NFL Summer Stock Report- AFC West

With an epic Hall of Fame game battle between Jarrett Stidham and Jake Luton in the books, I can officially welcome you to week one of the NFL’s preseason schedule.

We will finally get game action looks at many of the rookies we’ve been obsessively drafting.

I’ve already written Summer Stock Reports for the NFC South and NFC East, if you are new to this column and want to catch up. Today we are going to cover the most fun NFL division in 2022, the AFC West.

As usual, we are using Underdog ADP when referenced. Their flagship BBM3 tourament, with 2 million to first is only about half full. If you are not already drafting on my favorite best ball platform, sign up now with our promo code DFSARMY and get a deposit match of up to $100. That’s 4 free shots at a life changing, 7 figure prize.

NFL Preseason

Jul 27, 2022; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) gestures at the line during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs

If you haven’t been drafting heavily yet, you might be a bit surprised to find that Patrick Mahomes is relatively cheap. He’s currently the QB4, going in the 5th round with an ADP of 51.8. This represents a significant discount compared to where he went the past couple of seasons.

The obvious reason for the drop is the departure of Tyreek Hill. There is no way to present losing Hill as a positive. He can score instantly from anywhere on field.  Tyreek also had five years worth of developed chemistry with Mahomes.  That said, I like the way they restocked their wide receiver room.  Hill is a completely unique talent for whom you were not going to find a one for one replacement.  A skilled play caller like Andy Reid may even create a less predictable offense with 3 good receivers, as opposed to a single great one.

The early reports on all 3 new Chief receivers have been extremely positive.  JuJu Smith-Schuster is the first off the board with an ADP of 51.0.  Though it seems like he’s been around forever, JuJu is still only 25-years-old and fully healthy.  There isn’t a much bigger upgrade one could get at QB, then going from a completely washed Big Ben to a prime Patrick Mahomes.  If you have an early draft pick, Mahomes and JuJu can easily be stacked on the 4th/5th round turn.

If you don’t want to pay up for JuJu, there are still great stacking options to pair with Mahomes later in the draft.  Rookie 2nd round pick Skyy Moore was very productive at Western Michigan, tested great at the combine, and has impressed in camp.  He is an extremely crisp route runner, and is even seeing some carries out of the backfield.  His 8th round ADP of 92.0 is very fair considering his upside and expected role in this offense.  Moore will likely be my highest owned Chief this season.

Just a couple picks later (94.5) you can draft Marquez Valdes-Scantling.  MVS has long been consider the prototype “better in best ball” receiver.  I love getting shares in a format where you don’t need to guess at which weeks to start him.  Just grab MVS in the 8th round of your best ball drafts and take comfort in the fact when he and Mahomes connect on a bomb, he’ll hit your optimal.

Travis Kelce goes 12th overall, but I have no problem drafting him at any point in the back half of the first round.  As good as the previously mentioned WRs have looked, there is now no argument for who is Mahomes’ number one target. Securing an elite TE like Kelce provides that added advantage of only needing to draft two.  Not needing a third TE gives you an extra dart to throw at an upside RB or WR.

The KC running back situation was difficult to handicap when it was only a 3 horse race. There is now a 4th sprinter in the field, Isiah Pacheco. Our guy Mike Dickinson has long driven the bandwagon for the 7th round rookie out of Rutgers. The reports out of Chiefs camp would have you believing that Pacheco is a magical, do it all mix of Jamal Charles and Priest Holmes. While we may want to temper those expectations, there is no denying that he is getting snaps with Mahomes and the ones.

Pacheco was on my radar early in the draft season, but as a 7th round pick, with at least 4 veterans a head of him, it was easy to assume he’d be destined for the practice squad. I am overweight Rojo on Underdog (chasing TDs) and McKinnon on DraftKings (hunting receptions). The emergence of Pacheco has me a bit nervous about those exposures. If this is real, and Pacheco is the starting kick returner (as reported), Rojo or McKinnon could be in danger of being cut or made a healthy scratch on game days.

The current ADPs for Chief RBs are 87.6 for CEH, 147 for Rojo, 197.9 for McKinnon, and 198.7 for Pacheco. Due to the recency of this information, there is a lot of volatility in Pacheco’s draft position. In the last two days I’ve seen him go as high the 13th and as low as the 17th (where I took him in a BBM3 draft yesterday).

Without actually comparing the two players, this reminds me of the Darwin Thompson situation from a few years ago. Darwin was a similarly unheralded KC running back with had a hot preseason and was steamed all the way up to the 7th round. He went on to never have a relevant regular season fantasy moment.

I shutter to think what might happen to Pacheco’s ADP if he breaks 70 yard run in the 4th quarter of a preseason game against future UPS drivers.

In almost any season long fantasy format, the bulk of prize money is allocated during the week 15-17 playoffs. Kansas City could not have a better schedule over this decisive stretch. They play indoors at the Texans, host a bad Seattle squad, and finish with a possible shootout for a division title against the team we’ll preview next, the Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos

Bulk drafting early (I’m currently approaching best ball 450 teams) can make you feel like Neo, in the Matrix, dogging injury bullets. I recently took my first hit with Tim Patrick, who tore his ACL. On teams where I didn’t take Sutton or Jeudy, Patrick felt like a fair priced way to get exposure to a Denver offense that I liked. Patrick went in the 10-12 rounds, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as realizing I had 25% Cam Akers last year at the time of his injury, but it’s never fun lose a player you were overweight on before the preseason even starts.

Patrick’s unfortunate injury does make me more comfortable drafting the other Bronco receivers. The target distribution should be more predictable and condensed. It essentially guarantees that Jeudy will be on the field in all 2 WR sets and Hamler (assuming health) will be on the field in 3 WR sets.

I believe this will also lead the Broncos to play more two tight end sets. Alberto O had been seeing as ADP drop due to positive camp reports coming out on rookie TE Greg Dulcich. There now may be enough targets available for both of them to eat. Big Al goes in the 12th round (137.0 ADP) and Dulcich can be had in the last round (214.1).

The Denver/KC week 17 game is such an easy one to stack. My favorite build (with any pick in the back half of the round one) involves taking Kelce in 1st, Saquon or Swift in the 2nd, either Sutton in 3rd or Jeudy in 4th, and Mahomes in the 5th. If Mahomes doesn’t make it to me in the 5th (I find he does about half the time), I prioritize getting Russ in the 7th.

Javonte Williams might be the most divisive player on fantasy football Twitter not named Gabe Davis. I’ve been buying all draft season and will continue to do so. He is hard not to love Javonte from a football guy “hand in the dirt” perspective. Watching his rookie film, I saw a rare combination of hard running and soft hands.  The analytics back up this take as well. I read a good stat via Spike Week’s Jonathan Fuller, based on PFF’s numbers, Javonte Williams had the highest broken tackle rate of all NFL running backs last season.

Literally, the only knock I’ve heard on Williams is that he has to share the backfield with Melvin Gordon.  I’m old enough to remember when people where scared to draft Jonathan Taylor because of Marlon Mack. Not that Javonte is necessarily JT, and Gordon is better than Mack, but the thought process is similar.

Denver let Gordon try the market and took him back at reasonable contract after he failed to find any better options.  It doesn’t sound like anything too serious, but the 29-year-old Gordon is already dealing with a foot injury.

I am willing to bet on a 60/40 split favoring Williams in an offense that should vastly more efficient with Russ as opposed to Drew Lock and the other jabronis that started last year.  If Gordon misses time, the ceiling is the moon for Javonte.

LA Chargers

Austin Ekeler is the first player drafted in the talented Charger offense with an ADP of 6.3.  I think we all can agree that the regression monster is likely coming for a decent chunk of the 20 total touchdowns that Ekeler tallied in 2021.  I am not prioritizing Ekeler, but I am still getting some shares in the back half of the first round.  He can win in the passing game as well as any back not name McCaffrey.  Even if Spiller takes some in between tackles carries off his plate, Ekeler should still have enough total yards and receptions to remain a top 5 or 6 back.

It hurts to say this, because I love him as a player, but I am a near full fade on Keenan Allen at cost.  The veteran has an early 3rd round ADP of (29.4).  In is last two seasons, with Herbert under center, Allen posted 1138 yards with 6 TDs and 992 yards with 8 TDs.  Neither of these season would come close to paying off his 3rd round draft slot.  Why would you expect him to significantly improve on these numbers at age 30?  I much prefer his teammate Mike Williams, Courtland Sutton, DJ Moore, and Allen Robinson who are all going later.

Everyone rightfully loves Justin Herbert, but there are no discounts.  He is the QB2 with an ADP of 45.4, behind only Josh Allen.  He goes a head of Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, and significantly before Kyler Murray (ADP 62).  I am taking some Herbert share to complete stacks when I already have Ekeler or Williams, but I am not forcing him at this cost.

The Charger I have the most shares of is Josh Palmer.  He was productive in spurts as a rookie 3rd round pick, scoring 4 TDs.  Albert Breer is one of the many reporters who have been impressed by Palmer in camp.  The former Tennessee Volunteer should see enough work as the WR3 make good on his 126.6 ADP.

Las Vegas Raiders

I think Josh McDaniels and Derek Carr with combine to lead a productive offense in Sin City, but I don’t find myself drafting much of their major pieces at cost.  Davante Adams is a perfectly safe pick at 10.4, but I’m not confident he’ll have same ceiling he had in Green Bay.  Carr is good, but not Rodgers. Renfrow and Waller provide more target competition than any Packer has is recent years.

The internet freaked out when Josh Jacobs played in the Hall of Fame game.  It was certainly a bit of a surprise to see the assumed starting RB out there so early, especially when the other featured starters like Carr and Adams were sitting out.  Even before the Hall of Fame game I was a full fade on Jacobs.  The Raiders have never been willing to give him the passing down role and McDaniels was notorious for employing RB committees in New England.

With Kenyon Drake, Ameer Abdullah, Zamir White, and perhaps even Brandon Bolden all in the mix, I have interest in late 6th round Jacobs (ADP 71.5).

The only Raider RB that I am taking is rookie Zamir White (ADP 174.6).  The former 5-Star recruit battled injuries and a crowded backfield at Georgia, but he is thought by many to have a higher ceiling than your typical 4th round pick.  White had looked good in camp and ran with authority in his limited HOF Game work.

I have taken some shares of Darren Waller (ADP 50.8) and Hunter Renfrow (ADP 83.9) when they fall, but I don’t feel confident that either will see the volume necessary to significantly outperform their cost with Adams in town.

I hope everyone enjoys the first full weekend of preseason action while firing away at some best ball drafts.  With the regular season fast approaching there is no better time to sign up for DFS Army VIP access with our best deal of the year.  We will be back next week, breaking down another division!

Feature Image

USATSI lowres

Dec 20, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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