2019 Fantasy Football: Top players in the NFC West

    The 2019 Fantasy Football season is rapidly approaching and we run through the top players to own in the NFC West.

    The NFC West might be the most uncertain division in the NFL for 2019 fantasy football purposes. Injuries, rookies, and coaching have been the headline stories recently and this year looks as if it will be no different.

    Previous division showcases: NFC South | NFC East | NFC North

    Arizona Cardinals

    David Johnson

    David Johnson might just be this year’s fantasy Rorschach test. Those who believe in him will point to the 2016 season when he put up 2,118 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns. He convincingly finished the year as fantasy football’s RB1 and looked set to be a superstar for years to come. Unfortunately, Johnson dislocated his wrist in the 2017 season opener and missed the remainder of the campaign.

    Those who don’t believe in Johnson will use 2018 to suggest that he’s no longer the explosive multi-dimensional playmaker he was. His yards per carry dropped from 4.2 in 2016 to 3.6 in 2018 and he averaged 8.9 yards per reception, having averaged 12.7 and 11, respectively, in his previous healthy seasons. Johnson could be forgiven for his lackluster 2018 given the catastrophe that was the Arizona Cardinals offense. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been brought in to score points, though, and fantasy owners should expect Johnson to be a focal point.

    Larry Fitzgerald

    Larry Fitzgerald may not have the upside that he once did, but if you’re looking for roster depth who can come in and keep your team competitive for a week, then there are few better options. It was undoubtedly a down year for Fitzgerald in 2018, whose 734 receiving yards were the lowest total of his career. That said, he was tied to a historically inept passing offense. The Cardinals quarterbacks passed for a combined 2,523 yards, comfortably the worst in the NFL. Fitzgerald accounted for 24% of the team’s catches, 29% of the yards and 40% of the touchdowns. If the offense is competent, then Fitzgerald could be in line for a bounceback year.

    Kyler Murray

    Big plays generate fantasy points and Kyler Murray is a big play waiting to happen. The Heisman Trophy winner is an electric runner, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in his last college season. But, while arm talent questions often surround mobile quarterbacks, Murray has no such concerns. The first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft was also a top 10 draft pick in Major League Baseball and boasts a cannon for an arm.

    Given his diminutive stature, there are concerns over how Murray’s game will translate to the NFL. Murray needs to learn when to slide or even throw the ball away and live to fight another day. His determination to extend plays and take shots down the field is a huge part of his game, but he needs to take care of his body and be safe with the ball if he’s to be successful. There are few quarterbacks with the range of outcomes that Murray has, but the upside is tantalizing. If you can pair him with a safe option, then he could be a great option to have.

    Sleepers

    If the Cardinals offense does return closer to the mean, then it’s reasonable to expect another wide receiver to become fantasy football relevant. Christian Kirk is the favorite, having performed well as a rookie in unfavorable conditions, and could even push Larry Fitzgerald for targets.

    Andy Isabella stood out at the NFL Combine, running a 4.31 in the 40-yard dash, and is a big-play threat who could have some high-scoring weeks.

    Hakeem Butler’s size has already caught the attention of Kyler Murray and, while he will start lower on the depth chart, he looks much more like the traditional outside receiver than Kirk and Butler do and the Cardinals will want to see what he’s capable of.

    UP NEXT: LA RAMS

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