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NFC West Player Analysis

Arizona Cardinals

QB Josh McCown – Josh McCown has been penciled in as the starting QB by new head coach Dennis Green and will be given all the opportunities to keep the job and to succeed. He started the last 3 games of last season including the thrilling last second come from behind victory in which McCown tossed a last second TD to knock the Minnesota Vikings out of the playoffs. In the 3 games McCown started, he really showed a lot of poise and abilities. McCown should be categorized as a fanatsy sleeper pick because he hasn’t done it in a whole season. But you will probably find him gone by the middle rounds in most fantasy drafts because of the tremendous potential. Look for McCown to have a up and down season like most young QBs would but with more ups than downs.

QB Other – Shaun King has been brought in as the veteran backup. But don’t expect him to put up any great numbers even if he gets to play because of his limited ability. Rookie 7th round pick John Navarre from Michigan could be a super sleeper in dynatsy fantasy leagues. If McCown ever falters, Navarre could be the man Coach Green turns to. The last 3 QBs came out of Michigan right before Navarre were Brian Griese, Tom Brady and Drew Henson; all have made noise in the NFL.

RB Emmitt Smith – 35 years old Smith will begin this season as the starter as Coach Green explained that Smith’s running style fits the new offensive system better than Marcel Shipp. However, the Cardinals’ offense will focus on the passing game, so expect no more than a 600 yards rushing season from Smith if he lasts the whole season.

RB Marcel Shipp – Shipp suffered a broken leg during training camp and probably won’t be back until late October the earliest.  He was on verge of becoming a solid NFL RB but was demoted to number 2 before training camp and now the injury setback.

RB Other – Damien Anderson and Josh Scobey are now fighting for the number 2 spot until Shipp returns.  Neither one has done much nor shown any flashes in their young career so far.

WR Anquan Boldin – Anquan Boldin had a spectacular rookie season last year even with inconsistency at the QB position and practically no one at the other WR spot. This year, a new pass oriented offense is implemented, the other WR spot has been upgraded so other team can’t be double teaming on Boldin. Look for Boldin to continue to be one of the top WRs in the league.

WR Larry Fitzgerald – The number 3 overall pick from the draft will benefit from having a pass oriented offense and Anquan Boldin at the number 1 receiver spot. Fitzgerald will start the season as the number 3 WR, but the Cardinals’ offense will be using a lot of 3 receiver set and Fitzgerald will get other teams’ nickel back for the most part. So, look for Fitzgerald to have a good start of his career.

WR Bryant Johnson – Last year’s 1st round pick is entering the season as the numer 2 recevier. However, Johnson won’t be putting spectacular numbers because the focus of the offense will be on Boldin and Fitzgerald for the most part.

TE Freddie Jones – Jones had a solid season last year with 55 receptions, 517 yards and 3 TDs. His numbers will be down this year because the passing game will now focus more on the WRs.

K Neil Rackers – Rackers was the third kicker the Cardinals used last year and held on to the job. He will a solid fantasy kicker as the Cardinals’ offense will be pretty good this year.

 

St Louis Rams

QB Marc Bulger – Bulger is now the clear number 1 QB with no competitation. With the Rams high flying offense, Bulger will again throw for hugh yardage, lots of TDs and also lots of INTs. If Bulger stays healthy all year, look for a 4000+ yard, 25+ TDs and 20+ INTs season. However, with Bulger dropping back to pass so much and the shaky offensive line, it would not be a bit surprising that Bulger gets really banged up like what happened to His predecessor Kurt Warner.

QB Other – Chris Chandler has been brought in to be the veteran backup. Chandler has a history of not being able to stay healthy when he played. So, if Bulger ever breaks down, rookie Jeff Smoker could really be the guy to take over which makes him a very interesting sleeper pick.

RB Marshall Faulk – Faulk may have reached the down slide of his brilliant career. He had not been able to stay healthy the past two seasons. The Rams have already started preparing for the future by spending a 1st round draft pick on RB Steve Jackson. Look for the Rams to reduce Faulk’s workload in order to keep him fresh and healthy.

RB Steven Jackson – Jackson will be Faulk’s eventual sucessor. But until then, which will be at least a season or two from now, he will only see occasional action.

RB Other – Lamar Gordon was once the future RB of the Rams. Arlen Harris had a couple of excellent games last season but doesn’t figure to be any big part of the Rams’ offense this season. Neither players will make much contribution to the Rams’ offense.

WR Torry Holt – Holt had a MVP type season and is no doubt one of the best WRs in the league.

WR Isaac Bruce – Bruce will turn 32 in November and his production has begun to decline. He was once a top WR but now should only be a 3rd WR at best on any fantasy team.

WR Other – Mike Furrey, Dane Looker, Shaun NcDonald and Kevin Curtis are all the mix for the 3rd and 4th receiver spots. While Furrey and Looker have shown that they can be decent possession type WRs, none of four has shown that they can lock down the 3rd WR spot.

TE Brandon Manumaleuna – The big TE did catch 4 TDs last season but he doesn’t figure to be any big part of the Rams’ offense.

K Jeff Wilkins – Wilkins is one of the top fantasy kickers because of the Rams’s high scoring offense. Plus, their eight home games and one road game (Atlanta) will be in dome this year.

 

San Francisco 49ers

QB Tim Rattay – Rattay started 3 games last season and played pretty well while completing 61 percent of his passes with 7 TDs and only 3 INTs. He is going to be the 49ers QB right now with very little competition behind him. However, gone are their two starting receivers Terrell Owens and Tai Streets. The 49ers are going to develope Rattay and the young receivers together and there will be some growing pains along with it.

QB Other – Ken Dorsey, Brandon Doman and rookie Cody Pickett combined had no NFL starts.

RB Kevan Barlow – Now that Garrison Hearst is gone, Barlow is finally taking over the lone starting RB job. But don’t expect great numbers from him because the 49ers running game won’t be effective until the passing game gets in gear which may take some times to develope with their young QB and WRs.

RB Other – Jamal Robertson is listed as the number 2 RB pretty much by default. He has very little fanatasy value at this point.

WR Cedrick Wilson – Wilson played reasonably well last season when given the chance. But he is only holding the starting spot for now until number 1 draft pick Rashaun Woods is ready.

WR Brandon Lloyd – Lloyd showed some brilliancies at the end of his rookie season last year when he got some playing times. He along rookie Rashaun Woods should be the 49ers starting receivers for years to come.

WR Rashaun Woods – Don’t expect great numbers for the rookie receiver just yet. The 49ers’ offense still needs a lot of refinement.

WR Other – Curtis Conway has been brought in to provide veteran leadertships, and 3rd round draft pick Derrick Hamilton is in the mix as well.

TE Eric Johnson – Johnson was out all last season with a neck injury. Very little can be expected from him.

K Todd Peterson – Peterson took over the kicking duty midway last season and is penciled as their kicker this season.

 

Seattle Seahawks

QB Matt Hasselbeck – Hasselbeck had a excellent season last year and received the pro-bowl honor. He should continue to develope and become a top tier QB in the league.

QB Other – Former Superbowl MVP Trent Dilfer provides solid veteran backup, while Brock Huard is back for the second tour of duty as the number 3 QB.

RB Shaun Alexander – Alexander had an excellent season last year (1,435 yards, 4.4 avg, 14 TDs). There should be no problem for him to repeat those numbers.

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’ leading receiver last season despite dropping a large number of passes. His focus in the off season was to correct this problem. So, look for even better numbers from Jackson this season.

WR Koren Robinson – Robinson’s production last season was down a bit from the previous season. Look for the 4th year receiver to bounce back and have a better season this year.

WR Other – Bobby Engram had an excellent season last year as the 3rd receiver catching 52 passes and scoring 6 TDs. It might be a bit too much to ask to repeat those numbers but Engram should continue to be a solid 3rd recevier for the Seahawks.

TE Itula Mili – Mili had another solid season for TEs and should continue again this season.

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

 

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