The Kansas City Chiefs' problems continue to mount.
Larry Johnson's continued unacceptable conduct outside of the NFL has left the Kansas City Chiefs no option but to deem him inactive for the team's Week Eight game. Coach Herm Edwards announced on Wednesday that Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles will be sharing carries in Johnson's absence.
Not only are the off-field antics beginning to create a significant distraction for the team, but both Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard are out for the remainder of the 2008 season. That leaves Tyler Thigpen and recently signed QB Quinn Gray leading the team from inside the pocket.
What kind of impact will this have within the fantasy realm?
With the NFL's continued focus on upholding the league's image, it is very likely that Johnson will see a suspension handed down to him, the length of which can only be guessed. That said, his fantasy value in Week Eight is obviously nil, and for the weeks afterwards, will be determined based on what disciplinary action he receives.
So far this year, the Chiefs have run 58 percent of their offense through the air (201 passing plays) and 42 percent on the ground (146 rush attempts). With Thigpen being a relatively new and inexperienced quarterback, teams can force him to make plays while focusing on shutting down the run.
Although Smith and Charles should see around 10 to 12 carries each per game, chances are they will struggle against teams that have a green light to stack the line until Thigpen can prove himself as a worthy threat.
Although Charles is listed behind Kolby Smith on the official depth chart, to date, Charles has received 24 carries to Smith's 14, producing total yardage of 115 yards for a 4.8 yards per carry average compared to 39 yards by Smith for a 2.8 yards per carry average. Time will tell if the official depth chart changes to reflect this statistical anomaly.
At this point, it appears there is very little fantasy value to any part of the Chiefs' offense. Until Thigpen or Gray can play well enough, or Charles and Smith can produce under these difficult conditions, it is advisable for fantasy owners to continue to stay far away from the Chiefs, the lone exception being Tony Gonzalez.
If you do want to find a silver lining, this situation is giving players—Jamaal Charles in particular—a chance to play a bigger role, one that may not have come about otherwise.
The only significance of the Chiefs that remains is that your other fantasy players must play them. Hooray for that.