If you’ve been keeping up with my series to this point, you know how this is gonna go.
Here is my AFC East look back.
Here are some thoughts on the AFC South.
So… let’s roll now with the AFC West.
RB Mike Boone, Broncos, 2 years, $2.6 million.
Team Grade (A-): Can’t beat this pricepoint, right here. Yes, Boone ran behind both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison in Minnesota, but whenever opportunities arose, he impressed with power and utter tenacity. Boone is a banger, a grinder. This is a savvy move by Denver, especially with Phillip Lindsay now out of the picture, and in Houston.
Fantasy impact: You know… Melvin Gordon actually looked pretty good last season. I felt, for a good portion of his early career, he was simply overworked by the Chargers’ organization. However, once Austin Ekeler developed more value and Gordon rested up with various injuries, the door opened for a body rejuvenation of sorts.
So, if Gordon looks relatively fresh like he did last year, Boone won’t really be a threat to his role. Just depends on health and fresh legs, really.
RB Kenyan Drake, Raiders, 2 years, $11 million.
Team Grade (B-): Hmm… this seems hefty when you consider this: Tevin Coleman $2 million (annual), Malcolm Brown $1.75 million, James White $2.5 million, Mark Ingram $1.5 million, Phillip Lindsay $3.25 million, Marlon Mack $2 million, Carlos Hyde $3 million and Boone $1.3 million.
So where did $5.5 million per year come from for Drake?
Sure, he’s (probably) a class above those guys, but he’s coming off an unimpressive season full of inconsistencies, and now he has to share the rock with The Talented Mr. Jacobs. I don’t like the dollar figure here, but at least Gruden’s rushing system improves production for a lot of guys. For example, I never liked Devontae Booker in Denver. But in Gruden’s system in Las Vegas? He looked comfortable and actually quite good. So, Drake is better than Booker, thus this will probably work out.
Fantasy impact: Pisses the hell out of Jacobs’ Dynasty owners. This is a timeshare, plain and simple. The best hope? They work out like Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in Kevin Stefanski’s Cleveland system.
WR John Brown, Raiders, 1 year, $3.75 million.
Team Grade (B): This is a fine pricetag for a savvy veteran like Brown, but it’s an awkward type of wide receiver situation in Las Vegas, overall.
For now, Henry Ruggs seems strictly like a burner. Not a lot of versatility to his game, yet. Nelson Agholor is gone, now with the Patriots. Zay Jones was re-signed. Bryan Edwards had an ugly, messy rookie year, and Hunter Renfrow wasn’t as good as a lot of us thought he would be.
So it’s like, a bunch of middling receivers, right? Who is going to step forward here? At the end of the day, tight end Darren Waller is the top dog in the Raiders’ passing attack. To me, John Brown is now the second-best, but… what’s the deal with this corps, overall? It just seems to lack an identity. I’m not sure the Raiders know where they are going at the WR spot.
Fantasy impact: Kind of similar to Buffalo, if you think about it – Diggs would be Waller in this scenario. Then Brown had to contend with guys like Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis and Dawson Knox. Now he has to deal with Ruggs, Renfrow, etc. Probably doesn’t change an awful lot for Johnny Brown.
TE Jared Cook, Chargers, 1 year, $4.5 million.
Team Grade (C+): This move stinks of some desperation to me, but this is what happens when you lose Hunter Henry – a tight end smack in the middle of his prime – to the revamping New England Patriots. You end up searching for a quick fix, and Cook is exactly that.
I’ll tell ya what – Cook looked awfully old to me this past season. Did you see the stiffness and overall lack of athletic motion? Cook is nearing retirement; then again, tight end is a pretty weak position across the league. And, on the bright side, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler will be drawing some defensive looks away from him. Also, Jalen Guyton is an interesting young receiver with some impressive downfield ability.
So, with some other options around him and the super stud Justin Herbert under center, this shakes out to be an average overall situation for Cook.
Fantasy impact: I’ll have to get all the way through the league, but off the top of my head – in Redraft – Cooks feels like the TE13 to 17, or something like that.
I’ll be moving on to the NFC in my next addition!
John Frascella is a published sports author and fantasy football analyst with over two decades of experience. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football.