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The NFC West’s top five fantasy wide receivers

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Some of you out there may be gearing up just as much for your fantasy teams as you are the Seattle Seahawks. That’s perfectly fine if that’s your prerogative, and I’m here to help as much as I possibly can. Field Gulls has not always shed light onto the fantasy side of football, but I can’t help but think about it myself and I know there are ways to incorporate some of the advanced stats this site loves with the fantasy points that I do.

We can also use these opportunities to talk about the real life opponents that the Seahawks will be facing six times this year: specifically what’s going on with the other three teams in the division and which players will be just as important in the fantasy world as they are in the real one. With that, I’ve highlighted five wide receivers in the NFC West, including four who could give Seattle problems, but who could also help you (if you dare play someone who is playing against the Seahawks) in that “other” type of NFL season, and one who you’ll have no problem rooting for at all.

Cooper Kupp, LA Rams

Kupp didn’t have to wait long to have a breakout season for the Rams, averaging 14 Y/R and putting up 869 yards as a rookie. His DYAR was 272, which ranked 12th among WR with a minimum of 50 passes. Even more impressive, Kupp ranked 4th overall in DVOA. He’ll likely continue to be one of Jared Goff’s favorite targets, even if Brandin Cooks did just become one of the highest-paid receivers in NFL history. Kupp only had five touchdown catches last year, but that could always improve if the offense finds itself in the red zone more often that they did a year ago; as the division’s expected best team, LA could certainly lead the league in scoring again. With 115 fantasy points on the year in 2017, he’s likely to get better.

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks

Baldwin finished last season with a DYAR of 200 and ranked 17th overall among wide receivers, 28th overall in DVOA. He continues to average at least 13.4 yards per reception with 8 touchdown receptions on the year, coming to a total of about 9.2 fantasy points per game. With a younger less experienced receiving corps around him this season it’s likely that Russell Wilson will continue to lean on Baldwin just as much as he always has, if not more. If we see something similar to his 2016 season, where he was the target of 125 passes, it’s likely that he’ll have another 1000+ yards by the end of this season, just as he did in 2015 and 2016. Will he ever get 14 touchdowns again? Probably not, but that’s only because it was an extraordinary total rarely matched by anyone, but Baldwin is capable of 10+.

Brandin Cooks, LA Rams

While Kupp put on a stellar show as a rookie, the Rams acquisition and subsequent $80 million deal with Cooks is telling. Cooks ranked 13th overall with a DYAR of 258 during his one season with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots; he managed seven TDs last year along with 16.6 Y/R. The only reason I still have Cooks slightly lower on this list than Kupp is because it’s still yet to be seen just how well he performs with Goff at the helm as opposed to Brady and Drew Brees. Cooks ranks high among DVOA as well at 17th overall. He’s an extremely talented player, but I think it was a more significant risk for LA to lock him down than it would be if he’d actually proven himself with Sean McVay and Goff already.

If McVay’s offensive system is so perfect, why did they feel the need to spend so much money and draft capital at wide receiver? Could they not pull it off with someone else? Maybe that means Cooks will just put up 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns, but with Todd Gurley, Kupp, and Robert Woods, how much will Cooks need to be utilized?

Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers

Goodwin finished 2017 with a DYAR rank of 24th overall, thriving since heading to the San Francisco 49ers and playing for Kyle Shanahan. Even more impressive, he did it while the team went through a rotation of various different QBs, adapting quickly and finishing the year with 56 receptions for 962 yards. He’s poised to have an even bigger year now that the Niners have Jimmy Garappolo as their starting QB for a whole season, which should also help the fact that he only scored twice in 2017. Goodwin is a big play receiver (17.2 Y/R) but can he be a number one, or will he be relinquishing much of that responsibility to Pierre Garcon, now that he’s healthy?

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

The future Hall of Famer was as reliable as ever last season, grabbing another 109 catches and putting up 1,156 yards, but he dropped a bit in DYAR, ranking 28th overall with a total of 147. However, if Sam Bradford stays healthy, it could be the type of veteran relationship that at least keeps Fitzgerald over 100 catches and 1,000 yards again. If Josh Rosen wins the job and is the second coming of Deshaun Watson (not likely, but possible), then maybe Fitzgerald does even more. I think Christian Kirk is a guy who could steal some attention, but Fitzgerald is once again still “the guy” in Arizona, and I would feel comfortable to keep him in my top five for the division for next season.

Which can’t get here soon enough.

Poll

Which honorable mention deserves to be in the top 5?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Christian Kirk
    (11 votes)
  • 31%
    Tyler Lockett
    (101 votes)
  • 11%
    Pierre Garcon
    (36 votes)
  • 18%
    Robert Woods
    (60 votes)
  • 33%
    Nobody, this is right
    (107 votes)
  • 2%
    Other
    (9 votes)
324 votes total Vote Now