In today’s Stats & Mags podcast, Michelle Magdziuk and I decided to put the NFC West to the test. Using only the 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, and Seahawks, she and I chose the best possible fantasy lineup (QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, FLEX, TE, K, DEF). Despite having a team capable of being one of the top offenses in the league, the 49ers weren’t very well represented on either squad.
My choice at this spot is Matthew Stafford. I know he doesn’t offer the rushing yardage than other QBs in the division offer, but I think he’s going to be a monster in Sean McVay’s offense. Matthew Stafford has never been in a better situation between the weapons around him and the guy calling plays. Not surprisingly, his two highest touchdown years came with two very good play-callers in Scott Linehan and Jim Bob Cooter. Those years he threw 41 and 32 TDs, respectively. Now with Sean McVay, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods? I think the sky’s the limit for Stafford.
By its very nature, running back play is unpredictable year to year. The nature of the position can lead to frequent injury, and game script can take almost any runner out of the equation. With that caveat, Chris Carson gets the nod as RB1. Despite missing a quarter of the season with injuries, Carson still put up nine touchdowns and gained almost 1,000 yards from scrimmage. Combine that with the fact that Pete Carroll would run the ball every play if he could, and you’ve got all the makings of a great fantasy season for Carson.
As far as RB2, it wasn’t an easy decision. I can tell you that Raheem Mostert wasn’t my choice. There’s no doubt that he’s capable of winning certain weeks all by himself, but he’s also just as likely to crush you with an early exit due to injury or a light workload.
The first choice was easy - DeAndre Hopkins. The guy learned a new system and adapted to a new quarterback without missing a beat last year. No matter what team he’s on, and no matter who is throwing him the ball, Hopkins just produces. Over the last three years, he’s racked up more than 4,100 yards - which is 300+ yards more than anyone else in the sport. Easy decision.
(If you want to hear my other receiver, you’ll have to listen to the show. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t Deebo or Brandon Aiyuk)
This was the easiest decision of them all. George Kittle is an absolute rhino, but the rest of the tight ends in the division leave something to be desired. In his last 16 full games, Kittle has 93 catches and 1,116 yards. What keeps George from being TE1 overall is his lack of touchdowns. Whether it’s route-running ability, bad quarterback play, or some combination thereof, Kittle just doesn’t score that often. As I have pointed out many times on various podcasts, Kittle has never scored more than five touchdowns in any season of his career, and he has just 12 scores in his last 38 games. For him to truly live up to that big contract, George Kittle simply has to get in the end zone more often. That said, he’s still miles ahead of anyone else in the division, and he was the obvious choice here.
To hear Michelle’s picks, as well as some of the explanations for the lack of 49ers in these lineups, be sure to check out the entire episode. Find it here and wherever podcasts are available.