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Burning Fantasy Football Questions for 2019 - NFC West


NFL Training Camps will begin to provide some answers for us but as the 2019 fantasy football season approaches, we have a lot of questions.

In this series, The King (Scott Engel) goes division-by-division to take an early look at what issues must be solved for fantasy owners beginning in the preseason.

We start in the NFC West with our divisional series on Burning Fantasy Football Questions for 2019.

Editor's Note: All you early birds can get a full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our Draft Kit, In-Season tools and over 150 days of Premium DFS. Sign Up Now!

 

Seattle Seahawks

Burning Question: Will Chris Carson or Rashaad Penny be the better fantasy RB?

The King’s Answer: Ideally, the Seahawks would like to have Carson as the inside banger with Penny complementing him as the open-field guy and slasher/perimeter threat. But staying healthy continues to be a problem for Carson, who has already undergone an offseason knee procedure. If Penny has to fully handle the RB1 duties this season at some point, which is very possible, he could have a breakout campaign. If Carson is injured, there is no one left on the roster to challenge Penny for significant carries. I have initially ranked Carson higher because he has been more proven, but Penny has the much higher ceiling for 2019. Carson can be better for fantasy purposes when both are available and sharing touches, but if Penny becomes the pure featured RB at any time, he could soar into prominence.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Burning Question: Which 49ers RB will emerge as the best fantasy option in 2019?

The King’s Answer: No NFC backfield generates more uneasiness among fantasy players heading into the summer. There is fear that all three main RBs could cut into each other’s workloads and render all of them unpredictable and unreliable. There is also fear that one could separate from the rest of the pack and that’s the guy you do not want to miss out on.

Jerick McKinnon was expected to get the opportunity to be the featured RB when he was signed last year, but a torn ACL robbed him of his first season with the Niners. Kyle Shanahan said in February that McKinnon would be the lead RB this year. Then the situation became cloudy again when San Francisco signed Tevin Coleman in March. Matt Breida said all three RBs were told they will be utilized often.

None of these three have shown they can be trusted yet as a lead RB. McKinnon has never rushed for 600 yards in a season, and Coleman finally got an extensive chance to show what he can do as a featured runner in 2018, but never seized the opportunity. He started 14 games and rushed for 800 yards and four TDs. Breida was impressive at times a tenacious revelation in 2018, but he had trouble staying healthy.

If there is one RB I would prefer to draft here it is McKinnon. The 49ers originally signed him with the intention to finally make him a lead runner. Coleman has already blown a chance to be a main ball carrier, and Breida was pushed into action last year and could be considered more of a depth piece or occasional ball carrier in comparison to McKinnon and Coleman.

Prioritizing McKinnon on your cheat sheets is the initial answer, but this situation will have to come more into focus in the preseason and early in the regular season.

 

Los Angeles Rams

Burning Question: Where should I draft Todd Gurley in 2019?

The King’s Answer: Not in the first round for sure, and maybe late in the second at best. There is just no way you can make Gurley the anchor of your fantasy team and you may consider not even drafting him as a RB1. With Darrell Henderson being drafted, plus Malcolm Brown re-signed and second-year man John Kelly having some deeper promise, the Rams have built very good depth behind Gurley. That signals they are indeed concerned about his health, as they have other quality RBs to either share some time with him or step forward in case he is not reliable.

Gurley is PPR RB10 and overall player 21 in my initial rankings for 2019. But I have Nick Chubb one spot behind him and I am seriously considering swapping the two. That would make Gurley RB11. Just because he in the Top 12, though, does not mean I consider him a RB1. There may only be 10 or 11 true RB1s available this season. Last year at this time I believed there were only eight.

I may also push T.Y. Hilton ahead of Gurley in my overall ranks. That would put Gurley at 23 overall, just at the end of the second round. Personally, the earliest I can be okay with taking Gurley is in the third round. I hope other guys in my Top 22 will be available if I am picking in the 23rd or 24th spot this season in any draft.

There is already talk of Gurley sharing touches and being on the field with other RBs at times this year. But I also cannot forget he finished as RB3 last season and can still be very productive if the Rams are smart about his workload, which they will be. That is good enough to make him a high-end RB2 for me this season, at this point. More upcoming news could change my mind either way at any time.

 

Arizona Cardinals

Burning Question: Can Kyler Murray be a fantasy starter as a rookie?

The King’s Answer: He certainly has the ability to be a top-10 fantasy starter in 2019. Murray has been exhaustively compared to Russell Wilson in every detail down to the length of their fingernails. In his rookie season of 2012, Wilson finished as fantasy QB8.

Like Murray, Wilson did not have a receiving crew that looked outstanding at the time, but Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate would eventually show Cris Carter and everyone else they were very underrated back then.  Carter infamously called them “pedestrian” WRs and Baldwin and Tate went on to much more successful careers than many expected, even more so in the case of Baldwin.

Murray does have Larry Fitzgerald as a very safe target, but otherwise his WR corps is also unproven. But it is full of potential playmakers such as second-year man Christian Kirk and rookies Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. RB David Johnson is a highly noted receiver out of the backfield and TE Ricky Seals-Jones can still be a threat for TDs in the goal line area and might play better with Murray overall than he did with the predecessors at QB.

Murray has already been given enough of a quality supporting cast to have great potential to be a fantasy starter as a rookie. He has to earn that status, though, and it won’t be handed to him. So I do not rank him in my top 12 yet at QB, just outside of it. But I will take him as my QB2 if my first pick at the position is no surefire standout. I’ll initially draft him as a prime streamer type with real expectations for him being better than that.

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