Buy, Sell, and Hold – AFC West Edition

By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)

I honestly feel like a kid waiting on Christmas right now waiting for football to start. As we continue to inch closer and closer, I will continue to break down what I feel is every player who will have an impact on our Dynasty Owner season. I know sometimes these rebuilding seasons can be frustrating but as I always say your season is what you make of it. If you are rebuilding the last thing you want to do is wait and let the rebuild come to you. You should be trying to attack every weak spot on your roster by trading and picking up young guys who have high upside.

In this week’s article, we will be breaking down the AFC West and what rebuilding owners should do with each player in the division, including the 2-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. I will place each player into one of three categories titled Buy, Sell, or Hold. If you see a player in the Buy category it means he is someone you will want to have on your rebuilding roster, and they are worth trading for if the price is right. Players in the Hold category are players that won’t fetch enough value in a trade to compensate for the upside they have, or they have roadblocks in the way of playing time, a great example of this would be Michael Gallup. The players who are in the sell category are players I feel should be on championship contending rosters, or players who just do not fit a rebuilding timeline. If there is anyone you feel I left out or put in the wrong category feel free to let me know on Twitter!

BUY

Chiefs

  • Patrick Mahomes – 11 years, $45,000,000

As great as Patrick Mahomes is some may question why he is a buy with such a massive contract. While this is a solid argument I feel it will be a value in a few years as the salary cap continues to rise. The only reason not to take on Mahomes if you are rebuilding is if you truly feel we have seen the best of him (we have not). $60 million contracts are not far away in the NFL, so get him while you still can!

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 3 years, $2,705,393

Clyde Edwards-Helaire may be my top owned player throughout all my fantasy teams by the time the season starts because of how cheap he got. I understand the hate on CEH, but I don’t agree with it. The kid came into a well-oiled machine of an offense and had 1,100 scrimmage yards on top of missing three games because of injury. I also see him getting a pretty significant bump in passing game work in 2021. If you are sleeping on him going into the year I feel you will come to regret it when all is said and done.

  • Byron Pringle – 1 year, $2,133,000

Byron Pringle has been a quiet, yet solid pro in his days with the Kansas City Chiefs. I have Pringle as a buy here because someone in the Chiefs receiving room must emerge as the number two guy. As a rebuilding owner I’m only looking to acquire the Chiefs 2nd guy to move him in a later deal, as I feel they will draft someone at the position next year.

  • Mecole Hardman – 2 years, $1,248,763

Mecole Hardman like Byron Pringle has a clear-cut opportunity for the number 2 receiver role in Kansas City. Fantasy managers have been excited for Hardman since the day he was drafted, and he has yet to pan out. I am buying Hardman anywhere I can but be careful not to overpay on someone who has not done it in the NFL yet.

  • Cornell Powell – 4 years, $930,038

I have seen a ton of buzz on Powell since being drafted by the Chiefs and I honestly don’t agree with it. Powell had a so-so college career at Clemson and was not talked about all that much before the NFL draft. All of that said, I do have him as a buy simply because he is young and attached to Patrick Mahomes.

  • Antonio Callaway – 1 year, $920,000

Antonio Callaway is a complete flier at this point in his career but just like the few listed before him, he plays in the right offense. Callaway started his career with the Browns and flashed success as a rookie, but after character concerns coming into the league he found himself in trouble shortly after being drafted. If Callaway can find his way in KC, he could be a steal that absolutely no one is talking about.

Chargers

  • Justin Herbert – 3 years, $6,644,688

I won’t speak to much here on Herbert as his play at the quarterback position as a rookie sums up why you want this kid on your roster. I have said it many times and will say it many more, young quarterbacks are Dynasty Owner gold.

  • Joshua Kelly – 3 years, $1,018,835

At the beginning of 2020, we saw Joshua Kelly involved early and often giving his owners a lot of hope. Once Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson went down, it seemed like Kelly was going to be the featured guy. Instead, it turned out to be more of a committee approach featuring Kalen Ballage. Kelly is a longshot, but you can get him for next to nothing at this point.

  • Larry Rountree – 4 years, $913,940

The Joshua Kelly replacement is going to be none other than Larry Rountree. I am not expecting him to have a big impact in year one if Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson stay healthy, but he is in play to have a big role in 2022. I can also see the possibility of him being involved early as Jackson and Ekeler are not known for running between the tackles. Rountree has a wide range of outcomes and will be cheap to acquire. Rountree for power back in L.A.!!

  • Josh Palmer – 4 years, $1,258,365

While the Chargers did elect to bring Mike Williams back on his fifth year option, I still think Palmer can be effective in year one. Palmer underwhelmed big time at Tennessee in college but has all the tools to be the type of receiver the Chargers envisioned Mike Williams to be when they drafted him in the first round.

  • Jalen Guyton – 1 year, $540,000)\

Jalen Guyton quietly showed great progress throughout 2020 and may have earned himself a role moving forward. The number 2 spot in L.A. is Mike Williams spot to lose but the 3rd spot is wide open in an offense who put up a ton of points last season. If you can get your hands on Guyton and he does win the job, I would look to flip him before the season is over and add some extra draft capital to your team.

  • Tre’ McKitty – 4 years, $1,196,462

I talked about Tre’ McKitty a while back and love the future outlook of this kid. In front of McKitty on the Chargers roster is an aging Jared Cook who seems to just catch the ball and fall down at this stage of his career. I do not expect McKitty to overtake Cook instantly but by the end of the year, I would not be surprised to see McKitty as a starting tight end who is tied to Justin Herbert for many years to come.

Raiders

  • Henry Ruggs – 3 years, $4,167,906

I am not sure there was a more upsetting position player than Henry Ruggs in 2020. Ruggs was the first wide receiver taken in last year’s draft ahead of guys like Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Tee Higgins, making the Ruggs selection that much worse. You can probably pick up Ruggs for a 2nd round pick plus a little something extra to make the other owner feel warm and fuzzy. The Raiders will give Ruggs every chance in the world to succeed this season, which is why he is an easy buy for rebuilding owners.

  • Darren  Waller – 3 years, $7,450,000

In my opinion, Waller is a massive buy for rebuilding owners with a big but, which is if you are just starting your rebuild I would wait until after this season to buy him, so he is not winning your team a bunch of games and hurting your draft capital. At just 28 years old, Waller should still be producing big time when your team is ready to compete. We have yet to see the best of Darren Waller on a football field.

  • Bryan Edwards – 3 years, $1,173,113

Does everyone remember how hot of a name Bryan Edwards was at this time last off-season? Edwards had an insane amount of hype and I honestly feel like it was because the Raiders had no one for him to compete with. Fast forward a year and Edwards is being talked about some, but nothing like last season. Odds tell us one of Henry Ruggs or Bryan Edwards will have a solid year based on volume alone. Rebuilding owners should acquire these guys now and see what happens.

  • Hunter Renfrow – 2 years, $708,987

While Hunter Renfrow should likely be a hold, I am going to go out on a limb and label him a buy. He will be a longshot and will never be a star, but he can offer consistent bench scoring, or if a receiver or two gets hurt for the Raiders you may be able to sell him for a good amount more than it took to get him. Remember rebuilding owners just because they are a buy before the season it does not mean you need to keep them forever.

  • Marcus Mariota – 1 year, $3,500,000

I have Marcus Mariota here for two reasons, one being he looked great in relief last season for Carr, and second because the Raiders seem to hate Carr as much as Bruce Arians hates Ronald Jones. If you have Mariota on a rebuilding roster and Carr goes down for the year, someone will pay a premium for Mariota at his current contract.

Broncos

  • Javonte Williams – 4 years, $2,216,438

Like I always say I tend to shy away from running backs at the start of a rebuild but Williams should not see a massive workload in year one which should preserve his body some. Williams is the ideal rebuilding running back because he has a bright future and should not win you any weeks in year one sharing time with Melvin Gordon. Buying Williams now will be expensive, but his asking price should only go up from here on out.

  • Jerry Jeudy – 3 years, $3,798,243

Jerry Jeudy had a rough collection of quarterbacks throwing him the ball in 2020, yet he still had a solid season and really picked it up towards the end of the year. These are three of the quarterbacks Jeudy was stuck catching passes from last season, Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel, and Kendall Hinton. Big time production is coming for Jeudy owners.

  • Courtland Sutton – 1 year, $1,710,480

As much as I love Courtland Sutton, I had a lot of trouble putting him in with the players rebuilding owners should be buying. The issues I have with Sutton have zero to do with his talent on the field but with him coming off an injury and his salary getting ready to go up significantly I am not sure he is right for rebuilding owners. If you have cap room and can afford to keep him next season, I would take the risk if Sutton comes cheap enough.

  • K.J. Hamler – 3 years, $1,784,282

Hamler reminds me of a toddler who just ate an entire bag of pixy sticks because of the way you see him zooming all over the field and he is very tough to locate at times. Hamler has the makings of today’s DeSean Jackson and if that turns out to be true, he is someone you will want on your rebuilding roster. Hamler should not cost much more than a 3rd round pick right now as he is still a year or two out from really making a difference, which is the perfect time to buy.

  • Noah Fant – 2 years, $3,147,680

Noah Fant is a young athletic tight end who has gotten better each year in the league. If I am a rebuilding owner buying Fant I am praying he does not completely explode until his contract is finished. If Fant continues to slowly get better each year until his deal is up, he will probably get Darren Waller money, but if he explodes beforehand he is going to get pricey quick. The tight end position is a true difference maker in fantasy, if you are rebuilding make sure you find an up-and-coming stud.

  • Albert Okwuegbunam – 3 years, $1,011,011

I hope all of you watch the video and hear how bad I mess this man’s name up. Albert Okwuegbunam is a solid young tight end who seems like he will find a steady role in the NFL. I am not expecting Albert O to become a star by any means, but he could be someone who is an extremely solid bench player in the coming years.

HOLD

Chiefs

  • Darwin Thompson – 2 years, $661,960

I will keep it short and sweet with Darwin Thompson as he could probably be left off the list at this point. If you have Thompson, he will net you nothing in a trade. If you must, hold onto him and see what happens. I would prefer to outright drop Thompson for someone with more upside.

  • Demarcus Robinson – 1 year, $1,127,500

I have Robinson on the Hold list instead of the Buy list like the rest of the Chiefs receivers because he is a bit older and has had more chances to make an impact. Robinson is definitely worth a roster spot, and I would recommend holding to see what happens. He may blow up and net amazing value in a trade.

Chargers

  • Justin Jackson – 1 year, $570,000

If Justin Jackson could ever stay healthy he could be an excellent change of pace back. In 2020, Jackson had a fantastic opportunity with Austin Ekeler going down and just could not stay healthy. As a rebuilding owner I would hold onto him for the year unless you get blown away by an offer. Jackson will be a free agent this year and could end up in a Tarik Cohen type role elsewhere.

  • Mike Williams – 1 year, $15,680,000

Has anyone had enough of Mike Williams after just four NFL seasons? If Williams can ever put together a full season he could be a tremendous value. Williams has already had a 10 touchdown season and a 1,000 receiving yard season in his career, yet it’s been more disappointing than not. I’m keeping Williams for now but if he explodes and you can find a taker I would move him in a heartbeat.

Raiders

  • Derek Carr – 2 years, $25,000,000

As I mentioned in the part featuring Marcus Mariota, the Raiders hate Derek Carr. Carr has been a solid NFL quarterback since taking over the Raiders miserable franchise, making them relevant again, at least somewhat relevant. The Raiders have done a horrid job of building around Carr. If you do not believe me just look at some of the guys Jon Gruden has drafted; cough, cough Henry Ruggs over CeeDee Lamb, or Justin Jefferson. As of now Carr is a hold as you will not get much in return for him because of his salary and the fact he offers zero upside running the ball.

  • Kenyan Drake – 2 years, $5,500,000

As much as I love the talent of Kenyan Drake, I have to say I cannot remember a more frustrating fantasy career. In the beginning of Drake’s career, we all just wanted to see him get consistent playing time. He then gets moved to Arizona where he blew up over the back half of the season in 2019. Drake was given the transition tag and the keys to the Arizona backfield where he was a disappointment in 2020. Fast-forward to 2021 and Drake is now behind Josh Jacobs after it seemed he would be a Cardinal for a while.

  • Willie Snead – 1 year, $1,127,500

At this stage of Willie Snead’s career, I am not expecting him to do a whole lot, but we have seen crazier things happen in the NFL. If you already have Snead rostered I would hold onto him just in case Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards are complete busts again this season.

  • Zay Jones – 1 year, $2,500,000

I won’t waste much of your time talking about Zay Jones, but he could end up in a situation like I just mentioned with Willie Snead.

Broncos

  • Mike Boone – 2 years, $1,925,000

If you own Mike Boone I see him as a must Hold. Boone has been talked about as an extremely talented running back who just can’t find the field. Boone started in Minnesota behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison and the second it looks like he is finally a clear-cut backup to Melvin Gordon, the Broncos draft Javonte Williams. If Williams does not pan out, or if Gordon has lost a step Mike Boone could step in with no problems.

  • Tim Patrick – 1 year, $3,384,000

2020 was the Tim Patrick show in Denver! If Patrick didn’t have another year remaining on his deal in 2020, he would be an easy cheap buy right now, but the fact is he will be playing behind Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and a 2nd year K.J. Hamler, who has potential to make noise, keeps him off the Buy list. I’m holding Patrick in the hopes that Sutton is not ready to start the year and, in that scenario, I’m offing Patrick for whatever I can get.

SELL

Chiefs

  • Darrel Williams – 1 year, $1,600,000

It seems Darrel Williams is going into the year as the clear cut backup for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Williams did not impress in the work he received in 2020 and should be firmly on every rebuilding owner’s trade block. Get what you can before you can’t!

  • Tyreek Hill – 2 years, $18,000,000

As I mentioned last week with Nick Chubb and Lamar Jackson, I hate labeling these players as a sell but in Dynasty Owner it makes even more sense. Tyreek Hill is not going anywhere for a while, but he will be getting a massive new deal in just two years. Even as great as Hill is, if I’m rebuilding, I’d take the big package he will fetch and move on.

  • Travis Kelce – 5 years, $14,312,500

Travis Kelce is perhaps the best tight end we have ever seen in the NFL and I’m telling you to get rid of him now. At 31 years of age, Kelce will probably be producing when you are ready to compete, but it makes much more sense to go after players like Kyle Pitts, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, or Darren Waller who you can get for Kelce no problem and all of whom are younger. Rebuilding is all about trading current productive players for future productive players and Kelce is no exception.

Chargers

  • Austin Ekeler – 3 years, $6,125,000

Austin Ekeler is my favorite sell on the list, simply because he is highly productive on a team friendly deal. Ekeler has half of the contract as the other RBs in his range with a whopping three years remaining. If you are moving Ekeler make sure the other owner realizes what a value his contract is in a very weak running back market. Oh, and being attached to Justin Herbert never hurts.

  • Jared Cook – 1 year, $4,500,000

I am guessing Jared Cook’s best days have come and gone. Cook can still be a productive tight end for a couple more seasons but has no business being on any rebuilding roster. Jared Cook is no different than Eric Ebron who I mentioned last week as an aging tight end who can help contenders. Move him for whatever you can get at this point.

Raiders

  • Josh Jacobs – 2 years, $2,983,350

While Josh Jacobs is no Nick Chubb, it still feels gross to call someone like him a sell with how the running back landscape is looking. In 2021, if you have a Top 20-25 running back you should be able to get 1.5 times the value you would have last year. The running back market looks like a steaming pile of poop at the moment and rebuilding owners with running backs should take advantage of it.

  • John Brown – 1 year, $3,750,000

I know we all remember how Nelson Agholor came out of nowhere with the Raiders last season and put up a very solid year, solid enough to land a sizable contract from the Patriots. Barring a complete turnaround for both Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards, Brown should step into the role Agholor played so well last season. Brown is a borderline hold but I would sell him if the opportunity presents itself.

Broncos

  • Drew Lock – 2 years, $1,752,704

I do not know how many times I’ve said it, but cheap quarterbacks are gold in Dynasty Owner. At this point we are all unsure if Lock will be the starter this year for the Broncos, but someone will take a flier on him just because he will come cheap. Drew Lock is someone I would let go for any draft capital as a rebuilding owner. I also would not blame you if you held Lock to see if he is the starter when the season starts, which will no doubt raise his trade value.

  • Teddy Bridgewater – 1 year, $11,499,000

If I own Teddy Bridgewater, I am selling him immediately. There is a good chance (in my opinion) Lock is the starter at the beginning of the season because he was drafted early by the Broncos. If that scenario plays out, you will likely get nothing out of Bridgewater and if you do get something, it will be minimal. If Bridgewater is the Broncos perceived starter in 2021, I highly recommend you capitalize as soon as possible. The other thing to look at with Bridgewater is do you really think Bridgewater will be starting come 2022. I know I do not.

  • Melvin Gordon – 1 year, $8,000,000

Finally, we have the controversial Melvin Gordon. Gordon is facing a suspension this season, which could lead to his demise in Denver. While Gordon is away, it will do nothing but give the coaching staff opportunities to look at Javonte Williams and Mike Boone. If I have Gordon and there is a decent offer on the table, he is as good as gone. Gordon is also another player you could gamble and hold, but I would not recommend it with him.

Conclusion

Here you have it guys, half of the AFC has been broken down into categories for you. I would love to hear if you feel different about players than I do and why.

I want to take a second to thank all of you for playing Dynasty Owner and helping the platform grow. If you plan to invite some friends over to the site, be sure to check into the all-new affiliate program to earn some cash back for helping spread the good word. As always don’t forget to check out Matt’s articles and videos which release on Mondays and Steve’s articles and videos which release on Wednesdays. Thank you for reading and as always good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!

Roster Roundup – Round Eight: AFC West

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Coronavirus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we will look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we will examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

Denver Broncos

HC: Vic Fangio

OC: Pat Shurmur

QB: Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel

RB: Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, Andrew Beck

WR: Cortland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, Tyrie Cleveland

TE: Noah Fant, Nick Vannett, Albert Okwuegbunam, Jake Butt

This offense is very young. This defense is very experienced. If the two can come together, the Denver Broncos can make some noise in this division. Drew Lock flashed promise in his inaugural season as the Bronco’s signal-caller and brings excitement to this extremely young group. In his 5 career games, Lock posted 204 ypg in an offense that didn’t appear to be quite ready for him. His yards per attempt are sure to increase from 6.5 a clip and his 1.4 TD to 0.6 INT would extrapolate to 22.4/9.6 over a full season. That was without an improved offensive line and new weapons at RB, WR, and TE. Even though John Elway didn’t exactly give his then rookie a boost of confidence after going 4-1 to end the season, Lock is back as the starter and is in a fantastic position to prove that he was worth Denver’s no.42 overall pick in last year’s draft.

The running back position is deep and returns a good amount of game experience. Melvin Gordon is the new toy in Lock’s toy chest, and he should receive the bulk of the snaps. He is the best receiver in the backfield and after his notorious zero TD rookie season, he has scored at least eight rushing touchdowns over the last 4 years. If you listen to coach speak, Fangio designates both Gordon and Lindsay as equal starters, but reason would tell you the splits would favor the more productive Gordon. Lindsay is no slouch and he has flashed in his first two years in the league. In both years he ran for over 1,000 yards and recorded exactly 35 receptions in both years. The receptions may come down, but the yards don’t necessarily have to. This team wants to run the ball, but it has enough talent in the passing game to keep the defenses honest. It is within the realm of possibility that the team could support two 1,000-yard rushers in Gordon and Lindsay. The odd man out appears to be Royce Freeman. Freeman has seen more stacked boxes in the last two years than anyone else in football. He is a solid talent and a superior pass blocker to Lindsay so he may still have some value on your bench.

The 2020 draft was kind to Lock by granting him two dynamic receivers. Jerry Jeudy “fell” to pick number 15 where the Denver Broncos pounced and selected the best route runner to come out of college in years. Jeudy was running NFL caliber routes in Alabama embarrassing most of the competition along the way. He slots into the starting line up across from 2019 breakout Courtland Sutton. Sutton was near QB proof posting a 72/1112/6-line catching passes from the likes of Brandon Allen, Joe Flacco, and Drew Lock. After grading out as PFF’s #16 wide receiver, Sutton is a safe bet to lead this team once again in most receiving categories with a much-improved supporting cast around him.  DaeSean Hamilton (28rec/297yds/1TD) and Tim Patrick (16rec/218yds/0TD’s) return as rotational players in the group but the other rising rookie is KJ Hamler. Hamler’s second-round selection was overshadowed by Jeudy’s but do not let that dull the fact that he will be an important part of this offense. The Penn State product is a smaller statured player, but he is the definition of dynamic. He is a slippery route runner that can turn a defender around and then run past his teammates. Sutton and Jeudy will be the volume play but Hamler will take the lid off defenses. Noah Fant was a pre-draft darling this fantasy season. He will get the snaps to keep him on the field due to his above-average blocking and route running. He is not the most polished route runner where he takes some time getting out of his breaks, but he can run past 90% of the linebackers on any given Thursday, Sunday, or Monday. His upper-level speed for a TE will make him an intriguing fantasy TE play in 2020. His rookie line mate Albert Okwuegbunam is a sure-handed possession type receiving TE who has been used to get the sure completions instead of big explosive plays. His big frame will be a welcome addition for Lock when he needs to find his chain moving target.

Kansas City Chiefs

HC: Andy Reid

OC: Eric Bienemy

QB: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne

RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, Anthony Sherman

WR: Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Marcus Kemp

TE: Travis Kelce, Nick Keizer, Ricky Seals-Jones, Deon Yelder

The Super Bowl champs return for another run at the title and still have a lot of kept cogs in place. On offense that specifically means all-world QB Patrick Mahomes, the elite TE Travis Kelce, and the self-proclaimed fastest man in the NFL-Tyreek Hill. Sprinkle in one of the best running backs in the 2020 draft and you have the makings of yet another elite Kansas City offense.

Mahomes struck gold in 2020 with his 10yr $450million salary to pave the way for many championship runs to come. Still only 24 years old and only 2 full years of experience under his belt, Mahomes is already in the conversation of greatness. Go back and look at his stats and you will see that he never really had a bad game. Sure, there were “okay” games in there but never a bad one. In his 31 career starts, he has amassed 9412 yards, 76 TD’s to just 19 INT’s. His adjusted completion percentage was good enough for 6th in 2019 and 5th in 2018 among QB’s that started at least 10 games. His overall passing grade (PFF) was 6th in 2019 and 2nd in 2018. To sum it up, 2018 was clearly his better statistical season (he also played 2.5 more games) but his 2019 efficiency rate was higher, and he just happened to lead his team to the championship podium.

The nearly Super Bowl MVP Damien Williams has decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. In comes 1st round pick, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the dynamic pass-catching running back out of national champion LSU. CEH garnered first-team All-ACC accolades after rushing for 1,414 yards and 16 TD’s during his breakout junior year. He will not kill you with straight-line speed evidenced by his 4.60 40 yd time, but he may make you miss in space thanks to his fantastic balance and footwork. His backfield mate, Darrel Williams is the better pass-blocking back and the more experienced of the two. He figures to work alongside CEH in the early parts of the season to allow the rookie time to acclimate to the NFL. Last year’s sleeper darling, Darwin Thompson was good enough to be active over LeSean McCoy in the Super Bowl as well as being kept as the third man in this backfield.

The freak himself, Tyreek Hill will enter this season a more rounded NFL receiver. Opposing teams now must defend more than just a straight-line burner, reportedly he spent the offseason with a receiving coach to work on the intricacies of the position. He seemed to adjust during the playoffs and gained steam as the final tournament wore on. The Texans did everything legal in football to Michael Jordan him out of the game plan with him coming away with 3 catches for 41 yards on four targets in the Divisional round. He followed that up next week with a

 7-67-2 TD’s performance against the Titans and then 9-105 in the Super Bowl. He suffered through multiple injuries in 2019 but did not have any off-field issues which was positive for the 26-year-old. He will give you more non-WR1 weeks than live up to his draft capital, but he is an elite weapon that can score as much as two WR’s in any given week.

Sammy Watkins is the number 2 WR and the 27-year-old former 1st rounder has had an interesting career. Entering his 7th season, he has flashed brilliance at times while playing for three different teams, but consistency has always eluded him. Not being “the no.1 guy” has assuredly helped but he works more into a receiving rotation in the WR corps and that may just be what suits him best. Mecole Hardman is the young dynamo speedster that was used as a situational mismatch in his rookie year. Like Hill early in his career, his game is built on speed and not volume. He is a true weapon in the return game as well as downfield evidenced by his 26-538-6 td stat line in 2019. Demarcus Robinson rounds out the top four receivers of this exciting group. Robinson had two solid games filling in for Hill last season and returns to the team on a 1 year $2.3million contract as a coaching staff’s favorite.

The actual number 1 receiving option in this offense is TE Travis Kelce. Out of the top four receivers mentioned, Kelce had 49% of the team’s target share when comparing the five of them. That is high volume for the tight end position. Kelce is a unicorn and his game changing ability has been demonstrated time and again as he always appears to come up big just when the chiefs need him. He is a sure-fire top 2 TE in the league and is not going anywhere with his 4 yr $57 million salary. There isn’t much behind him on the depth chart nor does there have to be for the way this offense operates. If Kelce is viewed as a number one receiver and not a $14 million TE, his Dynasty Owner salary becomes that much more palatable.

Las Vegas Raiders

HC: Jon Gruden

OC: Greg Olson

QB: Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Nathan Peterman

RB: Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Devontae Booker, Alec Ingold

WR: Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, Nelson Agholor, Zay Jones, Rico Gaffer

TE: Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Jason Witten, Derek Carrier

Chucky is back and the black and silver have a different look to their passing game this year. Gruden is exceptional at scripting his plays and allowing the offensive momentum to stack series by series. The knock on him is in-game adjustments if something was to go completely awry. He and GM Mike Mayock went out and fortified their back-up QB position with former no.2 overall pick Marcus Mariota (currently on IR) and kept the great Nathan Peterman on the roster who is now serving as the direct back-up to Carr. Carr is not as conservative as he is efficient, especially since Gruden came to town. He is the epitome of a “Steady Eddie” QB that will not lose you many fantasy matchups, but he also won’t win you many either. He rarely misses any games (2 out of 96) he always hovers around 4,000 yards a season and recently right around 20 TD’s. He is a much better real-life QB rather than a fantasy one. Hopefully, you will not be relying on him for any other reason than a bye week.

For many, Josh Jacobs ($2.98m) was the number one back in the NFL draft last year. He did not have a bad year by any stretch, in his 13 games played he totaled 1150 yards and 7 TD’s. The mini let down was his use in the passing games tallying only 20 receptions. The Raiders claimed to want to get him more involved but the consistent addition of pass-catching backs to the roster makes you take pause. He is a clear bet to receive over 275 touches in both the run and pass game and is a locked-in solid starter for your team. His range of outcomes could place him anywhere in the RB5-RB14 range this year. Jalen Richard returns to his same expected role of a breather back that is used in the hurry-up as well and won’t add any stand-alone value as long as Jacobs is upright. Booker is the third back that is also in the third-down-back-mold that totaled 9 rushing yards in 16 games last year. Jacobs offers elite volume for your team and he should eat this year.

The Receiving corps got some upgrades this year and it’s something to be excited about. Ruggs was taken at #12 overall and Gruden’s selection of him would make Al Davis smile from ear to ear. Gruden covets speed at the Z position and Ruggs has speed to burn. He only logged 98 career catches in the crowded Alabama passing attack, but he did a lot with a little. His 4.27 speed will bring even more heat to the desert when Las Vegas opens Allegiant Stadium.  Lining up across from him will be fellow rookie Bryan Edwards ($1.17m) who is quickly becoming “Carr’s guy”. Edwards had a stellar four-year career at South Carolina while logging the third-most receptions in SEC history with 324. He is a sure-handed receiver with nice hands that do not allow the ball to come to his body. He impressed so much with his after the catch ability that he was also utilized in the screen game as well as getting backfield snaps in college.

Renfrow ($708k) had put together a nice rookie season with 49 grabs on 71 targets for 605yds and 4 TD’s. He is an ideal complement to the two rookies who will be starting outside and the three of them will make for an interesting trio to watch develop over the years. At TE, Darren Waller returns and looks to follow up on his 2019 Cinderella season. Waller hung 90 catches on 1145 yards on the season but with just 3 TD’s. He is an athletic freak out of GA Tech that took a few years to come around, but he finally popped in his age 26 season as the team’s number one target in the passing game. Joining him is the one-foot-in-the-broadcasting-booth veteran Jason Witten. Witten missed playing the game so much in 2018, he traded his toupee for a helmet and vacated his position calling games. He was knowingly brought in for his locker room leadership and we should all be spared of watching the once stud TE lumber around the field.

Los Angeles Chargers

HC:  Anthony Lynn

OC: Shane Steichen

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Justin Herbert, Easton Stick

RB: Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley

WR: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jaylen Guyton, KJ Hill, Joe Reed, Jason Moore

TE: Hunter Henry, Virgil Green, Stephen Anderson, Donald Parham

This team was built for defense and it shows on offense. Head Coach Anthony Lynn wants to run the ball in the worst way to set up the intermediate passing attack. They did make some changes on the offensive line, but the issue is these are a lot of “name guys” along the offensive front and their grades do not exactly spell production. Tyrod Taylor is a well-respected player that is a bargain as a QB2-3 at just $5.5million.  Although he is just a 2020 placeholder for Justin Herbert, Taylor offers solid rushing ability and an underrated deep ball touch. Herbert is the future leader of this franchise and it would probably do him best to learn for the entire season ala Mahomes and Alex Smith in 2017. Herbert is a big-armed guy that can also move when needed as evidenced by his 4.68 speed at 6’6” 236lbs. Herbert has elite arm talent but will need to clean up his fumbling issue that plagued him in his four years at Oregon.

This backfield timeshare will be interesting to watch unfold. As a fantasy community we view Austin Ekeler as the clear-cut starter, and he is being drafted as the workhorse back. But those closer to the situation, especially the beat writers are alluding to a much more three headed attack approach as opposed to a bellcow and two backups. Ekeler should absolutely be the more valuable back to have rostered especially for his ability to vacuum up almost any incoming pass. But I would not dismiss Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley from having a bigger role than what we are sensing. Jackson is one of those do-it-all guys that coaching staffs love and Kelley has been labeled as a “violent runner” by his defensive teammates. All three can play on passing downs but that’s where Ekeler shines. Hovering around 550 yards rushing for each of the last two years, he took a massive leap forward in 2019 going from 53 targets to 108 resulting in 92 catches for 993 yards and 8 TD’s. Those are WR1 numbers that you are getting from a running back.

Keenan Allen ($20m) returns with a chip on his shoulder in that he feels he is not viewed as elite by the public and media. He picked Twitter fights with more than one wide receiver striving to prove his point. Whether he is elite, or not Allen has put together a strong resume especially since returning from back to back injury plagued seasons. He has worn the “injury” tag for the last few years because he had two freak injuries in consecutive years (2015 lacerated kidney, 2016 torn ACL). Since then he has put together 3 straight campaigns averaging 6 touchdowns, 1263 yards, and 101 receptions while playing in every game. Those numbers are solid if not elite. Mike Williams ($4.9m) is the big bodied down field receiver just starting to come into his own. He has been dinged up, often carrying the questionable tag but he is a beast when he’s healthy. He hasn’t quite been a volume receiver as of yet and that doesn’t appear to change in 2020 but hopefully, he can return to his TD scoring ways of 2018 where he cashed in 43 receptions for 10 touchdowns. That success rate was surely due for regression, but it appears the regression gods went a bit too far by only granting him 2 touchdowns on 49 receptions. When going three wide, Allen will find his home in the slot opening the outside for second year player Jalen Guyton. Guyton ($540k) brings another dimension to the receiving trio by offering his 4.37 forty speed on the outside. Guyton was a former 4-star recruit that had two total targets and zero receptions in his rookie year. Joe Reed and KJ Hill are promising young talents with little fantasy value in this run first team.

Hunter Henry ($10.6m) will be playing under the franchise tag for the 2020 season and both sides have shown real interest in continuing their relationship after this year. The 25-year-old Henry is a fine tight end that has seen volume targets that have increased every year, but he has a hard time staying healthy. He has yet to play a complete season, but he claims this year is the best he’s felt so far.  His reception totals have gone from 36 to 45 to 55 in the last few seasons so there’s hope for a 50-60 catch season if the trend were to continue. Behind him is Virgil Green who is a fine #2 TE in real life football but offers zero fantasy appeal.

That wraps up our 8-part Roster Roundup series. We hope you enjoyed it! Now to enjoy some football!

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