First off, I won't hide that I am a Broncos fan but fantasy often transcends fandom, the point is to win right? The intention of these articles isn't to have bias, as SB Nation is great because its many users who try to give just the facts. Fantasy football challenges this as it is strongly centered in opinion. If any fantasy expert was doing more than observing circumstance and following general hype, (s)he'd likely have a coach/scouting job. As such, I try to briefly illustrate the players circumstance and give estimates on fair value/expectation based on this and the odds the player will fall out of this range. (And for the record, I rate a lot of KC players high in the other positions, but let's be honest... qb isn't your strength. I live in KC, and I'm not aware of many Cassel fans.)
The AFC West tends to not get a lot of respect, this holds true in fantasy as well. Furthermore, many sports writers will fill you with so much needless drama and gossip that you would need to to spend three hours on your hair and prom tickets to feel anymore more like a teenage girl. After the jump, I'll skip all that noise and address the AFC West's place in fantasy.
*This is my first article so feel free drop suggestions are share your own insight in the comment box. I hope to have a post for all the other positions by the end of the week.*
Key: EAvg: ESPN average draft position, YAvg: Yahoo average draft position, VR: Value range (where they should be picked ideally), SN: Stats needed to justify VR, E%: Chance of exceeding >115% VR, B%: Chance of becoming a bust (<85% VR but not because of I%), I%: Chance of suffering an injuries causing 3+ games to be missed, O%- Avg own% between Yahoo and ESPN, RS: Ideal roster spot.
1. Peyton Manning- One of the most reliable QBs of all-time, a constant staple of 4000+ yards and 30+ td. The obvious catch is he missed all of last season to a neck injury. But the Broncos have a lot more resources than fantasy players and they were willing to drop tens of millions on the guy. Yet, drafters are hesitant to pick him up early? The future HoF member is clearly the top of the class of the division and has the potential to hang with the guys being drafted in round 1 and 2.
SN: 4200 yards, 33 td, 11 int
2. Phillip Rivers- Like most Broncos fans, I'm not keen on the guy. But he is very skilled, which is a good thing as he doesn't have the same skill around him that Manning has. If if Gates returns to his former self, Rivers has still lost some very big names around him. He has a long history of being a fantasy stud but suffered from a bit of a drop of last year. However he still but up 4600 and 27. He didn't quiet look himself but even with that considered he hasn't shown much reason he will suffer a large down turn.
SN: 4000 yards, 25 td, 13 int
3. Carson Palmer- Carson is clearly not the player he once was. However, he set a career high in YPG even though he came in mid-season. His interceptions where his biggest issue but he showed more control through the year, as could be expected. Some of this was from the need for Raiders to inject some offense after McFadden went down. However, I don't imagine his return would create many issues for Palmer, as having one of the most dynamic runners in the game usually doesn't. Especially when they can't handle steaingl too much of the workload. Palmer's other teammates have a law of raw ability. Until they refine it though, he will still be prone to peaks and valleys but he should still improve on his fantasy numbers from last year.
SN: 3500 yards, 21 td,16 int
RS: Bench behind a Mid-tier QB
4. Matt Cassel- While the Chiefs may do well, Cassel is very publicly known to be a weak link. His stint in KC has had mixed reviews and it most recently is on a sour note where Denver outcast Kyle Orton was welcomed with open arms. Furthermore, with the talents of their rbs in a run-heavy scheme, a lot of tds could end off of his stats even if the team is successful. His wr have high upside but could implode on him too. I would imagine actually falls in the middle but his ceiling likely isn't high enough to justify draft him as a back-up over a younger Freeman or Bradford type. As you may notice though, low expectations make exceeding expectations easier and being a bust more difficult.
SN: 3200 yards, 20 td, 7 int
RS: Match-up/Bye week replacement