's Countdown to Kickoff: AFC West preview

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2014 record: 3-13

Projected 2015 record: 4-1


Week 1: vs. Cincinnati

Week 2: vs. Baltimore

Week 3: at Cleveland

Week 4: at Chicago

Week 5: vs. Denver

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: at San Diego

Week 8: vs. NY Jets

Week 9: at Pittsburgh

Week 10: vs. Minnesota

Week 11: at Detroit

Week 12: at Tennessee

Week 13: vs. Kansas City

Week 14: at Denver

Week 15: vs. Green Bay

Week 16: vs. San Diego

Week 17: at Kansas City

 (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

In this modern NFL, if you don’t have the quarterback, you don’t have a thing…or a chance. This might no longer apply to the Oakland Raiders.

Quarterback Derek Carr is coming off a quietly intriguing rookie season and the addition of an all-world receiving talent in fourth-overall pick Amari Cooper might change the fantasy story with the perpetually rebuilding Raiders. Sure, they are going to be more about defense than offense with Jack Del Rio at the helm, but Carr to Cooper is a talented enough duo to become one of the best long-term combos in the game today.

For as long as they’ve struggled, especially on offense, seeing will equal believing. Give it some time and don’t go overboard with Raiders selections in games like the $1 Million NFL Rush come opening week in September.

Player to Watch: Amari Cooper. The Alabama rookie has star potential, and with a gunslinger at quarterback in Carr, the upside is tremendous. Still, he’s not a proven commodity just yet, and he’ll have to make an impact quickly before he’s an attractive fantasy option.

-Tyler Brooke and Eric Mack


2014 record: 9-7

Projected 2015 record: 7-9


Week 1: at Houston

Week 2: vs. Denver

Week 3: at Green Bay

Week 4: at Cincinnati

Week 5: vs. Chicago

Week 6: at Minnesota

Week 7: vs. Pittsburgh

Week 8: vs. Detroit

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: at Denver

Week 11: at San Diego

Week 12: vs. Buffalo

Week 13: at Oakland

Week 14: vs. San Diego

Week 15: at Baltimore

Week 16: vs. Cleveland

Week 17: vs. Oakland

 (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Jamaal Charles is his team’s one, and perhaps only, true weapon. He is a threat to score from anywhere on land or by air.

Every defense gears to stop him. It didn’t keep him from becoming the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher, a franchise that boasted the fantasy heyday of Priest Holmes, mind you. Also, you might be interested to note: Charles is the only back in NFL history with a better yards-per-carry average ( than the great Jim Brown, who is well-regarded as the best running back of all time.

It is not even close either. Charles is at 5.5, while Brown is 5.2. Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers and Adrian Peterson are all 5.0. Even the legend known as Bo Jackson is just 5.4 (he doesn’t qualify for the list because he had only 515 career carries).

So yes, Charles might not get the headlines of other great athletes, but he can make a case for himself and we should probably be listening and loading up on him in FanDuel games like Week 1 $1 Million NFL Rush.

Player to Watch: Jeremy Maclin. Not one receiver caught a touchdown for the Chiefs in 2014. Maclin is hoping to change that, but he can only do so much with Alex Smith throwing him the ball in a run-heavy offense.


2014 record: 9-7

Projected 2015 record: 9-7


Week 1: vs. Detroit

Week 2: at Cincinnati

Week 3: at Minnesota

Week 4: vs. Cleveland

Week 5: vs. Pittsburgh

Week 6: at Green Bay

Week 7: vs. Oakland

Week 8: at Baltimore

Week 9: vs. Chicago

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: vs. Kansas City

Week 12: at Jacksonville

Week 13: vs. Denver

Week 14: at Kansas City

Week 15: vs. Miami

Week 16: at Oakland

Week 17: at Denver

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The San Diego Chargers don’t have a question about their quarterback, even if fantasy and the future might. Philip Rivers is a rock-solid veteran signal-caller and just signed perhaps his final pro contract, so this stands to be a tell-tale year for one of the most volatile players (emotionally and statistically) in the NFL.

While we just intimated Rivers is a volatile personality, it is from his competitive fire. On FanDuel, we should love the intensity and drive to be successful—the latter of which Rivers hasn’t always been in his good, but not great career.

Rivers was drafted in the Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger class. Those two have multiple Super Bowl titles and fairly certain fantasy status. Rivers is more of a wild card. We cannot wait to see how it unfolds, especially if he stays at his current slot of No. 13 among quarterbacks at $8,100 in Week 1.

Player to Watch: Melvin Gordon. The explosive rookie running back out of Wisconsin has a lot to prove in his first season in the league. He’ll have a legitimate passing game in front of him thanks to Philip Rivers, but he’ll still have to prove that he can make big plays at the pro level.

-Tyler Brooke and Eric Mack


2014 record: 12-4

Projected 2015 record: 12-4


Week 1: vs. Baltimore

Week 2: at Kansas City

Week 3: at Detroit

Week 4: vs. Minnesota

Week 5: at Oakland

Week 6: at Cleveland

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: vs. Green Bay

Week 9: at Indianapolis

Week 10: vs. Kansas City

Week 11: at Chicago

Week 12: vs. New England

Week 13: at San Diego

Week 14: vs. Oakland

Week 15: at Pittsburgh

Week 16: vs. Cincinnati

Week 17: vs. San Diego

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Denver Broncos could not get over the Super Bowl hump with a defensive-minded head coach in John Fox. In Peyton Manning’s potential farewell tour at age 39, they are giving it a try with an offensive mind in Gary Kubiak.

Sure, Kubiak’s work with the Houston Texans categorizes him as a run guy, but that was also a function of personnel. Arian Foster was the figurehead and the quarterback, well, never mind who the quarterbacks were. They stunk. And they kept changing. Often.

When you have Manning, you are a pass-friendly, offense-friendly and fantasy-friendly team, bar none. Yes, Manning looked like a shell of his former self down the fantasy stretch last year, and the Broncos spit the bit in the postseason against Andrew Luck, throwing for an un-Manning-like 211 yards and just one touchdown. But those were the cold weather months.

In one-week fantasy leagues at FanDuel, we don’t have to worry about how Manning might once again regress in wintry, late-season games. We care about his production from week-to-week.

Player to Watch: Cody Latimer. With Wes Welker gone, Cody Latimer could finally be the No. 3 guy in Denver. He was a standout player at Indiana, but didn’t get the chance to prove himself as a rookie. Could this be his year?

-Tyler Brooke and Eric Mack


Welcome to the 2015 NFL season!

Every weekday for the next few weeks we will release predictions for a different division and the overall season, and today we begin with the AFC West. Last season, the Denver Broncos finished atop the pack and will likely do so once again despite losing star tight end Julius Thomas.

Scroll through the gallery above to check out each team's schedule and our projected records.

AFC North preview
AFC South preview
AFC East preview


Turn your fantasy football knowledge into cash! We're hosting a one-week $1 million league on FanDuel in Week 1. It's only $5 to enter and first place walks away with $100,000. Enter now and change your lineup anytime until 9/13 at 1:00pm (ET).

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