AFC West 2020 Fantasy Breakdown
By Steve Uetz
Our FINAL stop in the team breakdown by divison is a division that has one of each draft target category. The AFC West has 1 FADE, 1 NEUTRAL, 1 BUY, and 1 BIG BUY. Before we get into the division featuring the reigning Super Bowl Champs, here is a reminder of what the team breakdowns are all about!
The team breakdowns will contain an overarching theme for each team or more specifically each offensive core. The offensive cores will be organized into four categories: FADE, NEUTRAL, BUY, and BIG BUY! ADP and auction values will somewhat reflect this but I will be adding some personal perspective with keeping some rules of thumb in mind.
Rule of Thumb #1: Each offensive core may have specific player exceptions.
Rule of Thumb #2: Every player has value at the right price.
The breakdowns will include the players to target from each team, the players’ ideal positional count for your roster, target cost for auction budget % and round #, league type preferences, along with optional blurbs from yours truly. Throughout the team breakdowns be sure to keep your eyes wide open looking for the players with coveted “Ladder Pick” label. The “Ladder Pick” players are who I have identified as those who will help you climb the ladder of fantasy football success for the 2020 season.
I have 6 teams whose offensive core make up the BIG BUY category, 8 teams in the BUY category, 12 teams in the NEUTRAL category, and the remaining 6 teams will generally be considered as a FADE. Just so we are on the same page…BIG BUY=offensive cores to target aggressively; BUY=offensive cores that are reach worthy; NEUTRAL=offensive cores (with some players exceptions both positive and negative) to be drafted at value – not to be reached for nor to be shied away from; FADE=offensive cores to pass on at consensus ranking, players to be drafted weighing risk, or players to be drafted only if at a value, larger the discount the better; always!
Los Angeles Chargers
With significant offensive changes, the LA Chargers come into this season as a FADE. Having some very weapons questions of QB play and quality linger, which as an overarching theme matters the most in real and fantasy football.
QB Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert: Deep league priority FAs for matchup streaming. Taylor has shown to be a useful fantasy option in years past but the young gun 1st round rookie, Herbert, is waiting wings for his opportunity to shine.
RB Austin Ekeler: “Ladder Pick”, low RB1, High RB2, 18-20% auction, early round 2, Ekeler remains a PPR monster and without Melvin Gordon in front of him he has tremendous upside. QB Taylor will look to be an efficient passer looking early and often for Ekeler! I’m smashing his name if he is available in the 2nd round!
RB Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley: Both late round pick or $1 deep auction, both are end of bench RB options with Melvin Gordon gone, opportunity knocks, both are talented and present plenty of upside. Even in a lesser offense, opportunity is appealing for fantasy. I prefer Kelley to Jackson but I’m going to keep a close eye on both!
WR Keenan Allen: Low-WR2 to high-WR3, 8-9% Auction, round 5, Tyrod isn’t known for his deep passing game, so that already will limit Allen’s upside. BUT Keenan Allen is an amazing talent and defensive separator that he could make Tyrod life very easy with his silky smooth route running!
Love the player and targeting him despite non-ideal QB situation.
WR Mike Williams: WR5, round 13, 1-2% auction, big play threat may be the latest unappealing piece of this offense with Tyrod under center. Not to mention his shoulder injury may keep him out for the month or so of the season.
(Keenan Allen may be a nice sell high candidate after the first couple weeks)
I like the idea of Mike Williams and the potential of what he can bring to the field but am worried how the QB play may limit his upside and general draft/weekly stock.
TE Hunter Henry: TE1, 3-4% auction, round 10, Henry is a great player when he is healthy! I believe Henry and Ekeler will benefit the most from Tyrod’s style of play. Having said that, I will be drafting a lot of Henry since I value him above his ADP.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders complete their move from the bay to the desert. The Raiders will be NEUTRAL for fantasy purposes for the inaugural Las Vegas season! Young promising talent is there which makes fantasy feasting a possibility.
QB Derek Carr: QB2, deep league priority FA, in the past Carr has been able to be useful for fantasy but the QB position is so deep that it’s likely he won’t be needed outside of a total catastrophe. Good and young weapons surround him, so matchup specific upside is there.
RB Josh Jacobs: RB1, 20-21% auction, round 2, an impressive rookie campaign was capped due to a shoulder injury. He remains the top rusher in this offense, but lacks pass-catching upside with the depth behind him on the roster. He will show why he was a 1st round talent!
RB Jalen Richard: Late round selection in deep leagues or priority FA. Raiders have potential to be playing from behind, so rostering pass catching options like this may be valuable, especially for PPR.
WR Henry Ruggs: “Ladder Pick”, WR4-5, 3-4% auction, round 12, Las Vegas selected Ruggs as the top WR in the draft. This is quite significant since they passed on Jeudy and Lamb to do so. Ruggs has unique speed and think the team will find creative ways of getting the ball in his hands.
He is a player I will be aggressively targeting in all draft formats. In the back half of drafts if I am able to get someone who I believe can be the next Tyreek Hill, I think it would be foolish to pass up on that kind of opportunity. Best ball target!
WRs Bryan Edwards and Hunter Renfroe are both deep league late round stashes. Also worth an end of bench pick in 12 team leagues! Both can be a nice way to round out your bench. Edwards fits perfectly as the X receiver, I am very excited for his potential! Renfroe has PPR upside!
TE Darren Waller: TE1, 4-5% auction, round 8, Waller is somebody that everyone is rooting for. His personal story is a wonderful reminder that football is more than a game but also an opportunity to display personal redemption in magnificent fashion. He could be the focal point of this passing game and be a matchup nightmare for defenses!
The Broncos made one thing very clear over the last year: Drew Lock is their man! The Denver offense has some new upgrades which makes their squad a Buy!
QB Drew Lock: QB2, priority FA, because QB is so deep we can look to add Lock for bye week/injury replacement! With a full arsenal around him he is being set up to succeed, let’s hope he is up to the task!
RB Melvin Gordon: RB2, 9-10% auction, round 5, Gordon finds a new home in the same division. Narrative street truthers are salivating at the Broncos-Chargers matchups this season! Gordon is an upgrade to the RB group, but his value will be correlated to Lock’s success!
RB Phillip Lindsay: RB4, 4% auction, round 9-10, Lindsay can still be utilized as a FLEX in a deep league but is a nice bench stash being part of what should be a good offense. He will enter RB2 territory if Gordon were to miss time!
WR Courtland Sutton: WR2, 13-14% auction, round 3, Sutton had a breakout season and became one of the highest ranks risers from 2019 to 2020. Surrounded by good complimentary pieces, some drafters have shied away but I think it will only help him as he should still dominate targets in this offense.
WR Jerry Jeudy: WR4, 4-5% auction, round 10, Jeudy somehow lasted to Denver at 15th overall. This was an easy selection for the Broncos as he was arguably the most pro-ready WR prospect in the draft! A great compliment to Sutton, Drew Lock is a lucky man!
WR KJ Hamler: Priority FA, Hamler is a unique talent with amazing speed, another piece of this offense that has cemented Denver’s trust in Drew Lock! Denver got him in the 2nd even after landing Jeudy! Best ball stash, I’m very exciting to see what he is able to do in the NFL!
TE Noah Fant: Low-TE1, 2% auction, round 12, impressive rookie campaigns are rare for TEs but he is very athletic and really adds to the versatility of Denver’s offensive core. I’ll look for him to improve on a successful year 1.
It’s all on Drew Lock, Denver believes that he is their guy. I will not hesitate to pounce on Lock this year, it could payoff in a big way! Not much to lose taking a chance on him as your QB2.
Kansas City Chiefs
The reigning super bowl champs are a BIG BUY! Patrick Mahomes alone gives each piece of the core upside, but upside exists already with high caliber talent surrounding the big-armed Mahomes!
QB Patrick Mahomes: The QB1, my QB1, 10% Auction, round 4, I typically like to wait on QB but Mahomes (like Lamar Jackson) are very tempting if you absolutely love your first 3 picks. A full aresenal surrounds this dynamic thrower. I don’t see any SB hangover in KC!
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire: RB1, 24-26% auction, late round 1, CEH was part of the monster LSU national champion team, KC thought so too by selecting him as the 1st RB in the draft! This is significant because of the RB class that he was a part of.
Andy Reid’s RB history speaks for itself! CEH is a pass catching back in an elite offense where he scoring upside for himself as well as rushing upside at the end of games when KC has a big league. He is no-brainer top 10 RB worthy of 1st round selection!
RB Darrel Williams: late round-$1 Auction stash. We want players in elite offenses such as this! If CEH busts as a rookie or misses time, both become potential FLEX options or more!
WR Tyreek Hill: WR1 (my WR3), 21-22% auction, round 2, Hill is simultaneously a floor and ceiling play each week. He can bust a matchup wide open with his big play and YAC ability! I hope to see a lot of peace signs from him this season!
WRs Mecole Hardman (WR5, 1-2% auction, round 13) and Sammy Watkins (WR5, $1-2 auction, end of bench WR stash) present massive boom bust potential, both are Best Ball targets and will big trade prices throughout the season! Health is Watkins main concern as targets is Hardman’s.
TE Travis Kelce: The TE1, 15-16% auction, round 2, Kelce like Kittle is worth the 2nd round selection, TE is deep but these 2 are in a tier of their own as they can be true difference makers week to week! How is a defense supposed to stop this team?!
High scoring contests seem likely, should be enough feasting to go around but any opposing teams offensive weapons in general have inherent upside against the Chiefs since teams will have to be aggressive if they want to have a shot against KC! Fun will be had if your roster some Chiefs!
Steve Uetz has over 15 years of experience in fantasy football. He enjoys writing fantasy football content and articles. He is very passionate about Auction Leagues. Other than his own fantasy football teams, Steve is a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles & Penn State! Steve (@FantasyLadder on Twitter) is very accessible and involved in the Fantasy Football Twitter community! Reach out to him anytime for questions or advice! His primary goal is to help you win your leagues.