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AFC West Player Analysis
Joshua Simmons,, Staff Writer

Denver Broncos (vs San Diego Chargers)

QB Peyton Manning: Derek Carr's four-touchdown excursion skewed the numbers for San Diego's pass defense but on the whole, this hasn't been a good matchup for opposing quarterbacks. Enter Peyton Manning, who broke Brett Favre's record and has thrown 11 touchdown passes over the past three weeks. Something's got to give, which of course adds to the intrigue of their showdown Thursday night. ( 306 yds pass with 3 TDs and 1 Int )

QB Brock Osweiler: ( 11 yds pass )

RB Ronnie Hillman: With all the touches Hillman is getting, he's running hot and scoring touchdowns in the process. The Chargers defense has been vulnerable at times to opposing running backs, which works to Hillman's advantage. ( 64 yds rush and 1 TD; 3 catches for 22 yds )

RB C.J. Anderson: While he did play last week, C.J. was only worked in for two carries. Has only the faintest of fantasy value right now. ( 29 yds rush; 1 catch for 6 yds )

RB Juwan Thompson: ( 11 yds rush; )

WR Demaryius Thomas: All due respect to the job San Diego has done with that secondary -- certainly much improved from a year ago -- but no team can hold a candle to the dimension Demaryius adds to this offense. Good luck trying to slow him down, primetime on Thursday. ( 7 catches for 95 yds and 1 TD )

WR Emmanuel Sanders: Hit paydirt against San Fran, so after his unexpected three for 38 dud in Week 6, you have to feel good about Sanders' outlook going forward. The Chargers pass defense is quality but Emmanuel is a dependable receiver in a Peyton Manning offense, a must-start every week. ( 2 yds rush; 6 catches for 73 yds )

WR Wes Welker: Defenses facing the Broncos simply cannot cover everybody, hence Welker's touchdown in Week 7. He isn't benefiting from the targets that fantasy owners grew accustomed to in years past, but you could do far worse in a WR3 or flex play. ( 6 catches for 51 yds )

WR Andre Caldwell: ( 1 catch for 8 yds )

TE Julius Thomas: As phenomenal a talent as Julius is, and we expect that talent to shine through, he has his work cut out for him a bit this week. San Diego has been a tough matchup, yielding just 64 receiving yards to opposing tight ends over the past three weeks. But you don't bench Thomas. ( 5 catches for 59 yds and 1 TD )

TE Jacob Tamme: ( 1 catch for 15 yds )

TE Virgil Green: ( 1 catch for 3 yds )

PK Brandon McManus: Affords fantasy owners a predictably high floor of production, as evidenced by the numerous extra points. Be that as it may, San Diego is the worst matchup for opposing kickers, that and the extra points, detracts from McManus' value. ( 3 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Denver Broncos: A middling fantasy defense through six games, Denver now faces a Philip Rivers led team which has yielded only 11 sacks and three turnovers. Of note: cornerback Chris Harris is having a sensational season. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT )

Kansas City Chiefs (vs Saint Louis Rams)

QB Alex Smith: Despite meager fantasy production over the past two weeks, in both cases on the road against a formidable defense, Alex stands a good chance at QB1 caliber numbers here if you're feeling lucky. He's back home, the Chiefs backfield is about as healthy as it's going to be, and St. Louis has been a superb matchup for opposing quarterbacks. ( 220 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 24 yds rush )

QB Chase Daniel: ( 4 yds pass )

RB Jamaal Charles: The bye week came at a good time for Charles, who looked rejuvenated in Week 7. After snapping San Diego's winning streak, this team hosts the local punching bag Rams. St. Louis does feature a quality run defense but no matter, Charles is up to the task. ( 81 yds rush and 1 TD; 3 catches for 27 yds )

RB Knile Davis: Not seeing a ton of work now that Jamaal Charles is closer to a hundred percent, although he did get double digit carries amid last week's ball control game script. Merely a flex play, except in really deep leagues. ( 39 yds rush; 1 catch for 8 yds )

RB Cyrus Gray: ( 4 yds rush; 1 catch for 4 yds )

RB De'Anthony Thomas: Getting catches, no matter where he lines up in the offense. ( 2 yds rush; 1 catch for 7 yds )

WR Dwayne Bowe: It was his second decent fantasy output over the last three weeks with his 5 for 84 statline against the Chargers. Problem is, Bowe's five redzone targets resulted in zero touchdowns. At least the Rams defense makes for a great match up. ( 5 catches for 64 yds )

WR A.J. Jenkins: Draws more attention for his former status as a first-round draft pick then he draws targets from Alex Smith. Realistically, A.J. is fourth among receiving options on this team. ( 3 catches for 37 yds )

WR Junior Hemingway: Has been playing all season, but failed to catch a pass in two of his last three games. Move along, nothing to see here. ( 2 catches for 16 yds )

WR Frankie Hammond: Would likely get increased snaps in the event Junior Hemingway is inactive. ( 1 catch for 5 yds )

WR Albert Wilson: ( 1 catch for 2 yds )

TE Travis Kelce: Only twice this season has he accumulated more than 49 yards receiving but until Week 7, at least you could mark him down for a touchdown each week. The Rams defense is not so good a matchup and Kelce doesn't see a plethora of targets, meaning fantasy owners would do well to proceed with caution. ( 3 catches for 39 yds )

TE Anthony Fasano: More valued for his role as a blocking specialist, which doesn't show up in the box score. ( 2 catches for 23 yds )

TE Demetrius Harris: ( 1 catch for 1 yd )

PK Cairo Santos: His fantasy value has been on the rise, K.C. relying on him more often over the past month. For whatever that's worth. ( 3 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Kansas City Chiefs: Despite hosting the Rams, who have been a top-three fantasy matchup, K.C. is not start-worthy in the majority of formats. Justin Houston is turning in a banner season but isn't able to overcome major deficiencies at other positions. In only two games has this defense generated any turnovers. ( 2 sacks )

Oakland Raiders (vs Cleveland Browns)

QB Derek Carr: Tore apart the Chargers defense but for the most part, has played as you would expect a rookie to. Traveling to Cleveland this week, Carr will show well at times but continue to take his share of lumps too. ( 218 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 17 yds rush )

QB Matt Schaub: He has yet to see any live action this season but if Derek Carr misses time again due to injury, Schaub could run the offense efficiently. ( 79 yds pass and 1 Int; 2 yds rush )

QB Matt McGloin: ( 15 yds pass )

RB Darren McFadden: Continues to see a majority of the workload, even with MJD back for some time now. Worth consideration as a flex play or better, and this week he takes on a porous Browns defense yielding a glut of rushing numbers. ( 59 yds rush; 3 catches for 20 yds )

RB Maurice Jones-Drew: Not getting many snaps and the team isn't showing any sort of commitment to him. ( 28 yds rush; 2 catches for 17 yds )

RB Latavius Murray: ( 3 yds rush; 1 catch for 4 yds )

RB Marcel Reece: Rarely gets touches except as an occasional pass catcher. ( 4 yds rush; 2 catches for 14 yds )

WR James Jones: Led the team in targets last week, and his role (if somewhat uninspiring) isn't going away anytime soon. Jones' steady play seems indicative of the highest floor, among this team's receivers. ( 6 catches for 76 yds and 1 TD )

WR Denarius Moore: With just two receptions from Week 4 on, Denarius is pretty far down the list as far as target distribution goes. ( 4 catches for 48 yds )

WR Andre Holmes: Although limited by Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals defense in Week 7, Andre's recent track record would seem to suggest that he possesses the highest fantasy upside among Oakland players. As such, you have to like his outlook versus Cleveland, whom opposing wideouts have scored five touchdowns against over the past three weeks. ( 3 catches for 49 yds )

WR Kenbrell Thompkins: Targeted twice last week but he still has yet to catch any passes in a Raiders uniform. ( 1 catch for 12 yds )

WR Brice Butler: Seeing as Brice has demonstrated big play ability in consecutive weeks, his role figures to expand so long as he continues to capitalize when called upon. Certainly worth a stash in dynasty formats with deep rosters. ( 1 catch for 9 yds )

TE Mychal Rivera: Essentially an afterthought in Oakland's passing attack, he's so seldom thrown to. ( 3 catches for 25 yds )

TE Brian Leonhardt: ( 1 catch for 5 yds )

PK Sebastian Janikowski: Perpetually near the bottom of these rankings, as he seldom comes into scoring opportunities. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Oakland Raiders: Down here with New Orleans, as far as the least productive defenses for fantasy. ( 1 sack, 1 Fumble )

San Diego Chargers (vs Denver Broncos)

QB Philip Rivers: When 205 passing yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception are the low point for your fantasy quarterback, you're doing alright. Rivers benefits from a favorable matchup against the Broncos defense on Thursday Night Football. Start with confidence. ( 276 yds pass with 3 TDs; 6 yds rush )

QB Kellen Clemens: ( 25 yds pass; 1 yd rush )

RB Branden Oliver: Denver has allowed just 95 rushing yards to opposing running backs, over the past three weeks. As long as Ryan Mathews remains out, however, Oliver will continue to get a copious amount of touches which will bolster his fantasy numbers. ( 65 yds rush; 4 catches for 32 yds )

RB Donald Brown: Hasn't suited up since week 5, but has reportedly progressed through the league's protocol regarding concussions. Strictly a backup to rookie Branden Oliver though.

RB Ronnie Brown: Only has fantasy value in the event that Donald Brown is inactive. ( 10 yds rush; 1 catch for 6 yds )

RB Shaun Draughn: ( 6 yds rush; 1 catch for 1 yd )

WR Keenan Allen: No touchdowns and only once has he surpassed 58 yards receiving, against Jacksonville in week 4. Regardless of opponent, Keenan isn't the primary read on pass plays to the extent he was last season. ( 5 catches for 59 yds )

WR Malcom Floyd: Lately the most proficient fantasy wideout on this team, believe it or not. The Broncos defense, meanwhile, has yielded 359 receiving yards and three scores to opposing players at the position over the last two weeks. ( 3 catches for 54 yds )

WR Eddie Royal: Averaging significantly more yards-per-reception this season, when he isn't scoring touchdowns, Royal isn't much of a fantasy asset. He isn't the target magnet that many of his WR2 counterparts are but those scores can certainly propel his fantasy day. He's this high in our rankings because of them. ( 1 yd rush; 3 catches for 45 yds and 1 TD )

WR Seyi Ajirotutu: ( 1 catch for 3 yds )

TE Antonio Gates: Sustaining elite fantasy production and getting into the endzone with regularity. The Broncos defense has shut down opposing tight ends in half their games but do struggle in this regard at times, recently allowing 10 catches and a touchdown to rookie Jace Amaro. ( 5 catches for 55 yds and 1 TD )

TE Ladarius Green: No touchdowns and only twice has he surpassed 24 yards receiving. Green wasn't even targeted in Week 7. ( 2 catches for 30 yds )

TE John Phillips: ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

PK Nick Novak: Even in games when San Diego fails to score as many points -- take last week's loss to K.C. for instance -- Novak manages to get his. He'll do just fine, in Thursday night's divisional tilt in Denver. ( 3 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def San Diego Chargers: Less effective for fantasy the past two weeks, although the front seven is above average and secondary much improved, thanks in part to Brandon Flowers. A must-sit as they travel to Denver on a short week. ( 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )

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