With the preseason officially over, and rosters down to the 53-man limit, its officially fantasy football season.
If you haven’t held your fantasy draft yet, and you are a Chiefs fan, here’s some draft advice for you. Yes, there are some Chiefs that we can take as fans, and they won’t be considered hosmer picks.
Let’s take a look.
Jamaal Charles and Spencer Ware
In a normal year, I wouldn’t have to mention Jamaal’s backup, but this year is different. Charles is 30 years old and coming off his 2nd ACL tear. Not only that, but Spencer Ware played so well down the stretch last season (75 rushes, 413 yards, 6 TD on the year) that it would be sinful of the Chiefs staff not to give him his own role. Charles is also no lock to start Week One, and head coach Andy Reid himself said today it would be a “stretch” for him to play Sunday. With the success of starting backs in Reid system well-documented, if you draft Charles, handcuffing him with Ware is a must. If you didn’t draft Charles, Ware still has considerable stand-alone value as he took the majority of goal line carries as the starter last year and this pre-season.
WR Jeremy Maclin
Last year when I wrote this article, Maclin was a newly signed free agent, and Kansas City had finished the regular season with zero wide receiver touchdowns. Here’s a bit of what I said:
“While some fantasy “analysts” will overlook him because Alex Smith threw no touchdowns to wide receivers last year, put a mighty bit of emphasis on last year…I don’t think Maclin will have superstar numbers, but 60+ receptions, 1,000+ yards, and 8+ touchdowns aren’t out of question”
Maclin’s 2015 statline? 87 catches, 1,088 yards, 8 TD’s.
Maclin was signed to be KC’s go-to guy, and that’s exactly what he became, pacing every other Chiefs receiver by a wide margin. While it wasn’t an every-other-play occurrence, he provided a presence downfield that 2014 Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery did not. In Year 2, he not only has additional reps with Alex Smith, but a rising young receiver opposite him in Chris Conley (more on him later). Barring a defensive collapse or significant injuries, I don’t believe Maclin will put up gaudy numbers, but another one thousand yard season with 7-10 scores is well within his ability.
TE Travis Kelce
While he didn’t drastically improve upon his 2014 totals (+5 catches, +13 yards), and he was no longer Alex Smith’s most dependable target, he did continue to demonstrate the game-breaking ability he has, and the potential to reach 1,000 yards (if Andy Reid would ever let him). For a multitude of reasons, his game-by-game stats waver for him to be counted on as a week in, week out starter, but if Reid finally lets him go Kelce could shock the world in 2016.
K Cairo Santos
Maybe you don’t know Cairo Santos, but you really should. The 3rd year Brazilian has started to come into his own. He’s converted 55 of 67 field goals and 77 of 79 extra points since being named the Chiefs starting kicker in 2014. He’s a value to be had, because, whether the media hypes them or not, Kansas City has a very effective offense. They ranked 9th inthe league in points per drive and scoring percentage last season, so Santos will have plenty of chances to score.
Chiefs Team Defense
Even without Justin Houston for the latter part of the season, Kansas City still allowed just 17.9 points per game, good for 3rd best in the league. They also recorded 47 sacks, 22 interceptions, 4 TD’s, and 13 forced fumbles. Unfortunately, Justin Houston will miss at least the first six weeks of the year (7.5 sacks, 2 INT’s last season), and three key defenders (Sean Smith, Husain Abdullah, Tyvon Branch) are no longer on the team. With many new faces, many wonder if the Chiefs defense will be as strong this season, but I trust in Bob Sutton and the rest of this Chiefs defense (that unfairly gets no media recognition) to fuel it until Houston returns. I believe they are certainly draftable, but maybe lower than usual.
SLEEPER: QB Alex Smith
Alex is never going to be an elite quarterback. He’s never going to be the guy that goes 30-45, 350 yards, 4 TD every other week. With the talent he will be surrounded by on offense he could certainly approach low-end QB1 numbers this season, although naysayers will point to his past and the talent in the KC backfield.
DEEP SLEEPER: WR Chris Conley
After being held in check by a very complicated offense last season, Chris Conley showed off a bit this preseason. Demonstrating speed and the ability to find soft spots in coverage, he seems to have overtaken Albert Wilson as the Chiefs WR2, and Alex Smith was clearly looking for him in-game. When the real games come around, I think Conley could be the secondary threat that could take this team to the next level. Still, he’s given the deep sleeper tag because he will be third or fourth in line on a balanced team for targets.
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