AFC West Best Values
By Tim Lazenby
We’ve talked about many values in every single division in the National Football League but one. And in many ways, I’ve saved the best for last. Let’s get into it. It can’t be denied any further. We just have to talk about the AFC West, not only my favorite division in football, but the most exciting one in many people’s eyes. In a division ripe with skilled players all over, it’s not hard to find talent on any of these teams. But, finding the value players isn’t that hard either. Here is one player from each team in the AFC West who is, in my opinion, the best value player on his squad.
Denver Broncos: Tight End - Albert Okwuegbunam
Since Peyton Manning gifted them a Super Bowl win, the Denver Broncos just haven’t been able to get it together. A regular carousel of coaches and quarterbacks have entered and left the organization, making success a difficult task for the Broncos. But, with the addition of one of the best quarterbacks of his era, Russell Wilson is sure to give Denver their best chance at success. Many have heard, “Let there be light” after the trade. I am certain that the stocks of Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton have to go up, but there is a player who will improve that isn’t being spoken of nearly enough. Now that Noah Fant was packaged in the deal that brought Wilson to town, Albert Okwuegbunam is ready to step into the spotlight and give the Broncos some voltage at tight end.
Now, I mean no disrespect toward Noah Fant; in fact, I love Fant. He’s tremendously talented and he’ll certainly be leaned on in Seattle. What I mean is that Albert O will finally shine as he isn’t in the shadow of Fant anymore. If you didn’t watch many Broncos games, you should know that despite being the second tight end on the squad, Albert O performed better than many starting tight ends in the league. And while it’s true that Russell Wilson doesn’t typically lean on tight ends, it doesn’t mean that he ignores them completely. I also believe that teams will be all too eager to shadow Jeudy and Sutton, leaving the door open for Albert O to score a few key touchdowns. And at such a talent starved position when it comes to fantasy, we have to be especially mindful of values at tight end. Albert Okbuegbunam won’t be one of the top options at tight end league wide, but he’ll be one that could help you win a few weeks and the price tag isn’t one that will hurt the pocketbook too much.
Kansas City Chiefs: Running Back - Ronald Jones
Funny isn’t the word, but I’m going to use it anyway. It’s funny how the Kansas City Chiefs reigned unanimously in the division among experts, and now, some have them as low as third. While I don’t believe the notion that the Chiefs are dead in the water or even close to it, there is some reason to feel unsettled at the state of affairs in Kansas City. While the rest of the AFC West has made mega moves to contend, the Chiefs have done the opposite by trading away the Cheetah, Tyreek Hill. Surely this move will help their future, but the present is going to bring suffering.
I still think that the Chiefs are the second best team in the division and you’re always in it with Mahomes and Kelce. But, one position that hasn’t gone well is the running back. Although the running game is successful, the starting position hasn’t given much in the way of fantasy. Clyde Edwards-Helaire clearly isn’t the solution, much to my dismay, so the addition of Ronald Jones is noteworthy. Do I think that Jones steals the job outright? Probably not. But I think, even in a committee, he’ll be relevant as he shared a backfield pretty much his whole career. There is also the chance that he could take the job and if that happens, his value will skyrocket. I wrote a dynasty dilemma on him, so my love for him shouldn’t be surprising. Having him as the best value on the team is a no brainer.
Las Vegas Raiders: Quarterback - Derek Carr
I have to be honest with you. I’ve never loved Derek Carr. He’s always been one of those guys, to me, who can win you a week or two if you get lucky, but can never be one to be depended on. The beginning of last season, I was looking quite foolish as Derek Carr was balling out. As the season continued, he came back down to earth, further cementing my notion that he’ll never be truly fantasy relevant. Although I’m not alone in my thought process, I don’t think I gave him enough credit for what he’s done with the resources he’d been given. When you look at the surrounding talent from years past, he hasn’t done as poorly as I’d naively believed. This season, it’s a different game, as the added talent is insane.
While many are still in disbelief over the utterly shocking trade of Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders fans are chanting, “Hallelujah” choruses that can be heard all the way back to Oakland. And while Carr has had some weapons in the past, he’s never had even close to what he’s about to have at the NFL level. It’s also even more incredible when you consider the rapport between the two that goes back to their days at Fresno. He and bestie, Adams, should tear the league a new one. Save the covid years, they even trained together in the off season every year. There is a chance that the magic isn’t instant, but there is no better shot that Carr will have at greatness. There are many who haven’t put these pieces together yet, so find one of them and get Carr at a massive discount. The value is incredible.
Los Angeles Chargers: Wide Receiver - Keenan Allen
I should place a big “WARNING” sticker before you read any more as the Chargers are my favorite team. And even though I like to think I’m quite unbiased, there is a chance that I’m starry eyed for the Bolts. Bearing that in mind, if there is a piece of any offense in the entire league that I want a part of, it’s Justin Herbert’s crew. From quarterback, to the running game, to the receivers, it’s high octane. This may be the highest powered offense in the league. So finding value is an absolute must with the Chargers. And while I think almost anyone on this team is a value, if I have to choose one, I have to go with life long Charger, Keenan Allen.
Admittedly, I was quite stupid in my assessment of Keenan Allen for many years. I avoided him like the plague because he was such an “injury risk”, but in truth, he just had some bad luck early on. If you exclude his injury years in 2015 and 2016, in his entire career he’s only missed a grand total of six games. He’s also got this weird reputation in the fantasy circles as a guy who’s been in the league forever. Still in his twenties, Keenan Allen has plenty left in the tank. Regarded as one of the most consistent threats to have the ball in his hands, he’s also known as one of the best route runners in the league. Many people gloss over him in drafts or his dynasty value, but don’t make that mistake. Biased or not, I regard him as the most underrated receiver in the league. His current value for many people makes him an absolute steal. He’s simply a must have and with how little it will cost you. You just have to make the move for him.
Tim Lazenby just joined Dynasty Pros, after writing for a few years elsewhere, and is passionate about all things fantasy football. Tim has been playing fantasy sports for over twenty years now and takes his love of the game to every article he writes. Although he’s played a variety of fantasy football, he is especially in love with dynasty football. If you ask him for advice, whether you’re just joining or you’ve been playing for years, he wants nothing more than to help you succeed, than to keep that fantasy gold to himself. A lover of the game and ultimate competitor, Tim is just trying to spread the good news of fantasy football to all.