The Kansas City Chiefs arguably had the best draft out of any team this year. They turned six picks in the first three rounds into three immediate starters; DT Glenn Dorsey, OG Branden Albert, and CB Brandon Flowers.
This is the first step in Kansas City’s rebuilding process, which is far from done at this point. Their biggest weakness went untouched this off season: quarterback. Until there is a significant change at this position, the rebuilding process won’t be done.
So is there any fantasy value left in the rebuilding Chiefs squad? Some, but you should be cautious of how valuable it may be.
Brodie Croyle/Damon Huard
Let's start off by looking at the team's success last year with each quarterback. Huard won four of the ten games he started in, while Croyle lost all six games he started. According to head coach Herm Edwards, the starter this year is (drum roll please): Brodie Croyle! What?
I understand that Edwards would like to believe that Croyle is the future of this franchise, but the truth is that he isn't. He has second rate accuracy and arm strength, doesn't handle pressure well, and rarely throws the ball deep (and poorly when he does).
So should Croyle give up the thoughts of being a starter now? No, but he doesn't have long to prove that he can be a legitimate starter in the league. Too bad his horrible offensive line won't be helping him much, if at all. You would have to be pretty desperate and in a deep league if you are thinking of drafting him.
That isn't to say that Huard is the answer either. He is a competent NFL quarterback, but should not be anything more than a back-up. He definitely gives the team a better chance to win, but the Chiefs are more interested in winning two or three years from now, rather than this year.
He doesn't have much fantasy value either, and more than likely won't end up on a fantasy roster at any point this season.
Larry Johnson/Kolby Smith
The running game is the focus of Kansas City's offense to say the least. Herm Edwards loves to ride his starting running backs. A great example would be Larry Johnson who had his number called 336 times in 2005 and 416 times in 2006 before breaking his foot last year after 158 carries in eight games. Look for more of the same this year.
Johnson may have the skill to continue as a top-ten fantasy running back, but he doesn't have the supporting cast. Defenses will focus on him and without an offensive line to properly protect him, the defense will get to him. That doesn't bode well for his fantasy value, and bumps him down to No.2 fantasy running back status in my eyes.
Smith is a solid back-up. He has the size and speed to be competitive in the NFL, and flashed some quickness to the hole last year. Too bad there won't be many holes for him to quickly get through this season.
He filled in decently when Johnson was injured last season, but showed nothing spectacular. He shouldn't be drafted unless you are in a big league and don't mind possibly wasting a pick.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Dwayne Bowe/Devard Darling/Tony Gonzalez
An unstable quarterback position shouldn't spell success for a receiver, especially not in his rookie year, but Bowe fought his way to 995 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
He was able to do this because he flew under opposing defensive coordinators' radars while they focused on Gonzalez and Johnson. Don't expect the same thing to happen this year.
He can fight through traffic with the best of them and makes leaping catches that render some defensive backs helpless, but he is not naturally a deep threat and will be getting a lot more attention this year. His numbers should decline, but he will remain as a great No.3 fantasy receiver.
The best thing that I can say about Darling is that he makes a pretty solid special teams player. The same can't be said about his ability to be a wide receiver. After all, there is a reason he has only caught 18 balls in the last three years (all coming last year).
He may be used as a downfield option for the Chiefs this year, but won't be effective enough to gain any fantasy attention.
Fantasy experts keep predicting Gonzalez's production to decline, and how does he respond? By getting 99 receptions and 1,172 receiving yards last season. However, this may finally be the year his production actually declines.
His effectiveness in the red-zone is declining and he may be needed to stay back as a blocker more to help an inexperienced offensive line. However, he still is the No.1 passing option in this offense and he is still a No.1 fantasy tight end.
Cundiff looks to be the favorite to win the starting kicker's job over Nick Novak even though he hasn't kicked since 2005. The Chief's offense won't be giving him too many opportunities to kick, and he has yet to prove that he is a consistent enough kicker to make the most of those opportunities. That sounds like a recipe for a forgettable fantasy kicker.
The strength of the Kansas City defense is their front seven, specifically their defensive line. The departure of DE, Jared Allen did weaken the line, but the addition of rookie DT Glenn Dorsey should help solidify the line while former second round pick Turk McBride attempts to take over Allen's role.
Kansas City's linebackers are some of the fastest in the league and are led by the extremely versatile OLB Derrick Johnson and veteran MLB Napolean Harris, who no longer is an impact player, but still makes the plays he is supposed to.
Their secondary is their weakness and the loss of veteran corner back Ty Law doesn't help that. Rookie corner back Brandon Flowers is a sound tackler and plays smart in coverage will be looking to replace Law. They also have two young safeties with plenty of upside with Bernard Pollard and Jarred Page.
Jeff Webb is an average return man, and could be competing with rookie running back Jamaal Charles to keep the starting returner's job. Unless Charles shocks the league, this return unit shouldn't do much to impact the defensive unit's value.
Their front seven makes them a decent No.2 fantasy defense, but probably not good enough to see much time on a fantasy roster.
Top Five Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Players
1. Larry Johnson
2. Tony Gonzalez
3. Dwayne Bowe
4. Brodie Croyle
5. Kolby Smith
Bye Week: 6
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