Arizona Cardinals: Rookies 7/17, Veterans 7/24
Kliff Kingsbury enters his first season as the head coach. He’ll be the offensive coordinator as well. He’s been the head coach for Texas Tech the last six years and will be one of the most exciting young coaches to watch. The Cardinals ranked dead last in total offense last year, 32nd in both passing and rushing. Can only go up from here.
The Cardinals decided to trade away Josh Rosen and select Kyler Murray with the number one overall pick. He brings ultra athleticism and speed to the position and will be one of the most exciting players to watch this year. Kingsbury’s offense is being described as the “air-raid” offense. Murray is being drafted around QB10 at the moment. He’ll offer a solid fantasy floor with his rushing production. Factor in the dismal Cardinals defense being without Patrick Peterson for the first six weeks, and we’re looking at a QB1 right away. We’ll have to monitor his training camp and pre-season games, but right now, all signs point to Kyler Murray having a successful rookie campaign.
David Johnson was poorly utilized last year, but was able to finish as the RB9 in PPR. His ADP is currently at RB5, going in the mid first round. Johnson should see heavy involvement in the passing game this year, making him bullet-proof when it comes to game scripts. Target Johnson as high as 5th overall in redraft leagues and expect him to flirt with a top five finish. Behind Johnson, Chase Edmonds will be the primary backup. We should be seeing Edmonds used more as a change of pace back than a traditional handcuff. Kingsbury’s offense will be fast paced, so there will be plenty of snaps to go around, no need to worry about David Johnson. Behind Edmonds, we’ll have a camp battle between TJ Logan and DJ Foster. They have three UDFA’s to watch for in Wes Hills, Dontae Strickland and Xavier Turner.
The Cardinals took heavy stock in WR in this years draft. They spent a 2nd round pick on Andy Isabella, a 4th round pick in Hakeem Butler, and then a 6th round pick on KeeSean Johnson. I’m expecting all three to contribute at some point this year behind Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. Christian Kirk is expected to be used more in the slot this year. His current ADP is around WR36. Reports out of camp have been that Kirk looks like the best receiver on the team and will over-take Fitzgerald this season as the main man. Fitzgerald has an ADP of WR38 and has value for us in redraft leagues as a Flex/WR4. We’ll have to watch the pecking order in camp for the #3 job between the rookies Isabella, Butler and Johnson. Chad Williams is likely to make the team and will compete with this rookie trio. Guys trying to make the team include Kevin White, Trent Sherfield, Damiere Byrd, Pharoh Cooper and AJ Anderson.
At tight end, the Cardinals have Ricky Seals-Jones, Charles Clay and signed free agent Maxx Williams from Baltimore. I’m not sure which one sticks out more than the other here. Seals-Jones is the most exciting option as a pass-catcher, but Clay and Williams are both better blockers and are exceptional pass catchers. Monitor this camp battle to see who becomes the starter. The receivers will cap the upside for the tight ends. They also drafted Caleb Wilson out of UCLA in the 7th round, so keep an eye out for his practice reports. Darrell Daniels and Drew Belcher will be trying to make the final roster spot.
Los Angeles Rams: Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/26
Sean McVay enters his third season as the Rams head coach. He also acts as the offensive coordinator. The Rams finished 2nd in total offense last year, 5th in passing and 3rd in rushing. We can expect the Rams to remain a top five offense this year.
Jared Goff was fantastic last year, finishing as the QB6. He threw for 4,688 yards, 32 TDs and added 108 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. His current ADP is around QB10. I like this value here. He will likely regress a little bit, but should be able to notch another top 10 finish. He also gets his favorite red-zone target back in Cooper Kupp. The Rams signed Blake Bortles to be the back up. Brandon Allen and John Wolford will compete for the final roster spot.
The biggest question for the Rams coming into the 2019 season will be the health of Todd Gurley. Reports are saying that he has arthritis in his knee and that he might be scaled back slightly this year. The Rams drafted Darrell Henderson out of Memphis in the third round. This action backs that report up. The Rams also signed Malcolm Brown’s offer sheet after the Lion’s tried to sign him. Gurley’s ADP is all around the place, as early as RB10 and sometimes as late as RB15. He’ll most likely cost a second to early third round pick. He looks best as your RB2. If the Rams plan on scaling Gurley back, that means Henderson will be getting involved, most likely in passing situations. There has been talk about the Rams using Gurley/Henderson in similar fashion to how the Saints deployed Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Henderson has an ADP around RB36. He could be a league winner this year if Gurley misses time. If he does miss time, Malcolm Brown would step up as the primary back. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him get some more play time this season even with a healthy Gurley. Continue to monitor this situation throughout the summer before your drafts. Justin Davis and John Kelly round out the rest of the group.
With the uncertainty at running back, it might be a better idea to target the Rams receivers. Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp will all have value for us this year. They all have WR2 upside and should finish no worse than a WR3. Cooks has an ADP of around WR15, Woods around WR18 and Kupp around WR20. I usually like to draft the guy with the lowest ADP, so that’ll be Kupp in this situation. He tore his ACL last year but was able to avoid the PUP list and will be full-go for camp. I think it’s more of a preference choice here, but you should definitely target one of these guys. After the top three, Josh Reynolds would be the clear number four. If an injury occurs, he’ll be the guy who gets called up to start. We’ll monitor the camp battle for the remaining roster spots. This include; JoJo Natson, KhaDarel Hodge, Mike Thomas Austin Proehl, Jalen Greene, Alex Bachman, Johnathan Lloyd and Nsimba Webster.
Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee headline the tight end group. Everett is the better receiving tight end and also has a high draft capital. Everett is a solid best ball target for your TE2/3. If one of the receivers misses time, this would elevate Everett to a streaming option. Higbee is the better blocker and likely won’t be drafted. The backup number three spot will be a camp battle between Johnny Mundt, Kendall Blanton and Keenen Brown.
San Francisco 49ers: Rookies 7/26, Veterans 7/26
Kyle Shanahan enters his third year as the head coach. Curtis Modkins will be their offensive coordinator. He’s been a running backs coach for a number of NFL teams, going all the way back to 2008. The 49ers will be one of the most important teams for us in fantasy this year. They lost Jimmy Garoppolo early last year but were able to finish 16th in total offense, 15th in passing and 13th in rushing.
All eyes will be on Jimmy Garoppolo coming back from his ACL tear. His upside remains unknown, but working in the Shanahan offense should get us excited. Backup Nick Mullens was able to average 20 fantasy points per game last year, so it’s reasonable to expect Garoppolo to flirt with QB1 numbers this season. His ADP is around QB20. Yet another reason why it’s smart to wait on quarterbacks. Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard will remain the back up quarterbacks, with Wilton Speight rounding out the group.
Running backs have always produced in the Kyle Shanahan offense. The team signed Tevin Coleman from Atlanta, whom Shanahan had success with just a few years ago. Coleman will be the favorite to start. His ADP is around RB30, but has been steadily moving up all summer. Coleman’s usage in the passing game should deliver us RB2 production. Matt Breida was solid last year, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He rushed for 814 yards and 3 TDs, while catching 27 passes for 261 yards and 2TDs. We should expect some sort of split between Coleman and Breida. Breida could lead the team in carries while Coleman racks up the catches. Breida has an ADP around RB46 and presents us with another value. I’ve actually been into the idea of pairing Coleman with Breida on my team because the ADP is so cheap. If injury occurs, you’d have an RB1. For now, Coleman has RB2 upside and Breida could be flex worthy. After these two, we’ll see Jerick McKinnon return from his season ending injury he suffered last training camp. His usage will be unknown, so monitor his training camp reports. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson both had success last year and will round out the depth chart while Austin Walter tries to make the team.
Dante Pettis is the headliner here at receiver. He flashed last year as a rookie and ended the year strong. All off-season reports were glowing with Pettis taking the next step to become the teams #1 WR. His ADP is around WR34. I’m open to him playing up to a WR2 level this year with a floor of a WR3, so this ADP seems like a value. After Pettis, we have Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor and rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. Taylor is the favorite to start in the slot. Samuel was drafted in the 2nd round out of Oklahoma State. Hurd brings a versatile element to the offense and will be moved around the formation and even get some carries. Goodwin was injured throughout the 2018 season, but showed great chemistry with Garoppolo down the stretch in 2017. They have Jordan Matthews to compete with the rookies for playing time this year, so we will have to watch this camp battle. Kendrick Bourne and Richie James will battle for the final rosters spots with Max McCaffrey, Malik Henry and Shawn Poindexter.
George Kittle emerged as the next elite tight end last year. He finished with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards and 5TDs. The team relied on him heavily last year with the lack of experience at receiver. Kittle should be the leading receiver again this year but will get a run for his money from Dante Pettis. Kittle is being drafted as the second or third TE behind Kelce and sometimes Zach Ertz. He’ll cost an early third round pick this year, so if you want to pay up for a strong tight end, this is your spot. I have regression coming for Kittle in yards and receptions, so I haven’t been buying at ADP. Behind him, they have Garrett Celek and 6th round draft pick Kaden Smith. Levine Toilolo will compete with Ross Dwelley and Tyree Mayfield for the final roster spots.
Seattle Seahawks: Rookies 7/17, Veterans 7/24
Pete Carroll enters his 10th year as the Seahawks head coach. Brian Schottenheimer returns for his second year as the offensive coordinator. Seattle finished 18th in total offense last year, 27th in passing and 1st in rushing. They were tied for 7th in scoring with 26.8pts per game. Seattle wants to be a run first team, but can support fantasy receivers because Russell Wilson throws TDs, just not for many yards.
Russell Wilson became the league’s highest paid player in April. He finished as the QB10 last year with 3,448 passing yards, 35 TDs and 376 yards rushing. It was his first year without recording a rushing touchdown. He’s being drafted around the QB8 range right now, usually in the 8th round. I’m open to snagging my starting quarterback in the 8th/9th rounds this year, and I could argue Wilson’s passing numbers are set to improve. His 35 passing TDs might come down a couple, but his passing yardage is sure to go up. The Seahawks lost some key pieces to their defense and will be in more pass-heavy game scripts early in the year. He’s a dark horse to finish as a top 5 QB this year. Behind him, Paxton Lynch and Geno Smith will battle for the main backup job.
Chris Carson led the team in rushing last year and finished as the RB15. He ran for 1,151 yards and 9 TDs while adding 20 catches for 163 yards. Rashaad Penny is set for more work behind him. Mike Davis left in free agency, leaving behind 112 carries and 42 targets. Carson’s ADP is around RB28, while Penny’s is around RB32. These both seem like values. Penny will have a chance to get the head start in camp while Davis is coming back from some minor off-season clean up surgery. Carson is the better player right now, He won’t add much in the passing game, but either will Penny. We should be expecting JD McKissic to get the majority of passing work, but not enough for us to be interested in redraft leagues. I love Carson at ADP, and I even like Penny at his because of the touches Davis leaves behind. Seattle is a run first team and if either Carson or Penny misses time, we will be ranking the healthy player as an RB1. We’ll monitor the backup competition between CJ Prosise, Bo Scarbrough, 6th round draft pick Travis Homer and Marcelias Sutton.
Doug Baldwin has officially retired, leaving Tyler Lockett atop the depth chart. Lockett will move into Baldwin’s slot role, freeing up two outside receiving spots for David Moore, Jaron Brown and 2nd round pick DK Metcalf. Metcalf will be one of the most interesting players to watch in the pre-season, but for now, he’s behind Moore and Brown. Lockett finished last year as the WR16 with 57 receptions for 965 yards and 10 TDs. His volume is about to spike up and is likely to crack 1,000 receiving yards. His TD total could remain around 10, but is likely to come down a notch. His ADP is around WR24 and is a great buy in the 4th and sometimes 5th round. We probably aren’t trusting any of the other Seattle WRs on draft day, but we must monitor this starting receiver battle between Brown, Moore and Metcalf. Metcalf has the highest upside for sure, but all three WRs will be boom bust and are probably better used in best ball leagues. After the top four, we have 4th round pick Gary Jennings Jr and UDFAs Jazz Ferguson, Terry Wright and John Ursua. Jennings should be a lock to make the roster, but the other three will be competing with Malik Turner, Amara Darboh, Keenan Reynolds and Caleb Scott. I like Ferguson the most out of the group. Monitor this WR battle throughout the pre-season.
The tight end group is interesting in Seattle. Will Dissly returns from his patellar tendon injury back in Week 4 last year. He was supposed to just be a blocking TE, but he was impressive as a receiver in training camp and that followed through to the first few weeks of the season. I’m into Dissly for dynasty leagues, and might be willing the snag him as my last pick in redraft once we see him back on the field this August. For now, Nick Vannett, Ed Dickson and Jacob Hollister will all be getting a chance to run with the 1s. Seattle will likely end up using all four of these tight ends throughout the season, so the correct answer might just be to draft nobody until we get some clarity. Tyrone Swoopes and Justin Johnson round out the rest of the group.