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NFC West Risers/Fallers - 2018 Season Review

Throughout the course of any fantasy football season, it's inevitable that we're going to be surprised by the performances of certain players, both good and bad.

Many highly-drafted players will fall short of expectations, while plenty of late-round fliers and waiver wire acquisitions will show up to save the day. It's important to take note of these developments throughout the year and to file them away for next season.

For that reason, we will examine the biggest risers and fallers from each NFL division. We'll begin our coverage with the NFC West.

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Los Angeles Rams

Riser - Robert Woods, WR

Robert Woods' draft position is going to be one of the things that I am going to be most interested in this offseason. Fellow receiver Brandin Cooks gets a lot of the plaudits as being an elite fantasy option, but Woods is the kind of player that is great for fantasy owners. If you managed to draft Woods this season, you were extremely happy with his 86 receptions, 1,219 yards and six touchdowns.

On a high-powered offense, the touchdown number may seem a bit low but only having four games where he scored less than 10 points in 0.5 PPR means he never really sunk your team (and in fact in two of those games be scored over nine points). Getting him as your WR2 would be a steal given that level of consistency.

Faller - Rams Tight Ends

Being totally honest, I struggled a little bit with finding a faller on this team. There didn't seem to be an obvious player who hurt their draft stock this season. However, the tight end position for the Rams continues to be a wasteland.

The entire position totaled just 58 receptions, 617 yards, and five touchdowns. Furthermore, there were only two games that had over 10 points in 0.5 PPR scoring, and one of those was the hugely-exciting game against the Kansas City Chiefs where Gerald Everett caught three passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns.

The tight end position as a whole for the league is quite shallow with an elite tier continuing to break away from the pack, but given the lack of opportunity for the position, there are better streaming options to select that this team's options.


Seattle Seahawks

Riser - Chris Carson, RB

Choosing the riser from this team was between two players, Carson or wide receiver Tyler Lockett. Ultimately, I've opted to go for the running back because I think he is the player that is more likely to repeat his performance.

Quickly touching on Lockett- I think his season was almost too good. His season was so reliant on scoring touchdowns, which are always difficult to predict season-to-season. Given the limited opportunity on the Seahawks, who have looked to go back to their run-first ways, the wide receiver may disappoint more times than he delights.

Returning to Carson, the offseason hype was all around Rashaad Penny. During training camp and preseason though the situation looked like it was sewn up with Carson being the more impressive. It was quickly put to a side after training camp and preseason. Carson put it to bed very quickly, getting out to a hot start and kept his foot on the pedal all season. Carson ended the season with 247 rush attempts, only bettered by six running backs in the league.

If Carson could improve on his 20 receptions and be more involved in the passing game then he could be a great addition to your fantasy team, especially if you could add him as your RB2 combined with an elite running back and good wide receiver.

Faller - Doug Baldwin, WR

Baldwin started the season injured, and it really showed in his performances. Baldwin was given the opportunity to be the fantasy performer he had been in previous seasons, and never took the opportunity until it was too late in the season.

Baldwin finished with 50 receptions for 618 yards and five touchdowns. The Seahawks seem to be over with putting games on the shoulders of quarterback Russell Wilson and returned to the style of game that made them so effective- the ground game.

Combining the reduced opportunity expected in the passing game, as well as the performance of fellow wide receiver Tyler Lockett, Baldwin is best avoided in fantasy drafts until the middle rounds.


San Fransisco 49ers

Riser - George Kittle, TE

This choice was easy given the context of the position and the fact it was a record-breaking season. Kittle re-broke the record for season receiving yards after Travis Kelce had broke it earlier in the day at the season end.

Kittle started the season as a mid-round tight end and finished the season being considered as an elite option at the position. Kittle is a target for players drafting at the turn of round 2 to 3, and should definitely be taken any later than that, given the lack of fantasy talent at the position.

Fallers -  The 49ers backfield

There is one reason that I went for the backfield, and that is the added complication of Jerick McKinnon. Matt Breida, in particular, was a player that impressed this season. However, McKinnon signed a good contract with a clear intention of how he would fit in the bay area.

The performances of Breida may have muddied the water, but given the opportunity that awaits McKinnon this could end up being a thorn to both players fantasy relevance this season.


Arizona Cardinals

Riser - Larry Fitzgerald, WR

I was scraping the barrel in selecting any Cardinals player, given the struggles of the offense. The front office clearly wasn't happy with the look of the offense and made a coaching change. Fitzgerald clearly thought he had more to offer too, after signing on for another season.

Fitzgerald may have finished the season with 69 receptions, marking the end of his streak of three seasons with over 100 receptions. Fitzgerald will have to compete with receiver Christian Kirk and running back Johnson for targets this season but the offense should hopefully not stall and given plenty opportunities for the whole team to be effective.

Faller -  David Johnson, RB

Choosing a faller is more difficult than I first thought it would be. The reason being that there is only a handful of fantasy relevant players on the roster at this point.

Johnson broke out as a fantasy force and then lost a season to injury, and this last season wasn't the return to form fantasy owners would have hoped for. I will say now that I believe that he will return to be somewhat closer to the player that he was in seasons past.

The 2018 season was his worst performance of his career- averaging 3.6 yards per carry and 8.9 yards per reception. While he should bounce back from those lows in a new offense, the amount of issues on this roster means he is unlikely to reach the peaks of his early career

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