Last week, I gave you a player from each NFC team to watch over the summer and into the beginning of next season. Over the next four days, I'm going to do the same thing for the AFC. Today, I'll start by picking a player from each AFC West team.

The San Diego Chargers dominated the AFC West in 2007. They were the only team to finish above .500 (11-5) in the division. The Denver Broncos finished second with a 7-9 record and the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders tied for last at 4-12.

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Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson will likely be near the top of fantasy performers again next season, so I won't waste time listing him as a player to watch. People know what he can do by now and he'll likely be one of the top two overall picks again next year. Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez will once again be among the top players at that position. Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler was also a solid fantasy option last season. He threw for 20 touchdowns and 3,497 yards.

The AFC West could be the place to find several breakout performers in 2008. Oakland has some talented young players who could soon become fantasy regulars. Also, it's always a good idea to monitor the running backs in Denver if you're in need of help at that position. However, Cutler's emergence as a reliable quarterback means the player to watch the most in Denver is his tight end.

Tony Scheffler, Denver Broncos, TE – In the first four games of the 2007 season, Scheffler didn't catch a single pass. In the last 12 games, Scheffler had 49 catches for 549 yards. His best game was against Houston in Week 15, when he caught seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown, one of five last season. Look for him to post at least similar numbers in 2008.

Brodie Croyle, Kansas City Chiefs, QB – It remains to be seen whether Croyle can become a consistent starting quarterback in the NFL. He'll most likely begin the 2008 season as the starter in Kansas City. Croyle isn't worthy of a starting spot on your fantasy team at this point, but monitor his progress over the summer because he could become a late-round sleeper.

JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders, QB – Of the possible young superstars on the Raiders, Russell shows the most promise. He'll be the starter to begin the 2008 season, but needs to show he's ready for the challenge before you draft him. Watch how he performs in the offseason. If he does seem to be picking up the Raiders' offense, then don't be afraid to select him for your team. Russell will eventually be a big-time fantasy performer, but will he contribute in a valuable way in 2008?

Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers, RB – If your league counts return yardage as a statistic, then Sproles is definitely worth a look. As a bonus, he could see more carries for the Chargers if free agent running back Michael Turner goes elsewhere. Keep an eye on the running back situation in San Diego over the summer. Whoever becomes the backup for Tomlinson could still be a valuable fill-in for your fantasy team.

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