Writer - @martzmadness on the Fantasy Life App
The Chiefs are major contenders for the AFC West this year. With the Broncos trying to find the least disastrous QB, the Chargers juggling contract disputes, and the Raiders packing their bags for Las Vegas, things are looking awfully good for Kansas City. After holding the Bears to -7 (that’s right, negative seven) passing yards in the first half of August 27th’s preseason contest, it looks as though their defense has things pretty much figured out. They were also offensively competent last year when they snagged a wild card playoff spot after rattling off ten straight wins after a rocky start. A lot has changed, however.
Without further ado, let’s examine the team by position.
The starting Quarterback, as per the norm, will be Alex Smith this season. Smith might not be the flashiest QB in the game, and he might not finish with great numbers…but he will guide this team to wins. His run game is slowly developing into something a little more substantial, but that might make some Chiefs fans nervous. We all saw what happened to Tony Romo when he scrambled out of the pocket. In the event that Smith does go down, Nick Foles has looked good in the preseason. If something does happen to Smith, then the team will only take a slight step down. Unless you’re in a deep, deep league, I wouldn’t take either of these QBs as a starter.
This is certainly a hot topic of conversation: Jamaal Charles. The 29-year-old, soon to be 30, is coming back off of an ACL injury which ended his season last year. He is a very risky pick in any format, but he is undeniably one of the greatest runningbacks of the current era. Besides this, he has sustained injuries of this nature already and flourished in his returns. Charles is an absolute beast both running and catching the ball, and he won’t just forget that overnight. In a deeper league, Spencer Ware is worth considering, too. Even with Charles on the field, I can see Ware vulturing some goal-line TD’s. He’s the RB you want to handcuff with Charles, as Charcandrick West is a pure backup. Ware has stand-alone value.
Jeremy Maclin is obviously the premier receiver for the Chiefs, and it’s worth noting that the Chiefs went 9-7 in a year where no WR hit paydirt. The Chiefs have made no obvious plays to improve the QB situation, so their emphasis is clearly still on the run. I wouldn’t put my eggs in the Maclin basket, though he is the best receiver on the team by far. He has major upside, but Smith likes to spread the ball out and Jamaal will probably garner the majority of receptions like he has done in the past. Chris Conley has shown flashes as an upside sleeper, while Albert Wilson has looked to be a low-end WR3 within the offense. In Dynasty play, Tyreek Hill might be a good stash. He’s poised to be a punt returner this year, and has shown some streaks in the preseason.
Perhaps the biggest rock star on the Chiefs, Travis Kelce has been a tricky play in the past. He’s perennially a top 10 TE, a household name with high stock value. When he’s hot, he’s hot. When he’s cold, he’s cold. His ceiling is ridiculous, but so is his floor. He’s usually good for most of the passing TDs on the team, and has the ability to rack up insane yards on dink and dunk plays. James O’Shaughnessy is also a contender to consider, as the Chiefs sometimes employ two-TE sets. He’s not a great play, and his ceiling is pretty low. However, if you find yourself scouring the wire for an eligible TE to play in a thirty-two team league, O’Shaughnessy has the potential to score and gain minimal yardage.
If you’re in an IDP league, the must-own Chief for the year is Marcus Peters. He’s a pick machine, and he’s establishing a reputation as one of the best young defensive players in the game. The linebacking corps is in a little bit of jeopardy, as star Justin Houston is a major question mark for this season with an injury to the knee. Dee Ford seems to be the man who is queued up to replace him, but it’s hard to replace Justin Houston in the first place. Ford would need to step it up in a major way in order to try and fill his shoes. The front seven already seems a little more porous in the preseason. The secondary, however, has remained stalwart, with warrior Eric Berry returning. There were some losses to the secondary (Flowers, etc.), but the Chiefs have made some acquisitions to alleviate the pressure on the remaining defenders.
Go bullish on the Chiefs D/ST this year. All I can say is, Knile Davis is almost certain to return a kick for a TD and Tyreek Hill is almost certain to return a punt for six as well. Besides that, the first-team defense has held solid first-team offenses to no points in the preseason. Think about how Russel Wilson picked apart the Cowboys last Thursday, and realize that Wilson didn’t score on the Chiefs at all in their inaugural matchup. The run might squeak through, but the pass is almost futile against this gang of monsters.