The AFC West is going to be the most competitive division in football. It’s the Kansas City Chiefs division to lose, as reigning champs, and they very well might. Every team in this division is legitimately capable of winning it. On the flip side, if any of them stumble in crucial matchups against one another, any of them could land in last place, too. There is a ton of obvious firepower that comes from this division for fantasy football, as well. Setting aside the obvious stars, I think it’s important for a division like this to make a few bold predictions to capitalize on the abundance of value to be had.
Each week, I will continue to highlight one bold prediction from each team, division by division, until the start of the 2022 NFL season. These predictions will hopefully get the gears in your head turning. Most are positive while others may be negative. The likeliness that every single one of these predictions hits is certainly not 100%. However, they should generate some buzz or cause you to think twice about each player. Just be confident in your feelings when you’re on the clock. Be sure to check out www.FantraxHQ.com for bold predictions from the other divisions all summer long as well as follow me on Twitter @Colin_McT for plenty more fantasy football content.
A Fantasy Football Bold Prediction for Each AFC West Team
McTamany’s Bold Prediction: Russell Wilson wins the 2022 NFL MVP award
This is a bold prediction for both NFL and fantasy football purposes. For starters, Russell Wilson has never won the league MVP award despite leading the Seattle Seahawks to nine straight winning seasons as well as back-to-back Super Bowls. As far as fantasy football goes, Wilson is currently a consensus back-end top-12 pick at the quarterback position. I believe the Seahawks sending Wilson to the Denver Broncos is the best thing to happen for him. It should help him win his first MVP and outperform his fantasy Average Draft Position.
The Broncos are going to “let Russ cook” far more than he ever did with the Seahawks. You don’t trade three players, two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a fifth-round pick to bring in Wilson to hand the ball off. We’ve also seen the Broncos do this before. In 2012, they added Peyton Manning, following neck surgery, who then threw 583 times in the regular season. That would be a career-high pass attempts for Wilson, who also has 17-games to hit that mark.
Wilson also has Nathaniel Hackett as his new head coach in Denver. Hackett, the former offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers, just ran an offense for the back-to-back league MVP, Aaron Rodgers. Russ arguably has a more complete group of weapons in Denver than Seattle, as well.
As far as fantasy football goes, Russ should be on everyone’s radar. Prior to last season, in which Russ missed games for the first time ever with a finger injury, he has finished as a top-10 fantasy football quarterback in each of the last eight seasons. He is the only quarterback to have done so from 2013-2020. He is going to easily finish in the top 10 again, which currently makes him a value. I just think an improvement in coaching with a more complete offense, he will smash his ADP and accept his first MVP honors. Let’s ride!
Kansas City Chiefs
McTamany’s Bold Prediction: Travis Kelce hauls in a career-high 12 or more touchdowns
It’s not a bold prediction to say Travis Kelce is going to finish as the best tight end in fantasy football. He’s been the best player at his position for years now. It’s more important to me to tell you why he’s going to finish as the best tight end in fantasy football.
With the departure of Tyreek Hill, there is a 25% target share available in Kansas City from last season. You simply cannot replace Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs, however, did some quality patchwork adding Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency as well as rookie Skyy Moore in the draft. Plus, at the end of the day, Patrick Mahomes is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He is the key to this team’s success.
Travis Kelce is likely to exceed 1,000 yards with the ball getting spread around to the above other pass catchers. However, when the team gets inside the red zone, I believe that’s where Mahomes will make Kelce a priority. Tyreek Hill’s 23 targets inside the red zone last season rank sixth in the league. Even if Kelce sees one-third of those targets, in addition to 16 of his own last year, he is going to have plenty of opportunities to score. He will continue to be one of Mahomes’ favorite targets. If he does see a dip in receptions and yardage in light of Hill’s absence, my bold prediction suggests Kelce can still reign supreme hauling in a ton of touchdowns.
Las Vegas Raiders
McTamany’s Bold Prediction: Josh Jacobs finishes outside of the top 25 running backs
Jacobs is as steady as they come. In the last three seasons, he is averaging no less than 14.5 PPR points per game yet no more than 15.7 points per game. Even with the second-most touches (271) in his three-year career, and a career-high 54 receptions, he still finished as the RB16 on a points-per-game basis in 2021. Jacobs is a tried and true RB2. In 2022, however, I think Jacobs is more of a flex with matchup-based upside.
Jacobs is in a contract year after the Raiders declined his fifth-year option. That should motivate Jacobs to play for a big money deal, but I fear he may be limited in doing so. Las Vegas added Zamir White in the fourth round of the 2022 draft. His 4.4 speed and powerful running style stand out from his time at Georgia. White has just 17 receptions in three college seasons which is where Ameer Abdullah comes in for the Raiders. Following the release of Kenyan Drake, Abdullah figures to make the team and play in a passing-down role.
Josh McDaniels is the new head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. His long tenure as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator plagued fantasy football managers. With McDaniels, it’s been years of committees making up the Patriots backfield. My bold prediction is leaning on the idea that it will be much of the same with McDaniels and the Raiders this season.
Jacobs and White will likely be a one-two punch carrying the ball while Abdullah does most of the receiving work. To top things off, adding Davante Adams to this offense, who leads the league in touchdowns since 2016, naturally limits Jacobs’ scoring potential, as well.
Los Angeles Chargers
McTamany’s Bold Prediction: Mike Williams outscores Keenan Allen in 2022
It’s no secret both of these receivers are in for big 2022 seasons. Keenan Allen is arguably the best route runner in the game. Justin Herbert is also an obvious ascending talent. Furthermore, Williams is playing under a new 3-year/$60 million offseason deal. The Chargers are Super Bowl contenders after missing the playoffs last season.
Fantasy football managers likely remember Williams’ explosive start to the 2021 season. He scored six of his nine touchdowns on the season in the first five weeks. During that same span, he averaged just over 94 receiving yards per game which helped in landing him as the WR2 in PPR scoring.
While Williams did cool off from Week 6 onward, he still finished as the WR12 with an additional four games of either 97 receiving yards and/or a receiving touchdown. Williams does appear to be a boom-or-bust player for that reason. However, his 23 red zone targets from last season rank eighth in the league. Unfortunately, Williams only caught nine of those targets leaving a lot of meat on the bone.
Williams’ decision to return to Los Angeles speaks volumes for his fantasy football value. His role is clearly defined in this offense. He’s going to remain a top target for Justin Herbert, especially in the red zone. With defenses continuing to focus on Keenan Allen, as well as Austin Ekeler, Williams should still draw plenty of single-man coverage. Not only should he outperform his WR19 ADP, but I think, with a few more touchdown grabs, he will outscore teammate, Keenan Allen, as well.