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Fantasy Football Team-by-Team Season Preview: AFC South and AFC West

Written By: Cory Stace | @corystace
Member of Ball State Sports Link
These divisions boast some of the most fantasy-friendly teams in the NFL, as well as some Fantasy Football dumpster fires. Wait, Jacksonville and Oakland both have fantasy-relevant players on their rosters this year?

Written By: Cory Stace | @corystace
Member of Ball State Sports Link


Transitioning from NFC back to the AFC today leading up to Sunday’s game. Today, we take a look at two of maybe the most explosive fantasy producing teams in the league, the Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts.

In my post yesterday, I clearly stated my opinions on Adrian Peterson this season being the best running back in fantasy. Jamaal Charles will always be in contention for the #1 running back in fantasy slot approaching the end of the season.

I also talked about how Aaron Rodgers is my #2 quarterback in fantasy trailing only to Andrew Luck this season in fantasy points among quarterbacks.

Without further a due, here are my fantasy prospects for both the AFC South and AFC West divisions.

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans- The Texans may potentially have two of the biggest steals in every fantasy draft this season.Texans

First, Arian Foster is one of the best running backs in fantasy, and it seems that every time you check up on his injury status the date gets moved up for his first game in Houston. When healthy, he is an RB1, but no one for sure knows when that will be. It could be as soon as week 2 now.

Secondly, DeAndre Hopkins is the guy in Houston. Brian Hoyer clearly likes him and he is developing into a receiving star in this league. Watch for BIG things this season without Andre Johnson to take away targets from him.

Indianapolis Colts- Expect Indy to be one of the most explosive offenses in football this season. They have the receiving weapons for Andrew Luck to be the best player in fantasy as well as an improved running game from Gore.

T.Y. Hilton is coming off of big contract and a Pro Bowl season. He is still Luck’s favorite target and you can expect more of the same from last season.Andrew Luck

Andre Johnson’s best quarterback in his career is Matt Schaub, who is now the backup in Baltimore. That has to mean something, right? A Hall of Famer with the best QB of his career equals another 1,000+ yard season for Andre Johnson, which would be the 8th of his career.

Many like Frank Gore in fantasy with a new situation. With arguably the best passing game in the league, I see Gore as more of decoy and pass blocker this year.

Jacksonville Jaguars- It’s weird to say I actually like a receiver coming out of Jacksonville, but Allen Robinson is a 2nd year player that showed potential as a rookie along with having the best connection with Blake Bortles last season. Bortles is improved this season but not fantasy worthy.Jaguars

T.J. Yeldon in the backfield has potential, but with Benard Pierce over his shoulder it could get sticky from a fantasy perspective. Julius Thomas has gone un-talked about after having huge success in Denver it seems that people are going with the method that “anything good dies in Jacksonville”.

For me, once Thomas returns from injury, expect Bortles to target him often and he will be a top 5 tight end fantasy option.

Tennessee Titans- Let’s be honest, there isn’t a surplus of talent in Nashville unless we are talking about country singers. The Titans, to my knowledge, don’t have anyone singing country on their roster.Titans

The only player I like as a solid fantasy option is Delanie Walker. He quietly goes about his business, and unlike other Titans relying on touchdowns, he will pick up receiving yards for you as well. He led the Titans last season in receptions, targets, and receiving yards (AKA: he was their #1 guy).

As I said for Winston, rookie QBs like their tight ends and Mariota has a good one. Avoid the running back situation unless someone makes a clear push as the top back within the first weeks.

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos- Peyton Manning is going to be Peyton Manning. He has possibly the best one-two punch at wide receiver in the league with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders finishing tied for 2nd and 7th respectively last season as fantasy wide receivers. Gary Kubiak comes over from Baltimore, which makes C.J. Anderson a hot commodity around fantasy circles.Broncos

Don’t hate me for this, but I am giving my Zac Stacy of the Year Award to C.J. Anderson. An undrafted free agent from 2013 that has given us only 8 games of production to go off of is going in the first round of fantasy drafts because of an offensive system.

Zac Stacy fell off the face of the earth last season, and I think Anderson could do the same this season because of Ronnie Hillman behind him who in my opinion is better.

Owen Daniels is a sleeper at tight end this year. A guy who has shown production in Baltimore comes over, and we know that Peyton loves his tight ends.

Kansas City Chiefs- The most intriguing prospect on KC is Jeremy Maclin after coming over in a big deal in this offseason many criticized the move because Alex Smith doesn’t throw the deep ball well. Well, if you have seen any preseason action I think Maclin will be just fine going for 7 receptions, 65 yards, and 1 touchdown in the most important 3rd preseason game.

It’s still Jamaal Charles’ team running the ball, but Alex Smith has found himself a new favorite target. Look for a big season from Travis Kelce. Maclin took take some defensive pressure off of Kelce in the red zone which means more touchdowns are coming for this rising star.

Jamaal Charles is a rare player in fantasy where he acts as a receiver and runner. He is great, there is no questioning it.Chiefs

Oakland Raiders- This feels weird, am I about to say that I like players from both Jacksonville and Oakland in this preview? Derek Carr is a slinger and that spells good signs for his wide receivers. I love Amari Cooper this season.Raiders

Last season was the year of the rookie wide out and it could be the same this year because of Cooper. He has the best route running ability coming out of college that people have seen in years which is an undervalued trait these days. He will be open and targeted often.

Michael Crabtree comes over in a unique situation as well, which he will earn a roster spot in fantasy circles and possibly a starting role on some fantasy teams down the line. Latavius Murray is the unknown. He showed sparks last season, but it wasn’t enough from me to jump on the train. I think he will serve as a flex and push the edge as an RB2.

San Diego Chargers- Let me start by saying this. I loved Melvin Gordon in college. I thought he was the best running back in college football, and I thought he deserved to be picked ahead of Todd Gurley. With the system they have in San Diego, I don’t love him in fantasy though.Chargers

Mike McCoy has said that it will be a running back committee to start the season with Brandon Oliver who should good things last season, Danny Woodhead who is coming back from a broken leg, and Melvin Gordon. I just don’t see Melvin breaking away from the back clearly as the go to guy.

Reports have said that Keenan Allen has been the best player in the Chargers camp this offseason. For a third year wideout with much to prove after a down season last year, I think Keenan Allen could be a solid WR2 this season.

Once again, be on the lookout tomorrow before kickoffs for my final Fantasy Football Team-by-Team season previews. We will take a look at the NFC South and NFC West before the official NFL season begins for 30 other teams not named Steelers or Patriots.

About Cory Stace (20 Articles)
Broadcaster and Producer for Ball State Sports Link, Christian, Go Colts, Pacers, and Padres, Ball State Class of 2018, Go Cardinals! Chirp Chirp

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