2014 Fantasy Football Season in Review: AFC West
The Denver Broncos did not give us any surprises in the 2014 fantasy football season. They were once again one of the most dominant offenses in the league. Everything about this offense is top notch. If one were to make a fantasy team with nothing but Broncos, they would be in pretty good shape.
Expectations were through the roof for Peyton Manning following his record breaking season in 2013. Most fantasy owners did not expect a repeat of that season, but simply a solid follow up. That is exactly what Manning delivered. At age 39 Peyton threw for 4,727 yards and 39 touchdowns against 15 interceptions. He has decided to return in 2015, so once again fantasy owners will want to bet on this ageless wonder.
Going into the season, there were questions about how the Broncos’ running game would fair without Knowshon Moreno. Originally, everyone expected Montee Ball to become the workhorse back. Ball never really developed into that player. Instead, it was C.J. Anderson, who started the last seven games of the season, who emerged as the team’s breakout rusher. He compiled over 1,100 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in that short period of time.
Then of course there is the corps of receivers. Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders finished in the top five in terms of receiving yards. Julius Thomas failed to put up more than 500 receiving yards, but he still managed to record a double digit stat line in the touchdown column.
Kansas City Chiefs
After a year that boosted fantasy football’s best overall player of the year and the best defense of the first half of the year, fantasy owners had a lot of interest in the Kansas City Chiefs. However, this team ended up being a bit disappointing.
Jamaal Charles struggled early on due to a foot injury. This allowed for Knile Davis to emerge as a solid fantasy running back. Everyone figured once Charles returned he would once again take over the featured role. However, this was not the case. Charles and Davis worked in tandem with each other. Both were solid starters, but whether backs are splitting carries they are never as valuable as they could be.
The defense just simply was not as good this season. This was largely due to injuries in the back seven. A major reason they were so good in 2013 was their stellar special teams’ play. This phase of the game also suffered in 2014.
A major sleeper this season was quarterback Alex Smith. In 2013, he was considered to be the most consistent quarterback that was available to be picked up on free agency at some point during the season. By the end of 2013, he was a starter in many leagues. Fantasy owners who wanted solid consistent performance from their quarterback were selecting Smith late in drafts and boosting their other positions. This may have been the wrong decision. Though Smith was consistent this season, he was consistent not doing as well as his 2013 season. Midway through 2014, Smith was once again a waiver wire quarterback.
The major breakout player from the Chiefs was Travis Kelce. He came into the season as a popular sleeper pick by many fantasy owners. He ended up being everything they hoped for. In fact, he really was the only receiver on the roster worth having in fantasy football.
What can be said about the Oakland Raiders? Nothing really. That is pretty much the amount of value they had in fantasy football this season. The only thing worth mentioning is that their rookie quarterback, Derek Carr, looked like he may have some potential down the road. However, he is not worth anything in redraft leagues heading into 2015.
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers were another fun team to keep an eye on during the 2014 fantasy football season. They had a lot of ups and downs; break out players, disappointments, and players who performed exactly how we expected them to.
First and foremost there is quarterback Philip Rivers. Once again he was a solid fantasy quarterback. He threw for over 4,200 yards and 31 touchdowns. His number of interceptions thrown did increase in 2014 from 2013. He threw 18 picks this season.
The running back position was a mess for the Chargers this season. It all started when their workhorse back, Ryan Mathews, was lost to a knee injury. He was slated to return which only made things even more difficult on fantasy owners because nobody knew when exactly he would be back. At first, it was Danny Woodhead; then it was Donald Brown. Both were lost to injuries. Then Branden Oliver came in an quickly became a popular waiver wire pickup. He was very good at times. He put up more fantasy points than any other running back in the league one week. Unfortunately he followed it up with a terrible performance. Eventually Matthews did come back, but the Chargers were not going to push him too hard. They ended up splitting the load between Mathews and Oliver.
Keenan Allen was a bust following his 2013 season in which he was the best rookie wide receiver in the NFL. The Chargers wide receivers all had a pretty equal stat line. It seems like 700 yards and four to five touchdowns were all they were good for this season. Not bad as a spot play if a starter would go on a bye week, but no fantasy owner is going to accept these numbers from an every week guy.