Fantasy Football Schedule Notes: AFC West
Gabe analyzes the top fantasy football trends for each AFC West team with the release of the NFL schedule.
Ah yes, the AFC West. No division in the NFL has higher expectations, and with four playoff-caliber teams, we could be in for a serious treat come season's end. But that’s not what we’re focusing on today. No, it’s time to look at each team’s schedule and thoroughly nitpick the aspects that favor and work against certain fantasy stars. So why wait? Let’s dive in.
Denver Broncos Fantasy Schedule Notes
Russell Wilson needs to start hot
Most quarterbacks take a few games to adjust to a new team and system, but Russell Wilson will need to start his career with fireworks. Wilson faces nine below-average defenses (2021 PPG allowed) in his first ten games, so saving theatrics and heroics for the latter half of his season will not be an option. While Wilson’s final two games of the season have high-scoring potential, he faces two top 10 passing defenses in weeks 15 & 16. Those late challenges essentially cancel out the easy start for Wilson, rendering his draft position unchanging.
The Denver backfield will be tested down the stretch
Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon make up one of the most impressive running back tandems in the league, but come fantasy playoff time, things could get dicey. In their final six games, Denver faces the sixth, eighth, 10th, 11th and 15th ranked rushing defenses from last year. And while defenses shift from year to year, the Broncos’ imposing finish should be enough to make fantasy owners weary of drafting Williams and Gordon.
Kansas City Chiefs Schedule Notes
Clyde Edwards-Helaire needs a big second week
While some fantasy owners might think week-to-week momentum is a myth, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is in danger of jeopardizing his season in his first four weeks. The Chiefs face three of the top six run-stopping teams in the Colts, Buccaneers, and Cardinals before week five, so Edwards-Helaire’s only real hope to boom is in week two against the Chargers. While he could still recover emphatically following his initial slog, it’s not crazy to suggest that a poor start could haunt him for weeks following.
Travis Kelce will be the best tight end…again
While playing divisional opponents twice can be a massive disadvantage for certain quarterbacks and running backs, Travis Kelce could not be happier with his schedule. The All-Pro tight end plays last year’s worst-ranked and 30th ranked TE defenses in the Chargers and Raiders. And while Kelce skews those numbers slightly, it doesn’t mean he won't exploit them again. Expect another number one season from Kelce.
Las Vegas Raiders Schedule Notes
Be wary of Hunter Renfrow and Demarcus Robinson come playoff time
Over the past few years, Davante Adams has proven he’s gonna be “that guy” no matter his opponent. While some might credit that consistency to future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers, there’s no denying Adams can beat single coverage against any NFL defensive back. Even though Adams might not falter against the imposing defenses the Raiders face in their final four weeks, potential WR2 Hunter Renfrow and potential flex Demarcus Robinson could pay the price.
Post-bye road games could be trouble for Derek Carr
It’s no secret to the Raider faithful that Derek Carr is a different quarterback on the road versus at home. In fact, in his career, Carr has only played only one more home game than road game, yet has thrown for 800 more yards and with 15 more touchdowns (that's 92 fantasy points!). Carr is a fringe starter to start, but following the Raiders’ bye, Carr faces four road opponents in five games. That’s tough for any QB, but for Carr, it could be catastrophic.
Los Angeles Chargers Schedule Notes
The Chargers have a tough schedule. Period.
Using each 2022 NFL team’s betting over-under, we find that the Chargers have the second hardest schedule in the NFL. While that means the Chargers could play in some high-scoring shootouts, it also means they could play in tiresome offensive stalemates. Either way, the Bolt’s grueling schedule is bound to take some sort of a tax on QB Justin Herbert and the rest of the stellar offense.
Justin Herbert needs to be a Championship superhero
MVP hopeful and fantasy prodigy Justin Herbert will likely have one of the most productive fantasy seasons in franchise history, yet his final two games of the season…good luck. For most, weeks 17 and 18 mean paying attention to NFL playoff races and hometown teams. But for the few in the Championship, there’s only one thing on your mind. Justin Herbert could lead your team to the “Chip” but he’ll have to play the Rams and Broncos once he gets there. That’s a daunting task, but if anyone can, it’s Herbert