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The NFL is back and that means NFL DFS and sports betting is back at DraftKings and FanDuel! We’ve got a full series of previews for each division to ready you for the upcoming season.

The AFC West churned out some contenders last year, but the Denver Broncos were noticeably absent. And the division-winning Kansas City Chiefs shipped off starter Alex Smith after last season.

Then, the Los Angeles Chargers could be treading a bit of water, with Philip Rivers a year older and routinely running low on weapons due to injury. The Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, welcome Jon Gruden back into the fold, easily the biggest move for the organization in the offseason (though Gruden certainly made a few of his own by releasing Michael Crabtree and Marquette King). With the Chargers and Chiefs receiving the nod in Vegas as most likely to take the division, the AFC West should once again be a competitive and exciting division. Let’s dive into the daily fantasy sports and betting implications for each team.

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Kansas City Chiefs

Season Win Total: 8.5
Odds to win AFC West: 10/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 25/1
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Key player additions

Sammy Watkins
Anthony Hitchens

Key player losses

Zach Fulton
Bennie Logan
Albert Wilson
Terrance Mitchell
Tamba Hali
Derrick Johnson

Draft picks

Breeland Speaks, DE
Derrick Nnadi, DT
Dorian O’Daniel, LB
Armani Watts, S
Tremon Smith, CB
Kahlil McKenzie, DT

DFS relevant players

Tyreek Hill
Sammy Watkins
Kareem Hunt
Pat Mahomes
Travis Kelce

Parting thoughts

The Alex Smith era is over in Kansas City, which puts a microscope on the players most likely to be impacted. Tyreek Hill seems to be outside any bounds of collateral damage from the deal, given his athleticism, but the loss of Smith does remove some level of stability for the oft-elite wideout. Kareem Hunt will have a difficult time replicating 1,300 rushing yards and eight touchdowns with second-year pro Patrick Mahomes taking over behind center.

Now, Mahomes has just one career start under his belt in a game in which he threw for 284 yards and an interception, but that was a Week 17 game the Chiefs didn’t need to win (but did anyway). Fortunately, alongside Hill and Hunt, Mahomes will have Sammy Watkins at his disposal. Watkins caught eight touchdowns last year but failed to be a mass yardage producer. One must be wary of his touchdown totals since he’ll be competing with red-zone monster Travis Kelce, who had over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Kelce is the most secure pass-catcher in this offense and will likely be a safety net for the younger Mahomes.

It’s worth noting the Chiefs have gotten much worse on defense, shipping off Marcus Peters and saying goodbye to a number of others. And I’m not sure they’re prepared to capitalize, but the Chiefs could find themselves in plenty of shootouts this season, specifically against fellow weak defenses.

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Los Angeles Chargers

Season Win Total: 9.5
Odds to win AFC West: 9/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 20/1
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Key player additions

Virgil Green
Geno Smith
Mike Pouncey

Key player losses

Antonio Gates
Kenny Wiggins
Hunter Henry (Injury)

Draft picks

Derwin James, S
Uchenna Nwosu, LB
Justin Jones, DT
Kyzir White, LB
Scott Quessenberry, C
Dylan Cantrell, WR
Justin Jackson, RB

DFS relevant players

Philip Rivers
Melvin Gordon
Keenan Allen
Tyrell Williams
Austin Ekeler

Parting thoughts

2018 was supposed to be a passing of the torch in the Chargers’ organization. Future Hall-of-Famer Antonio Gates and the team parted ways, and Hunter Henry was supposed to be the man. Now, Henry will miss the entire season due to injury.

That immediately robs Philip Rivers of some upside. Henry has 12 touchdowns in 29 career games, and with a very strong offensive line, he was locked in as an attractive pass-catching option for Rivers. Hell, he could have been his top option. But Rivers still has weapons. Melvin Gordon is capable of catching passes, and he’s also capable of taking on a fairly immense rushing workload. Keenan Allen is coming off a career year in which he caught 102 balls for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns. Austin Ekeler is a breath of fresh air in third down sets.

Rivers will be a solid option in year-long fantasy, as he throws a lot (at least 575 times in each of the past three seasons). And Melvin Gordon has at least eight touchdowns and 997 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons. Meanwhile, Allen being a target magnet gives him a nice floor. But guys like Ekeler, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, and Mike Williams will be mostly shots in the dark when they hit. Ten wins seems like a long shot for a team without a tight end for the first time in a decade and a much improved division.

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Oakland Raiders

Season Win Total: 8
Odds to win NFC West: 14/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 33/1
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Key player additions

Jordy Nelson
Martavis Bryant
Doug Martin

Key player losses

Michael Crabtree
Jihad Ward
Cordarrelle Patterson
Khalil Mack

Draft picks

Kolton Miller, OT
P.J. Hall, DT
Brandon Parker, T
Arden Key, DE
Nick Nelson, CB
Maurice Hurst, DT
Johnny Townsend, P
Azeem Victor, LB
Marcell Ateman, WR

DFS relevant players

Derek Carr
Amari Cooper
Marshawn Lynch
Martavis Bryant
Jordy Nelson
Jared Cook
Doug Martin

Parting thoughts

With Jon Gruden in town (and Khalil Mack out of town), the Raiders seek to rebound from a fourth-place finish in the AFC West last year. Upon arrival, Gruden relieved veteran receiver Michael Crabtree and polarizing punter Marquette King of their duties and brought in wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant to support Derek Carr. Along with Amari Cooper, who is coming off a disappointing 48-catch, 680-yard year, the Raiders have developed a receiving corp with immense upside and big-play ability, but also some risk.

Nelson has struggled to stay on the field in recent years, and Bryant’s tenure in Pittsburgh fizzled out due to unrest and his off-the-field issues. If both are on the field, the Raiders could boast one of the more potent passing attacks behind Carr, who threw for more than 7,900 yards and an even 60 touchdowns between 2015 and 2016, before struggling last year (3,496 yards, 22 touchdowns). Cooper also stands to benefit, as the added depth should relieve him of some coverage pressure.

The running game is also moving in the right direction with Marshawn Lynch leading the charge, backed up by Gruden project Doug Martin. The former Tampa back averaged 2.9 yards per carry in both 2016 and 2017 and hasn’t played a full season since 2015. Perhaps a secondary role will suit him. Lynch, meanwhile, averaged 4.3 yards per carry last season, in a year where the passing attack wasn’t there. He should benefit from the bolstered WR corp as well, considering it should take some of the pressure off him in the backfield. Overall, this Raiders team is capable of making a surprise run (assuming they can bring back Khalil Mack), and there should be fantasy production given the near-constant shootout potential.

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Denver Broncos

Season Win Total: 7.5
Odds to win AFC West: 14/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 33/1
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Key player additions

Case Keenum
Marquette King
Tramaine Brock
Clinton McDonald
S’ua Cravens

Key player losses

Aqib Talib
Corey Nelson
Virgil Green
Donald Stephenson
Trevor Siemian
C.J. Anderson

Draft picks

Bradley Chubb, DE
Courtland Sutton, WR
Royce Freeman, RB
Isaac Yiadom, CB
Josey Jewell, LB
DaeSean Hamilton, WR
Troy Fumagalli, TE
Sam Jones, G/C
Keishawn Bierria, LB
David Williams, RB

DFS relevant players

Case Keenum
Demaryius Thomas
Emmanuel Sanders
Devontae Booker
Royce Freeman
Courtland Sutton

Parting thoughts

Long gone are the days of Peyton Manning. 2018 starts the era of Case Keenum in Denver. GM John Elway has had no success in replacing Manning, as Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch failed to produce. But Keenum’s 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns caught the eye of the Hall of Famer, after leading the Vikings to a playoff berth and a 13-3 regular season.

His wide receiver corp doesn’t exactly improve, moving on from Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders managed just 555 yards and two touchdowns last season, while Thomas saw his production come in at an underwhelming 945 yards and five touchdowns. They are both over 30 years of age now, and the Broncos will be eager to get Courtland Sutton work. The rookie wideout is getting rave reviews in camp, and the Broncos need a third wideout. He’ll be getting work, and he gives Case Keenum an ever-so-slight bump. All in all, this passing offense should worry any DFS owner.

In the running game, C.J. Anderson is gone, and Royce Freeman is in. The third-round pick is expected to get the starting job ahead of Devontae Booker, who could have some appeal if Freeman falls short of expectations or goes down with injury. Freeman is safer, however, as he is poised to get immediate work. Still, it’s unlikely he’ll transform this team into a winner, and Keenum doesn’t have the weapons he did last year. It could be a rough road again for Denver as they develop their youth.

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