As we head into the first full week of NFL training camps next week, fantasy football owners are scouring the latest news results in order to find some sleeper picks to add to their rosters in the late rounds of their draft. In the third of an eight-part series, thepigskinreport.com is breaking down fantasy sleepers by division and in this installment, we are examining the AFC West.
The Denver Broncos have a new signal caller, a veteran quarterback you might have heard about. The San Diego Chargers have revamped their offense. The Oakland Raiders enter with some serious questions while Romeo Crennel heads into his first season at the helm of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The key to the success for the Denver Broncos offense is going to be the health of veteran QB Peyton Manning. The Broncos reached the playoffs last season but their offense was very unbalanced, finishing with the 31st ranked passing offense and the top ranked run offense. Expect those numbers to change significantly this year if Manning can remain healthy. Manning enter s the Broncos offense with two relatively inexperienced receivers with huge upside. I believe Demaryius Thomas will be the leading receiver for the team at the end of the season, Eric Decker might become a flex WR play by mid-season. Decker is a very precise route runner, something that appeals to Manning.
RB Ronnie Hillman is receiving some rave reviews early on in camp. Veteran RB Willis McGahee is approaching 31 years of age, and yes, he did have a resurgent season last year. I don’t expect that to continue this year. Hillman is buried on the current roster of the Broncos, but look for Hillman to raise through the ranks this pre-season. The San Diego State product could see some significant time on the field for the Broncos this season and could emerge as a flex player as the season progresses.
Kansas City Chiefs-
Steelers WR Mike Wallace isn’t the only receiver with contract issues. Dwayne Bowe has yet to sign his tender and is not under contract. Keep an eye on Jon Baldwin entering his second season. Baldwin could emerge as the Chiefs number one receiver if the team decides to part ways with Bowe. While the team will be a run heavy offense under head coach Romeo Crennel, a number one receiver is not to be discounted, even in flex plays.
Darren McFadden owners are going to have to be very vigilant in order to see who is going to be the Raider’s number two running back. The Raiders added former Carolina Panthers RB Mike Goodson and return second-year running back Taiwan Jones. Monitor the depth chart for Oakland as the pre-season progresses because as the season starts, there is a very good chance that one of DMC’s backups will see significant playing time.
San Diego Chargers-
The Chargers have revamped their receiving corps this offseason. Vincent Jackson departed via free agency and Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Roscoe Parrish now join Malcom Floyd. I still expect the Chargers air attack to be prolific this season but a player to watch is second-year receiver, Vincent Brown. Meachem and Floyd have had a history of injury issues during their career. Don’t draft Brown, but keep him on your watch list, he could be a very substantial addition later in the season when you need a Flex/WR3 off the waiver wire.