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AFC West Preview for 2024 Fantasy Football

If you haven’t begun already, it’s time to start looking toward the 2024 fantasy football season. Free agency, the NFL Draft, and most of the big off-season changes are behind us. Before the next wave of impactful news, during NFL Training Camp, it’s beneficial to preview where the value, or lack thereof, is on each NFL roster. Where better to start than the AFC West, home to the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs?

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune in the 2024 season.

Previewing the AFC West for 2024 Fantasy Football

Kansas City Chiefs


Patrick Mahomes could come at a discount in 2024 fantasy football drafts. After burning a few managers last season, with a QB13 finish, there will be some looking elsewhere this season. Mahomes lacks the rushing upside that many other enticing options at the position possess. Ironically, though, he set career-highs in attempts (75) and rush yards (389) in 2023, though without scoring a rushing touchdown. There’s also a narrative that Travis Kelce is on the decline on top of legal drama surrounding Rashee Rice that could have him facing a lengthy suspension.

Buy the dip.

Patrick Mahomes is in pursuit of a third straight Super Bowl title. Winning the AFC West again helps, but earning the top seed in the conference boosts his and the Chiefs’ odds immensely. Even if Kelce is on a slight decline from “elite status,” he’s still one of the best receiving tight ends in the game, even lighting it up in the playoffs with 10 targets in three of four games, with an 88.75 yards per game average, and three total touchdowns. Losing Rashee Rice for any length of time is a blow, but the Chiefs are adding Marquise Brown and rookie Xavier Worthy to their offense. That’s a major upgrade from last year’s unit.

In 1QB fantasy leagues, you won’t have to spend a second round, or even a third round, pick on Mahomes this season, unless you play in a Kansas City based home league. The quarterback position is deep this season, but Mahomes still presents one of the best combinations of high-floor/high-ceiling at the position. He is a top-five quarterback in fantasy football in every season as a starter except 2023 but he should find himself back there, or close to it, in 2024.

Running Back

Instead of adding a veteran presence to their backfield, the Chiefs are running it back with the duo of Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. This means much more for Pacheco for fantasy football. From his rookie season in 2022 to last season, Pacheco recorded 35 more carries and 31 more receptions in three fewer games. Pacheco has the role, workload, and skillset, on a projected top-scoring offense, to land comfortably inside the top-10 at the running back position. The best part about Pacheco’s fantasy value is the ability to draft him in the fourth round of 12-team league drafts. Everyone behind him, specifically Edwards-Helaire, is nothing more than a plug-and-play, matchup-dependent handcuff at best.

Wide Receiver

Discussing the Chiefs’ wide receivers is a good reminder that this is merely an AFC West preview. It goes without saying that keeping tabs on Rashee Rice will be one of the more important stories of the summer for fantasy football. After an early off-season racing incident resulting in a crash with injuries to others, Rice is surely facing a suspension from the NFL.

Ranking the Chiefs wide receivers with and without Rice requires a very different approach. For instance, if Rice is suspended eight games, that means we won’t see Rice until Week 10 factoring in the Chiefs’ Week 6 Bye. If that were the case, fantasy football managers have to hold Rice for a while on their bench with just five regular season fantasy matchups, at a minimum, to yield from him.

Rice’s rookie season ended much stronger than it started. In his final seven games, he averaged just shy of nine targets per game with a total of 560 receiving yards and three touchdowns, good enough to finish as a top-10 fantasy wide receiver from Weeks 11 through 17.

With or without Rice, I’m more interested in Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. If not for anything else, he should get Mahomes’ value back inside the top-five as a talented, trustworthy deep threat who can rack up fantasy points even with just one big play. Brown himself has averaged 7.82 targets per game in four non-rookie seasons for two different teams. From Lamar Jackson to Kyler Murray to, now, Patrick Mahomes, Brown could arguably post career numbers across the board.

Xavier Worthy is the other name to consider here. The Chiefs traded up in the first round of the 2024 Draft to add Worthy’s 4.21 [40-yard dash] speed to this offense. He’s not just a vertical threat, though. Worthy is a strong route runner that could be a top red zone target for Mahomes.

Tight End

Not much needs to be said to convince you to draft Travis Kelce. Even as he approaches 35 years old, he’s one of the top options at the tight end position for fantasy football. His 2023 season is his statistically worst season since 2015, and even more so since Patrick Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback in 2018. Still, he boasts a strong 93/984/5 receiving line in 15 games. That’s still good enough for 14.6 points per game, tied for the overall TE1 for the season. However, Kelce hasn’t averaged less than 16.6 points per game since Mahomes became the starter, either.

For the first time in a long time, I don’t have Kelce as the top tight end for the season ahead. That spot belongs to Detroit Lions tight end, Sam LaPorta. So, what’s important here is not if you should draft Travis Kelce; of course you should! What’s key is when you should draft him. For the 2024 fantasy football season, I’m targeting Kelce as a third-round pick in 12-team PPR leagues. That puts him at a similar value to a large lot of WR2-type players.

I do expect a “bounce back” from Patrick Mahomes and the entire Chiefs’ offense with an upgrade in receiving weapons. Kelce should see benefit with more open looks this season. Everyone wants the shiny, new, younger tight ends, but Kelce still gets it done.

Los Angeles Chargers


Justin Herbert is a screaming value for the 2024 fantasy football season. It’s possible in 12-team, 1QB leagues that Justin Herbert goes undrafted. Imagine saying that this time last year!

The narrative to support such a scenario is that with Jim Harbaugh as head coach and Greg Roman as offensive coordinator, the Chargers are going to run more. Justin Herbert has a career average of 39 pass attempts per game which is a current NFL record. So, the idea that the Chargers are going to run more is not only to be expected but doesn’t necessarily mean Herbert’s passing volume plummets to a rate that’s unable to sustain fantasy success.

Now, I do understand that even when Herbert is passing, he’s lost Keenan Allen (150 targets in 2023) and Mike Williams as his top two weapons. However, the Chargers’ running back room, consisting of Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, and rookie Kimani Vidal, isn’t the strongest group that they can just lean on as a “run-heavy” team.

The drastic changes in coaching and personnel understandably make drafting Justin Herbert a risk in 2024. I’m willing to take the risk, at the cheapest, non-rookie price Herbert’s ever been, with his history of three 4,000+ passing yard seasons and at least 50 rush attempts per season, as well. There’s enough of a floor to invest in, at cost, that you can abandon quickly if the ceiling clearly isn’t there early on.

Running Back

As mentioned before, Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, and Kimani Vidal are the notable names in the Chargers’ 2024 backfield. Two of the three have a history with offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, from their time with him in the same role in Baltimore with the Ravens. Vidal, on the other hand, is a sixth-round 2024 draft pick out of Troy University.

J.K. Dobbins isn’t on my radar for this fantasy football season. I’m willing to fade and be wrong about Dobbins than draft and hope to be right. Unfortunately, he’s played in just 24 games over the last three seasons including just nine over the last two. That’s due to a season-ending ACL injury in 2022 and an Achilles injury last season. It’s an extremely uphill battle for him to crack our fantasy lineups consistently.

Gus Edwards is coming off a year of setting career highs across the board in carries (198), yards (810) and touchdowns (13) with the Ravens. While that’s great for 2023, we have to put it behind us for 2024. Even if the Chargers do find themselves in the red zone often this season, Edwards won’t see his league-leading 19 carries inside the five yard line from last season of which he scored 12 of his 13 rushing touchdowns on.

Lastly is Kimani Vidal. If any, he’s the Chargers running back I’m most likely to have on my 2024 redraft rosters. Even though there’s a complete change in personnel and coaching, players that handled 87.4% of last year’s carries from the Chargers’ backfield are no longer on the roster. If there is a lead back role to be had, Vidal does have a legitimate chance to take it. Albeit at Troy U., Vidal’s ability to handle 257 and 315 touches respectively over the last two seasons is encouraging.

Wide Receiver

It’s hard to believe, but the Chargers may have the most lackluster group of wide receivers for fantasy football from the AFC West. That’s after Keenan Allen logged 150 targets in just 13 games last season. He’s now with the Chicago Bears.

After an extremely underwhelming rookie season, last year’s first-round pick, Quentin Johnston has a lot of pressure to perform in his second season. He’s more likely to rack up chunk yardage and big-point plays than command any type of Keenan Allen volume. The player most likely to do so is rookie Ladd McConkey. The 2024 34th-overall pick is a possession receiver whose quick release and twitchiness should create a ton of space and earn him plenty of targets right away.

Joshua Palmer is never a draft-day target but has a history of success as a waiver wire pickup for fantasy football. It should be more of the same this season, though he could be worth a late-round pick to have at the start of the season given the state of the Chargers’ wide receiver group. None of the above should be too expensive in redraft leagues so they all have varying levels of low-risk/high-reward value. I’m most likely to target McConkey in Points Per Reception leagues.

Tight End

After losing Gerald Everett to free agency, the Chargers didn’t really make any significant enough moves at the position for fantasy football purposes. Neither Will Dissly or Hayden Hurst should be on the radar this season as anything more than a matchup-based streamer during the season, if at all. They have 28 total regular season touchdowns between the two of them after both were drafted in 2018. Hurst has eclipsed 500 receiving yards just once, in 2020, while Dissly has failed to do so.

Las Vegas Raiders


While it appears we could see a quarterback battle during training camp, it’s hard to imagine Gardner Minshew backing up Aidan O’Connell to start the 2024 season. Minshew’s strong 2023 season, filling in for Anthony Richardson in Indianapolis, earned him a two-year, $25 million deal, with $15 million guaranteed, with the Raiders. That’s not back-up money.

Still, Minshew is a matchup-dependent streamer, specifically in Superflex leagues. However, the Raiders should lean on the run more often than not. When they do operate in negative game scripts, Minshew has Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Brock Bowers, and others to throw to. That helps establish a decent floor.

Running Back

The departure of Josh Jacobs leaves behind a massive workload in the Las Vegas backfield. Jacobs has logged at least 262 touches in each of the last five seasons with the Raiders with as many as 393 two seasons ago and 270 in just 13 games last season.

To fill the void, the depth chart consists of Zamir White, Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah, and rookie Dylan Laube. The latter two are pass-catching options hardly worth even deeper league consideration as of now. Mattison, albeit a popular name last year for fantasy football, logged just 700 yards on 180 carries without a touchdown in 16 games last season for the Vikings. He’s in Vegas on a one-year, $2 million deal with just $1.65 million guaranteed.

Zamir White has a terrific opportunity to produce in 2024. In the Raiders’ final four games of 2023, White averaged 21 carries per game and the Raiders won three of four, including on the road against the Chiefs. White averaged nearly 100 yards per contest and a 4.72 yards per carry average. Especially with Antonio Pierce remaining in the head coaching role, White should easily surpass 300 carries this season. If you’re targeting wide receivers early on, White can hold it down as a high-upside, low-cost running back starter in fantasy football.

Wide Receiver

Davante Adams is without a doubt the top target on Vegas’ roster and best wide receiver in the AFC West. In two seasons in Vegas, Adams has played in every game with at least 175 targets, 100 receptions, 1,100 yards, and eight touchdowns in each season. That’s with five different starting quarterbacks! Regardless of how talented you think Gardner Minshew is, or is not, he showed last season that he’s capable of locking in on a top target. Michael Pittman Jr. is one of 10 wide receivers who logged over 150 targets, most of which were from Minshew. Adams did so, as well, with 175 of his own, the second-most amongst the position.

None of the other Raiders’ wide receivers will cost much to have on a 2024 fantasy football roster. Jakobi Meyers, Tre Tucker, and Michael Gallup are the notable names, however, Meyers is the only one worth targeting in the double-digit rounds of drafts. His 71/807/8 receiving line is his second-most receptions and yards of his career while the touchdowns match his entire total over four seasons with the New England Patriots. Given the expected run-heavy game plans, competition for targets, and quarterback play, Meyers has value, but not worth stressing over if he’s drafted higher by someone else in your league.

Tight End

I’m not sure Brock Bowers was the Raiders’ first choice at 13th overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, but their choice nonetheless after seeing six quarterbacks go ahead of him. After failing to move up, the Raiders board had Bowers as a consensus pick due to his versatility to line up anywhere, according to general manager, Tom Telesco. Bowers could be the second-leading target getter in Vegas this season, but if he’s not, he still presents value for fantasy football with his “YAC” ability. Bowers’ 8.5 yards after the catch per reception at Georgia is higher than every wide receiver drafted amongst his peers.

So, where does that leave Michael Mayer? Well, the presence of both he and Bowers is a deterrent, for me, for the 2024 fantasy football season. Until we see how the Raiders plan to use them, it’s hard to imagine either producing consistently week-to-week. As I said before, though, Bowers should see more opportunity as the 13th-overall pick and his versatility, making him worth at least a bench stash to start the season. Expecting him to put up “Sam LaPorta numbers” as a rookie is a dangerous game.

Denver Broncos


There’s going to be quarterback competition at Broncos training camp between Jarrett Stidham, Zach Wilson, and rookie Bo Nix. I have a guess as to how that’s going to go, but I do know I want no part of it for fantasy football. My guess is that Bo Nix is the Week 1 starter. The 12th overall pick is 24 years old with five years of experience as the starter for both Auburn and Oregon at the collegiate level. I love the value, as the expected QB5 amongst his peers in dynasty rookie drafts, but we have to wait and see for 2024 specifically. I doubt he or any of the aforementioned names are picked up off of the waiver wire during the season.

Running Back

This is a make-or-break fantasy season for Javonte Williams. He’s nearly two years removed from a season-ending ACL tear. That alone makes him more appealing than last season, especially after a career-high in carries (217), receptions (47), and touches (264). The production, however, may deter fantasy managers, specifically the 3.6 yards per carry average and five total touchdowns. Williams isn’t a player I’m targeting as my team’s RB1 for 2024 fantasy football, but maybe as an RB2 with volume-based RB1 upside, especially in a contract year.

Although Samaje Perine is behind Williams on the depth chart, Jaleel McLaughlin and rookie Audric Estime are more likely to have value in 2024. McLaughlin has more juice when he has the ball both as a runner and pass catcher. Estime is more of a dynasty stash in case Javonte Williams moves on next season in free agency. Overall, this backfield is one to avoid other than for depth purposes as the Broncos are unlikely to be putting a ton of points on the board. The best value is McLaughlin, who’s practically free, but I’ll be keeping tabs on Williams this summer before drafting.

Wide Receiver

After trading Jerry Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns, the Broncos’ wide receiver room is that much less experienced. Courtland Sutton is turning 29-years old with two years left on his contract. Since tearing his ACL in 2020, Sutton has topped 100 targets just once in three seasons. He also scored 10 of his 24 career touchdowns last season. More specifically, he scored exactly one touchdown in 10 of his first 13 games in 2023 and surpassed 80 receiving yards just once, in Week 3, all season.

Depending on his Average Draft Position, Sutton could be worth drafting in case he establishes himself as a clear-cut WR1 in Denver with 120+ targets, something he’s done just once. Otherwise, it’s Josh Reynolds, second year receiver, Marvin Mims, and rookie Troy Franklin worth targeting. It’s worth noting Franklin is Bo Nix’s former teammate at Oregon entering the NFL after posting an 81/1,383/14 receiving line last season.

Tight End

Adam Trautman is returning to the Denver Broncos on a two-year deal. Trautman has a history with head coach Sean Payton from their time in New Orleans, so much so that Payton made it a point to trade for Trautman during last year’s NFL Draft. Payton is on record valuing Trautman’s versatility as a blocker and receiver, but we have yet to see enough from the latter role to feel good about for fantasy football. There’s still slight hope for Greg Dulcich, the Bronco’s 2022 third-round pick. He could be a key target for rookie quarterback, Bo Nix, but there’s not enough evidence to suggest drafting him in fantasy football. After missing almost the entirety of 2023 with a hamstring injury, Dulcich is a name to watch during camp.

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