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NFC West Player Analysis

Arizona Cardinals

QB Kurt Warner:  The success of the Arizona Cardinals this season will largely hinge on Kurt Warner’s health.  Warner played solidly last season when healthy.  With the prolific receiving duo in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald and the addition of all-pro caliber running back Edgerrin James, Warner should produce excellent numbers IF he can stay healthy.  But the gutsy Warner, who hangs in tough in the pocket, just takes too many hits at time.  Warner is a risky fantasy pick as far as potential injury is concerned.  But the reward could be large because of the offense and receivers he has.

QB Others: Third year QB John Navarre and this year’s first round pick Matt Leinart will battle for the backup position.  Whoever ends up as the primary backup will probably get to play some because of the questionable durability of Warner.  However, neither Navarre nor Leinart has the necessary experience to succeed at the top level at this point of their careers.

RB Edgerrin James: Should continue to be one of the top double threat running backs in the league and in all fantasy leagues.

RB Others: Marcel Shipp and JJ Arrington will be the backups, but neither has much fantasy value unless James gets injured.  Even if that happens, you will probably be looking at a split carries situation.

WR Anquan Boldin:  Simply one of the best receivers in football and should have no problem duplicating last year’s numbers and catching a few more TDs.

WR Larry Fitzgerald:  Fitzgerald blossomed into a top flight receiver in the league last year.  He would make a great number one receiver in any fantasy team.

WR Others:  Former number one pick Bryant Johnson is an excellent third receiver for the Cardinals and could step in and do a solid job as a starter in the case that Boldin or Fitzgerald goes down with an injury.  He has some sleeper value.

TE Eric Edwards: The third year TE had not put up much fantasy numbers in his first two seasons.  Nothing big should be expected.

TE Others: Third round pick Leonard Pope has a lot of potentials and should eventual become the starter and has some sleeper value.  Adam Bergen caught 28 passes as rookie last season will also compete for the TE spot.

K Neil Rackers: The strong legged Rackers has emerged into a top kicker in the league.


St. Louis Rams:

QB Marc Bulger: New head coach Scott Linehan’s offense is QB friendly.  With the receiving corp still intact, Bulger should be able to put up really good numbers as he has done in the past.

QB Others: Gus Frerotte has been brought in to provide insurance at the QB position.  He was in Linehan’s system last season in Miami and should be able to do a solid job if Bulger should get injured.

RB Steven Jackson: He was under used in former head coach Mike Martz’s pass happy offensive system.  Look for Jackson to improve his numbers this season in the new and more balance offensive system.

RB Others: Moe Williams and Tony Fisher will back up for Jackson.  Neither has much fantasy value at this point.

WR Torry Holt: He continues to be the Rams’ goto receiver and one of the top receivers in the league.  He will also make a fantastic number one receiver in any fantasy team.

WR Isaac Bruce: He missed 5 games last seasons due to injury.  Look for the 34 years old Bruce’s workload be reduced and lose more playing time to young Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald.  He will probably be a solid 3rd or 4th receiver in a fantasy team.

WR Others: Kevin Curtis is a solid third receiver for the Rams and has some sleeper value.  Shaun McDonald has shown some sparks last season but maybe limited this season as the 4th receiver with the new offense that would be using more TE set.

TE Joe Klopfenstein: He could be a good sleeper pick.  The Rams’ 2nd round pick has a real good shot at winning the starting TE job.

TE Others: Fellow rookie 3rd round pick Dominque Byrd is in the mix.

K Jeff Wilkins:  He will kick in 10 dome games this season and only one outdoor game in December at Oakland.  Wilkins should have another real good season.


San Francisco 49ers:

QB Alex Smith: The progress of Alex Smith’s development has been slow and he has not been impressive in training camp so far.  His receiving corp features Antonio Bryant, who had some previous success, and a bunch of unproven young receivers.  Of the top two TEs Alex Smith has, Eric Johnson was out the entire season last year with a foot injury and Vernon Davis is a rookie.  Alex Smith may someday be a solid NFL QB but probably not this season.  He has limited fantasy value at this point.

QB Trent Dilfer: Brought in to be the veteran backup.  His fantasy value is minimal at this point.

RB Kevan Barlow: He is battling Frank Gore for the starting job.  Whoever ends up not winning the starting job would probably still be getting 10 carries or so per game.  Barlow has had 2 bad seasons in a row and isn’t really showing any sign of turning around.  However, he is probably still worth picking up in a later round as a sleeper pick.

RB Frank Gore: He has a real good shot at winning the starting running back job and be a real solid running back.  Frank Gore would be a good number 3 running back on your fantasy team.

RB Others: Maurice Hicks has shown some good abilities when given the chance.  But with the other two running backs in the mix, Hicks won’t get enough touches to produce good fantasy numbers.

WR Antonio Bryant: He should have a solid season as the 49ers’ new goto receiver.

WR Arnaz Battle: The 4th year receiver is still unproven but has a chance this season to establish himself.  Could be a good sleeper pick.

WR Others: Rookie Brandon Williams, 2nd year receiver Rasheed Marshall and free agent signee Bryan Gilmore will fight for the 3rd and 4th receiver spots.  However, none of them has much fantasy value at this point.

TE Eric Johnson: He was out all last season with a foot injury after catching 82 passes two years ago.  Eric Johnson is a capable receiving tight end but his fantasy value has decreased since the 49ers drafted Vernon Davis in the first round.

TE Vernon Davis: He has tremendous talents and potentials.  Not a safe fantasy pick because this is only his rookie season but could pay off big.

K Joe Nedney: He is a really good kicker.  But his fantasy value depends on how well the 49ers’ offense can move the ball.  Can they move the ball close enough for field goals in a consistent basis?


Seattle Seahawks:

QB Matt Hasselbeck: He is one of the top quarterbacks in the league.  With the offensive system and players pretty much remain intact, there is no reason why he wouldn’t continue to be.

QB Others: 4th year quarterback Seneca Wallace will be the main backup followed by second year man David Greene.  Neither has much fantasy value unless something happens to Hasselbeck.

RB Shaun Alexander: Last year’s rushing champ is in the prime of his career and is one of the top three players in the league and in all fantasy leagues.  Side note: He is on the cover of the John Madden’s NFL 2007 video game.

RB Others: Maurice Morris returns as the backup.  He has some sleeper value in the case that Alexander goes down with an injury.

WR Darrell Jackson: The Seahawks’ goto receiver should be good for 80+ receptions, 1,200+ yards and 10+ TDs.

WR Bobby Engram: Better suited as the 3rd receiver but was forced into the starting lineup last season because the Seahawks did not have a legit 2nd receiver.  Should probably consider him in the late rounds in your fantasy draft.

WR Others: Newcomer Nate Burleson, a former 1,000 yard receiver, has some sleeper value.  The speedy DJ Hackett and veteran Peter Warrick round up the rest of the receiving corp.  Skylar Fulton could be a super sleeper pick as he played well in NFL Europe.

TE Jerramy Stevens: The big tight end is slowly becoming a solid tight end in the league.  Probably best suited as your 2nd tight end if you can get an elite tight end in the early rounds of your fantasy draft.

TE Others: Veteran Itula Mili will serve as the backup but has no real fantasy value.

K Josh Brown: Should again be an excellent fantasy kicker with the Seahawks powerful offense.

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