Over the past few weeks, @DFF_JamesH and I brought you a potential sleeper pick (both offensive and IDP) and a player to avoid for every team in the NFL. I focused on the NFC, while James focused on the AFC.
In the final installment of the series, I’ll look at the NFC West. Thank you all for taking the time to read and all the comments we’ve received on this series.
I feel that the 2017 season will be a bounce back year for Russell Wilson. Wilson was limited in 2016 because of injuries. Other than Doug Baldwin his receivers struggled because of it. Now finally healthy, I see a big year coming from Paul Richardson. Richardson continues to fly under the radar, rightfully so for a WR who has never had a 100-yard receiving game in his 3-year career. Behind Baldwin, there is a battle for WR2 on the Seahawks, and I feel this is the year Richardson proves himself and moves into that role.
With additional playing time, I see Richardson justifying why the Seahawks spent a second round pick on him 2014 out of Colorado. His ADP on dynastyfootballfactory.com sits at 221; he’s a perfect low-risk high reward pick later in drafts. Keep an eye on his most recent injury.
As for the player, I’m hoping to avoid; I’m going with three players. It’s the 3-headed monster running attack. I can’t put my finger on who might be the lead back or even the back with the most fantasy points at the end of the year. I like each one of their games to an extent but can find multiple deficiencies with them as well.
It’s likely Seahawks change the lead back each week and just go with whoever has the hot hand. This could be an excellent strategy for winning actual football games, but it will drive fantasy players insane. If you’re in need of a 1-yard touchdown in week 16 to win your fantasy championship, do you want to rely on a Seattle running back?
If I’m wrong on this player, it’s going to be a huge miss for me because I’m buying shares wherever I can. I like the production of Frank Clark on the field. It is his bad decisions and stupidity off the field that could hinder him. Clark had an excellent 2016 season compiling 10 sacks after just 3 in his rookie year. I see him with 10+ sacks again this year but adding to his combined 47 tackles in 2016. I think Clark is being undervalued and could be a top 5 DE in the league for years to come.
For my offensive sleeper, this one is easy. It is John Brown. Brown had a down year last season after putting up big numbers in 2015 with 65 catches for over 1,000 yards and 7 TDs. 2016 was supposed to be the year he took the next step and became a legitimate #1WR in the NFL. Injuries and the discovery that he carries the sickle-cell trait put an end to those hopes. Now healthy, and having his diagnosis under control, Brown is one sleeper who I am trying to buy cheap in all leagues. DFF’s ADP of 124 for July puts him as a 11th round pick in 12 team leagues, yes, please.
I just grabbed him in the 8th round of my 16 team startup yesterday and feel great about him as my WR3. If he stays healthy in 2017 season, I have him right around WR 20-26. With the negative news coming out about him, this play might seem a little bit riskier, but his price tag will also be less.
John Brown TD x2 pic.twitter.com/xFry6tm6U8
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) August 27, 2017
I think that the Cardinals offense has a bounce back season this year and therefore finding someone to avoid has become a challenge. Most of their offensive weapons are mid-to-late round fantasy picks and have minimal risk. This pick will probably be unpopular, but I’m going with Larry Fitzgerald. I love me some Fitz. I just don’t see him replicating his numbers from last year. With this being his final year, I think trading him to a contender for a draft pick would be my move if I’m not contending this year.
While the player to avoid was tough, my pick here was rather easy. I’m taking Robert Nkemdiche as my pick to make some noise this year. Selected as the 30th pick in the first round of the 2016 draft, the Cardinals had high hopes for Nkemdiche. However, last year was a bust as Nkemdiche only played 5 games and wasn’t very productive at all due to injuries. This year he was forgotten by most IDP players until he showed off his skills again in the week 1 preseason game after some splash plays. In my IDP startup this offseason, which took place at the beginning of June, Nkemdiche lasted until the 28th round of a 14 team league. I see him being a producer on the field this year and being a solid player for years to come.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are another team without a lot of offensive weapons, and that makes it hard. There’s little risk involved with these receivers based on their draft slots. My sleeper pick is the rookie wide receiver, Cooper Kupp. For this to be correct, Jared Goff is going to need to improve. I see Kupp being the safety blanket for Goff and catching more balls than expected. This was evident in Saturday’s preseason game against the Raiders with Kupp catching 6 balls, on 7 targets, for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Former Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith called Kupp the best WR in the draft during the combine. He stated that he has all the intangibles to become a very solid NFL WR. His offensive rookie ADP on DFF is currently 29, and it appears to be falling. I’m taking full advantage of that and drafting him wherever I can. I see Cooper Kupp emulating Jarvis Landry in a couple of years. This is why I went out and targeted Kupp in all my non-IDP leagues and own him in 80% of my leagues while still trying to acquire him in my last 2. My hot take for this article, Kupp scores more points this year than Sammy Watkins does.
The Rams made a bold move trading for Sammy Watkins in an attempt to help Goff’s development. While positive for Goff, it is negative for Watkins, and I’m avoiding him this year and beyond. I try not to be a Watkins hater. I just can’t get behind the hype every year about how he is going to be a top 5-10 WR. His ADP is too early for my tastes. I didn’t like his situation in Buffalo and like it even less as a member of the Rams. I still fear the foot injury could reoccur and with an even less explosive offense, he could just be a decoy for my boy Kupp.
One of my favorite breakout candidates for the 2017 season is Jatavis Brown. Brown comes into his second year as the starting inside linebacker for the Los Angeles Chargers. “Los Angeles Chargers.” Still can’t get used to that. Brown quietly had a very productive 2016 season amassing 79 combined tackles while only starting 7 games. Coming into his second season, I see him finishing the year with more than 100 tackles if he stays healthy. This young LB is a tackling machine who could fill up stat sheets and add fantasy points to teams looking for a sleeper LB. I’m all over Brown this year and moving forward.
San Francisco 49ers
I’ve undervalued this WR for most of his career but now I feel is the time to invest in him. That player is Pierre Garcon. He should become a vital part of the offense this year with Kyle Shanahan planning to use him heavily in the passing game. His current ADP on 100 puts him as 9th round pick in 12 team leagues. I’m on board with that pick as he should be WR1 for the 49ers at season’s end.
Garcon had a solid year last year putting up 79 catches for over a 1000 yards and 3 TDs. I see a similar amount of catches and yards this year with a slight uptick in TDs, maybe 5 or 6. Garcon, who ended last season as the WR32, would have ended as WR15 with just 3 more TDs. For a player I’ve avoided most all his career, I’m jumping on the bandwagon now.
This time of year it’s hard to determine which rumors are true and which of are figments of beat writer’s imagination. Every other day there is another blurb about Carlos Hyde either receiving praise or of him soon to be replaced. Although I’m a Carlos Hyde fan, I’ve sold him this offseason and will continue to do so. First and foremost his health is a major concern for me, he’s missed 14 games in his first three seasons.
Secondly, I like what the 49ers did in drafting Joe Williams, and I think he will push Hyde this year if Hyde doesn’t contribute right out of the gates. Hyde’s ADP of 48 puts him at the end of the 4th round, and I have plenty of other targets I like there better. I’ll be eating my words if Shanahan finds a way to turn him in Devonta Freeman, but I just don’t see it.
Arik Armstead selected 17th in the 2015 draft, appears to be a player San Francis wants to use to rush the passer. Armstead showed up to camp at his lightest weight since high school in preparation for his role of a pass rusher. Injuries derailed his season last year, and a new scheme might be just what he needs. I drafted him in the 35th round of my most recent IDP startup in July. Only 23 years old, he could pay some serious returns the next handful of years for such a late draft pick. Fully healed from his shoulder issue, I think it’s his time to set his mark on the NFL.
Thanks for reading and please give me a follow @DFF_MattK.