With all the current sports on hold, we’re going to go ahead and deep-dive into some football. Free agency has been nuts the last few days, so, we’re going to go ahead and look at some team needs from a fantasy perspective. A lot of that is in fluctuation right now because of free agency starting on Monday but it’s definitely worth analyzing before the draft. With that in mind, let’s look at the depth of the AFC West to kick things off!
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AFC West Preview and Draft Needs
While I do live in Denver, the Broncos are far from a team that I like. I believe that management has made some terrible decisions over recent years and that’s going to be evident in this analysis of their depth, or lack thereof.
The Broncos chose to ride Drew Lock for the second half of the season after Joe Flacco suffered a neck injury and it appears they’ve found their go-to guy. People are really excited here about that kid after riding him to a 4-1 record over their final five games but he had just seven TDs, three INTs and 1,020 passing yards in those five outings. That’s not really anything to get excited about from a fantasy perspective but he’s worth keeping an eye on. Flacco appears to be the backup but the signing of Jeff Driskel makes him a cut candidate.
While the RB position isn’t necessarily a strength of this team, a Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman combo is plenty capable of getting the job done. Those two guys played all 16 games last season, with Lindsay gaining 1,011 rushing yards on 224 carries and Freeman collecting 496 yards on 133 carries. Many people believe that they’re in the market for another RB but with both of these guys sitting at 25 years old or younger, I have a hard time seeing them do that.
This is undoubtedly the Broncos’ weak spot in terms of depth and fantasy value. While Cortland Sutton has broken out into one of the best WRs in the game, that’s all they have at that position. Emmanuel Sanders being traded off in the middle of the 2019 season forced Sutton into that number-one role while DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick tried to fill that two-spot. That has Denver in the market for a number-two WR or a slot guy and they’ll surely address that in the draft or in free agency.
Noah Fant was Denver’s first-round pick in 2019 and his late-season surge makes him the go-to guy at this position. Jeff Heuerman is primarily the blocking tight end and it likely won’t lead to Denver doing anything at this position in the offseason.
Los Angeles Chargers
This is one of the most interesting teams in terms of depth because they’re losing their quarterback and running back this offseason.
This is a fascinating one. With Phillip Rivers signing with the Colts on Tuesday, Los Angeles is looking for a new QB. While Tyrod Taylor is the presumed starter as of now, one has to believe that Jameis Winston or Cam Newton make for good suitors there too. If they don’t land someone in free agency, look for the Chargers to pick a QB early in the draft.
Yet another interesting position for the Chargers. After having Melvin Gordon sit for much of last season, he’s now a free agent and appears unlikely to return. That leaves Austin Ekeler as the horse and Justin Jackson as the only other back on the roster. That means they’re surely in the market for another RB but it remains to be seen if they look through free agency or take one in the draft. Backs are falling deep in drafts these days, so, that might end up being the best route with Ekeler having a breakout 2019 season.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams remain under contract for another four years. That could mean they’re in the market for a number-three wideout but they’d probably be happy with just these two considering they throw to Ekeler and Henry a ton as well.
Hunter Henry was just tagged this week and he’s definitely the go-to TE in LA. Virgil Green is the blocking tight end and they’re unlikely to do anything at that position
Kansas City Chiefs
The Super Bowl champs obviously have one of the best offenses in football, so, it’s going to lead to a rather short depth preview.
Patrick Mahomes, that is all!
This is probably the biggest question mark for the Chiefs. What is interesting is that they chose to pick up Damien Williams’ option on Tuesday for the 2020 season, making him the de facto starter. That has to make one believe that LeSean McCoy’s time in KC is done after a volatile 2019 season, making Darwin Thompson and Darrell Williams the back-ups. Many people will surely be high on Thompson after the preseason hype last season and he’s definitely one to watch come training camp. It’s hard to see KC drafting anyone or signing any RBs after drafting Thompson last year and re-signing Williams this year, but if they do anything that affects fantasy, it will be at this position.
Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Sammy Watkins are all still under contract and that makes it hard to imagine that they’ll do anything here either. This team’s depth at their skill positions is simply unmatched.
Travis Kelce is arguably the best tight end in football and he’s certainly not going anywhere. Blake Bell is there as the blocking tight end and they surely won’t do anything at this position either.
Considering how set all of these skill positions are, look for the Chiefs to address their offensive line and secondary in the draft and free agency.
Las Vegas Raiders
This is a franchise that has made a ton of big moves over recent years and it’s a wonder what they’ll look like in 2020. Despite starting the 2019 season with a 6-4 record, they finished just 7-9. That 7-9 record seems like a reasonable prediction this year and this will surely be a team to watch moving to Las Vegas.
Derek Carr’s role has been up in the air for years now and they finally addressed it a few days ago. Las Vegas chose to sign Marcus Mariota to an unknown deal but that certainly had to perk up Carr’s eyes. He’s been on thin ice for a while now and he’s going to be on a short string with Mariota right behind him. Yes, we expect Carr to continue to start but any resemblance of struggling could lead to Mariota being flung into the starting job.
Josh Jacobs proved to be a stud last season in his rookie campaign and he’ll surely be a bell-cow again this year. Jalen Richard remains behind him and it’s unlikely that the Raiders do anything at this position.
After making that disastrous Amari Cooper trade and having Antonio Brown lose the jelly from his donut last year, this is the big weakness for this offense. While Tyrell Williams did come in last year and have a solid season, they simply didn’t get enough from their wideouts. Zay Jones and Hunter Renfrow are next on the depth chart but that doesn’t bode well for Carr trying to keep his job. Look for them to be active at this position through free agency or the draft in order to build something for the future.
Darren Waller was a beautiful find for Jon Gruden and they’ll certainly feed him a ton this season. They did do something interesting by adding Jason Witten earlier in the week though and that pretty much secures that position. Witten has almost no fantasy value though.
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