The AFC West drafted a handful of intriguing skill-position prospects this year. Let's break it down in the 2019 Fantasy Football AFC West NFL Draft Recap.
The Raiders added a first-round running back, who should see a feature role from year one. The Broncos may have found their solution at Tight End, and drafted a strong arm at QB. While the Chargers focused on defense, they did add an intriguing piece in the trenches who should have a good impact for the veterans currently on the roster. The Chiefs loaded up on playmakers, both in the draft and with UDFAs. They also hold my favorite UDFA sleeper, who I believe can have a day one impact.
Find out who you can target out of the AFC West and the final round gem I'll be snatching up in all my PPR leagues!
2019 Fantasy Football AFC West NFL Draft Recap
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Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama - 1.24
If you’ve read some of my pieces during the draft process, you should know I’m a huge Josh Jacobs fan. He can do it all, from the passing game to running between tackles, and most fun of all, his outstanding blocking ability. I think Gruden will struggle to take him off the field.
He’s also a reliable leader and was the most trusted asset on the Crimson Tide offense. I think Jacobs comes in as the undeniable day one starter, with such little competition on the depth chart. Crowell will, unfortunately, miss out on the 2019 season with an Achilles heel injury, and Doug Martin’s presence seems like more of a training camp competition asset. His only little threat to snaps are Jalen Richard, a good receiving back (but Jacobs is better in that aspect), and Chris Warren who flashed some talent in the pre-season last year, before needing surgery. Josh Jacobs should go between the 3rd and 5th round in redraft leagues and I wouldn’t mind swinging at him as my RB3.
My only worry is the Raiders’ offensive line, as Jacobs ran behind a tremendous front in Alabama. The Raiders didn’t draft anybody on the offensive side of the trenches. They still have Kolton Miller at left tackle, entering his second season; and Trent Brown who they signed from New England to replace Osemele. The interior looks weaker, although they did bring in Jacobs’ former teammate Lester Cotton at guard. Nevertheless, the interior of that offensive line is still an aspect I’m wary of.
Foster Moreau, TE, LSU - 4.35
Foster Moreau wore number 18 at LSU. That speaks a thousand words about the guy’s character. It also falls in line with what the Raiders were trying to do with their draft, bringing in leaders and strong presences in the locker room. The tag “leader” usually comes with work ethic, leading me to believe Moreau can beat out the shallow tight end competition in Oakland and see some playing time.
Foster Moreau ran a quite simple route tree with LSU serving as a shallow option for Burrow. He’s got good size and decent athleticism and flashed some hands at the Senior Bowl. He can be developed into a serviceable weapon for Derek Carr, but I don’t think his value lies in year one. As of now, he stands behind Luke Willson and Lee Smith. I know Derek Carr loved going to Jared Cook last season (101 targets), but his receiving options were far more underwhelming than the ones he’s presented with this season. Moreau is a player that can develop and gain value in his second or third season in the league. As of now, he’s a great presence for the team and more of a reality-football asset.
Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson - 5.11
Hunter Renfrow’s only competition to the number three role in Oakland is J.J. Nelson, a rather one-dimensional speed threat, Marcell Ateman, who didn’t do much with the opportunity presented to him last season, and Keelan Doss, an intriguing UDFA out of the FCS.
Antonio Brown holds the number one role firmly and should see the large majority of Carr’s targets. But his presence on the field may open some opportunities for Tyrell Williams and perhaps Renfrow, the way it did for JuJu Smith-Schuster in Pittsburgh.
Renfrow possesses outstanding ball-tracking ability and great hands. He’s not a burner but he varies his playing speed very well in his routes which shows good route-running potential. He can manipulate defenders intelligently to create separation for himself. The fact that he catches everything thrown his way and manages to adjust to throws so well makes him an intriguing prospect for Carr, not known for his spot-on accuracy. He doesn’t hold draftable value but is worth tracking in the offseason and flagging on waivers. A very interesting grab in deeper dynasty leagues.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa - 1.20
Noah Fant immediately steps in as the most talented receiver in the Broncos’ Tight End room. His measurables are comparable to those of Vincent Jackson, a former wide receiver. He’s a well-developed route runner with outstanding speed for the position. He should be a mismatch for defenses the moment he steps on the field. His speed is a true factor after the catch, not what you usually see from a tight end. Fant has the ability to turn on a second gear and exploit open field dangerously.
Additionally, Flacco is fond of targeting his tight ends. And that is also the case for rookie quarterbacks if Drew Lock does end up seeing playing time. Fant could become an ideal weapon for an offense looking better year by year. Surrounded by Courtland Sutton, Emmanuel Sanders and a young versatile backfield, he’ll be tough to key on for defenses. I really like where his ADP currently stands as a 14th rounder according to Fantasy Football Calculator. I expect his stock to rise but he’s a good value if you’re like me, fond of the “wait for a TE” draft strategy.
Dalton Risner, OG, Kansas State - 2.09
Risner was one of my favorite offensive tackles in the Draft. He doesn’t get moved by power rushers and was a tremendous asset in the running game for Alex Barnes in Kansas State. I got the chance to catch glimpses in the Senior Bowl week as well, asserting his ability to lock down power rushers. He does get beat to the edge by speed at times.
Fantasy-wise, his run blocking will be a tremendous asset for Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman! His lack of footwork and disadvantage against speed may have him move at guard, where the Broncos need the most help. He can be a day one starter and be a real force inside. A great pick with day-one value for the Broncos.
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri - 2.10
Drew Lock will start off the season behind Joe Flacco, and may stay behind for a little while depending on the results obtained by the former Raven.
Lock has an intriguing fantasy outlook as he is a gunslinger with a good arm, susceptible to big plays (definitely more interesting in fantasy than a Daniel Jones for example). However, his deficiencies are major fantasy worries. He’s a late decision-maker relying on his arm strength way too much which can cause some turnover-throws at the NFL level. His accuracy isn’t always spot on, mostly due to his mechanics and irregular footwork angles. You do appreciate the confidence in his game, however, and trust that he’s the type to bounce back and keep slinging it all game long. There’s some Matt Stafford to his game.
Staying behind Flacco will allow him to develop and learn how to make his pre-snap reads and hopefully speed up his decision-making. I wouldn’t trust him year one, but rather keep an eye on what he does for 2020, when he could potentially become the starter for the Broncos.
He has a lot of young talent ready to go on his offense, at every skill position. The pieces are in place for him to succeed if he can fix up his deficiencies. I believe there’s a talented prospect behind him on the depth chart, itching for his shot at the next level.
Behind him on the depth chart is Brett Rypien, one of my favorite quarterbacks during scouting season. He somehow fell out of the draft as a UDFA. Nevertheless, Rypien has an extremely tough depth chart to crack, but as I’ve said in previous articles, he seems like the prototypical long-term backup in the NFL.
He has the accuracy and throw consistency to be an asset in practice weeks. He’s a smart quarterback, able to manipulate full field reads and move safeties with his eyes. I really like his game and think he can get a shot at playing time down the road in his career. Rypien can do the things Lock struggles with extremely well, only lacks the size, athleticism and while his arm strength is no match, he has tremendous anticipation and timing. I can’t wait to watch him in the pre-season, and how the whole Broncos QB competition shakes out.
Los Angeles Chargers
Trey Pipkins, OT, Sioux Falls - 3.28
I have not seen any of Trey Pipkins’ game tape this scouting season, struggling to find any Sioux Falls games. However, the Chargers do have a need at right tackle. To spend a day two pick on him, they must view Pipkins as a potential depth player with the upside to eventually slide into a starting role.
Based on his Combine numbers, he shows a good frame for a tackle (6’6”, 309lbs). His 5.12s 40 run is pretty good, scoring at approximately 90-speed score. The NFL likes linemen with good movement skills, and he falls in line with that approach. Help in the offensive trenches can only benefit Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler and Philip Rivers.
Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State - 5.28
I’m not a fan of Easton Stick, and I do believe he benefits from Carson Wentz’ success in the NFL. He has decent arm talent but looks far too inaccurate to have an impact, or be Philip Rivers’ successor. He’ll remain behind Tyrod Taylor on the depth chart (I hate to see Taylor in another irrelevant fantasy position), and I’m not touching Stick in either redraft (obviously) or dynasty.
Kansas City Chiefs
Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia - 2.24
Mecole Hardman needs polishing to have the impact Hill had as a fantasy wide receiver. Expecting Hill-like production from Hardman seems foolish. Although, I’d like to reflect back to Tyreek Hill’s first season in the NFL.
Similarly to Hardman, Tyreek Hill was extremely raw as a wide receiver. He made most of his plays on jet sweeps, screenplays and special teams. He’d hit on the occasional go route, but that’s about it. Hardman holds a similar skill-set to that of Hill, with blazing 4.3 speed, and while unpolished still holds more experience at the position. He mostly operated out of the slot at Georgia and proved to have plenty of route running potential. If the Chiefs can follow the same development plan they established with Hill, Hardman can be an ideal fit for KC.
Andy Reid is a smart play-designer and doesn’t ask too much out of his players. He maximizes their strengths and uses them very well, I’m sure Hardman’s speed will be a huge factor year one. His value stands as a gadget player as of now, but he’ll grow as the season rolls on.
There’s an interesting battle for the number two role behind Watkins in Kansas City, consisting of Sammie Coates, DeMarcus Robinson. They also hold a couple of intriguing UDFA prospects in Cody Thompson and Jamal Custis. Keep an eye on Thompson, a crafty route runner out of Toledo. Really liked him at the East-West Shrine game. Hardman is the most talented player in that room outside of Watkins, and is the favorite to win fantasy-relevant playing time.
Someone in your league is bound to take a swing at Hardman after the 10th round. I’m not against it, but temper your expectations.
Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State - 6.42
Similarly to the Wide Receiver room, there is a major battle ahead in the Kansas City backfield. Thompson will battle it out with post-Kareem Hunt standout, Damien Williams and newly acquired free agent Carlos Hyde. He’s a shifty, elusive back, quick in short areas but not necessarily fast. He’s powerful for a player his size, with good contact balance. Thompson’s an intriguing prospect to watch in the pre-season. Although, his skill-set conflicts too much with Damien Williams’ and he’s not the most exciting incoming running back prospect in my opinion.
James Williams, RB, Washington State - UDFA
I’m closing out this article with my favorite UDFA, and one of my favorite draft prospects as a whole, James Williams. Another fantasy analyst said it best last week: James Williams can be the James White of Kansas City.
Williams is the best receiver in the running back class. How he went undrafted considering the evolution of the running back position in the NFL is mind-blowing. He has a unique skill-set compared to the rest of the Chiefs’ running back. This leads me to believe he has the greatest shot at sticking on the 53-man roster. And beyond that, once Andy Reid has his hands on him, I can’t imagine a world where he won’t want to slip him out into space and get him the ball in his hands. He’s got unorthodox but outstanding footwork, he’s slippery and quick. Williams is a quick decision maker in space and can really make plays after the catch.
I loved his PPR value as a prospect and like it even more after his landing spot. I always take a flyer on the final round of my redraft leagues. Usually, someone I think can have a week one impact and I don’t want to have to compete for in waivers. James Williams is that guy. I’ll snatch him today in all PPR leagues, at such a low price and hence low risk.
Make sure to read the rest of our 2019 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Recaps right here!