The NFC West has been one of the NFL’s strongest divisions, from top to bottom, over the last few years. But, starting in 2022, it figures to be a tad weaker as a whole without Russell Wilson carrying the Seahawks on his back.
The Arizona Cardinals are pushing hard to become serious playoff contenders but may need to pay their quarterback record money to appease him. The San Francisco 49ers are at a crossroads between contending for a Super Bowl or outright implosion from roster mismanagement. The Los Angeles Rams are the reigning Super Bowl Champions and may have even improved since last season.
NFC West fans will still enjoy some of the highest-quality football available over the coming years. Dynasty managers will have an ample selection of skill-position talent, from rookies to seasoned vets, who will be fantasy-relevant from this division. So let’s break it down.
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: AFC North
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: AFC South
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: AFC East
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: AFC West
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: NFC North
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: NFC South
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: NFC East
Los Angeles Rams
2022 NFL Draft Results
|South Carolina State
Dynasty Stock Watch
- QB: Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR) Stock: Neutral
- RB: Cam Akers (RB – LAR) Stock: Neutral
- RB: Darrell Henderson, Kyren Williams (RB – LAR) Stock: Slightly Up
- WR: Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR) Stock: Neutral
- WR: Allen Robinson (WR – LAR) Stock: Up
- WR: Van Jefferson (WR – LAR) Stock: Neutral
- TE: Tyler Higbee (TE – LAR) Stock: Down
Bold 2022 Dynasty Prediction: Allen Robinson is unlocked by Matthew Stafford, and nearly matches Kupp’s production.
Although Stafford is one of the most prolific passers in the NFL, he is not a dual-threat. The healthy return of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson figures to push the Rams’ need to throw the ball lower. 2021 was the first time since 2014 that Stafford had attempted 600 passes in a single season. His 41 touchdowns tied a career-high he set 10 years previous. I won’t say Stafford is due for any alarming level of regression at age 34, but he will need to be awfully good to approach those numbers again.
Speaking of Akers and Henderson, the Rams under McVay are primed to return to their true modus operandi by running the football and dicing the defense through play action. Unfortunately, Akers’ numbers upon return to action last postseason were not nearly as inspirational as the comeback itself. He is still a supremely talented football player but may concede more touches to Henderson and the rookie Golden Domer than we might hope. Williams might be the least athletic running back entering the league this season, but he has real skill as a receiver and pass protector. In addition to great intangibles, he could carve out a solid third down role with an impressive preseason.
This group of wide receivers was hit with a painful blow when Robert Woods was traded to the Titans. After his Super Bowl ACL tear, Odell Beckham was already unlikely to be re-signed. However, that gloom quickly evaporated with the signing of Allen Robinson, one of the most under-appreciated players in the NFL. He finds himself immediately catching passes from the best quarterback he’s ever played with by a very wide margin. ARob also transitions from one of the worst offensive schemes in NFL history under Matt Nagy to one of the best under McVay. This offense will be fun, especially if Van Jefferson can take another step forward. Last season, he wasn’t particularly good, save for some home run plays on broken coverage.
The grasp of the starting tight end position was already slipping away from Higbee last season until the injury bug plagued him and intriguing rookies, Jacob Harris. Kendall Blanton and Brycen Hopkins were solid fill-ins in that spot, but this hazy depth chart is not one I want any part of in dynasty leagues.
2022 NFL Draft Results
|San Diego State
Dynasty Stock Watch
- QB: Kyler Murray (QB – ARI) Stock: Neutral (But Ominous)
- RB: James Conner (RB – ARI) Stock: Slightly Up
- RB: Keaontay Ingram (RB – ARI) Stock: Up
- WR: DeAndre Hopkins (WR – ARI) Stock: Down
- WR: Marquise Brown (WR – ARI) Stock: Up
- WR: A.J. Green (WR – ARI) Stock: Slightly Down
- WR: Rondale Moore (WR – ARI) Stock: Down
- TE: Zach Ertz (TE – ARI) Stock: Up
- TE: Trey McBride (TE – ARI) Stock: Up
Bold 2022 Dynasty Prediction: Rookies Ingram and McBride earn more playing time than expected and are startable assets this season.
The half-billion-dollar question is whether Kyler Murray will report to Cardinals training camp without a new contract. The rumor mill has been whirring around the mercurial quarterback’s perplexing social media activity and passive-aggressive agent letters. Nevertheless, he is primed for another top-five performance as soon as he retakes the field, whether he’s much richer or playing out the rest of his current deal. The sticking point on Murray applies more to redraft, whereas in dynasty he might be at the best value possible with the murky outlook on the upcoming season.
I’ll admit that I was very wrong about James Conner last season. The man was a fantasy league winner after a long stretch in Pittsburgh, where he was injured and looked sluggish. His age and injury history mitigates his dynasty value somewhat, but the absence of Chase Edmonds will be a considerable boost. Ingram is a very well-rounded back from USC who might not have any trouble seizing opportunities over Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward.
This Cardinals’ receiving group will be without their alpha X, Nuk Hopkins, for six games in 2022. The steroids suspension would have been a more disheartening letdown if it weren’t for the draft day acquisition of Hollywood Brown. Arizona’s offense stagnated last season when Hopkins was injured. Christian Kirk is now in Jacksonville, but AJ Green is still here, and his career still has a heartbeat. Rondale Moore’s prospects as a reliable fantasy asset are on life support. Any possible absence of Kyler Murray tanks this entire offense.
Arizona tight ends were a weakness for a long time, but now they are a decided strength. A win-now dynasty squad can get fantastic value on Ertz right now. He figures to have at least two good seasons left in the tank on a great passing offense. Waiting in the wings is the consensus rookie TE1 in McBride. He is a great receiver who could make an impact right away.
San Francisco 49ers
2022 NFL Draft Results
Dynasty Stock Watch
- QB: Trey Lance (QB – SF) Stock: To The Moon
- RB: Elijah Mitchell (RB – SF) Stock: Neutral
- RB: Trey Sermon, Tyrion Davis-Price (RB – SF) Stock: Neutral
- WR: Deebo Samuel (WR – SF) Stock: Slightly Down
- WR: Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF) Stock: Neutral
- WR: Jauan Jennings, Danny Gray (WR – SF) Stock: Slightly Up
- TE: George Kittle (TE – SF) Stock: Neutral
Bold 2022 Dynasty Prediction: Trey Lance unlocks the downfield passing game for the 49ers and is a QB1 when combined with his rushing.
There are many things that Trey Lance does exponentially better than Jimmy Garoppolo. It would be an absolute travesty if the 49ers kept Jimmy G on the roster past the preseason. The rumors around Lance “not catching on” are bogus, if you were wondering. This offense will transition to a more aggressive unit once they no longer have to fear that their quarterback’s performance will cripple them in big games. Lance will be a fantasy difference-maker from the word “GO.”
This running game is as potent as it is frustrating for fantasy. I have taken a similar approach to this backfield in dynasty as I have with the Patriots: complete ignorance. It has done wonders for my blood pressure. Mitchell is the superior back, but Sermon and TDP (along with Jeff Wilson) are waiting in the wings for the inevitable moment when Kyle Shanahan runs yet another running back into the ground and tosses him into the refuse bin.
I love Deebo Samuel as a player, but now is the time to be selling. He is doubtful to reproduce his incredible production from 2021. The injury history is already lengthy, and Shanahan is content treating his star wide receiver like another disposable running back. Fortunately, the Davis-Price selection added some needed depth, and Lance can support Samuel’s viability as a fantasy asset much better than Garoppolo. Aiyuk is a sleeper breakout candidate for me, with Lance at the helm. He is a fantastic route runner and is incredible after the catch. Everyone hopes that he is permanently removed from Shanahan’s boorish “doghouse.”
The level of arrogance around his depth chart is staggering. Jennings looked sharp last season and made big plays in big moments. Danny Gray has a lot of potential with his game-breaking speed if he can develop some chemistry with Lance early on and avoid Shanahan’s egomaniacal meddling.
George Kittle might be “too good of a blocker” to realize his fantasy ceiling, but he is still an elite receiver on a team with a quarterback dripping with arm talent. I can’t help but lock him into the top-five dynasty TEs and hope that he is more of a featured playmaker in the future.
2022 NFL Draft Results
|Kenneth Walker III
Dynasty Stock Watch
- QB: Drew Lock, Geno Smith (QB – SEA) Stock: Up From The Abyss
- RB: Rashaad Penny (RB – SEA) Stock: Up
- RB: Kenneth Walker III (RB – SEA) Stock: Slightly Up
- WR: DK Metcalf (WR – SEA) Stock: Slightly Down
- WR: Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) Stock: Down
- TE: Noah Fant (TE – SEA) Stock: Down
Bold 2022 Dynasty Prediction: The offense flounders horrendously, paving the way for Seattle to select a top QB in the 2023 draft. Rashaad Penny miraculously stays healthy all season.
The Pete Carroll era is riding off into the sunset on a flaming stack of hay bales. The Russell Wilson trade signaled a much-needed rebuild was underway. Drew Lock is the new arrival, but very little in his track record suggests he has any advantage over the incumbent Geno Smith for the starting job. It is a distinct possibility that the Seahawks will ignore the better quarterbacks floating on the market and go into full tank mode for CJ Stroud or Bryce Young next year.
I am happy for Rashaad Penny. Whether or not he was worth a first-round pick is irrelevant at this juncture. He proved that he could be a league-winning asset at running back with a bit of good luck on the health front. The selection of Walker is a puzzling one for Seattle but implies that Chris Carson may be nearing a decision to medically retire. Walker is a breathtaking runner, capable of breaking off big runs en masse. Even a 50/50 share of the backfield with Penny in a horrid, slow-paced offense can yield good fantasy production from the talented rookie.
The chasm left by Wilson will be felt the most in this group of receivers. Metcalf stands out as a less-volatile asset, which is saying a lot. Lock is a decent downfield passer, and Smith demonstrated a good connection with Metcalf last season. DK is also very young and will have everything in the world to prove. Lockett is nearing 30 years old and is still undersized. As crafty as he may be, neither Lock nor Smith are the type of quarterbacks who can support two productive receivers (especially under Carroll). Freddy Swain and Dee Eskridge are still here if that means anything. Bo Melton is an intriguing rookie out of Rutgers. He is a lunch pail guy whose production out-paces his measurables.
I pity Fant. He would have been so much fun to watch in Denver catching passes from Wilson. Unfortunately, he and Lock are conjoined twins. Fant’s stock took a massive hit and might never recover. He is a wonderful athlete and possesses real receiving chops. Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson are still here (and mostly irrelevant). It will take a surprise progression from Lock or Smith to get me back on board with Fant this year, but I’ll be looking to buy the dip on him later in the season if they are pacing toward a top pick in 2023.
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