Looking Back On The 2014 Fantasy Season: NFC West
The Arizona Cardinals’ season can be summed up in one word: injuries. Injuries to quarterbacks, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Ellington, and the numerous defensive players destroyed the fantasy hopes of so many owners. One positive is that this team has tons of young talent on the offensive side of the ball. These players will not be too expensive next year in drafts either. Ellington probably will not end up demanding a first round pick. John Brown was a deep sleeper this season who panned out well. However, he was an under the radar player throughout the entire season. He was definitely the biggest surprise on the team. Best of all, this rookie put up the majority of his stats without a solid quarterback throwing him the ball.
San Francisco 49ers
To say fantasy owners who put their faith in the 49ers this season are disappointed would be a gross understatement. We knew the defense was not going to be as good as it was last year without NaVorro Bowman, but once Patrick Willis went out with injury the team crumbled. The offense had an even worse situation. Colin Kaepernick was expected to make giant leaps in 2014. That never happened. In fact, it almost seemed like he took a step backwards. Teams have figured out how to stop the running quarterback, and that really hurt Kaepernick who was being trumped up as a top five quarterback. The team’s running game also suffered. This was partially because the 49ers could not decide whether to give the bulk of the carries to Frank Gore or Carlos Hyde. However, the single biggest disappointment on the team has got to be Michael Crabtree. Where was he this season? Crabtree was being drafted as high as the late third round meaning he was expected to be a low-end number one fantasy wide receiver. He ended up putting up stats equal to a free agent.
The Seahawks were a very interesting fantasy team. Russell Wilson made vast improvements. At the beginning of the season it was looking like he would end up being a top five fantasy quarterback. Unfortunately, a couple bad games hurt his performance. The biggest surprise was when the team dealt wide receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets. Harvin was performing very well with the Seahawks and the team had just given him a huge contract prior to the last offseason. The loss of Harvin seemed to have a negative effect on Wilson, who was then forced to deal with an average set of wide receivers. Of course, the main player on the team was Marshawn Lynch. Lynch dropped in a lot of drafts due to all the preseason talk about how he will begin to slow down and the Seahawks will want to get their young running backs more involve. Neither of those things happened and Lynch turned out to be an undisputable top three running back.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams were a team dominated by sleepers. It seemed like on any given week some player could end up going off. However, their offensive players were so unpredictable that most fantasy owners did not even want to deal with it. Zac Stacy turned out to be a bust, but Tre Mason emerged as a valuable asset by the end of the season. The team went through a number of quarterbacks who all performed well at times and poorly at others. The biggest contributor to the fantasy football world was the Rams’ defense. The defense had a number of games where they put up more fantasy points than any other team defense. Do not expect this to change going into next season. This is still a very young team.