Jamaal Charles (above) took over the starting role from Larry Johnson in Week 10.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In the finale of the series, we head back to the AFC West and check out the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were 4-12 last year, with an offense that scored 18.4 ppg (23rd among 32 teams) and a defense that yielded 26.5 ppg (29th).
Matt Cassel - Moving from the well-structured and talented offense of the New England Patriots to the Kansas City Chiefs, you knew Cassel was going to struggle, but 2009 was much more difficult than expected (2,924 yards, 16 TDs, 16 interceptions). The offensive line yielded too many sacks, the No.1 receiver was suspended for four games and the second half of the season featured running back Jamaal Charles, all of which pulled down Cassel's totals. Former New England offensive coordinator and Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis has been brought in to aid the offense, but unless the line play improves it will be tough to imagine how Cassel will be greatly improved. On the other hand, the Chiefs soft schedule has a few weak defenses on it, so he could be used as a "spot" starter and given that he's the 22nd quarterback off the board, there is little downside in making him a late-round draft pick.
Jamaal Charles - Charles was the second-best running back in the league over the last half of the 2009 season. Taking over the starting role from Larry Johnson in Week 10, Charles accumulated 968 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns down the stretch, including five games of 100 yards-or-more. While numbers like those would normally make a runner a first-round choice the next season, you must temper your enthusiasm with the knowledge that the Chiefs brought in a quality backup running back in Thomas Jones. Jones is much better than any option Kansas City had last season and should get 10+ touches a game which last year would have gone to Charles. With this knowledge, don't pick Charles too high and get burned. Charles (ADP 30) reminds me of Ryan Grant after the 2007 season when Grant finished up strong and then disappointed fantasy owners the following season.
Thomas Jones - I'm not sure why Jones didn't find a better place to play in 2010 than as a backup to Charles, but he could thrive in the role. He'll likely get enough work to be fantasy-worthy, including goal-line situations over the 5'11, 200 lb Charles. On the other hand, if Charles' second half production is for real, then Jones might be limited to only those goal-line carries. As the 39th running back off the board (ADP 89), Jones has little downside and a solid upside. Neither Javarris Williams, Kestahn Moore or Jackie Battle should see the field enough to have any fantasy relevance.
Dwayne Bowe - Bowe has a million dollar receivers' body and a 10-cent head. How else can you explain his career? He began his career with a solid 70-catch 995 yard, five touchdown season and then improved on that in his second year (86-1,022-7). Unfortunately a four-game suspension for violating the league substance abuse policy interrupted his third year as did time in the coach's "doghouse." Year No.4 is off to a rocky start after Bowe was reported to have blabbed a story concerning "players importing women to the team hotel for a 2007 game in San Diego." If he would just play football he'd be a very good No.2 fantasy receiver, but can you trust him to play all 16 games without suspension by the league or the team. Draft Bowe at your own risk (ADP 58), and make sure you have depth at the position if you do.
Chris Chambers - Chambers was much better during his nine games with the Chiefs (36-608-4) than in his seven games for San Diego (9-122-1). Playing opposite Bowe, we hope, should allow him to roam free while the defense keys on Charles and Bowe. Beware that if the rookie, Dexter McCluster, develops more quickly than expected, Chambers could fall to No.3 at the position. Still, for this year at least, Chambers should be a solid value at an ADP of 153.
Dexter McCluster - McCluster played more running back than receiver at Mississippi, but could become a player like Percy Harvin down the road. It will just take time because he hasn't had the "reps" that Harvin had at receiver. In keeper leagues, McCluster should be selected well before his ADP of 166 because he has a nice upside at either receiver or running back.
Leonard Pope - The Chiefs will likely need their tight end to help out in the blocking scheme more than as a pass receiver which means Pope will probably have a year similar to last season's 20-catch, 174-yard, one touchdown effort. Which equates to little or no fantasy value in 2010.
Ryan Succop - Mr. Irrelevant had a decent season finishing 15th among fantasy kickers with 104 points. If the offense improves just a little bit, then Succop can become a low-end starter.
The Chiefs defense/special teams finished 20th in fantasy points last season after switching to a 3-4 system. They struggled on the line, sacking the quarterback just 22 times which left their secondary vulnerable. Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson will have to be much improved if this defense is to have any fantasy relevance and the addition of safety Eric Berry will help the backfield. Still, they have a long way to go before becoming "fantasy-worthy."