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8 Best Ball Bust & League Winner Candidates: AFC West (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jul 17, 2022
Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Clyde Edwards-Helaire didn’t live up to the hype in 2021

Several factors go into building a winning best ball team. One of those factors is identifying which players will let your team down and bust. Another is knowing which players have league-winning upside, especially in the later rounds. To help you build an elite best ball roster, I will identify the most likely bust candidate and potential league winner for every NFL team.

Today, I break down the AFC West teams: the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers.

The average draft position (ADP) used for this article comes from Underdog Fantasy.

Potential Bust Candidates

Javonte Williams (RB – DEN): ADP 25.1

Everyone was extremely excited to draft Williams a few months ago. However, the return of Melvin Gordon has thrown a wet blanket on the Williams hype. Despite the return of Gordon, Williams is currently getting drafted as the RB12 on average and ahead of Nick Chubb. While his ADP isn’t ridiculous, it’s too high for a running back that finished as the RB23 in points per game last year. Furthermore, the addition of Russell Wilson will give the Broncos a reliable and explosive passing attack. While Williams will reportedly earn more of a workload this year, the return of Gordon is a concern. Until Williams’ ADP slides closer to the end of the third round, I would avoid drafting him.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC): ADP 84.3

Last year, the hype around Edwards-Helaire caused many to move him up in their rankings. Unfortunately, those fantasy players regretted the move as Edwards-Helaire was the RB40 last year, averaging 10.8 fantasy points per game. He averaged only 2.3 targets per game last season after averaging 4.2 targets per game as a rookie. While the loss of Darrel Williams could open up more targets for Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs recently re-signed Jerick McKinnon. He had 27 touches compared to only 15 for Edwards-Helaire in the two playoff games both running backs were active. Fantasy players should avoid using a top-100 pick on anyone in this backfield.

Darren Waller (TE – LV): ADP 43.7

Waller won’t be a bust in the traditional sense. However, he is going too high as a mid-fourth-round pick. The Raiders no longer need to rely on him like they did a few years ago. In 2020, Waller averaged 9.1 targets and 14.1 fantasy points per game. Last year he averaged 8.8 targets and 10.2 fantasy points per game in the 10 games he played over 20% of the snaps. Furthermore, the emergence of Hunter Renfrow and the addition of Davante Adams will cause Waller’s target share to shrink. While he is still a talented tight end, fantasy players are better off waiting to draft a tight end than paying a fourth-round price for Waller.

Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC): ADP 6.4

Barring an injury, Ekeler should have a top-10 season. However, taking him as the third running back off the board and as a top-seven pick is too high. Last year, Ekeler averaged a career-high 19.3 fantasy points per game. His average last year was 29% higher than his average in 2020 and 15% higher than his previous career-high in 2019. The reason for his jump in fantasy production was the touchdowns. Ekeler scored 20 touchdowns last season after scoring 25 in the first four years of his career. The addition of Isaiah Spiller will cut into Ekeler’s workload, especially around the goal line. Last year, Ekeler had 10 goal-line rushing attempts and a 7.2% touchdown rate. Expect Ekeler to regress this season.

Potential League Winners

Russell Wilson (QB – DEN): ADP 77.2

The Denver offense is appealing after the moves they made this offseason. While hiring Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach was smart, adding Wilson gives the Broncos one of the top offenses in the NFL. While he had a disappointing 2021 season, Wilson battled a thumb injury on his throwing hand that took him weeks to overcome. In the four games before suffering the injury, Wilson averaged 23.4 fantasy points per game and 0.82 fantasy points per pass attempt. With a talented trio of wide receivers at his disposal, Wilson could end the year as the overall QB1 for the first time since 2017.

Ronald Jones (RB – KC): ADP 123.1

While fantasy players need to avoid Edwards-Helaire at his current ADP, they should take a chance on Jones at his ADP. Last year Jones played only 19.2% of the snaps in Tampa Bay and wasn’t given a chance to produce for fantasy teams until Leonard Fournette suffered an injury. However, Jones scored 15.1 fantasy points and 0.69 fantasy points per touch in the one healthy game he played without Fournette last year. Meanwhile, Edwards-Helaire has struggled to stay healthy, missing 30.3% of the games in his career. The last time Jones played at least 40% of the snaps in a season, he was the RB16. If Edwards-Helaire misses significant time, Jones could end the year as a top-10 running back.

Derek Carr (QB – LV): ADP 106.6

Despite never having an elite No. 1 wide receiver, Carr has finished as a top-14 quarterback four times. While he has never had a top-10 finish in his career, that will change this season. The Raiders added Adams, giving Carr arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL to go with Waller and Renfrow. They also added an offensive-minded head coach in Josh McDaniels, who should open up the offense for Carr. More importantly, every matchup in the AFC West will be a shootout this season, and the Raiders’ defense is far from elite. Therefore, Carr should have several massive fantasy performances this year trying to keep the Raiders in games.

Gerald Everett (TE – LAC): ADP 153.8

With Justin Herbert leading the way, most of the Los Angeles offense is getting drafted at the correct price. However, one late-round player to consider targeting is Everett. While he has never been a consistent fantasy player, Everett has played mostly with sub-par quarterbacks. After averaging 4.2 fantasy points per game in four years with the Los Angeles Rams, Everett averaged 6.3 fantasy points per game last year in Seattle. Furthermore, Everett scored over 10 fantasy points in three of the six games he saw five or more targets last season. While he won’t have a massive target share with the Chargers, barring an injury to Keenan Allen or Mike Williams, Everett will have a few high-scoring weeks this season.

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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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