MagicSportsGuide - NFC West
2019 record: 9-7 | 2020 Projection: 8-8
Head coach: Sean McVay (Fourth year)
Offensive coordinator: Kevin O’Connell (First year)
Defensive coordinator: Brandon Staley (First year)
Check out Derek Brown and Anthony Amico's breakdown of the Rams system, play calling and coaching breakdown:
2020 Draft Picks
Round 2, pick 52: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
Round 2, pick 57: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
Round 3, pick 84: Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
Round 3, pick 104: Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
Round 4, pick 136: Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
Round 6, pick 199: Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State
Round 7, pick 234: Clay Johnston, LB, Baylor
Round 7, pick 248: Sam Sloman, K, Miami (OH)
Round 7, pick 50: Tremayne Anchrum, G, Clemson
+3 vs. Dallas, O/U 52
Week 2 - @PHI (N/A)
Week 3 - @BUF (+3)
Week 4 - NYG (-7)
Week 5 - @WASH (-5.5)
Week 6 - @SF (+6.5)
Week 7 - CHI (MNF) (-3.5)
Week 8 - @MIA (-3.5)
Week 9 - BYE
Week 10 - SEA (N/A)
Week 11 - @TB (MNF) (+3.5)
Week 12 -SF (+3)
Week 13 - @AZ (-1)
Week 14 - @NE (TNF) (N/A)
Week 15 - NYJ (-6.5)
Week 16 - @SEA (N/A)
Week 17 - AZ (-5.5)
Per FO, “Jared Goff and Aaron Donald each have a cap hit of $25 million or more, making the Rams the only team with two players taking up such a big chunk of cap space." The Rams went all in and lost. They sold out with a number of trades to "win now" with zero thought of what comes after. Well, the “comes after”is here, faster than expected.
This late in the game, you know all about Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. You know this offense, even without Gurley and Cooks, is still cooking with more fire than most - if the offensive line can get anywhere close to their 2018 form (unlikely).
Even with the line concerns, I am on the Cam Akers bandwagon and have been drafting him over and over in best ball. I do think Malcolm Brown still has a pulse, at least enough to troll us Akers Stans, but really, that is the case for just about every RB in the league, outside of CMC.
They aren’t going to run this kid into the ground, so expect Brown to be in the mix in addition to Darrell Henderson Jr., once he is healthy (questionable for Week 1). The big variable for these guys, as well as the entire pass-catching core, is the dramatic in-season splits in scheme. I outlined this at nausea throughout the end of the 2019 season so will spare you, but the shift away from 3-WR sets was dramatic. Our guy Derrick Brown thinks it was due to protection issues caused by a depleted and injured offensive line and thus, they will shift back to more 3-WR formations in 2020. I tend to agree that it won’t be as dramatic as 2019. I agree they will want to get Woods and Kupp out there with their new weapon, Van Jefferson, but I'm just not sure I agree on the extent. I am a big Gerald Everett fan, and I can see McVay wanting to feature both he and Tyler Higbee along with Woods and/or Kupp. Everett was basically a WR last year, running 69% of his routes from the slot or one of the outside WR positions.
The defensive line is missing A’Shawn Robinson, who’s on the reserve/non-football injury list for Week 1. Not good with Ezekiel Elliott heading into town.
The defense has some big-time names and talent, even more so than the offense with two megastars in Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald. The issue is depth and talent outside of those guys. Troy Hill is a solid No. 2 CB, and his emergence will make this matchup less than desirable for opposing TEs. I just think teams will attack with TEs, RB passes, and in the slot, where second-year player David Long takes over for Nickell Robey-Coleman. In Week 1, this sets up Blake Jarwin and CeeDee Lamb very well.
Per RamsWire.com, “The defense looks vastly different than last year’s unit. Compared to Week 1 in 2019, the Rams have eight new projected starters on that side of the ball. The secondary has undergone a major overhaul, with former starters Eric Weddle, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Nickell Robey-Coleman all gone."
The linebacker unit is highly unproven, with (Michael) Kiser and either (Kenny) Young or (Troy) Reeder being the starters. Per PFF, Reeder graded out as the 89th LB in 2019 (out of 90).
The win total line is on the money for LAR, so no bets for the win total. One prop I LOVE is Robert Woods OVER 1,050 receiving yards. Like all OVER bets in the NFL, health is a key factor, but Woods has been ultra-consistent in his last two seasons (88 rec.,1,176 yards on average in his last two) and now could see a usage bump with Gurley and Cooks gone. Last season, he ended on a seven-game streak with 9+ targets, four of those games had 10+.
- Trishton Jackson, WR, measured in at 6-1, 191 pounds, 32.4-inch arms and 9.75”-inch hands. He ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, had a 36-inch vertical, and a 117-inch broad jump. Consider these three receiver measurements at the combine:
- Brandon Aiyuk, 6 feet, 205 pounds, 4.5 40-yard dash, 40-inch vertical, 128-inch broad, 25th overall
- CeeDee Lamb, 6-2, 198 pounds, 4.5 40-yard dash, 34.5”-inch vertical, 124-inch broad, 17th overall
- Trishton Jackson, 6’-, 190 pounds, 4.5 40-yard dash, 36-inch vertical, 117-inch broad, undrafted
Nothing actionable from this, unless you are a deep league/dynasty guy.
2019 record: 5-10-1 | 2020 Projection: 7-9
Head coach: Kliff Kingsbury (Second year)
Offensive coordinator: Tom Clements (Second year, Passing Game Coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Vance Joseph (Second year)
Check out Derek Brown and Anthony Amico's breakdown of the Cardinals system, play calling and coaching breakdown:
2020 Draft Picks
Round 1, pick 8: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Round 3, pick 72: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Round 4, pick 114: Leki Fotu, DT, Utah
Round 4, pick 131: Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
Round 6, pick 202: Evan Weaver, LB, California
Round 7, pick 222: Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
+7.5 vs. San Francisco, O/U 47.5
Week 2 - WAS (-7)
Week 3 - DET (N/A)
Week 4 - @CAR (-1.5)
Week 5 - @NYJ (-1)
Week 6 - @DAL (Mon) (+6.5)
Week 7 - SEA (N/A)
Week 8 - MIA (N/A)
Week 9 - BUF (-4)
Week 10 - @SEA ( Thu) (+1.5)
Week 11 - BYE
Week 12 -@NE (N/A)
Week 13 - LAR (+1)
Week 14 - @NYG (pk)
Week 15 -PHI (N/A)
Week 16 - SF (Sat) (+6)
Week 17 - @LAR (+5.5)
Arizona came out on fire in 2019 under Kingsbury’s “air raid” offense, operating at the fastest pace and throwing at a top-5 rate, which led to a gaudy combined plays per game that was a weekly target in DFS. That shifted to a more balanced attack with the emergence of Kenyon Drake (21st overall pass rate, fourth over their last three games). They also fell to fourth in neutral pace after having a substantial lead after the first four games. The change made sense, with Kyler Murray ranking 25th in YPA. They averaged just under 30 PPG over those last three games, which has made many bullish on this offense coming into 2020. Despite being 22nd in adjusted line yards per carry, they finished second in overall rush DVOA, one of the biggest gaps between the two metrics. A lot of that is due to Murray and his effectiveness as a runner, finishing second or third in every rushing stat for QBs. His combo of rush ability plus a cannon for an arm, combined with this offensive scheme and a bad defense, has many (myself included) looking to draft Cardinals in best ball and stack them in DFS.
Arizona’s biggest issue went unaddressed, with the Cardinals not drafting any help in the secondary. Byron Murphy was one of the worst CBs in 2019, allowing almost 2 FP per target and 139 passer rating in coverage. He will combine with Patrick Peterson and newly acquired Dre Kirkpatrick, who was a free agent until two weeks ago. He and Peterson are over 30, so I am not expecting a return to greatness. Teams can stay away from him easily enough anyway, with holes all over the secondary. Budda Baker is solid but not in coverage. Robert Alford, another veteran CB, was put on IR during camp, leaving Arizona (outside of Peterson) with one of the worst secondaries in the league.
Isaiah Simmons injects some life and excitement into the LB core, which was another sore spot for this D, consistently letting opposing TEs run wild. He and Chandler Jones could be a dynamic duo, but the rest of this defense leaves a lot to be desired.
The good news, AZ has games against WASH-CAR-NYJ-MIA-NYG out of the conference. The bad news is that Arizona plays in a tough division with the NFC champs, Russell Wilson and LAR. They also have to play a loaded Dallas team in addition to games against PHI-NE-BUF, who all have top-rated defenses. I think they improve to 7 wins.
SOURCE: Ian Rapoport on Twitter
- Cardinals signed CB Dre Kirkpatrick, formerly of the Bengals. The veteran reunites with Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who coached Kirkpatrick in Cincinnati. The signing comes after the Cardinals lost CB Robert Alford to IR. 30-year-old Kirkpatrick played six games for the Bengals last season, his ninth in Cincinnati.
2019 record: 13-3 | 2020 Projection: 11-5
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Fourth year)
Offensive coordinator: Kyle Shanahan
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Fourth year)
Check out Derek Brown and Anthony Amico's breakdown of the 49ers system, play calling and coaching breakdown:
2020 Draft Picks
Round 1, pick 14: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Round 1, pick 25: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, ASU
Round 5, pick 153: Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia
Round 6, pick 190: Charlie Woerner, TE, Georgia
Round 7, pick 217: Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee
DE Dion Jordan
-7.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals, O/U 47.5
Week 2 - @NYJ (-6)
Week 3 - @NYG(-7)
Week 4 - PHI (N/A)
Week 5 - MIA (-12.5)
Week 6 - LAR (-6.5)
Week 7 - @NE (N/A)
Week 8 - @SEA (N/A)
Week 9 - GB (Thu) (-6.5)
Week 10 - @NO (+2)
Week 11 - BYE
Week 12 - @LAR (-3)
Week 13 - BYF (Mon) (-6.5)
Week 14 - WAS (-13.5)
Week 15 - @DAL (-1)
Week 16 - @ARI (Mon) (-6)
Week 17 - SEA (N/A)
The loaded 49ers offensive line got even better when they acquired big Trent Williams in the draft from WAS. This is an easy team to assess, as we know exactly what they are going to do and who the cast of characters are. The big difference is Emmanual Sanders is with the Saints, which paves the way for Brandon Aiyuk, who is a GREAT fit for Shanahan's offense, with elite run-after-catch ability. He should be a factor with Sanders gone and a very average WR core outside of Deebo Samuel. Aiyuk profiles very well and should give SF opponents fits if lining up in the slot. His run-after-catch ability is so good that he is essentially another RB once the ball is in his hands. I think he helps Jimmy Garoppolo take another step, who was very effective last season. The issue isn’t Garoppolo, it is just the offense and whether or not he will get more positive game scripts for the passing offense. Garrappolo finished second in pressure completion rate, first in deep ball completion rate, third in adjusted completion rate and seventh in a clean pocket (ninth in ANY/A). Another sign for a bump to Garoppolo is 37 dropped passes, the second most in 2019.
The last guy to touch on, and someone I am taking at the end of nearly every best ball draft, is my guy Jerick McKinnon. I have always had a crush on McKinnon, who is a SPARQ score GOD, grading out in the 90th percentile in every category. In this scheme, expect him to get more and more usage as he continues to break big plays. He is also the best pass catcher in the RB room, making him an even better late-round stash in PPR leagues.
Not a ton to report here, as it is essentially the same group in the same scheme. They showed some vulnerability last year against the run, but they still ranked in the top-10 at the end of the season in rush DVOA. One thing to note is depth, like many teams that have big-time guys with big-time contracts, they lack depth behind them so if Bosa or any of the big dogs miss time, we could see teams having success on the ground again.
On the market.
- RB Jeff Wilson has looked darn good in training camp, meaning that he’s the one to beat out undrafted rookie free agent Jamycal Hasty for a spot on the 53-man roster. The lack of preseason games surely hurt Hasty in this regard. Though, he did earn a spot on the practice squad.
- Ronald Blair, Weston Richburg and Jullian Taylor will all start the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
- Linebacker Fred Warner remains on the reserve-COVID list and does not count against the 53-man roster.
- Surprisingly, both Deebo Samuel and Richie James are on the active roster. There were some major questions regarding Samuel after he suffered a Jones fracture in his foot during an off-season workout.
2019 record: 12-4 | 2020 Projection: 10-6
Head coach: Pete Carroll (10th season)
Offensive coordinator: Brian Schottenheimer (First season)
Defensive coordinator: Ken Norton Jr. (second season)
Check out Derek Brown and Anthony Amico's breakdown of the Seahawks system, play calling and coaching breakdown:
This is a team I struggle with on many levels. I am a HUGE Russell Wilson stan, so watching the Seahawks run the ball on 46% of offensive plays since 2015 is tilting, to say the least. I have equated it to putting Mike Trout seventh in the batting order and asking him to sacrifice bunt anytime a man is on base. In my opinion, Wilson is just as talented (maybe more so at this point) as Patrick Mahomes (yeah, I said it), we just can’t be sure due to this SEA offensive scheme. As a pace and play-calling savant (yeah, I said it), seeing a team operate at or close to the league's slowest pace and highest rush rates is just too much to take sometimes. I would like to tell you things will be different this season, but I can’t/won’t do that. If anything, you can make a case that an improved defense could lead to more fourth quarters filled with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde carries.
2020 Draft Picks
Round 1, pick 27: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
Round 2, pick 48: Darrell Taylor, DE, Tennessee
Round 3, pick 69: Damien Lewis, G, LSU
Round 4, pick 133: Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford
Round 4, pick 144: DeeJay Dallas, RB, Miami
Round 5, pick 148: Alton Robinson, DE, Syracuse
Round 6, pick 214: Freddie Swain, WR, Florida
Round 7, pick 251: Stephen Sullivan, TE, LSU
RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Josh Gordon, OT George Fant, G Mike Iupati, G D.J. Fluker, C Justin Britt, DE Jadeveon Clowney, DE Ezekiel Ansah, DT Quinton Jefferson, DT Al Woods, OLB Mychal Kendricks, S Bradley McDougald, S Tedric Thompson.
-1 vs. @ATL, O/U 49
Week 2 - NE (-3.5)
Week 3 - DAL (N/A)
Week 4 - @MIA (N/A)
Week 5 - MIN (N/A)
Week 6 - BYE
Week 7 - @ARI (N/A)
Week 8 - SF (N/A)
Week 9 - @BUF (N/A)
Week 10 -@LAR (N/A)
Week 11 - ARI (Thu) (N/A)
Week 12 - @PHI (Mon) (N/A)
Week 13 - NYG (N/A)
Week 14 - NYJ (N/A)
Week 15 - @WAS (N/A)
Week 16 - LAR (N/A)
Week 17 - @SF (N/A)
The Seahawks showed us a living example of the old saying…"don’t mistake activity with achievement." Yes, they brought in bodies, but none of those guys is a significant upgrade to the guys they had in 2019. That is another SEA tangent that I like to go on, “why do they refuse to invest into protecting RW3?” They were 24th in adjusted sack rate, with Wilson being sacked at the second-highest rate in the league. Third-round pick Damien Lewis is a monster and will likely start at RG next to Ethan Pocic, one of the lowest graded offensive linemen in 2019, per PFF. The combo of inexperience and lack of talent is not a good one. The rest of the line isn’t much better other than Duane Brown, who is almost 36.
I like Tyler Lockett and love me some DK Metcalf. This issue is their ADPs are no bargain, and they are also tied to a coach and coordinator who love to run. One thing of note that got me on Metcalf to end the year (a very profitable move) is him being moved around the formation, away from a team’s best CB and into a more advantageous matchup. They did this against SF in Week 17 and then again in Philadelphia on wild card weekend. The move led to a 7/160/1 and 6/81/1 lines on a gaudy 21 targets. He is such a physical freak of nature (I mean that in the nicest way possible) that he is my guy if you are making me choose one. His size allows him to physically dominate his opponents, which should make him a red-zone beast. Last season, he saw 21% of RZ targets (7 TDs), which I think is his floor.
Slot CB Marquise Blair has been a stand out in training camp. Blair has not overtaken presumed starter Ugochukwu Amadi as the slot guy, but he looks to be a potential starter in the future. If Tre Flowers struggles, Blair could see his number called sooner than expected. With the acquisitions of Jamal Adams and Quinton Dunbar to go along with Shaquill Griffin and Quandre Diggs is as good as it gets. The issue will be the pass rush, which loses Jadeveon Clowney, who was - by far - their most dominant defensive lineman of 2019. That said, they were 30th in adjusted sack rate with Clowney, so this could end up being the worst pass rush in the league. No matter how good your secondary is, you need to take some pressure off of them with a pass rush, and SEA just doesn’t have the horses in the stable to do that.
Source - Seahawks.com
- "Ethan Pocic is going to start for us," Carroll said. "He had a great camp. Ethan had offseason surgery on something that's been bothering him for a number of years, an athletic hernia thing that he's been dealing with. All I can tell you is he did a great job in camp and looked terrific. He was our most experienced guy with handling the whole system and all, and it showed. So we're fired up to see him go."
- No preseason could mean playing time gets spread out more early in the season.
- A lack of preseason games could lead to the Seahawks relying on a deeper rotation of players early this season, Carroll said, for a couple of reasons. For starters, it could benefit players, from a health standpoint, who didn't get the benefit of preseason games to get used to full-speed game action, and coaches may also need some regular-season games to further evaluate competition at some spots having not been able to do so with preseason games.
- "There is some conversation we've had about that, about making sure that we see a lot of guys play early on, because we haven't had the games—just to make sure we don't overburden somebody Week 1, Week 2, if we have some opportunities to go ahead and trade some reps and all, so that's part of the focus for us," Carroll said. "That would be just kind of typical for not having preseason games, what would you do? You'd want to see more guys early and make sure that guys are ready to go and that the impact of the first game doesn't weigh into the game too by overdoing it the first time out. So there's some of that going on."