Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals fantasy previews

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The two remaining teams in the NFC West possess some very interesting fantasy options for you this year.

Out in the desert it seems as if they have gone with the old man who used to bag groceries instead of the pretty boy from California.

And the rainy city Seahawks are trying to replace a running back who at one time was considered the best in the game.

In both scenarios it's important you know exactly what's going on because they can have extremely important influence on your fantasy season.

Quarterbacks
Seahawks: Matt Hasslebeck
Cardinals: Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart


Not only has Matt Hasslebeck become one of the most consistent producers in fantasy football over the years, but he has also become a shining light to prematurely balding men all across the country.

He's mastered coach Mike Holmgren's offense and the 'Hawks have done everything within their means to surround him with wide receivers who can keep up with his aerial attack. The receiving corps heads into 2008 a little banged up though,but that hasn't exactly slowed down Hasslebeck in the past.

If you don't have the chance to grab one of the top quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tony Romo, target Hasslebeck somewhere in the fourth or fifth round and rest easy knowing that he's going to produce week in and week out.


I'm little upset with Matt Leinart at the moment.

Because of his inability to progress as a quarterback - and the three INT performance this past weekend - I had to completely scrap my first version of this preview and start from scratch.

Now the old gunslinging Kurt Warner will reportedly resume the starting position in Arizona while Leinart moves right back to riding the pine.

Warner has the potential to become a great sleeper pick this year and is more than capable of throwing for 3,000 yards and 25+ touchdowns. Just as I told you with Hasslebeck, there's no need to panic if you don't land one of the top five quarterbacks. Warner would look great in your lineup on a weekly basis and should go somewhere in the fifth to sixth round.


Running Backs
Seahawks: Julius Jones
Cardinals: Edgerrin James


Signing with the Seahawks is the best thing that could have happened to Julius Jones. His days with the Dallas Cowboys started off promising until his backup supplanted him as the starter, making Jones expendable.

Now with the Seahawks, Jones won't be forced to look over his shoulder every waking moment and can focus on just pounding the rock. Holmgren's teams typically come equipped with a road grating offensive line and Jones should benefit some from that.

However, in watching some preseason 'Hawks action I haven't been impressed with the results so far. Jones could make a nice number two or three back and will probably end up in the 1,000 yard, 6 TD range. He's falling in most drafts so you should be able to find him in the six or seventh round if you're interested.

Every single year I underestimate Edgerrin James and he always finds a way to exceed my expectations. Maybe it's because he's getting long in the tooth or maybe it's because he's on the lowly Cardinals.

He's kind of like vanilla ice cream in that his game doesn't do much to make you stand back and notice. He'll quietly break 1,100 yards this year of he stays healthy, but the TD numbers won't be as high as they should be because of the Cardinals' efficient passing game. If you can draft Edge at or near the third or fourth round, go for it.


Wide Receivers
Seahawks: Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram
Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin


We'll look at the Cardinals first because the talents of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin aren't exactly a secret. They combine to make perhaps the most lethal one-two punch in the game at the wide receiver position.

The nod for the better of the two goes to Fitzgerald. He's one of the five best in the game and won't last past the second or third round. Do not hesitate to pull the trigger if he's there for the taking and wide receiver is what you are on the lookout for.

Boldin is no slouch and won't last much longer after Fitzgerald goes off the board. The only uncertainty surrounding Boldin is his contract and status with the team. He recently requested the organization trade him, but they have steadfastly refused to do so. He'll either come out to play with a vengeance if he sticks around and a man with something to prove is a man I would love to have on any fantasy roster. It's amazing how much money can motivate people.

Moving onto the Seahawks, things suddenly become cloudy.

Because of Hasslebeck's unique ability to spread the ball around and not depend on any one receiver, drafting someone from the 'Hawks turns into somewhat of a crapshoot.

Since signing Deion Branch, the former Super Bowl MVP has struggled mightily to just stay on the field. He may be the biggest name on this team, but he's not the first wide receiver to look at on the Seahawks.

Last season Bobby Engram led the squad and was the most consistent fantasy producer in Seattle. But with a broken shoulder suffered in preseason, he's not going to be returning until at least October and falls out of favor in the fantasy world.

The man with the distinction of becoming the 'Hawks number one wideout now falls on Nate Burleson. He's always been the kind of guy who you knew had the skills to be something special, but could never put it all together. With good speed and size, Burleson is approaching borderline sleeper status and may very well end up with over 1,000 yards and 7 TD when it's all said and done.

Tight Ends
Seahawks: John Carlson (R)
Cardinals: Leonard Pope


Truth be told, I don't know everything about John Carlson. But what I do know is that he is playing in a Mike Holmgren offense. And in a Holmgren offense, the tight end position doesn't mean very much at all. This man's name should never escape your lips at the draft.

Leonard Pope on the other hand, does bear some consideration for you fantasy roster. If you wait until the final few rounds of your draft to select a tight end, you'd get great value in picking Pope.

Defense


The Seahawks unit is one of the best in the business. They swarm to the football and can get after the quarterback like few teams can. With guys like Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson anchoring the linebacker position, they definitely are in the top ten of fantasy football.

And surprisingly, so too are the Cardinals, just not in the top ten. Despite allowing teams to light up the scoreboard, the Cardinals manage to generate turnovers and capitalize on them more often than you probably realize.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on August 25, 2008 5:00 AM.

Bears and Lions fantasy preview was the previous entry in this blog.

Player Rankings - Running Backs is the next entry in this blog.

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