Last week, we did a quick tour around the NFC to discuss each team’s draft picks and to create a fantasy football wishlist for what we would like them to do with those picks. This week, we take a look at the AFC. Just like with the NFC, we start with the West and move our way around the horn. Full disclosure, I have a personal philosophy borne out by history, to ignore fantasy football rookie tight ends in general. Unless I want the team to get a tight end to help the quarterback, you’re unlikely to find one below. Draft picks are from SportingNews.com. Let’s get down to brass tacks with the AFC West, home of the Super Bowl Champions.
2020 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wishlist: Denver Broncos
#2 Wide Receiver
Picks: #15 (round 1), #46 (round 2), #77 (round 3), #83 (round 3, from Pittsburgh), #95 (round 3, from San Francisco), #137 (round 4, from San Francisco), #178 (round 5, compensatory pick), #181 (round 6, from Washington), #252 (round 7, compensatory pick), #254 (round 7, compensatory pick)
The Broncos spent last season flailing around, desperately hoping Joe Flacco would be a thing. He wasn’t, and the 35-year-old once elite (?) QB is now a free agent. John Elway hopes that he’s finally found his man, in Drew Lock. Fifteenth time’s the charm, eh? The Broncos have a strong enough offensive line to not make that a priority. Melvin Gordon’s sudden (and baffling) addition to the running back room means they aren’t expending any meaningful capital on the position, and Noah Fant’s presence precludes any highly-drafted tight ends from joining the squad.
The wide receiver room behind WR1 Courtland Sutton, unfortunately, is mostly a wasteland. DaeSean Hamilton ranked #2 among wide receivers, with 52 targets last year. Emmanuel Sanders, who Denver traded just before Thanksgiving, ranked third in WR targets. Ourlads.com currently lists Hamilton and Tim Patrick, who has 42 touches in three seasons in the league, as the team’s WR2 or WR3. Denver is unlikely to use pick #15 to get a WR, mostly because picks #12 and #13 are more-than-likely earmarked or the two best wide receivers in this draft. They can pick up a second-round wide receiver at #46 like Denzel Mims or K.J. Hamler. The YOLO move of leapfrogging multiple WR-needy teams and getting Lamb or Jeudy inside the top-ten is also on the table.
2020 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wishlist: Kansas City Chiefs
Running Back, Offensive Linemen
Picks: #32 (round 1), #63 (round 2, from San Francisco), #96 (round 3), #138 (round 4), #177 (round 5)
No, I do not believe in Damien Williams. Sorry. We want to jump right back onto the D-Willy bandwagon, saying that his ineffectiveness was due to an injury. He had 48 carries for 100 yards in the first half of the season, and 19 targets for 115 yards. Was he only injured on the carries? Because his targets looked fine. Anyway, even if you believe in Williams, you must concede that he doesn’t have the pedigree to be a season-long bell cow. The Chiefs need better at the position behind Williams than Darrell Williams and Darwin Thompson. KC doesn’t have a bevy of picks, so it’s likely another late-round wonder that captures our attention and does nothing a la Darwin Thompson last season.
Remember how the Chiefs sort of barely staved off falling apart in the middle of the season after Patrick Mahomes injured his knee? The Chiefs need to address the line to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
2020 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wishlist: Las Vegas Raiders
#1 Wide Receiver, Offensive Line
Picks: #12 (round 1), #19 (round 1, from Chicago), #80 (round 3), #81 (from Chicago), #91 (round 3, from Seattle via Houston), #121 (round 5), #121 (round 4), #159 (round 5)
Mark Davis is the newest rich old white guy to move to the desert in order to live out his golden years. He brought his family business with him, uprooting the Raiders for what feels like the fifteenth time to move them around the western states. The Raiders will play in Las Vegas starting in 2020 (if there is a 2020 season).
[Editor Note: There won’t be a 2020 season]
The Raiders are still working off the bounty of picks they received from Chicago for Khalil Mack, picking twice in the first round and twice in the third round. If the Raiders know what’s good for fantasy football at this point, they get a top-flight WR at #12. Whichever they prefer of Lamb and Jeudy. I could see them taking Lamb, but given that my 49ers pick at #13, I hope the Raiders take Jeudy. They then need to shore up their offensive line, which was briefly one of the league’s best. They can do this with the #19 pick, though more than likely, the #19 becomes a pick in the twenties and a second-round pick (which the Raiders do not have). If that happens, the Raiders will suddenly, sneakily six picks in the top three rounds of this draft.
2020 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wishlist: Los Angeles Chargers
Quarterback, Running Back, Offensive Lineman
Picks: #6 (round 1), #37 (round 2), #71 (round 3), #112 (round 4), #151 (round 5), #186 (round 6), #220 (round 7)
The Chargers are saying all the right things with regard to Tyrod Taylor being their guy but… come on. It’s Tyrod Taylor. We know what he is at this point, and that means the Chargers either take a QB in the first or enact Tank for Trevor 2020 to get Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft. Personally, spending big money on an RT makes it seem as though the Chargers want to flip the blindside, and go get lefty Tua Tagovailoa at #6. They have to contend with Miami at #5 for his services, and might ultimately end up over-drafting Justin Herbert. Either way, the first-round selection seems destined to be a quarterback.
The need for a running back isn’t hard to suss out. The Chargers let Melvin Gordon walk and have a career satellite back in Austin Ekeler and an unproven guy (and a comrade) Justin Jackson to shore up their running back depth chart. That’s pretty much it. The Chargers likely find a guy like A.J. Dillon in the third round to be the thunder to Ekeler’s lightning. Los Angeles is one of the few teams to not worry about telegraphing intents having Dillon on the field, as they regularly ran two-RB sets with Ekeler and Gordon last season to maximize effectiveness. That’s our best bet to get the most fantasy football value out of L.A.’s backfield.
L.A.’s biggest offseason acquisition was RT Bryan Bulaga, who they pried away from Green Bay on a three-year, $30 million contract. They shouldn’t stop there, especially if L.A. gets a quarterback at #6. The Chargers need to shore up their offensive line or risk destroying their young QB, whoever it might be. This has a trickle-down effect which helps everyone, all over the field.
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