Projected as contenders entering the 2017 season, both of these NFC West teams need this one badly to keep playoff hopes alive in what is a deep conference. This game could be a very close one as I’m expecting the Cardinals to try and chew up as much clock as possible to limit Russell Wilson’s time on the field.
Wilson has still had issues being protected up front against his offensive line, but he has a favorable matchup tonight. Besides Patrick Peterson, opponents have had success throwing against the Cardinals and due to stout play against the run opponents are usually throwing frequently. With Eddie Lacy out, Thomas Rawls should get the majority of running game touches in Seattle’s latest round of RB musical chairs. Considering the Cardinals ability to stop the run, unless you feel the volume is there, I wouldn’t view Rawls as more than a flex play this week. J.D. McKissic also should see touches, but the volume hasn’t been there to trust him.
Despite the threat of Peterson, Doug Baldwin still projects as a safe play and should be locked in all lineups. Baldwin runs the majority of his routes from the inside or slot, which would allow him to get away from being shadowed by the All Pro corner. Jimmy Graham on a yards per catch basis isn’t as dynamic as he was with the Saints, but having caught 18 passes and four touchdowns in the past four weeks, he is a high floor option at a weak position and Wilson figures to be throwing often. Picking between Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson is a crapshoot, as both have shown to be big play threats but there is no telling who will be targeted more. They’re boom or bust options as a third fantasy receiver this week, but regardless of if you start or sit them, remember hindsight is 20/20.
Drew Stanton was serviceable in his first start replacing Carson Palmer, but if Sunday was any indication the offense will fully rely on Adrian Peterson. After 39 total touches less than a week ago, Peterson figures to see a workload in the 20’s at least. The only problem is yards will be tougher to come by against the Seahawk interior. Based off volume alone, Peterson has to be started in all fantasy formats.
Like Baldwin in the Seahawks offense, Larry Fitzgerald tends to run many of his routes on the inside, keeping him away from the likes of Richard Sherman. Stanton might not be consistent getting the ball to the future hall of famer, but as evident by the nine targets last week, the effort will be made. Receivers such as John Brown, Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson could have an impact for the Cardinals in this one, but in an offense that will rely on the run and has a inconsistent quarterback they can be avoided for fantasy purposes.
While these two teams tend to play each other pretty tough, the biggest question for me will be how long the Cardinals offense can stay on the field. If Wilson is able to get going early, that is an uphill battle for a Cardinal offense that isn’t wanting Stanton throwing 35 to 40 times. So with that I’ll be taking the Seahawks as they hope to keep pace with the Rams in the division race. My prediction is Seahawks 24 Cardinals (+6.5) 16.