14 Aug Fantasy Football Pre-Season Primer: AFC West
By: Mike Stromme – @stromme_93
Grown-ass men riding bikes built for children, pimped-out whips, heavy humidity and player “X” in “the best shape of his life” can only mean one thing… TRAINING CAMP!
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Here are some training camp story lines with fantasy implications to keep an eye on this August:
This one’s quite easy. Everyone has their eye-on Lynch vs. Siemian II: Electric Boogaloo.
Last year, it was Trevor Siemain who took the starting job and held onto the gig all season long.
When Paxton Lynch was asked to fill-in for Siemian for a couple games while the incumbent was sidelined with a concussion, he not only held his own, the offense did not skip a beat. The drop-off between starter and backup was negligible.
Upon the conclusion of OTAs, Siemian appears to have the edge on the starting job. However, long-time Bronco beat reporter, Mike Klis, noted that Lynch was “gaining significant ground” on Siemian.
One would think that the job would eventually go to the guy that the Broncos traded-up to grab in the first round just
two years ago over a former 6th-round pick. But hey, what do I know?
The real wild card in this battle is 2017 7th-round pick, “Mr. Irrelevant” himself, Chad Kelly. Despite his unfortunate nickname, whispers about his ability are present. The rookie out of Ole Miss and nephew of former Buffalo Bills’ QB Jim Kelly will get a chance to impress this pre-season.
And yes, he’s the same Chad Kelly who was caught sliding into former porn star Mia Khalifa’s DMs late at night, something the former adult actress hilariously made public last year. She then trolled him further after Ole Miss lost to her alma mater, Florida State. Kelly then subsequently deleted his Twitter account.
Kansas City Chiefs:
The football world raised a Spockian-eyebrow when the Chiefs released veteran WR Jeremy Maclin seemingly out-of-the-blue back in June. The move further depleted an already seemingly shallow stable of pass catchers.
From a fantasy standpoint, the move told me that the team views 2016 breakout TE Travis Kelce as the teams’ top receiving threat. And while that’s all fine and dandy, who are the secondary and tertiery options for Alex Smith (or Pat Mahomes?).
Tyreek “the freak” Hill was an explosive play-making threat last year. He scored big-time receiving, rushing and return touchdowns as a result of his blazing speed. That being said, he’s just one guy. Who can be someone on the other end to take pressure off of Kelce and Hill? Will this be the year that former Georgia Bulldog stand-out Chris Conley takes a leap forward at the pro level? He’ll get the first shot to replace Maclin in the X-receiver spot in this offense.
There’s also a ton of buzz surrounding rookie RB Kareem Hunt out of Toledo. Many in fantasy circles suggest that he could take over as a full-time RB, pushing Spencer Ware out of a job. Ware, who looked good as a between the tackles runner in 2015, was marred by injury last year and seemingly never fully recovered.
Personally, I think there’s room for both backs. I believe that Hunt will play a role similar to the one Charcandrick West played in 2015 and 2016. The draft pick of Hunt seemingly puts West’s roster spot in jeopardy.
Los Angeles Chargers:
2016 marked the conclusion of the Mike McCoy tenure in Charger-land. The team then packed-up their things, and moved North to Los Angeles and hired former Buffalo Bills’ RB coach/offensive coordinator/interim HC Anthony Lynn.
Lynn, as a coordinator in Buffalo, called more run plays than passes; the team ran the ball 50.9% of the time. The Chargers, in the Phillip Rivers era, have always been a pass-first offense. The team retained offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, which leads me to believe that the offense won’t completely sell-out to the run.
Could we see a balanced attack from the Chargers in their new digs? I’m curious to see how
this team calls plays from a pass-rush ratio this preseason.
This one starts and ends with the progress of RB Marshawn Lynch. Which “Beast Mode” will we see in 2017? Is Lynch a RB who just needed a year off to recuperate, rest and refresh his body after 2,377 carries (including playoffs) over 10 years? Or, will he look like an NFL running back on the wrong side of 30 years of age?
Without pads or contact, Lynch sure looked explosive even though he was held-out of most of the major team activities during OTAs. I really hope we get to see what the 2017 edition of “Beast Mode” has to offer.