32 Questions Part 7 - NFC West
By Sigmund Bloom
July 22nd, 2011

Arizona Cardinals - What will they do with their crowded backfield?

Few people saw the Cardinals selection of Ryan Williams in the second round coming, but in hindsight, all the signs were there that they weren't sold on Chris Wells. Wells did have an impressive end to his rookie year, but other that that, nagging injuries have kept him from having any kind of impact or gaining any kind of hold on the Arizona RB job during his two seasons in the league. The team also has short yardage/third-down/fumble-prone Tim Hightower and Darren Sproles-clone Larod Stephens-Howling on the roster. Wells looks like prime trade bait with his youth and inexpensive contract, not to mention the difference between the supply and demand of startable running backs in free agency. Could Arizona turn Wells into Kyle Orton? Could they instead turn Tim Hightower into help for the defense? Someone should get dealt soon as long as there's a market for the Cardinals backs services. Williams is lurking as a player who could potentially be a huge value in redraft leagues at his current eighth round ADP. Heck, he's worth a gamble in that round even if Wells and Hightower both start the season as Cardinals since he'll probably be the favorite of the organization and you know Wells will have another injury soon enough. Wells would be a more interesting gamble in Cincinnati or Denver. The Cardinals have been one of the worst teams in the league at running the ball, but that doesn't mean you should completely ignore their backs in your draft.

San Francisco 49ers - What is the condition of Michael Crabtree's foot (and head)?

First, Crabtree was not working out with all-but-signed QB Alex Smith in the offseason. Take note that Smith is pretty tight with new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Then, once Crabtree did show up to offseason workouts, he asked who the quarterback was when he was asked if his presence would help the 49ers QB. Then he sat out of workouts, allegedly because of sore feet from new shoes, yet that soreness lingered for weeks after in the same foot he had surgically repaired in 2009. TE Vernon Davis did say Crabtree suffered a foot injury in the Smith-led workouts, although Davis also said Crabtree should be ready for camp. While there have been lots of public votes of confidence in Crabtree as a teammate (plus a report that his foot will be fine), it's getting to the point that we should probably stop waiting around for the former #10 overall pick to build some positive momentum. Vernon Davis and Josh Morgan stand to gain a lot of value if Crabtree wears down physically or mentally to the point that he misses time or has his role reduced. We wouldn't stick our neck out for Crabtree in drafts unless the buzz around him does a 180 in the next few weeks.

St. Louis Rams - Who will be Sam Bradford's main targets at wide receiver?

At wide receiver on the depth chart, the Rams have Danario Alexander, Danny Amendola, Donnie Avery, Brandon Gibson, and Mardy Gilyard under contract from last year, plus draft picks Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, and they are expected to re-sign 2010 #1 wide receiver Mark Clayton in free agency. Oh yeah, they are also expected to be players for any number of other free agent wideouts when the player movement floodgates open. This is one giant knot to untangle for fantasy, and it isn't of minor importance, as Clayton was very productive as a #1 last year, Amendola was a PPR wonder at times, Bradford should be even better after a standout rookie campaign, and, oh yeah, they added playcalling and passing game wunderkind Josh McDaniels as their offensive coordinator. Look for Amendola to be a poor man's Welker and Avery and Clayton to fight it out in camp for #1 duties. All of these wide receivers can be had in the double-digit rounds and at least one will be a massive value in fantasy leagues this year. The depth chart will be fluid, so be ready to change your expectations as news starts to flow out of Rams camp.

Seattle Seahawks - What will they do at quarterback?

The Seahawks gave up 20 spots in the second round last year and a third round pick this year for Charlie Whitehurst, but it doesn't seem like they are eager for him to start. The team has been rumored as a contender in the Kevin Kolb trade derby, and they've also been connected to quarterbacks that have a previous link with the current coaching staff such as Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Leinart. All this after an eleventh-hour attempt to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck failed before the lockout. Most Seahawks beat writers think Hasselbeck is gone (probably to Tennessee) and it's hard to picture the team giving up the high price the Eagles are asking for Kolb. Perhaps they could make a play for Donovan McNabb or convince Mike Brown to trade Carson Palmer (yet another possible USC reunion), but otherwise, their QB situation will be a drag on the value of players like Marshawn Lynch and Mike Williams.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to bloom@footballguys.com.

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