Prepping for the upcoming fantasy football season requires asking tough questions.

Which NFL teams are set up for success? Which teams are set to struggle? Where can fantasy managers mine the latent fantasy talent? Which brand-name stars could actually disappoint?

Throughout June, I’ll sift through every division and highlight the most pressing fantasy question facing each team. Next up, the AFC West.

Pressing fantasy questions by division:
AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South

How should fantasy managers approach Javonte Williams heading into his third season?

Williams suffered a season-ending multi-ligament tear (ACL and LCL) in Week 4 of last season. The former second-round pick has been rehabbing, and while Sean Payton believes Williams will be ready to partially participate at the start of training camp, the timing of his 2023 return remains in question. Per ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell, “His involvement at training camp will be a big indicator of just how close he is to return to play.”

To combat the uncertainty surrounding Williams’ upcoming campaign, Denver added Samaje Perine in free agency. The former Bengal has materialized as a capable backup, managing 12 scores in 18 career games in which he touched the ball at least 10 times. He also cleared 20 touches in each game when subbing in for Joe Mixon last season. Entering his age-28 season and with reasonably fresh legs, Perine figures to dominate Denver’s backfield at the top of 2023.

Takeaway: Fantasy managers need to temper expectations surrounding Williams. His volume and efficiency figure to be unpredictable given the timeline of his knee injury and the addition of Perine.

Is there a Chiefs pass-catcher not named Travis Kelce who can provide fantasy production regularly?

The key word is “regularly.” There were just eight instances in which a non-Kelce pass-catcher scored more than 15 fantasy points for the Chiefs last season. Additionally, those eight instances were distributed among three different players (JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Kadarius Toney). Patrick Mahomes warned managers about this possibility heading into last fall, explaining he was probably going to spread the ball around throughout 2022. That cautioning, however, came before the team acquired Toney.

Toney’s durability is absolutely a concern, but his explosiveness when healthy is staggering. That trademark quality was on display during Kansas City’s postseason run. Toney recorded his highest-target game as a Chief (seven) in the divisional round against Jacksonville and scored a touchdown in Super Bowl LVII (just before ripping off the longest punt return in SB history). He has a shot of picking up where he left off and emerging as the second option on a pass-friendly squad (651 pass attempts in 2022) led by an elite QB/head coach tandem.

Takeaway: Toney’s risk is elevated by a combination of potential off-field and injury concerns. The exits of Smith-Schuster and Hardman, however, have provided the former Giant with the chance to showcase his game-breaking talent. Fantasy managers seeking upside should target Toney just outside of the top 40 players at the position.

Is Davante Adams still a top-five fantasy WR with Jimmy Garoppolo under center?

After Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Cooper Kupp and Tyreek Hill, who are you ranking ahead of him? Maybe Stefon Diggs? Then who? No one. Because Adams is the most consistent producer (with the most elite floor) at the position. Adams has cleared 1,300 yards and posted double-digit TDs in four of his past five campaigns. He also improved his TD total by three scores and maintained his status as a top-five wideout after moving from Aaron Rodgers to Derek Carr last season.

Garoppolo isn’t going to regularly lob rainbows downfield, but that doesn’t mean Adams can’t catch 100 (efficiently thrown) balls or that he won’t thrive as the team’s lone deep threat. There is simply no competition for what he does on the Raiders’ roster. Not, at least, since Darren Waller departed for the Giants. Adams’ talent demands looks, which is why he’s earned a target share over 30% for four consecutive seasons. Average quarterback play hasn’t stopped him yet … and it doesn’t figure to do so in 2023.

Takeaway: Adams figures to draw double-digit targets on a weekly basis. His overall yardage might dip with Jimmy G under center, but his projected volume and next-level talent make him one of fantasy’s safest early-round picks.

Will Justin Herbert return to top-five fantasy QB status with Kellen Moore calling the plays?

I’m here for the rebound, but busting through the top five is going to be tough given the competition (Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow).

Herbert, 25, suffered a rib injury in Week 2 last season and played through the pain, which negatively affected his production. As he healed, however, his stats steadily improved. Herbert managed a completion percentage of 64.1% from Weeks 3 through 10, but that number jumped to 71.2% from Weeks 11 through 18. He was also a top-15 fantasy QB just twice over his first seven games post-injury, but a top-12 producer at the position six times over the final eight games of the regular season.

Moore figures to help Herbert’s fantasy cause. The former signal-caller got booted from Dallas for wanting to “light up” the scoreboard. Moore’s aerial approach was a large part of the reason Dak Prescott averaged 8.4 air yards per throw (more than 6% above the league average) in 2018 and 2019, before Mike McCarthy arrived (in 2020). Interestingly, Herbert recorded an aDOT nearly 16% below the league average (6.3) last season. That number figures to lift with Moore focused on utilizing his quarterback’s cannon and high-end surrounding talent.

Takeaway: Herbert is set up for top-eight fantasy success in 2023. He’s healthy, has a new OC who figures to help his efficiency and was gifted a wide receiver in the first round. Expect him to flirt with 4,500 passing yards and 30 TDs.

Follow Liz on Twitter: @LizLoza_FF

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Fantasy football rankings questions – AFC West