NFC West Preview – Mitch Lawson (@DFF_MitchLawson)
What We Learned From Last Week:
Okay, maybe there’s some life in this offense yet. The Cowboys certainly aren’t pushovers on Defence, but the Seahawks came away with a win and produced some decent fantasy numbers along the way. Russell Wilson only attempted 26 passes but turned that into 192 yards and 2 TDs. Tyler Lockett led the Seahawks receivers in targets (6), receptions (4), and receiving yards (77). That’s a pretty brutal stat-line to nab the title of “best-in-show”, but that’s kind of the way this one went. Lockett is a low-end WR2 as long as Baldwin is hobbled, and Brandon Marshall (2-6-30) is more of a back-end WR3 option with TD upside.
Chris Carson was finally handed the reins to this rushing attack and he performed admirably. He handled 32 carries for 102 yards and a score to go with 2 catches for 22 yards. Best of all, he wasn’t gassed at all. What’s more, Rashaad Penny was invisible, and when he was involved, it wasn’t pretty. Chris Carson looks like he could be shaping up as the bellcow in Seattle. That translates to RB2 value based on volume alone, but if this offense can build on its performance he could climb even higher.
The ‘Hawks get the Cardinals in Arizona for week 4. Wilson and Carson represent the only true “locks” for starters, but Lockett will be worth starting in most leagues. Brandon Marshall and Will Dissly should only be started in deep leagues or desperate situations.
San Francisco 49ers
Uh oh. Jimmy Garoppolo can now join teammate Jerick McKinnon in singing the ACL blues. Both of them have now Left Their Knee in San Francisco. The news came down the pipeline Monday morning that Garoppolo will indeed miss the remainder of the 2018 season, making CJ Beathard the de facto starter in San Fran. In 2017, Beathard was forced into 5 starts and produced rather poorly. He completed 54.9% of his passes and threw just 4 TDs to his 6 INTs. He does rush the ball occasionally, as he added 3 TDs on the ground last year. Regardless, Beathard will not be a recommended roster add in anything but 2-QB leagues.
As for their performance this week, the 49ers finally had a big game from one of their RBs, as Matt Breida looked like an absolute stud. He rushed for 90 yards on 10 carries. He did have to check out of the game which allowed Alfred Morris to vulture a TD from him.
George Kittle continues to look like a TE1. The injury to Garoppolo might hurt his TD upside, but he should be a security blanket for Beathard. Marquise Goodwin was the best receiver in a very down week for the 49ers receivers. It’s also worth noting that Dante Pettis didn’t make a catch in this game, and looks droppable even in deep leagues with the Jimmy G injury.
The 49ers get the Chargers in Week 4. The Bolts do boast a pretty solid defense, but it hasn’t been showcased very well so far this season, getting shelled by the Chiefs and Rams, and allowing the Bills to put up 20 points on them in Week 2. Regardless, this is not going to be a lenient matchup for Beathard and the Niners. The only really enticing player on the 49ers offense is Kittle, but Matt Breida should see a decent amount of work and should be a FLEX in PPR leagues. Marquise Goodwin and Alfred Morris should only be started in very deep leagues.
Hallelujah, He is Rosen! Yes, Sam Bradford has finally been exposed for the backup Quarterback that he is, and my 2018 draft class QB Golden Child is going to lead the way.
Granted, Josh Rosen didn’t light it up on Sunday. In fact, he was bad. But try getting plugged into your first game with four minutes left and having to face the Bears’ defense, and you can guess the result.
Rosen will get a full week of practice as a starter, and he’ll look to put up a good fantasy performance at home against the Seahawks. With the Seahawks gritty secondary, it won’t be a cakewalk, but I do think Rosen has the talent to hang with the big boys and start producing some more solid numbers than Bradford had. He’s worth picking up in deeper redraft leagues and is a priority add in 2 QB leagues.
Christian Kirk will get a big bump due to the Rosen news. In fact, Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson owners can expect a nice boost as well.
The Cardinals face the Seahawks at home, I’m expecting that Rosen won’t quite be startable, but he’ll have a decent outing. Larry Fitzgerald is a solid WR2 in all formats and Christian Kirk is an interesting high-upside FLEX play. Despite a slow start to the season, this should be DJ’s best game of the year so far, and he’s a solid RB1 for me this week.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams kept right on rolling to a 3-0 start thanks to fine performances in every aspect of the game. Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and 3 TDs, while Todd Gurley put up 156 total yards and a TD. Robert Woods found the end zone twice and was the leading receiver in receptions and yardage as well. Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp both had respectable fantasy outings as well.
Needless to say, this is an offense that produces fantasy points in bunches. This week represents a bit of a head-scratcher when it comes to matchups. On paper, facing the Vikings on Thursday Night seems like a recipe for disaster. But after watching the Vikes get shelled by the Buffalo Bills, one has to wonder if the Rams will bulldoze them as well.
Todd Gurley is a no-doubt RB1, Jared Goff should be a playable QB option. Cooks, Kupp and Woods are all startable as well.
What to Watch For:
Is Rashaad Penny droppable in Fantasy?
The Seahawks’ last outing was a deep blow to Penny’s rest-of-season value. Carson was all over the field and had himself a decent day despite facing a tough defense. Penny managed just 5 yards on 3 carries and wasn’t targeted in the passing game. Perhaps Pete Carroll is going to get him more involved in the future, perhaps not. My money is on “not”.
Regardless, a date in the desert with the Cardinals will likely spell the end to Penny’s 2018 relevancy. Of course, it’s hard to say that with any confidence thanks to the strangeness of Carroll’s decision making in that regard.
Who Brings the Boom:
David Johnson – DJ has been very disappointing thus far, but I think Rosen will boost his prospects this week. After seeing DJ shred the Bears secondary on his 21-yard TD on Sunday, I have to believe that Mike McCoy will actually follow through on his promise to use DJ as a receiver more often.
The Seahawks defense is absolutely bleeding points to opposing RBs, allowing 132.7 yards per game on the ground. That’s after facing Phillip Lindsay/Royce Freeman, Jordan Howard, and Ezekiel Elliott. David Johnson should continue that trend. I’m predicting 24 carries and 6 receptions for 145 total yards and 2 TDs.
Who Drops the Ball:
Marquise Goodwin – A popular start last week, Goodwin managed to find the endzone with one of his three receptions. He’ll be in for a farther tougher matchup in week 4. The Chargers may not be showing it so far, but they have a talented defense, and this should be a statement game for them.
With Beathard under center, I think Goodwin could be a big bust this week, as Derwin James and Eric Weddle will be all over the 49ers this week. I predict 2 catches on 6 targets for 20 yards and no TD.
Seattle Seahawks 31, Arizona Cardinals 27
Los Angeles Rams 27, Minnesota Vikings 17
San Francisco 49ers 6, Los Angeles Chargers 24