NFL Preview 2019: Highlighting each NFC West team's most impactful rookie

NFL Preview 2019: Highlighting each NFC West team's most impactful rookie

It's a crucial season for the NFC West.

The 49ers, in year three of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch era, need to take a step forward, or seats will get hot.

The Rams, after losing in the Super Bowl, need to capitalize on their championship window while it's still open.

The Seahawks, coming off a surprising 10-6 campaign, need to avoid the dropoff that many expected was coming last year.

And the Cardinals ... well, the Cardinals need to not be historically bad.

Aiding each of the four NFC West teams in their crucial seasons is a rookie that they're counting on making a major impact in their first year in the NFL.

Here's a closer look at those promising young players:

San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa

Once again, the 49ers used their first-round draft pick on a defensive lineman, but Bosa might be the best of them all.

He's got the talent, the attitude and the pedigree to become one of the most dominant pass rushers in the game.

Bosa is expected to start at defensive end from Day 1, and should form a devastating inside-outside pass-rushing tandem with Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

[RELATED: Bosa appears ready for Week 1 after posing workout photos]

If Bosa lives up to expectations, the 49ers could have one of the best defensive lines in all of the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray

Assuming he stays healthy, Murray likely will be the most impactful of all the rookies in the NFL, due mainly to his position.

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft will take over behind center for the Cardinals, after Arizona shipped last year's rookie starter -- Josh Rosen -- to Miami.

Murray won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma after showcasing his ability to dominate the game with both his arms and his legs. His athleticism is off the charts, but in order for him to be successful, Arizona's offensive line will need to do a much better job after allowing 52 sacks and 109 quarterback hits last season.

Seattle Seahawks: DK Metcalf

If a computer were to generate a prototype to play wide receiver in the NFL, it would look a lot like Metcalf.

With blazing straight-line speed and muscles upon muscles, Metcalf is a sight to see, when he isn't a blur. He was the talk of the NFL Combine after posting a 4.33-second 40-yard dash and 40.5-inch vertical at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds.

Metcalf's strengths will be utilized in Seattle's play-action attack, as quarterback Russell Wilson now has both he and fellow speedster Tyler Lockett to find with the deep ball.

Physically, at least, Metcalf is already ready to dominate as a rookie.

Los Angeles Rams: Darrell Henderson

From top to bottom, the Rams might have the best roster in the league, so it's not going to be easy for any rookie to get significant playing time. Henderson, though, might be a different case.

The running back averaged 8.2 yards per carry over his three-year college career at Memphis, and caught 63 passes for 758 yards.

Given that Los Angeles seems inclined to scale back Todd Gurley's workload, Henderson could pick up the resulting slack as a dynamic change-of-pace back.

If Gurley were to miss any extended time, Henderson would be a main beneficiary, and you can bet head coach Sean McVay has been salivating coming up with ways to deploy him.

Fantasy football waiver wire: 49ers' Deebo Samuel among Week 3 targets


Fantasy football waiver wire: 49ers' Deebo Samuel among Week 3 targets

Another week in the books.

With nothing but the Monday Night matchup remaining on the NFL's Week 2 slate, it's time to turn our attention to the waiver wire. There were several standout performances across the league, as well as some serious injuries to some key fantasy players.

The waiver wire presents your opportunity to capitalize on those developments and set your team up to continue its fast start, or to rebound before it's too late.

With that, here are four non-quarterbacks to keep in mind for waiver claims Tuesday morning, all of whom could be the missing link for your squad and are owned in fewer than 15 percent of Yahoo and ESPN fantasy leagues.

Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs WR

1 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 1 percent owned in ESPN

Patrick Mahomes has shown no signs whatsoever of slowing down, as the third-year quarterback lit up Oakland for 443 passing yards and four touchdowns in Kansas City's 28-10 road win on Sunday. He did all that without Tyreek Hill, who missed the game with a sternoclavicular joint injury. However, Demarcus Robinson did his best Hill impression.

Robinson hauled in six passes for 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders, pairing with rookie Mecole Hardman to give the Chiefs two downfield threats that Oakland struggled to keep up with. Given how explosive Kansas City's offense is, you know they're going to put up plenty of points on a weekly basis. Sammy Watkins takes over the No. 1 spot in Hill's absence, but Robinson made a very convincing argument for more playing time on Sunday. He'll likely be the top waiver add in your league.

Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins WR

2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 3 percent owned in ESPN

The Dolphins flat-out stink. There's no way around it.

After being shut out 43-0 by the Patriots on Sunday, Miami has now been outscored 102-10 over the first two weeks of the season. That is historically bad.

The Dolphins are inept on both sides of the ball, but from a fantasy perspective, that can have its benefits. Miami has been playing from behind all season, and there's no reason to expect that to change anytime soon. That means lots of passes, and as one of the most talent-poor teams in the league, the Dolphins simply don't have many pass-catchers worth rostering. Preston Williams, however, might be a different story.

While DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant both drew one more target, Williams led all Miami receivers with four receptions for 63 yards on Sunday. He now has at least five targets and three receptions in every game this season, and has accounted for Miami's lone touchdown. There aren't many Dolphins worth rostering in fantasy, but in deep leagues, Williams might qualify.

Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks TE

2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 2 percent owned in ESPN

If you didn't grab one of the top-tier tight ends in the first few rounds of your fantasy draft, chances are you've experienced some uneven play from that position. Rookie T.J. Hockenson had an all-time performance in Week 1, but was an absolute dud in Week 2. Pittsburgh's Vance McDonald basically did the opposite.

So, if you're unhappy with the state of your tight end position, it might be worth taking a flier on Seattle's Will Dissly. The Seahawks tight end caught all five passes on which he was targeted Sunday for 50 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He won't be a consistent producer from week-to-week, but in a pinch, you could do a lot worse, particularly given the quarterback throwing him the ball.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers WR

13 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 13 percent owned in ESPN

It remains to be seen if the 49ers have a true No. 1 receiver, but Deebo Samuel made the most convincing argument yet this season on Sunday against the Bengals.

San Francisco's second-round pick led the 49ers in targets, receptions and receiving yards against Cincinnati, hauling in five passes for 87 yards and a score. Jimmy Garoppolo looked considerably better in Week 2 than in Week 1, and he seemed to look for Samuel in key moments.

[RELATED: Why Jimmy G getting into early rhythm was key to 49ers' win]

Inconsistency is to be expected from a rookie, but given that Samuel has outplayed Dante Pettis over the first two weeks, it seems unlikely that his snap count will decrease anytime soon, especially after the offensive explosion San Francisco experienced against the Bengals. Kyle Shanahan is as good of a play-caller as there is in the NFL, and Samuel affords him plenty of flexibility in that department. Add Samuel as a WR4 that offers the potential for more.

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

CINCINNATI — The 49ers' defense was overshadowed by an offense that put 41 points and 572 yards on the board against the Bengals, but it still had a Sunday not to forget.

San Francisco held Cincinnati to 316 yards in total offense, including a shockingly low 25 on the ground. Another 66 yards of that total came on the Bengals' final offensive play -- a garbage-time touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to John Ross. Take that away, and the Bengals' total offensive output was 250 yards as the 49ers rolled 41-17 at Paul Brown Stadium.

That one week after the 49ers held the Buccaneers to 17 points and 295 total yards in a season-opening road win.

Ronald Blair, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner all recorded quarterback sacks Sunday, and linebacker Kwon Alexander logged his first interception as a 49er and the seventh of his NFL career. The defense also racked up eight pass break-ups, with Alexander responsible for three, Ahkello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed for two apiece, and Jullian Taylor for one.

The 49ers' new attitude on defense is noticeable, and much of the credit for that goes to Alexander and defensive end Dee Ford being added to the lineup and, of course, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's presence.

Jimmy Garoppolo explained how unique the group is and how Alexander really has changed the mood.

"Yeah, Kwon's awesome, man," the 49ers quarterback said. "He really is. The defense as a whole, it’s a different attitude, and I’ve never been around a defense like that. When I turn the ball over and they hold them to a field goal and miss it, it just gives you so much more confidence in those guys. They played their asses off, and it’s incredible."

Alexander could be considered an instigator of sorts. He's always seen on the sideline with a lot of energy, and if any trash talk is happening on the field, you'd best believe that he's involved. He also takes full responsibility for second-year pro Fred Warner's vocal emergence this season.

[RELATED: Grading 49ers' offense, defense in rout of Bengals]

Alexander believes motivation is cyclical, with all phases of the game keeping the energy high for each other. He thrives off it.

"Everybody buying in, doing what they got to do," Alexander said. "Offense doing what they got to do running the ball, D going out there making plays and turnovers ...

"Everybody was just feeding off each other, and once you do that, once you get a team feeding off each other and playing fast, you’re going to win a lot of games."

So, while the offense had a better showing Sunday, the defense is what could keep the 2-0 49ers' upward trajectory on course. Not only is the unit capable of helping pull out a win when the offense struggles, but the defense can alleviate pressure on Jimmy G and Co. to perform.