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NFC West Fantasy Breakdown



QB: Matt Leinart

With Kurt Warner retiring, the Cardinals handed the keys to Leinart. Just a few years ago, Leinart was supposed to be the savior in

. Unfortunately, that would require him to throw a football. He was shaky, Warner came in, and that was that. It’s now Leinart’s team, but questions remain about arm strength and decision-making. Larry Fitzgerald is still there, but Anquan Boldin is gone, so Leinart will have to figure things out a bit. I’m not sold on him being all that great, but serviceable as a low-end QB2.

RB: Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells, Tim Hightower

Wells is the real deal. He can run the ball and he got better and better last season. He spent the offseason learning more, improving pass catching and blocking. He’s now the starter and should be a beast. Hightower might vulture some touchdowns from him at the goal line, but Wells is the guy.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet

Fitzgerald is still a fantastic receiver, but I’ve downgraded him a little based on Leinart’s noodle arm. I think he’s a second rounder, but don’t have serious issues with him going at the end of the first. Breaston always filled in admirably for Boldin, and Doucet is a solid No. 3 there, but it all comes back to Leinart. If you believe in him, then take these guys with confidence. If not, let someone else worry about it.

TE: None

San Francisco


QB: Alex Smith

He’s always had the arm. The problem was his head. Now that he’s got that straightened out and has some confidence, he might be a good guy to target for your QB2 or to pair with another guy and play the matchups. He’s got weapons; he just needs to execute.

RB: Frank Gore

Gore is a stud. Last year he was a monster, and he should be a top five pick this year. Head coach Mike Singletary wants to run the ball, and drafted two enormous offensive linemen to help in that capacity. Without a doubt, Gore will be a beneficiary of that upgrade to the line and should be grabbed early in Round 1.

WR: Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan

These guys both have things to prove. Crabtree reported late last year after a lengthy holdout, but showed flashes of brilliance. Morgan has a lot of raw athletic talent, but needs to put it all together. Singletary is a master motivator and will get every ounce of production out of these guys.



Once Smith took over at quarterback,

took a huge step forward last year. His freakish athletic ability has started to pay dividends. He’s a top five guy, and should be drafted with confidence this year.



QB: Matt Hasselbeck

Hasselbeck scares me. He’s another year older and he has a bad back. He has few weapons through the air and hasn’t really been healthy, or good for that matter, in a few years. I’d stay away if you can. New head coach Pete Carroll should have drafted his quarterback of the future this past year. He could have taken Jimmy Clausen, but instead traded for

San Diego
third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst, who is now waiting in the wings. I have no problem with trading for a guy with upside, but there was a reason he was holding a clipboard in

San Diego

RB: Justin Forsett, Julius Jones

Forsett is a slippery little guy. He’s going to get the bulk of the carries and be utilized on passing downs out of the backfield. He put up solid numbers when given opportunities last year and will do so again. He has Jones to compete with, but that can only be seen as a plus. Later in drafts, Jones can be grabbed, but I mean really late.

WR: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deon Butler

Houshmandzadeh was supposed to bring something to the Seahawks last year. He didn’t. He’s still the number one option, but he’s not a very good one. I’m not sure if he was just benefitting from having Chad Ochocinco on the other side, or if he just got old really fast, but he was disappointing last year.

, on the other hand, has looked good in camp, and has coaches excited.

TE: John Carlson

Carlson is a decent tight end option for fantasy owners. He’s certainly capable of being a top 12 guy at the position, but if you take him, I’d wait on it if you can.

St. Louis


QB: Sam Bradford


is very accurate, which is good. His offensive line stinks, which is bad. You can’t deliver balls on the money to your receivers if you’re on your back all day. Don’t be that guy.

RB: Steven Jackson


is a stud. Put him on a good team, and he’d be threatening 2,000 yards every season. As it is, he still puts up 1,500. Put him down for that again and draft him mid-first round.

WR: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton

Yikes. Bradford’s

receivers were probably better. Avery has some skills and

is alright, but if you’re taking one of these guys, it better be as a late-round flier or because you’re related to them.

TE: Randy McMichael

Young quarterbacks usually like their tight ends. They’re like security blankets. He had Jermaine Gresham in college, so McMichael has some upside. On second thought, if you draft anyone on the Rams other than

, you should be mocked.

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