Cyrus Gray's Instant Fantasy Reaction After Preseason Game vs. Panthers

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVAugust 17, 2014

Kansas City Chiefs running back Cyrus Gray (32) runs in the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 41-39. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

Cyrus Gray continues to make his case as one of the Kansas City Chiefs' top running backs in preseason, posting another strong outing Sunday night in a loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Gray was given the heaviest workload among the team's running backs for the second game in a row, and impressed again. He notched 10 carries, racking up 44 yards on the ground.

It was his second straight head-turning performance, coming after a 10-carry, 55-yard showing—including a touchdown—against the Bengals in Kansas City's preseason opener. reporter B.J. Kissel noticed how strong Gray looked on each and every carry:

Gray did have one reception Sunday, but for negative yardage. He was also targeted on a would-be touchdown open in the end zone, but quarterback Chase Daniel missed him.

Gray notched a few regular-season carries his rookie season, but only had nine all of 2013 as the Chiefs' third-string running back on the depth chart. Workhorse back Jamaal Charles and impact No. 2 rusher Knile Davis made Gray's time in the backfield rare.

Entering this preseason, it was unclear even if Gray would have that same No. 3 spot on the roster. The Chiefs drafted playmaker De'Anthony Thomas and signed undrafted free agent Charcandrick West as well.

Mike McCarn/Associated Press

However, Sunday's game further proves that Gray is currently the guy in the No. 3 slot. Thomas only had one carry in the backfield, and West had none. 

Gray's impact on the Chiefs has been minimal other than special teams play in his first two years, but he's enjoying the chance to prove himself this preseason.

“It just feels good, especially during the live drill where you can showcase it in front of your teammates,” Gray said, per the team's official site. “That’s something I know I can do. It’s just having the confidence in doing it all the time.”

Gray is having fun making said impact, per his personal Twitter account:

Much of Gray's impact on Sunday's game came due to Charles and Davis both not playing, along with the obvious preseason factor. With that considered, the Chiefs' coaching staff has gone with Gray for most of the preseason for a reason, and he hasn't disappointed.

Whether or not Gray makes the roster, he'll have his work cut out for him to even threaten Davis' secondary carries after his 242-yard, four-touchdown rookie season. Considering Davis' fantasy impact is tempered in itself due to Charles' heavy workload, Gray doesn't figure to be relevant at all in standard leagues out of the gates. 

But in the NFL, one or two turns can alter an entire depth chart. Should injuries or struggles force Gray into more playing time, don't be surprised if he steals some thunder from the other Chiefs backs.