2012 Team Outlook: Kansas City
QB Matt Cassel, TEN - Solid/Safe Pick
The Chiefs have done all the right things this off season to address the gaps in last year's team. Their biggest move came when tackle Eric Winston agreed to join the team. This move (along with the return of Jamaal Charles and the free agent signing of Peyton Hills) should help Cassel. Opposing defenses will need to stop the run; when they do, Cassel should be able to pick apart secondaries. There are no excuses for Cassel this season. From a fantasy perspective Cassel could easily be a top 10 quarterback this season. Of course we thought this would be the case in past years too and it hasn't panned out. If Matt doesn't have a good year this season then he may never. The pressure is on Cassel; let's see what you've got.
QB Brady Quinn, --- - Fantasy Handcuff
The Chiefs added some depth at the quarterback position this off season when they signed Quinn. After losing Cassel to a season ending hand injury, they realized having a quality backup is a necessity. Quinn hasn't played a down of football since 2009, but don't let that scare you. Unless something happens to Cassel, he won't see a down of action this season either. Quinn isn't a bad quarterback, he just never had much talent around him. However, that won't be the case here in Kansas City. If something happens to Cassel it will be interesting to see what Quinn can do. If you're a Cassel owner, grabbing Quinn in the late rounds may not be a bad idea.
RB Jamaal Charles, KC - Solid/Safe Pick
Charles suffered a torn ACL in the first quarter of the Chiefs' second game last season. Everyone knows it takes at least 12 months for players to recover from an ACL injury. This means sometime shortly after the season begins Charles should be at 100%. Jamaal claims he'll be ready for week one, but we'll believe that when we see it. When Charles does return he'll be sharing the workload with newly signed Peyton Hillis. This is not good news for fantasy owners. Charles at 100% would be a fantasy stud; Charles at 100% splitting carries means could mean lower numbers than fantasy owners want for their number on back. In his prime Charles only needed 14-18 carries a game to reach 100 yards. If his knee holds up he should get those 14-18 carries a game and by mid season when other backs are starting to slow down Jamaal should be still going strong. Some may be affraid of Hillis but I think having a bruising back to share the load will only help Charles in the long run.
RB Dexter McCluster, SD - Deep-league Only
The one player who has to be upset the most by the Peyton Hillis signing is Dexter McCluster. With the addition of Hillis, McCluster finds himself third on the depth chart instead of second. This means far fewer opportunities for Dexter. So much so we believe he only holds fantasy value in deep leagues. There's just too much talent in Kansas City this season for McCluster to get enough touches.
RB Cyrus Gray, ATL - Deep-league Only
The Chiefs' third running back spot is up for grabs between Cyrus Gray and Shaun Draughn. At this point it looks like that spot will go to Gray, but a prolonged hamstring injury could harm Gray's cause. With Charles and Hillis ahead of these guys on the depth chart, it is unlikely either guy will see enough playing time to be fantasy worthy.
RB Peyton Hillis, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
After a very disappointing 2011 season with the Browns, Hillis found himself on the free agent market. Some believe Hillis was disgruntled last season because Cleveland wouldn't sign him to a long term contract. They believe this was the cause of Peyton's poor performance. All that became water under the bridge when Hillis signed with the Chiefs. When the season begins Hillis will likely be the Chiefs' number one back (Jamaal Charles may still be recovering from a torn ACL injury he suffered last season). For the first few weeks Hillis should post very nice fantasy numbers. Once Charles returns we're likely going to see Kansas City use a split back offense. From a fantasy perspective, this is awful news. Hillis and Charles could have easily been number one backs, but with both on one team there's no telling what we'll get. Hillis will likely be a good second back in most fantasy leagues.