Who should I draft? – AFC West
Welcome to the next chapter of my, ‘who should I draft?’ write-ups for the AFC divisions and today I’m going through the AFC West. Hopefully you read my last article on the AFC North and found it useful when it comes to your next fantasy draft. Just a quick reminder all ADP figures have been collated at half PPR.
The first team I am looking at in the AFC West is the reigning superbowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. They finished the regular season with a 12-4 record before going on to lift the Lombardi trophy against the San Francisco 49ers. Patrick Mahomes was the leader of the Chiefs and would be most peoples choice of the ideal QB to have on their team. However, as great as Mahomes is he is at a high price. His ADP is currently 2.02 at half PPR and to me that seems like a very expensive price for a QB.
The running back room has become a little more problematic since the Chiefs decided to draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the 1st round. He was one of the most wanted running backs in this years draft and given that the Chiefs picked him as the 1st running back in the 1st round you have to think they are going to use him a lot. The problem for Edwards-Helaire is that the running back already there is Damien Williams. The coaching staff have already said Williams is the starter, although this is before training camp, also Williams was explosive during the play-off run which might mean he will still get a certain amount of rushes per game. Edwards-Helaire has an ADP of 4.11 which feels high for a player who might not be the guaranteed starter at the beginning of the season.
At wide receiver the Chiefs have got some seriously good players that can help you win any league and the most obvious one is Tyreek Hill. He does come at a cost as his ADP is 1.12 and he was only the wide receiver number 28 last year but with Mahomes throwing he could easily bounce back to his number 1 position of 2018. Back then he amassed just short of 1,500 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns and although he is unlikely to hit them heights again he could easily hit over 1,000.
Also, the Chiefs have some other wide receivers who could help you in your quest for the title with players like Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins. Hardman was the wide receiver 49 last year which doesn’t sound great but he has an ADP of 8.06 and having spent another year with the team you would hope he will improve. Watkins is a harder one to judge as he is being seen as the wide receiver 3 on the team and he has always been an inconsistent talent. With his ADP at 10.1 it feels like it is to high considering the potential pitfalls that come with him. Also, you could draft Demarcus Robinson who was WR67 last season but he doesn’t normally feature in the top 15 rounds of a draft so he would be a punt as a possible replacement if any of the others got injured.
Finally in the tight end position the Chiefs have got one of the best players in that position and the number 1 from last year in Travis Kelce. He had over 1,200 yards and 5 touchdowns last year and you have to feel that there is a strong chance he could do something similar this year. His ADP is 2.05 which is a lot to pay for a tight end and something I wouldn’t do but if you feel that you have to pick one of the main guys then he is a good choice.
Next up we have got the Denver Broncos who had a disappointing year last season finishing with a 7-9 record under new head coach Zac Taylor. Last year the Broncos had Joe Flacco as their starting QB but after some poor performances and injury they bought in new QB Drew Lock. Lock only played 5 full games but despite this he showed the Broncos enough to believe he would be the guy taking them into this season. His pass percentage is decent at 64.1% and he has been given a lot of new weapons to throw to via this years draft. His ADP is only 13.09 and if you believe in him to be steady then he could be very valuable at a cheap price.
At wide receiver Denver have already got a potential future WR1 in Courtland Sutton who was the wide receiver 17 last year. He had 6 touchdowns and 1,112 yards in a season where he had to change QB’S half way through and if he can get a good relationship going with Lock he could easily move up. His current ADP is around the end of the 4th round which would be great value for a potential WR1.
Along side Sutton you have newly drafted Jerry Judy who starred for Alabama at college level last year and has been compared to players like Amari Cooper and Julio Jones at the same age. A lot of people are expecting an instant impact from Judy when the season starts and this is why his ADP is currently at 11.08. To be honest I think he will be roster dependant, if you have managed to get reliable starters already then you can take a punt on a new player entering the league as although people expect him to do well many quality college prospects have failed when entering the NFL.
Not only did they pick up Judy but they also went for KJ Hamler who will probably fall towards the bottom of your draft. This guy is worth a punt on for a small amount of draft capital. He has speed to burn and he is near impossible to keep up with meaning he becomes a big play target for Drew Lock.
At running back the Broncos have given all fantasy players a headache with the acquisition of Melvin Gordon in free agency. By bringing him in it now means that Phillip Lindsay is going to be limited to his work load despite being the running back 19 last year. He managed just over 1,000 rushing yards last season and another 196 in the passing game but you have to think that will come down with the arrival of Gordon. His ADP is currently 9.03 in half PPR but given we don’t know exactly how much he will be used it is hard to be confident about him.
In the same way it is hard to be confident about Gordon due to Lindsay being there as well. Gordon had 9 all purpose touchdowns and just over 900 yards which made him the running back 25 for last year but with an ADP of 3.07 you have to be concerned. Also, you have to remember Royce Freeman who was the running back 40 last year. Although you have to think his usage will be limited having 2 better running backs in the team there is a chance he will still be used taking numbers away from the others. My best advice I can give you is to steer well clear of this potential three headed monster as your bound to get burnt.
At tight end Denver have got a good young player who they drafted last year in Noah Fant. He managed 562 yards and 3 touchdowns last season but a stat to remember when it comes to Fant is that he had 20+ yards run 10 times showing that when he gets the ball he can really make it count. His ADP is 8.07 at the moment and if you don’t want to draft a tight end near the top of the draft this guy is a great choice. One downside was that the Broncos drafted a tight end who might take some reps away from Fant but realistically Albert Okuwuegbunam would be a back up.
Third up in the AFC West is the newly named Las Vegas Raiders after their move from Oakland where they managed a 7-9 season under Jon Gruden. At QB they have got Dereck Carr who has been solid but unspectacular over the past couple of years. You know what you are going to get with Carr, which is just over 4,000 yards and around 20 touchdowns. Currently he is past the 15th round when it comes to his ADP and so realistically you would only draft him as a back up for your team.
The Raiders have got a good young running back in Josh Jacobs who had a very good first season last year ending up as the running back 14. He managed 1,150 rushing yards and he has got a good chance of moving up to become a RB1 this up coming season. Jalen Richard has been signed again and they drafted Lynn Bowden Jr out of Kentucky but both of these guys are most likely to be back-ups to a rampant Jacobs. He would be an excellent addition to any team and with his ADP at 1.09 you would have to have him as your RB1.
At wide receiver the Raiders picked up Henry Ruggs in the 1st round of the draft and they obviously believe that he is the future of their franchise. Ruggs has crazy speed and will be great for the deep ball but he is more than just that. His route running is also exceptional and he was the 1st wide receiver off the board in the draft. He has an ADP of 12.05 which is a really nice place to pick up a young new wide receiver who could be around for many years to come. Along with Ruggs you have got Ty Williams who is being drafted at around the same place with an ADP of 11.12. Williams was only the wide receiver 44 last year but with Ruggs speed you might see him do better as Carr will have more options to throw to. If it was up to me I would be more willing to take a punt on Ruggs and leave Williams.
The Raiders had a break out from their tight end last year as Darren Waller came out of nowhere to become the tight end number 4. He managed 1,145 yards and had 14 times when he got more than 20 yards on the play. The worry when it comes to Waller is that it could be a flash in the pan and he is only proven for the one season. If he had an ADP much lower then that wouldn’t be so much of a problem but because he is currently at 5.04 you do feel he is a bit of a risk.
The final team to look at is the Los Angels Chargers who had a really disappointing season with a record of 5-11. It looks like its going to be a transition year for them this year given the departures of QB Phillip Rivers and main RB Melvin Gordon. The Chargers have got veteran QB Tyrod Taylor and draftee Justin Herbert to fight for the starting role this season. The coaching staff are saying that Tyrod will get the nod but it wouldn’t be a surprise to se Herbert get the job either via training camp or a couple of games into the season. Herbert has all the arm strength you could possibly need but his college career was a bit hit and miss especially against the bigger teams. His ADP isn’t in the top 15 rounds so I doubt you would draft him but if you were playing in a dynasty league he might be worth a chance as a stash.
At running back the Chargers have got Austin Ekeler as their main man now that Melvin Gordon has gone to the Denver Broncos. Ekeler was the wider receiver number 7 last year thanks mainly to his pass catching ability. He managed to pick up 993 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns but only managed 557 yards rushing with 3 touchdowns. You would hope that he could continue with these stats but with Rivers gone, who liked to dump the ball off to the RB, it could be hard with Taylor known as a runner and Herbert a big arm. His ADP is currently 2.11 so personally I wouldn’t want to draft him as my RB1 but if you have already picked up someone like Saquon Barkley in the 1st round he would be a good RB2 for you.
The LA Chargers do have some wide receivers that will be of interest to you and your team but the problem for all of them is that they have a new QB. Keenan Allen was the wide receiver number 11 last year and currently has an ADP of 4.04 but this was all with Phillip Rivers as his QB and we just don’t know how he will do with Taylor or Herbert. All you can go on is that Allen is a quality wide receiver who has had over 1,000 yards the past 3 years. This is a similar story with Mike Williams who last season managed to amass over 1,000 yards as well and has been steadily getting more yards as the years have gone on. However, he does become very unpredictable as who knows if he will strike up a winning relationship with his new QB.
Also, the chargers do have a tight end who would be worth anyone’s consideration in Hunter Henry. He was the tight end number 8 last season and got 652 yards with 5 touchdowns showing that he is a good option. He has an ADP of 6.02 which is a little bit high given we don’t know how he will be with Taylor or Herbert. The one thing I would say when it comes to all over the offensive weapons from the Chargers is that they are all going to be gambles and my advice to you would be to steer clear if you can.
Top QB : Drew Lock
The best QB is defiantly Patrick Mahomes in the AFC West and probably the league but I wouldn’t be taking him at the 2.02. So I would take Drew Lock out of this division as he is really cheap with an ADP of 13.09. He is really inexperienced given that he only played 5 full games last season but they have drafted him some serious weapons. He has a potential WR1 and one of the best wide receivers coming out of the draft. I am hoping he will have a big breakout year.
Top RB : Josh Jacobs
Jacobs is a seriously good running back who is the best in this division by some way. He is a RB1 in the making given he was the running back 14 in his 1st year in the NFL. You have to think he will improve for another year and you can see that he is gong to be the Raiders main offensive weapon. He will cost you as his ADP is the 1.09 but that is exactly where I would expect him to finish for the year.
Top WR : Courtland Sutton
Courtland Sutton is a potential WR1 in the making which makes him great value considering his ADP is at the end of the 4th round. He managed over 1,100 yards last season and with Lock and him having spent a whole offseason together you have to think he will only improve. Also, they have drafted Jerry Judy and KJ Hamler which means more targets for the defences to stop and not concentrate solely on Sutton.
Top TE : Noah Fant
This is a really tough one as you can choose between Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry, Darren Waller and Noah Fant. Waller could be a one hit wonder and Henry is going to be playing with a brand new QB. Fant has really good potential but Denver now have a lot of weapons and he might not be Lock’s first choice to throw to. Kelce is a top quality tight end but he is a high cost. When you take it all into consideration I personally would go for Noah Fant as I feel he is a low price at 8.07 and could become a potential star compared to Kelce who is just to expensive at the 2.05.
I feel I have to explain myself as im sure many of you will be saying why am I not taking any of the Kansas City Chiefs players given they have just won the Super bowl? I believe that you shouldn’t take a QB or TE early and that if you do you miss out on the really top end RB’s and WR’s. I would rather take a punt on a TE like Fant who has tremendous upside or a QB like Lock for similar reasons. The idea of taking a TE in round 8 and a QB in round 13 who both have upside is very appealing to me as I can use the first 7 rounds to pick up some really good RB’s and WR’s.