NFC West Fantasy Review

| 4 years ago
Brian Quick

NFC West Fantasy Review


There are different stats I like to look at when looking back at the season. As with any stats, some are limited by injuries, sample size, or just regular prejudice. Each stat will be the same throughout the series, but putting together a comprehensive review would take forever and frankly would be 400 pages long. Luckily for you, I have split up each one into the most important (and unusual) stats to compare within each division.

With the majority of free agency settled, the players have been moved into the appropriate divisions. Player movement is included in the notes and commentary follows each table. I have included any relevant players, based on team changes and popular “sleeper” candidates. Stats are based on PPR (points per reception).

 

Quarterback

Carson Palmer was traded to the Cardinals for slightly less than he was acquired for.

Player

Points Per Drop Back

Points Per Game

Carson Palmer

0.359 (23rd)

14.27 (16th)

Russell Wilson

0.543 (6th)

16.19 (13th)

Colin Kaepernick

0.577 (4th)

17.75 (8th)

Sam Bradford

0.362 (22nd)

13.75 (20th)

 

Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick lit the playoffs on fire with their quarterback play, making the quarterback class extremely deep for fantasy drafts this fall. Kaepernick’s 17.75 points per game stems from his time as starter, ranking eighth. That doesn’t include Kaepernick’s torching of Green Bay in the playoffs for four total touchdowns, two throwing and two rushing. Wilson went bananas the second half of the season, totaling a staggering 89 more points over the last eight games than the first eight. For those without a calculator handy, that is 11 points per game more. At 21.9 points per game (Wilson’s second half), he would have ranked first overall in front of Drew Brees. Sam Bradford lost Danny Amendola to the Patriots, but the emergence of Brian Quick and Chris Givens should help soften that blow.

 

Running Back

Rashard Mendenhall joins the Cardinals from the Steelers. Steven Jackson left the Rams for the Atlanta Falcons.

Player

Touches/Missed Tackle

Carries/15y+ Run

Points Per Snap

Points Per Touch

LaRod Stephens-Howling

4.5 (11th)

27.5 (67th)

0.253 (87th)

0.69 (79th)

Ryan Williams

6.5 (38th)

29.0 (70th)

0.168 (109th)

0.37 (114th)

Rashard Mendenhall

7.5 (58th)

25.5 (60th)

0.321 (48th)

0.56 (103rd)

Marshawn Lynch

5.4 (23rd)

14.3 (20th)

0.381 (23rd)

0.79 (43rd)

Kendall Hunter

7.4 (57th)

24.0 (55th)

0.373 (24th)

0.79 (42nd)

Frank Gore

7.0 (47th)

16.1 (27th)

0.296 (62nd)

0.78 (45th)

Daryl Richardson

8.1 (62nd)

19.6 (35th)

0.267 (78th)

0.69 (78th)

Isaiah Pead

3.3 (4th)

10.0 (4th)

0.238 (91st)

0.77 (52nd)

Ryan Williams will once again get a shot to be the starter in Arizona, if he beats out Rashard Mendenhall and stays healthy. Stephens-Howling will remain a third-down back and will have minimal value in fantasy unless both Mendenhall and Williams get hurt, which is entirely possible. Marshawn Lynch gets a huge bump in value with Percy Harvin joining the squad and Russell Wilson getting another year to prepare. Lynch jumped up to fourth in my rankings behind only Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, and Adrian Peterson. Yes, in that order. Frank Gore should remain the main option in San Francisco for another year.

The hottest debate within this division is whether it will be Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, or another running back that will take the lead in Jeff Fisher’s offense. While Pead might have scored fourth in both touches per missed tackle and carries per 15 yards or more long run, he only touched the ball 13 times. The Rams giving Richardson so much playing time tells me it is his job to lose going forward. Pead certainly has the talent to take over the top running back position, but Richardson showed something in St. Louis and Fisher isn’t afraid to play the top player, no matter at what point they were drafted.

 

Wide Receiver

Danny Amendola left St. Louis for New England and Percy Harvin joined the Seahawks from Minnesota. Brandon Gibson left the Rams for the Dolphins.

 

Player

Points Per Snap

Points Per Catchable Target

Larry Fitzgerald

0.166 (84th)

2.30 (84th)

Michael Floyd

0.199 (58th)

2.26 (88th)

Percy Harvin

0.373 (1st)

2.53 (61st)

Sidney Rice

0.210 (47th)

3.16 (9th)

Golden Tate

0.212 (45th)

3.35 (5th)

Michael Crabtree

0.362 (3rd)

2.72 (39th)

Chris Givens

0.204 (56th)

2.79 (31st)

Brian Quick

0.206 (51st)

2.97 (16th)

I wonder if Larry Fitzgerald cries himself to sleep at night. There are all these acceptable quarterbacks around the league and the Cardinals just can’t seem to find one or get one. Carson Palmer is an upgrade over the carousel of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, and Ryan Lindley though. Michael Floyd, Fitzgerald’s long-time friend, gains the most from Palmer coming to town. Floyd will work endlessly with Fitzgerald and the Cardinals will have a hard time keeping up with the other three teams in the division. Percy Harvin joins a familiar offense, but it will be hard to tell which wide receiver will be the right one each week as Sidney Rice and Golden Tate were efficient last year, ranked ninth and fifth respectively in points per target. Michael Crabtree was set to be an elite receiver before his Achilles injury.

Brian Fontaine, PFF’s resident dynasty guru, has been calling Brian Quick as the next breakout player for weeks now. Under his suggestion, I went back to watch both of Quick’s touchdowns. While they were good plays and shows his talent, the best example is a throw Quick tried to catch against Miami that was recorded as a penalty (illegal hands). Quick, on the left sideline, is the intended receiver on a play action. One-on-one coverage against the cornerback is tight and keeps Quick running along the edge of the sideline. Quick tries to catch it with his hands, but without leaping or turning too much, letting the defender get his hands up enough to disrupt the catch but still recording the foul. Quick clearly learned from this play because on his redzone touchdown catch versus Minnesota he goes up and grabs the football at the highest point in the lob. The second-round receiver is primed to breakout and I agree with Mr. Fontaine that Quick is a great target later in drafts as a lottery pick.

 

Tight End

Jared Cook left the Titans and joined the Rams.

Player

Points Per Snap

Points Per Catchable Target

Rod Housler

0.138 (28th)

1.81 (47th)

Zach Miller

0.111 (40th)

2.50 (13th)

Vernon Davis

0.134 (33rd)

2.86 (4th)

Lance Kendricks

0.131 (34th)

2.50 (14th)

Jared Cook

0.252 (4th)

2.49 (15th)

While Zach Miller had a great playoff run, he may need to take a paycut in order to stay with the team this season. Rod Housler, a dynasty favorite, is primed to take over the starting tight end gig, and with Brandon Myers looking at 85 targets last season with the Raiders, might be the best “sleeper” among tight ends this year. The thing to figure out in St. Louis is whether they signed Jared Cook because they have lost faith in Lance Kendricks, a former second round pick, or they are trying to copy the Patriots game plan. It will be one of many situations to follow during training camp and the preseason. Vernon Davis becomes a top fantasy tight end with the departure of Delanie Walker and Colin Kaepernick getting a full offseason as the starting quarterback.

 

Kicker

Just kidding. But yes, kickers are people too.

 

Allen has lots of interesting stats and somewhat funny jokes on Twitter: @Allen_Bassett … and don’t forget the main PFF Fantasy feed: @PFF_Fantasy



Business Consultant working in Albuquerque, NM (yes, that's a state). I love football and I love statistics.

  • Robin

    Was expecting to see Andre Roberts name in the WR analysis..

  • CardinalsJO

    LaRod Stephens-Howling is no longer with Cardinals team…..