The Kansas City Chiefs missed a big part of their offense last year when Jamaal Charles tore his ACL less than two games into the season.
I won’t blame their 7-9 record on Charles’ absence, but it most definitely made an impact. And remember, quarterback Matt Cassel was out too.
The Chiefs’ defense is solid, and it can keep the team in a lot of games. But even when the entire offense is healthy, there are some holes. And these holes make the team less attractive in the fantasy world.
The one player I’m unsure about drafting is…
Dwayne Bowe. He had a monster year just two seasons ago, but when you dig deeper, a lot of his numbers in 2010 came in just a handful of games. He had 7 games with 3 or less receptions. And he had 5 games with less than 50 yards. The reason Bowe was such a beast was because he scored 15 times.
Judging fantasy production off of touchdown receptions isn’t the smartest thing to do, and it showed last season. Even though Cassel was hurt for a good chunk of the season, Bowe still ended up snagging almost just as many yards as he did in 2010. So why did he go from the 2nd best wideout in 2010 to the 20th in 2011? He scored 10 less touchdowns.
He’s currently leaving the board in the middle of round 5, which I think is a fair valuation of a guy of his caliber. If he had a better quarterback, I’m sure we’d be valuing him a little higher (even though that’s not the best reason to rank someone). If you believe that Bowe can get 7-8 touchdowns, then draft him when you can in the 5th round. If you really think he’s going to slow down during his franchise tagged year, then stay away.
I’m honestly unsure.
Keep an eye out for…
Jon Baldwin. The former University of Pittsburgh wideout has a ton of talent (although he was over-drafted in the eyes of many two years ago). And he really likes to score.
That’s the reason he’s a nominee to be a breakout player this season. I’m not sure if he’ll be drafted in your league (going in the 13th round in most), but keep an eye out for his downfield running abilities and circus catches. When he was in college, Baldwin scored 16 touchdowns and had an average catch of over 18 yards. He’s 6’4’’ and can really stretch the field.
If Breaston gets moved to the slot in Kansas City, Baldwin would line up opposite of Dwayne Bowe. And if Bowe gets some extra coverage his way, Baldwin could see some light in the open secondary. It’s worth a shot at the end of your draft.
I see some value in…
Jamaal Charles. Many are going to stay away because of his ACL tear, but take a look at the highly shared article on NFL.com by writer Michael Fabiano. In his conclusion, he states:
The numbers above make it clear — the older a running back is at the time of an ACL tear, the worse his chances are to be productive the following season. We have also learned that suffering the ailment early in a season can be an advantage, as it allows more time to rehab and recover. That’s the reason I’m not as worried about Charles.
We can rank Charles lower because he’s coming off an injury – that’s fine – but please keep in mind that he suffered it Week 2 last year. It’s not a Rashard Mendenhall situation. And even if he’s not a freak healer like Adrian Peterson, he still suffered it weeks before the Vikings’ running back did.
And everyone needs to calm down about the Peyton Hillis signing. “He’s going to take touchdowns away from Charles,” I’ve heard said. But how is that different than what Charles has done in the past? You’re not getting Charles for touchdown production, you’re getting him for yardage.
Brian Daboll is the new offensive coordinator in Kansas City. He was in Miami last season, and Cleveland the year before. Last year, Reggie Bush had his best rushing season of his career. The year before that, Peyton Hillis had his.
Charles is currently going at the end of the second round in a lot of drafts. He, to a lot of people, is a low-end RB1/high-end RB2. I see him potentially being a middle of the road RB1.
The one word to describe the 2012 Chiefs is…
Healthy. Cassel is back from injury, and Charles is expected to be 100% as well after his ACL tear.
There are some interesting players on the Chiefs offense, such as Jon Baldwin and Tony Moeaki, who could be sleepers in deeper leagues.
The one historical stud in this offense, Dwayne Bowe, is franchise tagged this season. I just don’t see him getting close to the 15 touchdowns he posted two years ago. And with Baldwin and Breaston there to take some looks away, Bowe’s value in the 5th round seems accurate.