Dexter McCluster: Chiefs' Emerging Weapon Is a Valuable Fantasy Piece

Richard LangfordCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2012

August 24, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Dexter McCluster (22) leaves the field after the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium. Seattle won the game 44-14. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Kansas City Chiefs running back Dexter McCluster has turned into a solid fantasy piece based solely on his potential as a slot receiver.

This is a unique path to fantasy relevancy, but McCluster is a unique talent. He is dangerous with the ball in his hands, but he hasn't been able to prove he could handle a full load as a running back, and until this season, he was not a polished enough receiver to be a full-time option there.

That's all changed now. 

In the Chiefs' Week 1 40-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, McCluster's six catches for 82 yards on 10 targets all were team highs. He did not have a carry. 

McCluster's involvement with the offense increased as the Chiefs fell further behind, and Kansas City began to spread it out as they tried to catch up. When it was all said and done, passes to McCluster accounted for almost a third of Cassel's total pass attempts. 

With his performance, and the Chiefs' lack of talent at receiver, McCluster will maintain a featured role in this offense. 

As far as receivers go, it looks like McCluster will be sharing targets with Dwayne Bowe and that is about it. 

When you consider that the Chiefs' supposed No. 2 receiver, Jon Baldwin, did not have a single target in Week 1, you get a feeling for the kind of emphasis the coaches have put on getting McCluster the ball. 

He currently holds the distinction of running back for fantasy purposes, but that will change quickly, and either way, he has value. 

McCluster is most valuable in points-per-reception leagues, as Kansas City is going to do what they can to get him touches, but his expanding role gives him value in any format and his ceiling is through the roof, as he should gain in proficiency as he increases his comfort in his new role.