Our journey finally comes to an end with the division of the reigning Super Bowl champions, the AFC West. As with the seven previous divisions, there are countless stars for you to choose from on the rosters of the Denver Broncos, the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego chargers. I’m here to offer you four names that you really should steer clear of. Enjoy.
(Note – Average Draft Position Data is courtesy of FantasyPros.com)
Denver Broncos – Emmanuel Sanders
I’m a big fan of Sanders, who has been nothing short of excellent since joining the Broncos. However, this offense is in a state of flux, and given the change to a full on Gary Kubiak offense rather than the weird Kubiak/Peyton hybrid we saw last season, I have to be aware of tendencies. In his last five seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator, the WR2 on Kubiak’s squads have seen just 16% of total team targets, as opposed to 26% for the lead guy. Sanders is a clear second fiddle to Demaryius Thomas, and as a result will have to scrap for opportunities to be fantasy relevant. He is currently being drafted as WR28, in high end WR3 territory. This is too high for me.
Kansas City Chiefs – Chris Conley
As a science fiction nerd, Chris Conley has a special place in my heart. While a student at Georgia, he created his very own Star Wars film, which you can read about here. However, I’d be stunned if Conley, unlike the Force, awakened this year. The Chiefs, one of the most boring passing attacks on the planet, have been notoriously run heavy under Andy Reid, and any pass catching is done by the lead wide receiver, the tight end and the running backs. The Chiefs second receiver has seen just over 10% of total team targets over the last three seasons. Conley becoming fantasy relevant is about as likely as hitting a small thermal exhaust port, a little over two metres wide, with proton torpedoes…but I remember someone managed to do that once.
Oakland Raiders – Latavius Murray
I’m not a Murray truther, and I struggle to believe that the Raiders are deep down. He may have hit 1000 rushing yards last season, but after a Week 8 20 carry, 113 yard outing against the New York Jets he fell off a cliff. He didn’t hit 100 yards again in his last nine games, averaged less than four yards per carry in five of them, and scored just three touchdowns. His 5.7 yards per target as a pass catcher was among the worst in the league for his position. The Raiders are a significantly improved squad on paper this year, but I believe that they will be better served trusting Derek Carr ahead of Murray. His ADP of RB17 is far earlier than I would consider taking him.
San Diego Chargers – Melvin Gordon
It is not my intention to bury Gordon after a less than stellar first season in the pros, but nor am I ready to crown him as the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. The Chargers suffered more than most with injuries last season, and a healthy line could be a huge bonus to Gordon. But he will lose out on receptions and red zone work to Danny Woodhead, and as the Chargers could struggle once again this year it would be a shock if Gordon were to see more snaps than Woodhead. 24 running backs are being taken before Gordon at present, and I think I would be more comfortable letting at least another 12 go by.