Training Camp Preview: AFC West

Thu Jul 21 12:45pm ET
Sr Fantasy Writer

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Hardman hopes to start for Chiefs

This is the fourth in a series of training camp previews. The previews give you a quick look at each team, going over position battles and injuries to watch in camp. The season is right around the corner.


The Raiders made big waves this offseason. Las Vegas added Davante Adams to their offense and hired Josh McDaniels as their head coach. There are big expectations for this team this coming season. And it will start in training camp, seeing how quickly this team comes together. McDaniels will have a lot of pressure to get this unit going in a hurry. It will be interesting to see how McDaniels and the entire team handles it all. The Raiders hold training camp at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson, Nev.

Position battle: Davante Adams is penciled in as the top receiver for the Raiders and Hunter Renfrow will work out of the slot. But the No. 2 job opposite Adams is up for grabs in Las Vegas. Keelan Cole, Demarcus Robinson, Mack Hollins and Tyron Johnson will battle it out for playing time at that No. 2 spot in the lineup. This is a pretty wide open battle. You could see any of these players emerge. 

Injury watch: Kenyan Drake broke his ankle late in the season. He recently stated he won’t be full speed for the start of training camp, but should be ready for the start of the season. The Raiders are likely to bring along Drake slowly, though, to make sure he doesn’t have any setbacks. Drake is expected to serve as the top backup for the Raiders and could have a big role in the new offense because of his pass-catching ability. 


Denver finally landed their franchise quarterback this offseason, acquiring Russell Wilson. This solves a problem that has plagued the team for a long time. Wilson immediately gives the offense new life and makes the Broncos a playoff contender. Wilson should be the focus of this training camp for all Broncos fans. Wilson and his teammates get things going at the UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colo.

Position battle: The Broncos dealt Noah Fant this offseason, leaving a hole at tight end. Albert Okwuegbunam is the favorite to get that starting job, but the Broncos used a high-draft pick on Greg Dulchich. He could challenge Okwuegbunam for that starting job with a strong camp and preseason. Don’t count out the rookie. The Broncos are not going to just hand the job to Okwuegbunam. 

Injury watch: Jerry Jeudy suffered a groin injury during offseason workouts. He might not be 100 percent for the start of training camp because of injury. This is something to watch because Jeudy has a chance to finally have that breakout season. He needs to be healthy for that to happen, though. Hopefully, this injury isn’t too serious and Jeudy is ready to go shortly after camp opens. 


The Chargers have one of the most exciting, young offenses in football, led by Justin Herbert. This team should be considered one of the best in football, heading into the season. There is a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. The big issue is getting over the hump in the playoffs. Can this team take the next step in their development? This will be question for the Chargers as they head into training camp and the preseason. The Chargers hold their training camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Position battle: The Chargers are pretty much set at all their key offensive positions. The only real spot up for grabs is their backup running back job behind Austin Ekeler. The Chargers drafted Isaiah Spiller in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Spiller might be the favorite to win that top backup job. But Larry Rountree and Joshua Kelley also will be in the mix. Rountree got some action his rookie season and made some plays. This battle is pretty wide open and carries fantasy value with the Chargers talking about scaling back the workload of Ekeler a little. 

Injury watch: Star safety Derwin James is still recovering from offseason labrum surgery. He has not done any offseason workouts and could be slowed in camp because of the surgery. We would expect him to be ready for the start of the season, barring a setback in camp and preseason action. James is one of the top talents in the game defensively, so the Chargers will need him healthy and on the field if this team hopes to reach their heights.  


The Chiefs remain one of the top teams in all of football, but have some holes to fill this year. The team traded top receiver Tyreek Hill, leaving a huge hole to fill in the Chiefs offense. Do the Chiefs have enough firepower at receiver to make up for the loss of Hill? That should be the big focus of camp. Kansas City still has Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce left, so this offense should remain plenty potent. It remains to be seen if losing Hill puts a big dent in that unit. We will get an idea, starting in camp and preseason action. Kansas City trains at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo.

Position battle: As mentioned, Tyreek Hill is gone. This leaves a huge hole at receiver for the Chiefs. Kansas City added plenty of talent to help make up for that loss, but it remains to be seen how the depth chart plays out. There are a lot of talented players competing for playing time. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, Skyy Moore, Josh Gordon and Marquez Valdes-Scantling will battle it out for targets in the Chiefs offense. This could be a tough situation for fantasy teams to figure out, seeing the player that emerges to get the most targets.

Injury watch: This is likely a make or break season for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. If he doesn’t perform, the Chiefs could be moving on from their young back. He had injury issues again last year, missing seven games. He has missed 10 games in two seasons. He needs to show he can be a durable three-down back if he hopes to continue to start in the NFL. And it starts in camp. If he has any injury issues in camp or the preseason, it could derail his entire season. 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

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Treylon Burks Aug 9 7:13pm ET
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