Kansas City Chiefs: Jamaal Charles and Others Worth Drafting in Fantasy Football
With NFL training camps right around the corner, it is time to start shifting a little bit of our fantasy sports focus to football.
While not totally abandoning your fantasy baseball commitments midseason, a fair amount of effort should be placed on prepping for your upcoming football drafts.
Unlike in other sports, fantasy football rosters are fairly limited and the shortened season does not help, either. Missing on players early could result in a swift exit from the playoff picture, resulting in a very long offseason.
Although it is certainly critical to not be void of star power, it is just as crucial to find players that aren’t as hyped (Arian Foster circa 2010) or others that just aren’t being talked about at all.
The Kansas City Chiefs come into the 2012 season with high expectations on the real gridiron. But for the anticipated success to become a reality, certain players must perform well as it relates to statistical measures, too—the entire foundation on which fantasy football was created.
Here are seven options worth looking at for your fantasy football drafts.
Running Backs Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis
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Coming off of an exceptional 2010 season in which he ran for 1,467 yards and five touchdowns, while gaining another 468 yards and three scores through the air, Jamaal Charles found himself involved in top-five fantasy draft pick chatter.
Most that selected Charles last year also drafted Thomas Jones in the later rounds (handcuff pick) in case Charles went down with injury or proved that he wasn’t durable enough to handle the workload typical of a No. 1 running back.
When Charles tore his ACL in a 48-3 Week 2 loss to the Detroit Lions, fantasy owners not only lost their horse, but they quickly discovered that Jones couldn’t get the job done as his replacement, either.
Enter Peyton Hillis in 2012.
Charles is the No. 1 back in Kansas City and the home run hitter, but Hillis—a younger, more capable version of Jones—should receive just as many carries with a substantial goal-line load as well. While Charles will garner most of the hype, Hillis is a natural handcuff pick for anyone who takes a chance on Charles early in drafts.
Wide Receivers Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin
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Unlike running backs, it is uncommon to draft two wide receivers from the same team, especially if that team isn’t going to light up the scoreboard through the air. However, the Kansas City Chiefs feature a vastly underrated receiving corps, headlined by Dwayne Bowe and second-year wideout Jon Baldwin.
We know what Bowe is capable of and Baldwin comes into the season as a wild card, having shown flashes in his limited time on the field.
While Bowe remains the Chiefs' go-to target—especially near the end zone—Baldwin could represent the home run threat that the team has lacked in the passing game over the years.
Bowe will be the most reliable, and he'll be the first Chiefs passing target drafted. But if Cassel is able to spread the ball around, Baldwin is capable of a Victor Cruz-lite type of year in 2012—a great steal in the later rounds.
Quarterback Matt Cassel
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Sure, there are plenty of other quarterbacks that will—and should—be drafted before even considering Matt Cassel for your fantasy team. But with an improved offensive line and a group of weapons surrounding him, it isn’t a stretch to assume Cassel could surpass his 2010 totals of 3,116 passing yards and 27 touchdowns against only seven interceptions.
Cassel’s responsibility to the Kansas City Chiefs is to manage games and minimize errors. So while there will be quarterbacks with far better numbers due to increased opportunities, Cassel will not detract from his point total with costly interceptions or fumbles.
In leagues that start two quarterbacks, Cassel’s value is a bit higher. But in standard leagues, he will serve as a solid backup during bye weeks or while playing matchups.
Kicker Ryan Succop
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While there should not be much time spent on which kicker to draft, there is always someone who comes out of nowhere to finish the season ranked in the top five.
The Kansas City Chiefs' offense is a candidate to make major strides this season. With an improved offensive line and an array of healthy weapons, the Chiefs will score some points this season. The only person all but guaranteed to be a part of all the increased scoring is kicker Ryan Succop.
Succop has never missed an extra point and boasts a career 81.2 percent mark on field-goal attempts. With increased opportunities, it is possible that Succop could be the kicker no one expected to finish ranked near the top.
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While most like to play the week-to-week matchups when it comes to defense/special teams in fantasy football, there are certain teams that are must-plays no matter the opponent.
Whether there is the potential for a shutout, high sack and turnover totals or the chance for a big play in the return game, there are only a handful of teams capable of thriving in all aspects as it relates to fantasy output.
Romeo Crennel is an accomplished coach on the defensive side of the ball. With the return of Eric Berry at safety and the emergence of linebacker Justin Houston opposite of Tamba Hali, the Kansas City Chiefs' defense has what it takes to be a force in fantasy football this season.
Throw in rookie Devon Wylie, along with Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas returning kicks, and the Chiefs' defense/special teams could become a must-play, regardless of the matchup.