It’s here! It’s finally here! Why yes, it’s 2020 fantasy football draft weekend. The AFC West might be the most fun to watch in this 2020 NFL season. The rookies in this division have stolen the spotlight. But, Patrick Mahomes and company will have something to say about that. What’s more fun than adjusting our rankings for the fantasy football season? The draft of course. It’s fantasy football draft weekend and the AFC West fantasy football outlook is freshly wrapped. Time to go get that fantasy football championship!
AFC West Fantasy Football Outlook
Locked and Loaded
There’s a new stud in town and Drew Lock is looking to sling the rock throughout the AFC West. John Elway did Lock a solid and surrounded him with more weapons. Not only is Lock poised to have a breakout season but, the Broncos are my under-the-radar team that will be knocking on the door of playoff contention. As for Lock, his 2019 fantasy football stats didn’t knock our socks off. He showed his promise on a road game at Houston throwing three touchdown passes and going for 24 fantasy points. However, against less than stellar defenses Chargers, Chiefs, Lions, and Raiders it was clear the rookie had some growing to do. I have Lock ranked in a tier of QB2 in re-draft leagues based on potential and the weapons with which he’s surrounded.
Un-Locked Running Game
Elway has pushed all of his chips to the middle of the table. He signed Melvin Gordon in free agency and the running game still has Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Gordon is a true bell-cow back and Lindsay and Freeman are not. It is what it is. There are those that argue that Gordon’s usage depresses his value. What if Lindsay, while ultra-talented, just isn’t a number one back in an offense? This rings of a Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman type rotation. I’m ranking them as such and Lindsay’s value is in PPR leagues.
Locked On Targets
Courtland Sutton was already pushing his way into the strong tier of WR2 receivers. Then Jerry Jeudy, arguably, the top-rated receiver in a very strong wide receiver class in the 2020 NFL draft fell to them at pick 15. I like Sutton a lot this year. And, starting your draft running back heavy, he will be there in the middle rounds with the second tier of receivers.
Noah Fant, another young tight end, rising up in the rankings. My question is, why? He’s young athletic and put together a couple of nice games as a rookie. Other than weeks eight and eleven in which he received nine and ten targets respectively he averaged four targets per game. Yes, many of those targets were downfield and that is a nice asset in your tight end. However, is his stock being overblown? I like him late in drafts, but I won’t reach for him when the run on tight ends occurs.
Best Player in the World
Draft Patrick Mahomes number one overall in all draft formats. I mean, that is, unless you happen to be a Christian McCaffrey truther. There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already be said. In all seriousness, I wouldn’t be shocked if Mahomes was drafted number one overall in any draft. You would, basically, be plugging in 4,500 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Rising Up the Charts
Damien, Damien. It’s all for you, Damien. If you don’t know the reference lookup Damien, The Omen. Damien Williams’s departure, due to COVID concerns, has swung the door wide open for Clyde Edwards-Helaire, affectionately known as CEH forevermore. I’ve seen him get picked in the first round of some leagues. However, not lower than the third round. If you have faith that CEH is that good that Andy Reid isn’t going to somehow work in veterans Darrel Williams, DeAndre Washington, and Darwin Thompson, then draft accordingly. Dynasty drafts? Sure! Re-draft leagues? I’m a little more conservative.
Speed to Burn
Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, and Demarcus Robinson are a highly touted group. However, after Hill, who are willing to draft before round eight? Hardman has all the potential to be that player. His high impact plays overshadow that of Watkins. Hill is a first-round draft pick if he’s your guy. That said, I’m lukewarm on the rest of this group. Hardman has value as a WR3/4 due to his big playability. Watkins sees a little more usage in the passing game than Robinson. However, the consistency isn’t where we’d like it to be.
Still at the Top
Travis Kelce is being pushed for top tight end honors by “big” George Kittle. And, there are several young tight ends making there move as the NFL is beginning to see the value in tight ends that create mismatches with linebackers. Kelce is still the benchmark and the Mahomes/Kelce connection is second to none. After Kelce, Kittle, and Ertz there was a sizeable drop off in 2019 tight end fantasy football production. Remember there are more ways to skin a cat. A plug-n-play tight end is a nice problem to have. Also, keep in mind the depth of receivers when filling out rosters.
Obi Wan-Kenobi You’re My Only Hope
Because Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota aren’t the answer. This team is a quarterback away from being talked about as a playoff contender. Some will harken back to Carr’s almost MVP performance of 2016 but, let’s get real. That look in the rear-view mirror is shrinking, fast!
Josh Jacobs is solid. I see more and more tweet-heads debating Jacobs’s average draft position with Joe Mixon and Miles Sanders. All three are talented backs. However, Sanders is on the better team, Mixon was really the only viable fantasy threat on a terrible team and Jacobs was a rookie on a terrible team. So how do we parse that out? Quite simply in that order. Adjust your rankings and draft accordingly.
The Ghost of Al Davis
Speed Kills! Welcome, Henry Ruggs III. And in his slumber, may he rest in peace, Al Davis is smiling. A dynasty draft must, Ruggs looks to be in a situation that should lend itself to WR3 roster status, as a rookie. Mr. Reliable, Hunter Renfrow has proven to be an excellent chain mover. He should see volume enough to be a value in PPR leagues. Tyrell Williams, aka “the gazelle,” returns. He’s good for one big game. The Raiders also drafted Bryan Edwards and brought in veteran Nelson Agholor. But, it’s Edwards that’s turning heads this summer. Keep on your watch list and draft in dynasty leagues.
Out of Nowhere
Darren Waller was a straight baller to start the 2019 NFL fantasy football season. Not too many saw his emergence coming. It helped that he was the only reliable receiving option for Carr. Waller finished TE3 overall in PPR leagues. The passing game should open up with the presence of Ruggs. Waller should be expected to finish in the top ten of tight ends again, if not the top five.
A Changing of the Guard
Tyrod Taylor has become the holdover quarterback. However, It’s debatable that he could start for a few teams. The question is how long he can hold off rookie Justin Herbert. Be that as it may, the Chargers have weapons for Taylor. He has both passing and running ability so it isn’t a stretch to consider Taylor as a QB2 late in your drafts. That said, Justin Herbert is the future and it’s conceivable he’ll be starting for the Bolts as early as mid-season. While he is a must draft in dynasty leagues, I’m leaving him on the bench. I like Tyrod to get to no earlier than the last quarter of the season. It just won’t be the same without Philip Rivers slinging the rock all over the yard.
Time to Shine
Austin Ekeler is now the outright number one back in Los Angeles. There has been a hushed clamoring for Ekeler given his break-out 2019 NFL season although fans knew it two years ago. With Melvin Gordon out of the picture, Ekeler is being talked about as a late first-round draft pick, early second-round draft pick. Although Ekeler has more value in PPR leagues, he’ll get his share of usage in the running game. Justin Jackson bumps up to the RB2 spot in the Chargers offense. He’s no slouch and should be in consideration as an addition late in drafts.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have become a solid one-two punch for the Chargers offense. Allen was quietly the overall WR6 in fantasy football PPR leagues. With a new quarterback at the helm, Allen is sure to be peppered with targets all season long. Williams has displayed the talent that made him a first-round draft pick. However, now entering his fourth year, he’ll have to show more consistency. Williams should be in consideration as your WR3/4. That said, he’s dealing with a shoulder injury. Monitor the situation and draft at your own risk.
Stay Off the IR
Also, quietly, in the top ten of overall tight ends, was Hunter Henry. I say that because each week seems like a “Q” tag. Henry didn’t start the 2019 NFL season until week six. However, he promptly averaged eight targets a game and more than 15 fantasy points. His usage took a slight hit upon Gordon’s return. A healthy Henry is a sure-fire top-ten TE in the NFL. Draft accordingly. And, did I mention earlier that Williams will be sidelined? Could be primed for a hot start.
How the West was Won
Just like their counterparts in the NFC West, the 2020 AFC West fantasy football outlook will be an arms race. There will be only one way to keep up with Mahomes and the Chiefs! And, that’s slinging the ball. Stack accordingly. Nod, to DFS. May you have Leonard Fournette, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dance in your heads. And, visions of sleeper picks racking up points. Adust your rankings. And with that, Good luck and good fantasy to you!
2020 NFL Fantasy Football Outlook Divisional Series:
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