2023 IDP Football NFC West Breakdown

by Mase Riney
2023 IDP Football NFC West Breakdown

You want to win your IDP league and bring home your league's hardware. Still, that championship mindset shouldn't start on draft day, so I decided to write a series of articles that break down each NFL teams IDP by division. We begin with the 2023 IDP Football NFC West Breakdown.

As a fantasy manager, you've got to stay prepared and in the know. Ensuring you are prepared with knowledge of every team could be the difference maker down the stretch of one's fantasy draft. Let me tell you a funny story about my friend who was under-prepared come draft day, and it cost him a lifetime of jokes at his expense.

Last preseason in mid-late August of 2022, I went to a friend's house for one of my home league's annual live drafts. The league consists of a rowdy crowd of nine men I have known most of my life.

The live draft usually begins around mid-day and lasts for hours until our 27 rounds are up—the league's roster consists of players from both sides of the ball. We set up a draft board, all are responsible for bringing our rankings, and all must put our player stickers on the board.

So last year, during the draft, somewhere at the start of the middle rounds (I believe round 8 or 9), one of the managers(Clint) was up a few picks before me. I remember Clint was sitting, tapping his right leg in temporary concentration as he rummaged through the running back draft stickers. While looking for a particular player, he then paused as if mesmerized. Clint looked around the room momentarily, then peeled off the draft sticker for Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson.

Clint stood slowly with immediate drafters remorse across his face. He then walked to the draft board with disappointment as he felt he had just made the steal of the draft, but, in actuality, Clint then realized he had made the biggest mistake in our league's history aside from that one guy who drafted three retired receivers within five rounds of each other, but that story is for another day.

Mixed emotions immediately flooded the room, and another manager even attempted to warn Clint of the ginormous mistake he had made by selecting  Chris Carson just before Clint had peeled the sticker. Once the sticker is off of the paper, the pick is official.

We, all in the room, in the most disorderly and vicious way possible, informed our good friend Clint that Chris Carson no longer had plans to play in the NFL. Carson was a former running back for the Seattle Seahawks who retired from the NFL on July 26, 2022, just weeks before our live draft. Carson played for five seasons in the NFL and was sidelined early in the 2021 season due to a neck injury.

I don't remember who the player(s) was who I was targeting, however, I do remember Clint, after the fact, had mentioned he was initially looking to draft 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell. Now Clint did make it to the postseason but didn't win the championship. Would he if he didn't waste a mid-round pick on a retired player? Now that is up for debate, and we will never know.

While this story isn't about IDP, the point is to stay prepared and composed.

With that said, a part of staying prepared is knowing what's happening with every NFL team in the off-season. If you are here, you, my friend, are a lover of IDP and are in the right place to stay ahead of the game.

This is the first in an eight-part series of passages to inform about NFL teams' losses, gains, and everything in between, laid out by division. For IDP purposes, every team will be broken down to give the reader a clearer picture of how the offseason unfolded for each team.

2023 IDP Football NFC West Breakdown

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Arizona Cardinals

This offseason brought the winds of change to Arizona as the coaching staff saw a changeover in personnel. The vibe for "Brotherly Love" was high as Jonathan Gannon, previous defensive coordinator of the Philidelphia Eagles, was hired as the Cardinals' new head coach, and Nick Rallis, former Eagles linebacker coach, was brought in as the new defensive coordinator.

It's worth noting that the Cardinals secondary allowed a 69.8 completion percentage in 2023, the highest passing completion percentage in the NFL last season. Regarding their rushing defense Arizona was around the middle of the pack, statically finishing 14th in rushing yards allowed (2,016 total yards and 21 touchdowns).

The actual significant loss for the Cardinals' defensive unit came in the form of J.J. Watt's retirement; after 12 years, the star edge rusher wrapped up his career in a bow leaving a significant hole on the edge of the defensive line and leader in and out of the locker room.

Key IDP's

Zaven Collins, LB

Despite being drafted and playing as an inside linebacker for the past two seasons, Collins has begun working with the outside linebackers and edge rushers during minicamp. Now this doesn't mean he's guaranteed to make the full-time switch, just something to monitor as the Cardinals brought in linebacker Kyzir White. This could mean more boom or bust weeks for Collins.

Isaiah Simmons, DB

Another former first-round linebacker selection for Arizona that has played all around the field and is now projected to be the starting Nickelback. Business as usual here for Simmons regarding being an efficient IDP. His dual eligibility is the cherry on top, as he puts up linebacker numbers and is a player you can slot in a defensive back position.

IDP Wildcards

Myjai Sanders, DL

Sanders saw the field for less than 300 snaps last season; however, with the state of the Cardinals' defensive line, Sanders has the green light to make the job his for years to come. I would expect sack points more so than tackling consistent points.

Kyzir White, LB

White has signed a two-year deal with Arizona this off-season. The linebacker room seems like it could vary on who leads tackles every week, so White is a solid later-round add for redraft leagues. In his last two seasons, White has finished with over 100 tackles and at least a sack each season.

BJ Ojulari, DL

The Cardinals have voids all over the defensive line, and Arizona swooped up the former LSU Tiger at the beginning of the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Ojulari's draft capital and lack of established personnel on the defensive line lead me to believe Ojulari will see some time on the field this season.

Budda Baker, DB

The star safety requested a trade earlier in the offseason, and the future is murky for Baker in Arizona. Wherever Baker plays, he will be an effective IDP for your roster, but will he be playing at the start of the season is the question. It should be noted that the Cardinals straight-up dropped star wideout Deandre Hopkins so anything could happen with Baker. If you're drafting Budda Baker, know there is risk in his situation, not his play.

Los Angeles Rams

Calijah KanceyDLR1 P19
YaYa DiabyDLR3 P82
SirVocea DennisLBR5 P153
Josh HayesDBR6 P181
Jose RamirezDLR6 P196

The Rams' offseason was a bit of a mess, as they didn't have high-end draft capital and were looking to save money anywhere they could. NFL star players such as Jalen Ramsey and Bobby Wagner are no longer in Los Angeles and are now rostered elsewhere. Though the big-name players are moving out, there could be some new faces to consider rostering for one's IDP league.

The Rams' defense allowed just under 2,000 yards rushing and tied for 11th in total sacks with 38 last season. Looking at the Rams' defense, it's easy to see that they are in the stages of roster turnover and have plenty of opportunity for new players to fill the void left by the stars who have moved on. The only thing staying consistent this season defensively is their coordinator Raheem Morris who has been with the Rams as the defensive coordinator since 2021.

NamePositionCollege23 Draft Result
DJ JohnsonLBOregonR3 P80
Jammie RobinsonDBFlorida StateR5 P145

Key IDP's

Aaron Donald, DL

Missing six games last season didn't help Donald's end-of-year status as he finished as the DL37(via FantasyPros). Donald has fallen down draft boards compared to the last two seasons; however, as long as he is on the field, he will be worth starting.

Ernest Jones, LB

Jones was the Rams' second leader in tackles last season, accumulating the second most targets on the defensive unit, and appears to be a solid mid-round pickup at linebacker.

IDP Wildcards

Jordan Fuller, DB

Fuller is coming off of a season plagued by a lingering hamstring injury limiting Fuller to only participating in three games last year. Fuller is among the few returning players familiar with the Los Angeles defense. In the two previous seasons before 2022, Fuller saw a decent amount of field time and faired well enough in coverage to be considered as a later-round draft selection in IDP. With the lack of seasoned players on the defense, Fuller could have a more prominent role than he's ever had on this defense, potentially a steal in drafts.

Christian Rozeboom, LB

It appears Christian Rozeboom could be the second linebacker in command on the Rams roster. That said, Rozeboom could be an effective flex play in some weeks. His competition for LB2 is Jake Humel and rookie UDFA DeAndre Square. This roster is a mess, and if you're drafting Rozeboom, I would suggest it is as a complete dart throw or for much deeper leagues, as he will be limited to specific packages.

LB-Byron Young-Young was the first defensive draft selection made by the Rams and their second draft selection in the 2023 NFL draft. On the Sleeper fantasy app, he is designated as a linebacker instead of a defensive lineman, so I would wait on drafting him until the later rounds, mainly to be used as a rotational flex option.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers' defensive coordinator position has been a revolving door these past few years, with previous coaches succeeding and eventually leaving for head coaching gigs(Robert Saleh, DeMeco Ryans). Once again, San Francisco will have a new defensive coordinator though it is not an internal hire this time. The 49ers' defensive unit appears to be in great hands as former Carolina interim head coach Steve Wilks is the new defensive coordinator in San Francisco.

The 49ers invested in their defensive line via free agency, making a splash by signing Javon Hargrave to a four-year deal. Then on draft day, the 49ers moved up a few spots in the third round to draft Penn St. safety, Ji'ayir Brown. Aside from the coaching, the 49ers have the core of their defense returning.

Key IDP's

Nick Bosa, DL

The 49ers' star pass rusher, has accumulated 34 sacks and finished as a top three defensive end for IDP in the past two seasons. Bosa is consistently one of the first defensive linemen off of the draft board.

Fred Warner, LB

Warner's consistent tackling and sporadic quarterback hits make him a favorite in drafts though he could be drafted anywhere between the first and third rounds of a draft.

Dre Greenlaw, LB

The 49ers LB1 in terms of IDP scoring (per Fantasypros) last season. Greenlaw led the 49ers in tackles and targets through the air in 2022. Once you see Warner go in a draft, Greenlaw is drafted shortly after.

Talanoa Hufanga, DB

Hufanga emerged onto the IDP scene last season in a big way finishing as the DL6(per FantasyPros). Hufanga's big play ability seems too good to pass up though he does fluctuate between being in the box and deep. Still, I expect Hufanga to have a stellar year in the Steve Wilks version of the San Francisco defense.

IDP Wildcards

Javon Hargrave, DL

The 49ers added another household name in Javon Hargrave this off-season. In his last two seasons, Hargrave has brought down the opposing quarterback 18.5 times and finished both seasons with 60+ combined tackles. Hargrave had five weeks with 15.5 points scored in 2022 and is a name you can look for later in drafts who could have some excellent weeks for you.

Isaiah Oliver, DB

is Another new addition to the 49ers roster and is presumed to battle for the starting slot in Steve Wilks's defense. In Oliver's five seasons, he has hit over 800+ snaps only twice and primarily has played in roles as the outside corner and slot; he also has sporadic time in the box.

Drake Jackson, DL

Jackson finished 4th among 49ers defensive players in sacks last season(3), more than 49ers star lineman Arik Armstead. The young defensive end out of USC is headed into his second year and will have the opportunity to compete for a starting/more significant rotational role.

Arik Armstead, DL

Armstead has played all over the 49ers' defensive line since being drafted by San Francisco in 2015. However, Armstead had a poor season for IDP, specifically in 2022. If names like Drake Jackson or Clelin Ferrell aren't looking the best in camp due to the depth in the middle of the line for SF, Armstead could be used again on the outside line. In 2019 when Armstead played on both sides of the edge, he finished the year with 10 sacks and 54 combined tackles.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is coming off a strong season and has only improved their defensive roster by adding names like Bobby Wagner, Julian Love, and Dre'Mont Jones. Their defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt seems excited for the defense to step up this year with a strong veteran and familiar presence in the heart of their defense with linebacker Bobby Wagner.

The Seahawks' Achilles heel last season was their run defense, as Seattle allowed the third most rushing yards(2554) and tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns allowed(21) in the NFL. The Hawks made their front seven a point of emphasis this offseason and showed it by signing a familiar face in Jarran Reed and bringing in Dre'Mont Jones, who was previously playing for Denver. To add, the Seahawks used three draft selections on defensive linemen (Derick Hall, Cameron Young, and Mike Morris).

Key IDP's

Bobby Wagner, LB

Bobby Wagner is back in Seattle, and the hometown crowd couldn't be happier. You can expect consistent tackling and a few top-10 IDP scoring weeks when you draft Wagner. Last season Wagner finished with more sacks(6) than he ever has in his career. I've seen Wagner sliding down boards and feel he is an excellent value to draft consistency for your linebacker position on your roster.

Uchenna Nwosu, DL/LB

Is he a defensive lineman or a linebacker? A dual-eligible player designated as a defensive lineman and a linebacker, though probably best suited as a defensive lineman or flex option in your lineup. Nwosu had a breakout season last year, finishing with more tackles(66), sacks(9.5), forced fumbles(3), and fumble recoveries(2) than he has ever had. If you're late to the party in drafting a defensive lineman in your draft, you should consider drafting Nwosu.

IDP Wildcards

Jordyn Brooks, LB

A torn ACL injury to Brooks at the end of the year cut his season short. Brooks is looking for a training camp return and is "ahead of the curve" in his recovery process. If Brooks is on the field, he is a must-roster IDP player; however, Brooks has been falling down draft boards with the injury concern. If you see Brooks falling in your draft, take a shot on him. In the worst case, he returns mid-season and assists your team with a playoff push.

Dre'Mont Jones, DL

A very streaky player who isn't a top 40 IDP scoring finisher but could be a solid bandaid for bye weeks. In Jones' 12 games last season, he finished with over 10 points in five; in the others, Dre'Mont Jones had few to no points; boom or bust is the name of his game.

Julian Love, DB

Love was a tackling machine last season in New York and broke out. With the recovery process still going on for fellow Seattle safety Jamal Adams Love seems to be an excellent pick for your defensive back spot on your roster for at least the early to mid games in the season. Love does have experience p[laying both in the box and deep, so I would expect Seattle to utilize Julian Love in multiple ways.

Jamal Adams, DB

Jamal Adams is one of the top safeties in the NFL when he is on the field. The problem is that Adams hasn't participated in an entire season since 2018. If he plays in at least twelve games, you can expect around 80 tackles from him. He is reportedly ahead of the curve in his rehab and return. Adams could be drafted in the middle rounds but know he is a risk that could either be worth a tremendous amount of value or you could end up with nothing.

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