Links to similar discussions of other divisions:
Not that much is going to happen around NFL circles for the next month, save for a few trades and some third-wave free agent signings. That means it’s time to build up your drafting chops with best-ball drafts! What does each offense offer? I’ll break it down division by division. Let’s go to the AFC West, which features one of the best offenses in the NFL and the Denver Broncos.
Note: All ADP courtesy of Underdog
Offensive Outlook: The Broncos offense should be improved by the return of Courtland Sutton and might be upgraded at quarterback if Teddy Bridgewater beats out Drew Lock, although only incrementally. Put away the hopes of Aaron Rodgers coming to Denver for now because the Packers will surely call Rodgers bluff and make him hold out into the season before they would trade him. Denver’s offense remains crowded and it will be a middle of the road level squad at best.
Bridgewater costs slightly more, but both are right fully afterthoughts in 1QB drafts. Bridgewater is more likely to play the majority of the games unless Drew Lock transformed this offseason, but he isn’t going to add a lot of upside to your lineup. Consider him a desperation QB3 and don’t bother with Lock.
Williams builds in a high ceiling at running back and he’s ideal in a build that goes light at running back early. He’s the kind of reasonably priced high ceiling play that can make your best ball draft. Gordon could hang around and get enough targets and goal line chances to justify his ADP, with some Williams injury upside, but it’s just as likely that he’s a wasted pick, especially in the second half of the year. Boone is a late late round consideration with the strong possibility of taking over the #3 running back job from Royce Freeman.
Sutton is a bounceback candidate coming off of an ACL tear, but this is a crowded passing game and if Bridgewater is the quarterback, that plays more into Jerry Jeudy’s strengths than Sutton’s. Perhaps this passing game outperforms expectations, and that’s probably the only way one or both of these receivers outperform ADP unless one of them misses significant time. Hamler has big play upside out of the slot and Patrick demonstrated that he can be a viable option if Sutton or Jeudy miss time, but neither fits into a typical best ball draft plan.
Noah Fant - 8th-9th round
Fant is underrated because he was playing hurt for a good part of last season. The crowded pass offense and middling at best passing efficiency will hamper his ability to hit his ceiling, but Fant is very reasonably priced as a high weekly ceiling TE1/TE2 for a team that didn’t invest in a top four tight end.
Kansas City Chiefs
Offensive Outlook: The Chiefs are firmly in the Park Place/Boardwalk tier of offenses, and they rebuilt their offensive line this offseason after it collapsed in the Super Bowl. They should be among the highest scoring and most efficient passing teams with the QB1, WR1, and TE1 all residing here. That makes it more tempting to take a shot on Clyde Edwards-Helaire or your pick for the WR2 because anyone who hits in this offense can hit big.
Patrick Mahomes II - 3rd-4th round ADP
It’s not that Mahomes isn’t deserving of QB1 status, but he isn’t *that* far ahead of QB2-5 and you probably shouldn’t be the one to break the seal at quarterback.
The early news out of camp indicates improvement in Edwards-Helaire integration with the passing game, and the team doesn’t have anyone that will threaten his status as the clear lead back. Is that enough to take the plunge in the second over sure things like Darren Waller and any number of wide receivers? Since you likely have your RB1 in tow, probably not. Williams and McKinnon are both excellent late picks, with McKinnon bringing PPR appeal and Williams some injury upside plus the chance of an occasional touchdown game.
Hill is a fine alternative to riskier running backs in the late first, but if you’re going for a piece of the Chiefs pass offense at that spot, hope that Travis Kelce is available instead because he plays at a much tougher position to fill. Hardman is coming off of a disastrous season, but Sammy Watkins is gone and he has had the benefit of a full offseason. Hardman’s price is modest enough to consider taking the plunge because his ability to score long touchdowns is perfect for best ball and at that ADP, you’re not counting on him as a core piece. Robinson may be second on the team in wide receiver snaps, but he should be fourth among the group in draft consideration even though Pringle is going even later. Pringle is getting paid more than Robinson and has flashed more in limited opportunity. If you don’t believe in Hardman, Pringle should be on your last round pick list and he’s an ideal pick for super deep best ball drafts like the FFPC 28-rounders.
Kelce is going about a pick or two ahead of Hill in most drafts and that’s how it should be. The only hitch is that you don’t get to harvest value if Darren Waller is falling in the second or Kyle Pitts makes it to the fourth. Kelce set career highs across the board last year, and with a 17-game season and hopefully better offensive line, he should set them again. The rookie Gray is creating buzz and could be a consideration in the very late rounds of 28-round FFPC drafts.
Bottom Line: One of the Chiefs top two is the essence of the kind of player you want to build your best ball team around, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire is available at a round discount from last year’s price. If you don’t end up drafting one of the key pieces, consider Mecole Hardman in the middle of your draft, or Byron Pringle late.
Las Vegas Raiders
Offensive Outlook: Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock overhauled an offensive line that wasn’t really in need of such a major renovation, but they did it anyway. Andre James and first-round pick Alex Leatherwood are going to be barometers for how this group does, although they should be able to run the ball effectively, assuming their defense gives them game scripts to do it. The wide receiver group is a puzzle, and perhaps one not worth your thought with Darren Waller clearly ruling this passing game.
Derek Carr - 15+ round ADP
Carr had a handful of peak performances last year - the wins over New Orleans and Kansas City and the buzzer beater game against the Jets that seemed to preserve Trevor Lawrence going to the team until the Jets won their last two games. You should only be considering him if you don’t care about your QB2 because you took a top five QB1.
Jacobs ADP is down three rounds from last year, but he didn’t make the leap in the passing game everyone was hoping for and now the team added Kenyan Drake, who will likely shave enough off of Jacobs workload to lower his value even further. Jacobs is good enough to deliver, but his opportunity will be at its lowest level yet. He’s a pass at ADP, and Drake probably is too, unless you believe that he will end up playing a lot of wide receiver, which the team seemed to promise in the same way they promised Jacobs passing game role would grow at this time last year.
Ruggs has a similar outlook to Hardman - you just need him to catch a deep ball every third game or so for him to hit in best ball - and he’s slightly cheaper, but obviously you don’t get the tie to Patrick Mahomes II. Still, Ruggs is worth considering because of his best ball friendly game. Brown could replace Nelson Agholor as the #1 target in this offense if Ruggs and Bryan Edwards don’t show a lot of improvement in year two, and he’s easily worth his ADP because of his track record of production even though the injury bug bit him again last year. There was Edwards hype at this time last year, and perhaps he could make the beat writers play that tune again this year, but until it happens, he shouldn’t be part of your draft plan. Renfrow is fading and will likely share the slot role with Willie Snead IV, and maybe Drake. The low overall ADP of this group reflects that the tight end is the #1 target in this sometimes uninspiring pass offense.
Waller is set to build from his career year in 2020 and he is definitely worth a second round pick this year. All signs point to a dominant season. The scarcity of big games at tight end is a good reason to try to pair Waller with your first round running back. Moreau is a name to keep in your back pocket in the 28 round FFPC drafts. He has flashed multiple times in the past and he already has seven touchdowns on only 28 career receptions.
Bottom Line: Darren Waller is a cornerstone for your best ball team if you don’t take Travis Kelce in the first, and both Henry Ruggs III and John Brown are worth picks at ADP, but otherwise stay away.
Los Angeles Chargers
Offensive Outlook: This was the surprise offense of 2020, thanks to a wayward needle and Justin Herbert’s ability to create big plays in the passing game. The offensive line should be even more improved with the addition of Rashawn Slater and Corey Linsley, and hopefully a full or close to a full season from Austin Ekeler after he missed six games and most of a seventh. New offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was a negative in his stint at the spot with Detroit - did he learn anything from Sean Payton the last five years?
Justin Herbert - 6th/7th round ADP
Herbert could end up being a value here. An improved offensive line and full offseason to prepare as the starter make up planks in a ramp up to higher efficiency and production, but Herbert is only available at a small discount from quarterbacks with a longer track record of elite production, so he’s probably a pass at ADP.
Ekeler is a fun pick at the 1-2 turn. He’ll be in the best offense and running behind the best offensive line of his career and the new regime could be more open to giving him goal line looks and closer to a bell cow workload. We still haven’t discerned exactly how much of his value was created by Philip Rivers and Nyheim Hines strong year with Rivers in 2020 points to the over as the answer. Still, Ekeler had three games with at least nine receptions with Herbert under center, and he scored on receptions in the last two games of the year. Make Ekeler part of your draft plan if you draw a late first round slot. Jackson is the best talent of the potential #2 backs who will likely collect the majority of the short rushing scores. He’s also the least likely to stay healthy. The team had high hopes for Kelley last year, but he lost confidence and his role as the season went on. Rountree could end up seizing the #2 role. The lack of clarity here means you should look elsewhere for late round running back picks.
Keenan Allen had 100 catches last year even though he missed two full games and parts of two others. If he produces at that pace this year, he’ll make everyone who takes him in the third round very happy. Mike Williams could have something to say about that, especially after Lombardi said he would bet on big numbers from the big receiver. Both Chargers receivers are good picks at ADP, but Williams has more potential to add ceiling to your range of outcomes. Palmer, Guyton, and Johnson will battle to be the #3 receiver, but all should see opportunities. Johnson is the best pick of the three if you are adding a Chargers receiver late on the strength of a strong spring. Herbert hooked up with secondary receivers for long scores with regularity last year, so there’s sleeper potential here.
Cook has big play potential and he is being reunited with Lombardi, who was part of the Saints staff that coached him the last two years. He’s a fine TE2 with weekly upside behind a strong TE1, or as part of a three tight end committee. Cook is a better best ball play than weekly lineup setting play, so this modest ADP is reasonable. If Cook goes down, Parham might be more valuable than Cook would have been, and he definitely deserves a look in the 28 round FFPC drafts.
Bottom Line: This offense already greatly overachieved last year, and even with much higher expectations, they can overachieve this year. Try to get some representation on your roster.