NFL Midpoint Evaluation: NFC West

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (5-2) –

Offensive Points per Game (10th) Yards per Game (7th) –

  • This may come as a surprise to some of you but Seattle has slowly morphed from the dominant defense that destroyed Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl a few years ago into a high-flying attack. Their run game has been pretty rough to watch but this offense can score through the air with the best of them.  If their O line could get it together and they could run the ball with any amount of certainty they’d be one of the best offenses in the NFL.

Defensive PPG Allowed (7th) YPG Allowed (17th) –

  • As I’ve said a few times in this article having a lower ranking of PPG than YPG means this defense is being stingy in the red zone. The Legion of Boom may no longer be what it once was but Seattle is still one of the better defensive units in the league.  They need to return to bolstering this defense with young talent through the draft and they may be able to continue their dominant ways but that won’t change this offseason.

Players above expectations –

  • Paul Richardson, before the season I hadn’t heard of this guy before and now he comfortably sits at WR 20. He had 28 points in week 8 thanks to his first 100 yard week and multi-touchdown day occurring simultaneously.  He has scored 8 points or more in 6 of his first 7 weeks so he has had production otherwise.  He’s the #1 deep threat on a top-tier passing offense, he has potential moving forward but he’s not likely to finish top 20.

Players below expectations –

  • Doug Baldwin, with higher-end WRs becoming harder to find for fantasy purposes I had Baldwin as high as 9th on my WR board. He sits right now at WR 24 with only breaking the century mark once so far and only 2 TDs.  If you’ve rostered this guy in previous seasons you’d know that he gets hot in the 2nd  Maybe there’s no correlation to that but considering where he sits compared to where he was projected I’d bet he does again.
  • Any Seattle RBs, it’s no secret that the O line in Seattle is terrible, arguably one of the worst units in the league. Management has had to sign a few key defensive players as well as signing Wilson to a large contract, leaving little room to bolster the O line.  The RB core suffers the most from this so it’s not entirely their fault how bad they’ve been.  They do receive some of the blame though, and it appears that Eddie Lacy is not NFL material.

2nd Half Outlook –

  • The LA Rams are definitely not going anywhere if the 1st half is an indication of how they should play out the season but Seattle is still one of the better teams in the league. If Zeke serves his suspension the only matchups they need to take seriously ahead will be vs. ATL, vs. PHI, @Jax, and vs. Rams.  Seattle is a monster at home and 3 of those 4 are at home with the easiest of the 4 being on the road.  The stars are simply aligning for Seattle.

Los Angeles Rams (5-2) –

Offensive Points per Game (2nd) Yards per Game (9th) –

  • Confounding to me for both categories. Last year this offense was one of the worst in football.  Gurley showed us back in 2015 that he is one of the better talents in the league but that the passing games wasn’t keeping defenses honest and the O line wasn’t opening up holes for him.  My-oh-my how things have changed.

Defensive PPG Allowed (12th) YPG Allowed (15th) –

  • The defense may not have played at this level last year but this is certainly a level they are capable of playing at. As they sit right now they are 9th in passing YPG allowed but 23rd in rushing yards allowed.  Their front 7 needs to start shutting down the run if they hope to make the playoffs and potentially win a game or 2 when they get there.

Players above expectations –

  • Todd Gurley, I already said how talented he is but I want to accentuate that. Gurley has the physical prowess to be the BEST running back in the NFL.  He was amazing in Georgia and has shown that his skills have all translated well to the professional level.  As long as he is healthy he should be one of the best RBs in fantasy for his career and he is highlighting, italicizing, bolding, and throwing an exclamation point behind that.
  • Jared Goff, drafting Jared Goff 1st overall in the NFL draft was criticized by almost everybody. He looked like a baby deer in the pocket last year, overwhelmed by the system, having no targets to throw to, and no protection from his line.  This year he has matured to the Nth degree and kept this team in every game so far this season.  He isn’t trying to do too much and he’s making throws that he needs to.  Next year or maybe the year after he will become a QB1 but I don’t see him making a big change by the end of this year (currently QB 18).

Players below expectations –

  • Sammy Watkins, Watkins was traded just before the start of the season from Buffalo to LA. Buffalo then signed Jordan Matthews in his stead.  That should have been a sign to everyone that Watkins either has too much drama or he just isn’t getting it done.  He did enjoy some success in Buffalo but he is one of those WRs that needs to be peppered with targets in order to do some damage.  He sits at WR 51 right now with no sign of improving greatly.

2nd Half Outlook –

  • Some analysts probably have the Rams winning the division and there is still a good chance that they can do that. I feel that the Seahawks are the more established team and has the easier schedule moving forward.  Week 15 these teams meet in Seattle and that should be the most heavily weighted game these 2 play going forward.  A wild card birth is on their horizon if they can’t win the division.  Next year this should be even more fun to watch.

Arizona Cardinals (3-4) –

Offensive Points per Game (27th) Yards per Game (16th) –

  • Considering this team lost who is arguably the single greatest fantasy asset in football (David Johnson) in the 1st week there is no surprise that they have struggled offensively. The offense is run entirely through him, he had more touches last year than any other RB and beside Le’Veon Bell, it wasn’t close.  His loss has allowed opposing teams to not respect the run and defend the pass with ease.  With Palmer also gone, there’s no hope here.

Defensive PPG Allowed (30th) YPG Allowed (24th) –

  • This defense is one of the top 10 units in the league when everyone is healthy and the offense can provide any sort of production. Since they are on the field for what is the majority of every game they have been worn down and beaten.  Things aren’t really looking up for them the remainder of the season either.

Players above expectations –

  • Larry Fitzgerald, father time just keeps on plugging away at what is undoubtedly a Hall-of-Fame career. Fitz is PPR gold considering he has the reception title last year and has been the lone bright spot in this fantasy wasteland.  He sits at WR 7 at the time of this writing but we know that is likely to decline as the season wears down.  Not only has that been the case over the past few seasons but Drew Stanton isn’t doing him any favors either.

Players below expectations –

  • Everybody else, really, this team has nothing else going for them now. Stanton sucks, once DJ went down the running game was absolutely putrid (it is doing well now with the revival of AP but I think we are more likely going to see numbers closer to his week 7 total, 11/21/0, than his week 6 total, 26/134/2), and the defense has been flat.  I don’t really see much going for this team other than a farewell tour for AP.

2nd Half Outlook –

  • Not good. As I just said, there is little going for this team right now.  Garnering a good draft position to take one of the QBs in this next draft class should be their goal.  Palmer is done and this O line needs to be revamped as well.  Arians may need to go too as throwing a hail Mary then handing it off every other play won’t cut it for a rookie gunslinger.

San Francisco 49ers (0-8) –

Offensive Points per Game (29th) Yards per Game (24th) –

  • Not surprising in the least. Heading into this season the 49ers were projected to be one of the bottom 3 teams by just about everybody, except maybe a few people in San Francisco.  With Kyle Shanahan now in control there is hope for this team moving forward but he needs to start building his team his way.  With the new signing of Jimmy Garoppolo it looks like that can begin as soon as the next few weeks.

Defensive PPG Allowed (31st) YPG Allowed (28th) –

  • Not surprising either. This defense doesn’t have much talent, and by that I mean they are arguably the worst unit in the NFL.  Moving forward I don’t expect much more from them but as the season draws to a close they may start utilizing some younger guys and sometimes their heart and desire to prove themselves is enough to better the defense statistically for a few games.

Players above expectations –

  • Carlos Hyde, there were reports in training camp that Hyde wasn’t getting along with the new coaching staff. That put a little bit of a damper on his value come draft day but they must have ironed things out as he now sits at RB 11 for fantasy.  His current 4.0 YPC average isn’t bad but he has struggled mightily in a few games this season.  Moving forward his stock shouldn’t change much, for better, or for worse.

Players below expectations –

  • Pierre Garcon, I really am not sure if Garcon is capable of being the only real target on a team but that is what he was coming into the season and I expected him to get fed 10-15 targets a game. With his placement on IR he is obviously done for the season which means no more fantasy production from him.  It’s unfortunate because it would have been interesting to see how he would have done with Garoppolo but it seems we must wait until 2018 to see.

2nd Half Outlook –

  • Considering they haven’t won a game yet I’m going to go with not good. They have a tough schedule moving forward (any schedule is tough for a team with no wins really) so it’s a battle for #1 between the 9ers and the Browns.  I think they will win a couple games as Garoppolo learns the system and is let loose by Kyle Shanahan.

 

*Featured image courtesy of thegamehaus.com*