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Hello everybody, and welcome back to the final post in the Razzball Division Preview series. The AFC West packs a lot of mystery and a boatload of fantasy talent and upside in 2017, so let’s jump right in!

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Oakland Raiders

This team is going to be very good in 2017, and many analysts out there predict that the Raiders will be the main threat to the Patriots to getting back to the Super Bowl. Their offensive line is largely to thank for this team’s success last year and likely for this year, so immediately, we should be very interested in almost all of their offensive weapons for 2017.

I’m starting to get really excited about Derek Carr for 2017. He was incredibly efficient last year, and this year, with Amari Cooper taking the next step, and Michael Crabtree proving to be a consistent threat, especially in the redzone, Carr looks to repeat his success. Throw in a somewhat reliable Jared Cook to the mix, who is a huge upgrade for this offense compared to their production from the TE slot from years prior, and you’re looking at a pretty dangerous passing game when things are all said and done. At the end of the day, I’m expecting another Top-10 season for Carr easily. The only thing that could derail another productive year is his brutal SOS, having to play Denver, Kansas City, and Los Angeles twice a year, which certainly is never easy. Although it may not matter if Cooper and Crabtree can be very reliable. And I’m expecting big years for those two, and I’m very happy taking them around their ADP’s, 23rd and 44th overall, respectively.

In the backfield, it’s a whole different situation, and one I’m not confident about. I want to stay away from Marshawn Lynch at all possibly. A lot of people started to get excited about Lynch in this offense when he came out of retirement, and immediately started hyping him up. His current ADP is at 27th overall, which is TOO DAMN HIGH! First off, Lynch is a runner who hasn’t been in an NFL game in over a year, already has a lot of tread on his tires, and shouldn’t be a bell-cow, or even the featured runner in this offense. It may sound crazy to think that Lynch won’t be the feature back in this offense, but as Matt and I pointed out on numerous podcasts and live streams, they’re probably going to have a split between Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington for most of the time, with Lynch as the goal-line back, saving him for their playoff run in January. Again, it’s crazy to think this, but we all thought Latavius Murray would be the lead back immediately last year, and we saw how much the coaching staff loved Richard/Washington. I would expect the same this year.

Denver Broncos

I really want the Broncos to make the playoffs this year, and I truly believe that they can, but I have no doubts that I’m in the minority on this one.

First off, it was made clear a short while ago that Trevor Siemian would be the starting QB to start the year, which should be good news for Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders has quitely been a very reliable and consistent WR these past few years, especially in PPR, and it should help that Siemian is under center once again. When we talk about Demaryius Thomas, I think the same is in order. I’m not personally worried that the best days of Demaryius Thomas are behind him just yet, and I think his ADP of 35th isn’t too high at all. Both Thomas and Sanders should be considered as reliable WR2-3’s, but we’ll see with the production of Siemian.

We start to get into muddy waters when we talk about C.J. Anderson. Personally, I love him, but again, I don’t think I’m in the majority at all. I love Anderson as a RB2L-RB3H because of two reasons: the improved their O-Line over the summer, and he isn’t that bad. In fact, he was a reliable starting option for many weeks last year before he went down with his injury, and with the right pieces in place on the offensive line in Denver, there is no doubt in my mind that Anderson will continue his success from last year, and should be more efficient for longer, given that he doesn’t go down of course. He won’t have to compete with Devontae Booker anymore, and I don’t think the aging Jamaal Charles should compete with him for touches. Anderson is the bellcow in Denver, and that should be music to the ears of fantasy owners.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs may not have the best NFL offense by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a whole bunch of fantasy-relevant options this year. First off, I am a huge fan of Travis Kelce without the presence of Jeremy Maclin to this offense, and should pick up a lot of the available targets that was left behind. Kelce should still be a redzone machine, and I have no doubts he’ll remain a Top-2 TE (although he might finish 3rd behind Graham and Gronk, like the old days).

Another big beneficiary of Maclin’s departure is Tyreek Hill. He has been moved off of Special Teams, and now in a pure WR1 role for the Chiefs. Like Kelce, he should pick up the available targets from Maclin’s departure, and funny enough, should continue to produce more without Kareem Hunt. Hill was featured quite a bit in end-around and jet sweep plays, and with Ware gone, and an unproven rookie leading the backfield, Hill should be quite busy. His ADP is currently at 43rd overall, and he might go down as one of the best picks in 2017.

As for the rest of the team, the volume should be there for Kareem Hunt, and although he is unproven, I like it when any running back has enough production to be relevant. We aren’t really interested in Charcandrick West too much, but he should be a vital handcuff for any Hunt owner. As for Alex Smith or anyone else, no thanks. This isn’t an elite offense that scores a lot of touchdowns because of poor defensive play. It’s quite the opposite.

Los Angeles Chargers

Ahh the Chargers. I wonder when they’ll stop runing Philip Rivers’ career and actually get to the playoffs.

Actually, if it wasn’t for the injury of Mike Williams, I would have picked them as my dark horse candidate to get into the playoffs, and I actually still believe that they can become SUPER close to getting a wild-card pick. It would help though if they had their first round pick.

They have a pretty solid offense with the addition of Russell Okung, and Melvin Gordon should continue to produce at a high-rate as the bell-cow back, Keenan Allen is back, Tyrell Williams should continue to build off of a very solid 2016 season, Antonio Gates is still sort of reliable in the redzone, and Hunter Henry looks like a young star ready to break out, while Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman should be reliable options for Rivers. Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Casey Heyward make for a scary trio on defense coached by new DC Wade Philips. Screw it, I’ve convinced myself to believe in the Chargers.

All-in-all, this should be a productive offense. Rivers has the upside to finish in the Top 12, Gordon should be a Top-10 running back, and Allen, Williams and Henry have serious upside to pay back fantasy owners on their ADP this fall.

 

 

You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @razzball_zach.