners cut loose for a waiver wire acquisition.

Secondary
Antoine Bethea takes over at SS for the departed Donte Whitner for the 49ers. Last year, Whitner finished as DB39 and wasn’t much of a help for fantasy purposes. This year I see Bethea having a better season than Whitner did, but that’s because of the absence of Navorro Bowman from the 49ers starting lineup. I like Eric Reid the NFL player, but fantasy wise not so much.

Seattle Seahawks

HC: Pete Carroll
DC: Dan Quinn
Base Defensive Scheme: 4-3
Scheme Change: No


Defensive Line
The Seahawks will be without Chris Clemons and Red Bryant – both players signed with the Jaguars – this year but that doesn’t mean that Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril will be fantasy relevant. Last year, Bennett led the Seahawks DL in fantasy points, ranking 63rd and Avril was right there with him at #64. Both players NFL value far surpasses their fantasy value.

Linebacker
Bobby Wagner finished 25th among LBs in fantasy scoring last year, but that ranking doesn’t tell the entire story. Wagner missed two games and that pushed him down the rankings. If you take his PPG average of 15.615 and extrapolate it you’d end up with a ranking of LB13. That makes Wagner a valuable fantasy option for 2014…LB5 valuable (his ADP) is a bit much, but anyway you slice he will be a viable weekly fantasy option with upside.

Secondary

Did you know that Richard Sherman is the best CB in the NFL? You didn’t? Just ask him, he’ll tell you. In all seriousness, Sherman is a heck of a player and one that does present fantasy value, big-time fantasy value in big-play leagues. When it comes to tackle neutral/heavy leagues the target in the Seahawks secondary is Kam Chancellor. Kam doesn’t present DB1 value but he’s a solid DB2/3 that consistently will score in double digits.

Scoring system used for this article: solo tackle (2), assisted tackle (1), sack (3), forced or recovered fumble (3), interception (3) and pass defended (1).

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