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NFC West Player Analysis

Arizona Cardinals

QB Kurt Warner – After not being able to sustain the starting QB job with the Rams and the Giants the past two seasons, Kurt Warner has been given another chance to start; this time for the Arizona Cardinals.  With the pass oriented offense and the talented receiving corps, Warner has a good shot of reviving his career.  Unlike when he was with the Rams and the Giants, the Cardinals are not waiting for the chance to start his backup.  Warner will probably never put up MVP type of numbers again, but he should be a solid number 2 QB on any fantasy team.

QB Other – Josh McCown was given the chance last season to start but looked overmatched most of the time.  Unless Kurt Warner struggles really badly or gets injured, McCown probably will not see any action.  John Navarre and Timmy Chang will battle for the 3rd QB spot.

RB JJ Arrington – Arrington will battle Marcel Shipp and Troy Hambrick for the starting RB position.  He looks impressive in camp so far and appears to have the inside track for the starting job.  However, even though Arrington’s future looks bright, some of the RB duty will probably be shared by Marcel Shipp who could still be a capable RB if healthy.

RB Marcel Shipp – Shipp was on verge of becoming a solid NFL RB two seasons ago, but injuries set him back each of the last two years.  If healthy, Shipp will probably share RB duty with JJ Arrington and Troy Hambrick.

WR Anquan Boldin – With his contract situation settled, Anquan Boldin will be the backbone of the Cardinals’ offense for years to come.  He should once again have an outstanding season and would make a very good number 1 WR on any fantasy football team.

WR Larry Fitzgerald – The second year receiver is expected to continue to make progress.  Look for Fitzgerald to have at least a solid season if not a breakout season.

WR Bryant Johnson – If the Cardinals’ offense could develop into the high power passing offense as head coach Dennis Green was accustomed to, former first round pick Bryant Johnson could have some real good sleeper value.  With Boldin and Fitzgerald at the top two WR spots, Johnson will face other teams’ nickle backs for the most part.

TE Eric Edwards – Could be lost for the season with a Pestoral Muscle Injury suffered during training camp.  Even if healthy, Edwards wasn’t exepected to put up big numbers anyway.  His backup is Bobby Blizzard who has virtually no NFL experience.

K Neil Rackers – Rackers had an excellent season last year especially with the long distance kicks.  With the offense expected to be improved this season, Rackers should be a very solid fantasy kicker.

St Louis Rams

QB Marc Bulger – Bulger had a very good season last year.  With the entire offense unit pretty much remained intact, we can expect Bulger to put up similar numbers as he did last season which are close to 4,000 passing yards and 25+ TDs.

QB Other – Jamie Martin has been brought back to be the backup QB.  Even though Martin knows the Rams’ offense well, it would be a signicant drop off in the Rams’ offense if Martin was forced to play.  Second year QB Jeff Smoker and rookie Ryan Fitzpatrick will battle for the number 3 QB spot.

RB Steven Jackson – Jackson had a pretty good rookie season last year and has taken the starting RB job from Marshall Faulk this season.  However, Faulk will still have his share of carries and catches.  Look for Jackson to take about 60% of the RB duty and Faulk to take 40%.

RB Marshall Faulk – Faulk’s workload has been reduced in order to keep him fresh and healthy.  He won’t give your fantasy team the consistent great numbers as he used to but you could still expect some brilliant performances from time to time.  Faulk would be an excellent later round pick-up and would give you great results if you spot start him in the right games.

RB Other – Arlen Harris probably won’t see much action unless there is an injury to Jackson or Faulk.

WR Torry Holt – Holt had a another outstanding season and should continue to be one of the best WRs in the league.

WR Isaac Bruce – Bruce had an excellent season last year at the age of 32.  But with the emergence of young receivers Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald, Bruce’s numbers could begin to dip.  Also, Bruce might have some health problem with a heart abnormality episode during mini-camp.  He could be a risky pick if you are counting on him to be the number 2 WR on your fantasy team.

WR Other – Kevin Curtis has an inside track at the number 3 WR spot and Shaun NcDonald is also in the mix.  Curtis is a decent sleeper pick and could emerge into a thousand yard receiver with the high-flying Ram’s passing offense.

TE Brandon Manumaleuna – The big TE doesn’t figure to be any big part of the Rams’ offense.  Roland Williams is back for the second tour of duty with the Rams as the backup TE.  Both have very little fantasy value.

K Jeff Wilkins – Wilkins continues to be one of the top fantasy kickers because of the Rams’s high scoring offense.  Plus, 10 of the Rams’ 16 games will be in dome this year.

San Francisco 49ers

QB Alex Smith – The overall number 1 pick will probably step right into the season as the starter.  However, for non-keeper leagues, he should only be viewed as a sleeper pick because rookie QBs usually struggle.

QB Other – Tim Rattay may see some action to give Smith some relief, but he really has minimal fantasy value at this point.

RB Kevan Barlow – Barlow struggled badly last season as a full time starter.  His situation this season doesn’t seem to have improved as the offense is going to struggle again with a rookie starting QB.  Look for Barlow to have a difficult time running the ball and he could even lose his starting job to rookie Frank Gore.

RB Other – Rookie Frank Gore will give Barlow a big push for the starting RB job.  He could be a super sleeper as he did display a lot of talents in college prior to his injury-filled senior year.  Maurice Hicks showed some sparks last season when given a chance to play.  He is in the mix for the backup RB spot.

WR Brandon Lloyd – Lloyd displayed big play capability from time to time last season but had some maturity issues.  With the offense expected to struggle this season, Lloyd’s numbers will probably be similar to last season’s at best.

WR Arnaz Battle – Battle had a total of 8 receptions last season and in his 2 year career, but he is expected to be the starting receiver.  Very little can be expected from Battle unless he shows a lot during the pre-season.

WR Other – Veteran Johnnie Morton was brought in to provide some leadership, but he is on the downside of his career.  Last years’s first round pick Rashaun Woods struggled so bad that he may be in danger of not making the team.

TE Eric Johnson – Had a breakout season last year even though the offense struggled all season.  He can be counted on to provide similar stats as he had last season.

K Joe Nedney – Nedney is a solid NFL kicker.  But his numbers won’t be good if the 49ers’ offense struggles as expected.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Matt Hasselbeck – Hasselbeck had another solid season last year.  He should have no problem duplicating his numbers from last season.

QB Other – Seneca Wallace is the backup QB by default.  He is untested and cannot be counted on.  Rookie David Greene is penciled in as the 3rd string QB.

RB Shaun Alexander – Alexander had another excellent season last year and should be able to repeat those numbers especially he is looking for a new long term contract.

RB Other – Maurice Morris is the number 2 RB once again.  He hasn’t gotten much chance to show what he is capable of.

WR Darrell Jackson – Jackson is the Seahawks’ top WR but continued to have a problem with dropped passes.  Expect Jackson to put together another good season like last season.

WR Jerome Pathon – The journeyman receiver may get the start at the other WR spot.  However, Pathon had never put up top receiver numbers in any season, so, not too much can be expected.  But keep an eye on Pathon as he may be finally getting the chance he needed.  Could be a good sleeper pick.

WR Other – Bobby Engram and Joe Jurevicius provide depth at the WR spots.

TE Itula Mili – Mili’s numbers were down from previous seasons.  At age of 32, his career might be heading downhill.

TE Other – The Seahawks are still waiting for former first round pick Jerramy Stevens to have a breakout season.

K Josh Brown – Brown is a solid fantasy kicker because the Seahawks have a good offense.

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