90. Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – AFC West
The past two seasons, I have written an 8-part divisional series piece titled “Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer”. As we approach the 2020 season, it’s time for the third annual installment of this series.
In these 8 articles, I utilized ADP to identify two guys I am buying, two I’m selling, and a flyer off each team. Buying and selling have nothing to do with my opinion of the player and everything to do with my perceived value of the player vs. ADP. As for the flyer, these are gut feels on players deeper down in ADP that you are likely selecting in the late rounds of your drafts and in some cases, guys you will find on your league’s waiver wires.
We continue the 2020 “Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer” Series with the AFC West.Denver Broncos DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 29: Quarterback Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at Empower Field at Mile High on December 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 16-15. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) 2020 Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – AFC West Two Players I Am Buying
Drew Lock – Overall ADP 166 QB22
Drew Lock was my number two ranked rookie QB a year ago. Needless to say I am a believer. The future is now in Denver as Lock took the reins of the starting job over the last five weeks of the season. While there is some obvious growing room, he looked more than capable as a starter showing some chemistry with Courtland Sutton.
Entering 2020, the Broncos have added weapons for their 2nd year QB. Lock has some hype surrounding his fantasy outlook this year if free-agent signing Melvin Gordon, rookies Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler, as well as TE Noah Fant help him take a step forward. The biggest add this offseason to me is Pat Shurmur as the team’s Offensive Coordinator. Shurmur got production out of rookie Daniel Jones a year ago and recently led QBs Sam Bradford and Case Keenum to career best seasons. This could be a top-half offense if things break right, and with an ADP listing Lock as undrafted I will be buying all day long.
Jerry Jeudy – Overall ADP 112 WR43
The Broncos added Jerry Jeudy with the 15th selection in the recent NFL draft. Even with the talented Courtland Sutton on the roster, the Broncos couldn’t resist picking Jeudy. While I am concerned with the rookie class in general getting off to a slow start, Jeudy should see plenty of snaps right out of the gate.
Knowing Shurmur’s offense and the opportunity it provides multiple WRs, the vision of Sutton and Jeudy being Diggs and Thielen 2.0 is too tantalizing to pass up. In the ninth round, this is an easy buy for me.Two Players I Am Selling
Courtland Sutton – Overall ADP 47 WR19
This annual exercise always paints me into a corner where I have to label a player I like a lot as a sell. That is exactly what is happening here in terms of Courtland Sutton.
In 2019, Sutton topped 1,100 yards on 124 targets and finished as WR19, matching his current ADP. With the maturation of TE Noah Fant and the additions of Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and Melvin Gordon, Sutton should be be less of a focus in this offense. I see Sutton sliding back into the back of WR2 country this season, and as a result he is a reluctant sell.
Melvin Gordon – Overall ADP 37 RB19
In 2019, after an ill-advised holdout, Melvin Gordon had his worst statistical season since his rookie year. That didn’t stop his former division rival Broncos from offering Gordon a 2-year deal. Gordon will compete for snaps with Phillip Lindsay. It’s not quite clear how the team plans to split the work between the two, but I can’t imagine the Broncos would commit financially to Gordon and not use him as the lead running back.
With a completely reworked and loaded offense, the Broncos have a chance to put up plenty of points and that will directly impact Gordon. In the end, I believe that Gordon delivers a back end RB2 season, and at RB19 being drafted in the beginning of the 4th round I am going to sell.Take the Flyer
KJ Hamler – Overall ADP 343 WR108
Hamler is a vertical slot threat out of Penn State who some compare to T.Y. Hilton. He has track-like speed but also a history of drops. Likely a complementary player, Hamler will join Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy as receivers in Denver. Additionally, many are expecting a second-year leap from tight end Noah Fant. The arrow is pointing up on this Drew Lock led offense.
With an ADP of 343, Hamler is almost certainly not getting drafted in your leagues, and by listing him as my take flyer, I am not suggesting he should be. Hamler is a player to keep an eye on and a WR to add off your waiver wire in a plus match up.Kansas City Chiefs KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 20: Damien Williams #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs with the ball on his way to scoring a 23-yard receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots during the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) 2020 Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – AFC West Two Players I Am Buying
Sammy Watkins – Overall ADP 151 WR56
Sammy Watkins started off the 2019 season with a bang. In Week One he secured nine of his eleven targets for 198 yards and three touchdowns. His 46.8 PPR points not surprisingly led all WRs. That stat line also turned out to be 100% of his receiving TDs on the season and nearly 30% of his receiving yards. Watkins had 34% of this 2019 fantasy production in one week.
The never-ending narrative when it comes to Watkins is “if he could just stay healthy”. In 2019, Watkins for the most part was, as he appeared in 14 of the Chiefs 16 games. Watkins is likely pushed for playing time in 2020 by Mecole Hardman, and Sammy’s days of being a weekly starter when healthy are likely over. Watkins disappointment of a 2019 season saw him land at WR50 on the season. He is a value at WR56 and one I am happy to buy. Anytime I can get a relevant component of a Patrick Mahomes led offense in the 13th round, I will be all over it.
Mecole Hardman – Overall ADP 128 WR49
After day one of the 2019 NFL Draft it appeared that Tyreek Hill was looking at a certain suspension. The next day, the Chiefs selected Mecole Hardman in the 2nd Round. It turned out that it was injury and not suspension that kept Tyreek Hill off the field in 2019.
Hardman played less than half the team’s snaps on the season. It’s inevitable that he’ll be more involved in the offense as a pure wide receiver after an impressive rookie season. He’s currently ranked #54 in the RotoHeat consensus rankings, making him a WR5 in fantasy leagues. At his current price tag, Hardman makes for an intriguing sleeper candidate as he could easily surpass his current ranking while playing with the best quarterback in the NFL. I am betting that he does.Two Players I Am Selling
Travis Kelce – Overall ADP 20 TE1
When it comes to Travis Kelce, it’s been four straight seasons as the top scoring TE in Fantasy Football. In these four seasons, Kelce has averaged 251.35 PPR points. Selling Travis Kelce comes down to one thing and one thing alone, and that is his ADP.
Similar to my thoughts on San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle that I referred to in my Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer -NFC West article, I am not willing to spend my second round selection on a TE. I will be targeting a running back that has fallen in the draft or a wide receiver that can deliver a top 12 season instead.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Overall ADP 28 RB16
Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019 and caught 55 passes for 453 yards and 1 more score. He doubled his stats from his first two years in LSU’s offensive game plan. Kansas City drafted Edwards-Helaire with the last pick in the first round. With that selection, CEH finds himself in one of the most dominant offenses in the NFL.
In Kansas City, he joins Damien Williams in the backfield and will start off splitting carries with Williams. The team had free range to select any RB they wanted in the draft and they chose CEH. He could shape up to be a risky fantasy pick simply because of his ADP. CEH will become the starter of this team and fantasy points will flow when that happens. The gamble for drafting him is the unknown of whether the transition is Week 1 or Week 8 or later? With the uncertainty that this Covid-19 off-season presents, I am selling CEH at RB16.Take the Flyer
Darwin Thompson – Overall ADP 358 RB92
With the somewhat surprising news that Damien Williams is opting out of the 2020 season, it puts RB Darwin Thompson back on the fantasy relevance radar. Thompson was incredibly hyped up last year, but he was never given the opportunity. The Chiefs added LeSean McCoy in training camp and the rookie ended his season 46 touches, 171 total yards and a touchdown.
This one is simple for me. The Chiefs ran the ball 375 times last season, and they targeted their RBs 107 times. CEH is not going to have 482 touches in his rookie season, and until the Chiefs bring someone else in, I am considering Thompson the #2 back on this team. The backup RB in KC is a back to consider owing in fantasy and with an ADP of RB92 that is sure to climb rapidly in the next month her worth the flyer all day long.Las Vegas Raiders TUSCALOOSA, AL – SEPTEMBER 21: Henry Ruggs III #11 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for a 45-yard touchdown in the first quarter after catching a pass behind D.Q. Thomas #12 of the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) 2020 Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – AFC West Two Players I Am Buying
Henry Ruggs III – Overall ADP 122 WR48
It was a bit surprising when the Raiders took Henry Ruggs as the first WR selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Most expected it would be Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb, but the Raiders went for the big play speedster. He’s likely to step into an every down role and is excellent after the catch. Like the offense he is now a part of, we should see some inconsistencies in his rookie season.
The Raiders invested a lot of draft capital on the offense and speed. Ruggs is a burner and will step onto the field into the #1 WR role in this offense. The fantasy success of Henry Ruggs III is directly linked to his quarterback play. Derek Carr finished 2019 8th in passing yards with 4,055 and 19th in touchdowns with 21 on the season. What doesn’t work in Ruggs’ favor is Carr’s Average Intended Yards. In 2019, it was 6.3. Only Teddy Bridgewater’s 6.2 was worse. Should the Raiders transition to Mariota, it gets slightly better for Ruggs. Mariota’s Average Intended Yards in 2019 was 7.4 (20th). Regardless of the QB, Jon Gruden is going to find ways to get the ball into Ruggs’ hands often enough that will allow him to surpass his ADP.
Hunter Renfrow – Overall ADP 197 WR65
In his 2019 rookie season, Hunter Renfrow had a late season surge, finishing as the fantasy WR6 in Week 16 and Week 17. He’ll likely remain the slot receiver for the Raiders where he should soak up a ton of targets. Veteran Tyrell Williams and rookie Henry Ruggs will likely start on the outside.
In addition to Henry Ruggs, the Raiders also drafted Bryan Edwards and Lynn Bowden Jr. in the 3rd Round this year. Renfrow will likely have some competition in the middle of the field from Edwards and TE Darren Waller, limiting his ceiling. The good news for Renfrow and company is the team will struggle to compete and will trail more often than not leading to the increase in pass attempts. Renfrow showed solid hands and the route running required to get open on third downs last season. The coaching staff loves Hunter and at WR65 in the 16th round he is a very easy buy.Two Players I Am Selling
Josh Jacobs – Overall ADP 18 RB13
It is looking more and more like Josh Jacobs is not the three down back that he was advertised to be. In his rookie season he was repeatedly taken off the field on passing downs and finished 2019 with only 27 targets. The additions of Bryan Edwards, Lynn Bowden Jr. and the re-signing of Jalen Richard would indicate that the Raiders do not see Josh Jacobs as a pass catching running back.
In addition to the limited pass catching is his questionable durability. The 262 touches he saw in his rookie season were 120 more than any season he had in college and we saw Jacobs battle injury on numerous occasions in 2019. For me to be drafting a RB in the second round I need to feel more comfortable about the asset than I do with Jacobs. If one of Miles Sanders (15), Austin Ekeler, (16) or Aaron Jones, (17) slides I much prefer them. Jacobs is a nice Dynasty piece, but at his current ADP he’s an easy sell for me in Redraft.
Darren Waller – Overall ADP 55 TE5
Darren Waller came out of nowhere to break out in 2019. To say that Waller, at the age of 27, had a surprise breakout is an understatement. He had 27.9% of his team’s total receiving yards and ended up TE3 in overall scoring with 221 fantasy points.
In 2019, the Raiders’ passing game was limited. In addition to Waller, the Raiders had Tyrell Williams who was limited by injury, Hunter Renfrow, and little else. In 2020, the Raiders move to Las Vegas and will have a dramatically different look as they have added three rookie wide receivers: Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Lynn Bowden. We saw last season that when Renfrow was more involved, Waller faded. The additions to the passing game will impact Waller’s target share, and as result he regresses and finds himself listed as a sell for me.Take the Flyer
Bryan Edwards – Overall ADP 249 WR80
After the Raiders picked Henry Ruggs in the 1st Round and Lynn Bowden Jr. in the 3rd Round, they picked Bryan Edwards with the very next pick. Clearly the Raiders intent is to diversify and elevate their passing game in 2020.
Edwards is a big man at nearly 6-foot-3, he’s strong and plays physical, knowing when and how to use his body for leverage against defenders and plowing through defenders attempting to make the tackle. But the best part of Edwards’ game is his good, quick feet and hands off the snap and in his cuts to buy him space. There are some concerns, however, starting with the obvious–staying on the field has been a problem for Edwards. He suffered significant knee injuries in 2015 and 2019 and also broke his foot prior to the 2020 NFL Combine. If he can stay healthy, he obliterates this ADP. That in itself is worthy of a taking the flyer here.Los Angeles Chargers CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 18: Wide receiver Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs from cornerback Chris Harris #25 of the Denver Broncos after his catch in the first quarter at StubHub Center on November 18, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) 2020 Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – AFC West Two Players I Am Buying
Keenan Allen – Overall ADP 48 WR20
With Philip Rivers gone, there’s concern for the Chargers receiving weapons. As one of the best route runners in the game, Keenan Allen has three top-12 fantasy seasons in a row. I do not share the same concerns as many, especially when it comes to Keenan Allen.
It is certainly possible of course that the situation could be as bad as advertised with Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert at QB behind a bad offensive line. We’ve seen elite wide receivers not be able to overcome terrible QB play and offenses. We have also seen elite WR rise up regardless of the man under center. In Los Angeles in 2019, I expect Tyrod Taylor, barring injury, to start all 16 games this season. Allen goes to work where Taylor is at his best and that is the middle if the field within 20 yards. Allen will be a PPR monster and he will be knocking on the door of yet another top-12 fantasy season in 2020.
Tyrod Taylor – Overall ADP 244 QB30
Tyrod Taylor is yet another value QB that will enable fantasy managers to wait on QB in their 1QB leagues. Taylor is currently going undrafted in traditional fantasy redraft leagues.
Taylor, last seen being replaced by Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, is not a sexy fantasy QB and I get it. What I really like about Tyrod is his relationship with his Head Coach Anthony Lynn and his past performances in his offense. In 2016, Tyrod finished the season as QB8 and in 2017 as QB16. Taylor will use his legs once again to find fantasy relevance. In 2016 and 2017 combined, Taylor ran for 1,107 yards and 10 touchdowns. In addition to his legs, Taylor completed 62% of his passes for 5,822 yards and 31 touchdowns. Taylor is a steal off of your leagues waiver wire.Two Players I Am Selling
Austin Ekeler – Overall ADP 16 RB11
In 2019, Austin Ekeler took full advantage of the Melvin Gordon holdout. In the first four games on 2019 without Gordon, Ekeler turned 80 touches into 490 yards and 6 touchdowns. At the conclusion of Week Four, Ekeler sat as the RB2 with 107 PPR points.
Entering 2020, Ekeler will share the backfield with Justin Jackson and rookie Joshua Kelley. Ekeler will remain the lead back, but he will struggle to see the work in the passing game that he has had in the past. Philip Rivers loves targeting the RB, while Tyrod Taylor has a history of not throwing to the running back, so Austin Ekeler owners should temper expectations. In PPR scoring last season, Ekeler’s 92 receptions, 993 yards and 8 touchdowns amounted to 239.30 of his 309 fantasy points (77%). I expect Ekeler to still have a role in the passing game, but I also expect the targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns to regress considerably. As a result, I am going to sell Ekeler as a top-12 fantasy RB in 2020.
Hunter Henry – Overall ADP 82 TE8
Hunter Henry is a TE I have liked since he came out of Arkansas in 2016. The biggest problem that I have with Henry is he has yet to complete a full 16 game season. In his 4 year career, he has appeared in a total of 41 of a possible 64 contents.
Since taking over as the starting TE for the Chargers, Henry has totaled 277.1 PPR points in 25 games. He was TE14 in 2017, and TE9 last season. In an offense that appears to be run first, Henry will likely see a reduction in targets and yardage in 2020. The value and reduced risk at TE later in the draft is too much to pass up, and as a result I will sell Hunter Henry here.Take the Flyer
Joshua Kelley – Overall 223 ADP RB66
With Melvin Gordon off to Denver, there are 204 touches up for grabs out the Chargers backfield. Austin Ekeler has never been a heavy touch running back, nor has Justin Jackson. Both Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson are smaller framed backs. Kelley is the prototypical big back and could earn a short yardage role in the offense.
Kelley was a fourth-round pick for a reason; he is not the second coming of Ezekiel Elliott. He was a productive back who had a strong combine. Kelley just needs to do enough to be handed the early-down role and goal-line work, and he will be a steal in your fantasy drafts.Thank you for reading 2020 Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – AFC West