AFC West Pre Draft Offseason Risers and Fallers
Our final preview brings us to the AFC West, home to some of the most interesting teams for dynasty fantasy football purposes. The draft will certainly shake things up, but thereʼs a ton to go over before we get there. Hereʼs how these teams have handled the offseason so far and what it means for our fantasy teams.
Coaching Changes - Vic Fangio was brought in as the head coach, but his expertise lies on the defensive side of the ball. Rich Scangarello will head up the offense after serving as the QB coach in San Francisco last season. Having spent time with Kyle Shanahan, the assumption is
that he will employ a similar offensive style.
Free Agency - The biggest changes for this team this offseason is at the QB position with them trading Case Keenum to Washington and acquiring Joe Flacco from the Ravens. There will be some changes to the Oʼline that could be worth watching as well with Denver losing Matt Paradis and Billy Turner. They added JaʼWuan James and weʼll have to wait to see how this plays out when they get to camp. Otherwise, no big changes to their offensive personel at the skills positions.
Risers - This may be the toughest offense to sort out in the entire NFL. On the one hand they have numerous skill position players who are full of talent and exciting for fantasy purposes. On the other hand, they brought in Joe Flacco to run what could be a Shanahan-ish system and that seems like an odd fit. The player who could stand to benefit the most is Phillip Lindsay. I know Royce Freeman is there and a new coaching staff will give everyone a fresh start, but Lindsay beat him out before and I donʼt see any reason he canʼt do the same in 2019. Lindsay had an amazing season last year as an undrafted free agent totaling over 1,000 yards and 10 total TDʼs in an offense that seemed to struggle with Case Keenum. If the changes in the coaching staff and at QB improve the offense at all I expect it to mean good things for the second year back.
Fallers - Emmanuel Sanders has been one of the most under rated receivers over the last few years. Heʼs always been more valuable than fantasy owners were willing to invest and heʼll once again have to prove that to be the case in 2019. Sanders value is as low as I can remember and at 32 coming off a torn achilles I can certainly understand why. Add to that the rise of Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton and the enigmatic Joe Flacco and I donʼt see there being an extremely high ceiling for Sanders this season. Iʼd love to be wrong and if he bounces back Iʼll be cheering him on, but Iʼll be looking to other players for fantasy value this season.
Kansas City Chiefs
Coaching Changes - Thereʼs a new DC, but the offense remains in the hands of Andy Reid.
Free Agency - Kareem Hunt was cut during the 2018 season and Demetrius Harris follows him over to Cleveland. KC also brought in Carlos Hyde
Risers - If all KC ends up doing at RB this offseason is bringing in Carlos Hyde, Iʼm going to be all about Damien Williams in PPR leagues. Last season from week 15 through the playoffs when Williams was the RB1 he averaged 25.8 fantasy points in PPR leagues. He more than proved he could carry the load and his game almost seems custom made for this offense. He can get it done on the ground and through the air and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. The Chiefs could still use a draft pick on an RB so Iʼm waiting to put out offers until next week, but if he gets to be the lead back on this offense again I fully expect him to perform like an RB1 in PPR leagues.
Fallers - A lot of the future of so many members of this team depends on whether or not Tyreek Hill will face a suspension for his off-field issues and whether or not the Chiefs decide to take action of their own a la Kareem Hunt. As of this writing, we still donʼt know enough details to see how this will play out and we may not know anything at all for another few months. His value has been all over the place in terms of trades so fantasy owners really donʼt know how to play this. Hereʼs how Iʼm going to play it - I assume the Chiefs know more than we do and are asking the league for some direction ahead of the draft. If the Chiefs take Marquise Brown (or some other WR in the first round) I would sell Hill immediately for as much as you can get. If they donʼt draft a WR you could still be up a creak later, but Iʼll have more confidence in my shares if they donʼt address the position.
Los Angeles Chargers
Coaching Changes - None
Free Agency - Tyrell Williams departs for Oakland and Tyrod Taylor comes over from Cleveland and will back up Phillip Rivers.
Risers - Mike Williams has had plenty of detractors since being drafted by the Chargers, but the former USC wide out proved he could be a star when he erupted for 10 TDʼs on 43 catches and 664 yards as
the third string WR. The void created when Tyrell Williams left for Oakland should give Mike Williams opportunities to fully break out in 2019. He had 66 targets in 2018 and that could easily end up north of 100 next season. Hunter Henry will also be a welcome addition to the offense as he appears to be showing no limitations in the Chargers offseason workout program. Weʼve been hyping him up for a long time now and Iʼm looking forward to seeing him in action. As long as he stays healthy he should be a top 10 TE in all formats.
Fallers - No Chargers players have lost much value this offseason, but itʼs fair to start wondering how much longer Phillip Rivers can produce top 12 fantasy numbers. He is 37 years old but is coming off of a 4308, 32 TD season and is adding a nice weapon in Hunter Henry in 2019. I expect him to have low end QB1 value in 2019 with some upside.
Coaching Changes - None
Free Agency - Antonio Brown is easily this teams biggest offseason addition, but came via trade. Jared Cook had a great season for Oakland in 2018 but will move on to New Orleans in 2019. As mentioned, Tyrell Williams joins the Raiders in addition to fellow WRʼs Ryan Grant and JJ Nelson. Isaiah Crowell joins a backfield where he could play an important role depending on what happens in the draft.
Risers - Iʼm not sure thereʼs another QB in the league that added more offensive weapons than Derek Carr over the first part of the off season. Antonio Brown gives Carr the best weapon of his career and Tyrell Williams could be the best deep threat heʼs played with. Carr threw for over 4,000 yards last season, but finished with only 19 TDʼs. There should be plenty of garbage time points for this team and an increase in TD production is likely. Carr has a good chance to produce high end QB 2 numbers in super flex leagues.
Fallers - Antonio Brown could put up 100 catches, 1200 yards and 10 TDʼs and it would STILL result in a down year for him compared to his last 6 seasons in Pitt. I still expect Brown to match the high target numbers heʼs put up in the past, but the production will be interesting to watch. Will
John Gruden and Co be able to craft an offense that allows him to put up those kinds of numbers? Will Carr be able to execute it? Add in the fact that Brown is 30 years old and now may be the best time to sell.