NFC West Divisional Breakdown Recap for 2021 (Fantasy Football)

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The Fantasy Footballers are going through divisional breakdowns now that we’re getting ever so close to fantasy draft season! The AFC wrapped up last week and the NFC South division on Tuesday’s episode, Andy, Mike, and Jason broke down the NFC West on Thursday.

In this recap, we’ll cover each team by highlighting their offensive & defensive statistics from 2020, check on ADPs for each player, give a quick look back and ahead at each team, and leave you with some of the biggest fantasy questions entering the season.

Seattle Seahawks

Head Coach: Pete Carroll

Offensive Coordinator: Shane Waldron

Offense

  • 19th in pace of play
  • 8th in points/game
  • 17th in total yards
  • 3rd in passing TDs
  • 19th in rushing TDs
  • 35 ppg in Weeks  1-9; dropped to 23 ppg in Weeks 10-17

Defense

  • 5th fewest rushing yards allowed
  • 31st in passing yards allowed
  • 15th in points allowed

Schedule

  • First Four Matchups: @ IND, vs TEN, @ MIN, @ SF
  • 2021 Projected Vegas Win Total: 10

Current ADP

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The biggest change for the Seahawks is new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, who replaces Brian Schottenheimer. The Seahawks parted ways with Schottenheimer because he didn’t run the ball enough in 2020, which is surprising given Schottenheimer’s reputation as a strongly run-first coordinator. As such, fantasy players can expect a run-first offensive philosophy in 2021 in Seattle.

While discussing the major Seattle fantasy pieces, Andy, Mike, and Jason mentioned that Russell Wilson has been very efficient historically, but also very streaky, meaning that Wilson is unlikely to be trusted as an every-week starter, thereby making his 6.04 ADP rather costly. Chris Carson, meanwhile, appears to be a great option as an RB2 because he has a high floor but a lower ceiling. In the receiver ranks, D.K. Metcalf had a fantastic 2020, demonstrating a more diverse route tree than many expected. He appears to be a lock for a top-10 finish. However, he’s being drafted at WR5, which is a bit risky given Seattle’s desire to orchestrate a run-first offense. Still, his TD upside makes him an enticing option even at his high ADP. Tyler Lockett, on the other hand, offers essentially the same risk/reward proposition as Metcalf, but at a much cheaper draft price. Finally, Gerald Everett could be a sneaky streaming option, but not someone the Footclan should be drafting because we can wait to see what the offense looks like, and his role within it, before picking him up off the waiver wire.

Biggest Fantasy Questions

  • How heavily will the Seahawks rely on the running game, and will it adversely affect the receiving options like it did in the second half of 2020?
  • Can the passing game demonstrate consistency week-to-week?
  • Will Gerald Everett have a bigger red-zone role than we expect given his previous connection to Shane Waldron (Note: Waldron was previously the passing game coordinator for the LA Rams)?
Los Angeles Rams

Head Coach: Sean McVay

Offensive Coordinator: Kevin O’Connell

Offense

  • 16th in pace of play
  • 22nd in points/game
  • 11th in total yards
  • 26th in passing TDs
  • 10th in rushing TDs
  • Dropped from 77% 11-personnel (3+WRs) in 2019 to 65% in 2020

Defense

  • 3rd fewest in rushing yards allowed
  • Fewest passing yards allowed
  • 1st in total points allowed

Schedule

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  • First Four Matchups: vs CHI, @ IND, vs TB, vs ARI
  • 2021 Projected Vegas Win Total: 10.5

Current ADP

Jared Goff wasn’t satisfying Sean McVay’s requirements, and so, the Rams sold the farm to acquire Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions. Goff had a down year last year, and couldn’t win close games, even with an elite defense backing him up. Stafford should be an upgrade for the entire offense, but particularly Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.

The loss of Cam Akers will hurt this offense because Darrell Henderson cannot offer what Akers did as an every-down running back. Jason thinks the loss of Akers will boost fantasy production from Kupp and Woods because those two players became McVay’s best weapons now that Akers is out for the season. However, Andy was quick to mention that expectations should be slightly tempered given the Rams elite defense, meaning that heavy passing output games may not be necessary in lower-scoring games.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Matthew Stafford hasn’t been an every-week fantasy starter since 2017, but he is being drafted as one now that he changed teams. That’s likely a mistake because Stafford may not be relied on as heavily as he was in Detroit, even though he now plays for an objectively better team. Still, Stafford has and will remain a great streaming option, just not a great draft pick at his ADP of QB11. Darrell Henderson is the running back to roster, now that Akers is out. Henderson offers upside, but his injury history suggests that he cannot carry the load alone. That makes Xavier Jones a name to remember, especially given his college production profile. Woods and Kupp are both great values, especially this year. Van Jefferson has the inside route on being the third receiving option, but Tyler Higbee might be the best deal of this group because he can be drafted very late, and has flashed in the past.

Biggest Fantasy Questions

  • What impact does Matthew Stafford have on the Rams offense as a whole?
  • Will the elite defense slow down games and lower the Rams points per game, like it did in 2020?
  • Will Higbee or a third wide receiver become the third receiving option in LA?
Arizona Cardinals

Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury

Offensive Coordinator: (Kliff Kingsbury)

Offense

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  • 2nd in pace of play
  • 13th in points/game
  • 6th in total yards
  • 13th in passing TDs
  • 4th in rushing TDs
  • 22nd in 3rd Down Conversion Rate tempered the offense

Defense

  • 22th in rushing yards allowed
  • 10th in passing yards allowed
  • 12th in points allowed

Schedule

  • First Four Matchups: @ TEN, vs MIN, @ JAX , @ LAR
  • 2021 Projected Vegas Win Total: 8.5

Current ADP

The Arizona offense was great in 2020 finishing in the top half in just about every major offensive category. Notably, Arizona was second in pace of place- a huge advantage for fantasy managers rostering a Cardinal.

The Footballers are really high on Kyler, with Andy asserting that “he cannot bust”. Kyler offers rushing upside plus a great passing profile as well. If Kyler falls to the 5th, Jason will draft him every single time. The running game is a bit more interesting with Chase Edmunds and James Conner both being drafted outside RB24. I like Edmunds more, and I think he has higher upside due to his role in the passing game, but Conner could annoyingly vulture touchdowns. Still, the starting running back for the Cardinals should be a benefit to your fantasy team. DeAndre Hopkins will continue to have a humongous target share, which might render meaningless all other receiving options. A.J. Green was signed for a lot of money, so he will be given a chance to break the 20% target share. Green is so cheap that he could be worth a flier. Rondale Moore is a highly touted rookie wide receiver, but probably not worth drafting. Maxx Williams is a tight end, but not one you should consider drafting.

Biggest Fantasy Questions

  • Will Kyler continue to run as much as he did in 2020 after the shoulder injury limited him in the second half?
  • Will one of Chase Edmunds or James Conner clearly outperform the other?
  • Can any receiver not named DeAndre Hopkins generate enough volume to become relevant?
San Francisco 49ers

Head Coach: Kyle Shanahan

Offensive Coordinator: Mike McDaniel

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Offense

  • 25th in pace of play
  • 21st in points/game
  • 15th in total yards
  • 19th in passing TDs
  • 10th in rushing TDs

Defense

  • 7th fewest rushing yards allowed
  • 4th fewest passing yards allowed
  • 17th fewest points allowed

Schedule

  • First Four Matchups: @ DET, @ PHI, vs GB, vs SEA
  • 2021 Projected Vegas Win Total: 10.5

Current ADP

Injuries dominated the headlines for the 49ers in 2020, being the second-most injured team over the past two decades using Football Outsiders “Adjusted Games Lost” metric! In addition, they have the most players cycle through their ACTIVE roster of any team since the merger (1966), suggesting that everything from the 2020 statistical profile can be thrown out. That said, the one thing we can expect is that the 49ers will continue to run the ball effectively, as that has always been their identity under Kyle Shanahan.

The starting quarterback position remains a question mark because Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the team even after the 49ers used a top-3 pick on Trey Lance. We have very little information at the moment, but early reports suggest that Jimmy G will at least start the year while Lance acclimates to NFL speed. With Jeff Wilson more or less out of the picture for 2020 with injury, the coveted 49ers running game appears to be siloed between Raheem Mostert and Trey Sermon. Trey Sermon is a clear value, even if he plays second fiddle to Mostert in 2020 because the 49ers should run the ball more than 500 times in a highly effective Shanahan scheme. Among the receiving options, Aiyuk, Samuel, and Kittle all dealt with injuries in 2020. Andy, Mike, and Jason all think that Aiyuk is the clear WR1, especially because Samuel is becoming a gimmick player with his hilariously low 2.2 aDOT. Aiyuk could break out as a second-year player. Finally, Kittle remains the primary target in this offense and appears to be a good value at his ADP.

Biggest Fantasy Questions

  • Who plays QB for the 49ers in 2020 and what effect does it have on the receiving options?
  • Can anyone stay healthy in San Fran?
  • Will Aiyuk have a second-year break-out, even if Kittle and Samuel stay healthy?

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