NFC West Divisional Podcast Recap for 2022
Before we get going, remember this is a general overview of the NFC West teams – focusing on off-season changes from last season to this season. Today the guys will give an overview of last year’s offense and on how the offense could function this season. Andy, Mike, and Jason will also share their take on who they think will take the division in 2022. If you want to dig deeper, head to the Ultimate Draft Kit and explore our tools, including consistency charts, market share, and the team opportunity in the dynasty pass.
Los Angeles Rams (12-5)
Let’s go West, young man, and start with the Super Bowl Champion Rams. Los Angeles had a steady offense led by Matthew Stafford, ranking seventh in points per game. Their one area of concern was the deficiency in RBs. From Sony Michel to Darrel Henderson to Cam Akers return (?), the Rams never really looked overwhelmingly solid running the ball. WR Allen Robinson joins the team as Robert Woods and Sony Michel depart, and OBJ might follow. Jason mentions that McVay wants to have a running attack and is hoping Cam Akers will be the dude despite the past Achilles injury. You have to call your shot on whether Akers is fully recovered, and Jason thinks it is worth taking the shot since the team will be all in on him. Mike believes he will either crush his ADP or reaggravate his injury and be horribly inefficient. Matt Stafford finished as the QB5 in 2021; he is currently being drafted as the QB12, and he gains Allen Robinson as a pass catcher. People are nervous about Robinson as he burned countless fantasy owners last season, and the guys are low on him this year. If OBJ returns, he probably will not be ready until November, so that plus the existence of Van Jefferson all come into play when considering if Allen Robinson will have a resurgent year. Las Vegas says the Rams will win 10.5 games in 2022.
Arizona Cardinals (11-6)
The way the season ended, it is hard to believe the Cards finished second in the division, but after their stellar start, they managed to garner eleven wins. They were also 8-1 on the road. It will be challenging at the beginning of the year to find the fantasy stars outside of Kyler – Hopkins is suspended for six games, and Chase Edmonds and Christian Kirk have departed. Arizona traded for Marquise Brown, so he could prove a fantasy darling, especially for the first part of the season. Without Hopkins, Kyler will need someone besides Zack Ertz to throw to, especially with his deep pass-catching abilities. Transitioning to two TE sets last season with Ertz and then drafting Trey McBride, the Cardinals may find an abundance of their offense this way. McBride is only worth a look in dynasty, but to Mike’s chagrin, you might have to draft Ertz in a redraft league. Kyler’s rushing attempts went down last season, probably due to his injury, but he was still the fourth-best QB in points per game. Both AJ Green (bleh) and Rondale Moore are still in Arizona, and Mike thinks Moore is still very interesting and worth a late-round dart throw. TD overperformer James Connor returns as RB1 for the Cards, and even if he scores less, he should still have a solid fantasy season. Arizona added Darrel Williams behind him, and Eno Benjamin is being touted as a great backup. Andy still expects double-digit TDs from Connor. The projected win total for Arizona this year is 8.5 games.
San Francisco 49ers (10-7)
The 49ers ended with a bang last season, almost reaching the Super Bowl. RB-wise, Jason thinks Elijah Mitchell will dominate this year, and going in late round five in drafts right now, he is all in. Trey Lance will certainly vulture some rushing TDs, but Andy thinks Mitchell will be solid. Shanahan also added Rookie Tyrion David-Price to continue to muddy the RB room. Another RB (slash WR), Deebo Samuel, is also on the team and coming off an incredible season. Samuel had fourteen TDs in 2021 and might be due for some regression, especially with a change in QB, but Andy thinks we should have more confidence in him than we do. The Trey Lance train is moving quickly, and Mike is captaining it – he still believes in Lance’s legs and arms. Shanahan and his stellar offensive play calling will help set up Lance for success. He has a cathedral-level ceiling. To close out SF, the guys are ok drafting George Kittle at his average ADP (the late third round) as the fourth TE off the board. If Kittle slips in your draft, Jason says to go for it. The projected Vegas win total is ten for San Francisco.
Seattle Seahawks (7-10)
The Russell Wilson era comes to a close, and with that, offensive comparisons seem moot. The one thing that is comparable is their desire to run the football; last season, they were 31st in pass attempts. With Drew Lock or even Geno Smith, rushing seems inevitable. There is recent chatter regarding Jimmy G. heading to the Pacific Northwest as well. That being said, Andy still believes that TE Noah Fant is worth a look at the end of your draft. The elephant in the room is how fantasy owners should value DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett – they are going as WR 15 and WR39, respectfully. Andy is going with Lockett with that later ADP, but the guys are hesitant to pursue any parts of this Seahawks passing game. RB Rashaad Penny might be the only bright spot in this offense. Seattle also drafted RB Ken Walker, who is being drafted multiple rounds ahead of Penny, which to Mike seems unfair. If Penny stays healthy, he is a great draft day value. The projected win total for Seattle is 5.5.
Wrap – Up
It might be a toss-up between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers regarding winning the NFC West. A sneaky dynasty add from this division is the 49ers rookie WR Danny Gray. Keep your eye on him.