After showing signs of Fantasy life during the 2010 NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs reverted back to their old non-relevant form last season. Back in 2010 the Chiefs received over 200 fantasy points from QB Matt Cassel, RB Jamaal Charles , and WR Dwayne Bowe , plus they won the AFC West with a 10-6 record. A Week Two injury to Charles derailed the Chiefs' 2011 season, as Bowe was the top scoring option with 147.1 fantasy points and the Chiefs slumped to a 7-9 last place record in the AFC West. Let's travel to the heartland of BBQ tailgating in America to check in on the Kansas City Chiefs' 2012 Fantasy outlook.
Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Fantasy Options
When the Chiefs took out New England QB Tom Brady halfway through the first quarter of their Week One game against the Patriots in 2008, Matt Cassel excelled in relief for New England. The following year he jumped ship and headed for Kansas City. Cassel sandwiched a decent 2010 season with two forgettable years in a Chiefs uniform.
While his 2011 season wasn't off to a flying start (10-9 TD-INT ratio and 9.9 FPPG), it ended in disaster after Cassel broke his throwing hand in Week Ten action and was done for the season. Kansas City is still high on the former USC Trojan and he won't get much competition with just QB Brady Quinn and QB Ricky Stanzi on the KC roster.
Chiefs QB Analysis: Personally, I am not sold on Cassel as a viable full time starting fantasy quarterback. We'll expand on this more in the next section, but the Chiefs are building toward pounding the ball on the ground during the coming season. If you bag an upper end starting QB early on Draft Day (and you can get Cassel on the cheap), he will fill in nicely as a backup QB when the match-ups are right.
Kansas City Chiefs Running Back Fantasy Options
It didn't take long for the evil injury bug to bite unfortunate KC Fantasy owners in 2011. Widely selected in the first round of many drafts, Jamaal Charles went down halfway through the first quarter in the Chiefs Week Two contest against the Detroit Lions. After a break-through 2009 season, Charles tore his ACL and was done for the year. All signs point to Charles being as close to 100% as possible but he has some company in the backfield this season.
RB Peyton Hillis signed a one-year, $2.8M contract with Kansas City back in March. After two uneventful seasons in Denver, Hillis took the Fantasy world by storm as he registered 1,654 total yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010 with the Browns. Injuries, no quarterback to speak of, along with playing on a team with no direction, all hampered Hillis in Rock City during the 2011 season. Thomas Jones has been pushed out of the picture in KC and remains a free agent. Jones will be 34 at the start of the season meaning his illustrious career is probably over.
Chiefs RB Analysis: I always see a million red flags when it comes to knee injuries in the NFL. While I wish Charles the best, he will have a tough time making my most wanted RB list. Throw in the fact that Hillis will get a decent share of touches in the Chiefs ground and pound attack and we'll be passing on the Chiefs backfield.
Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
Without Jamaal Charles, not to mention a less than effective Matt Cassel and Thomas Jones, Dwayne Bowe saw his numbers drop from 1,162 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns turn to 1,159 yards and just five TD in 2011. That lack of production dropped Bowe from the No. 2 WR spot in 2010 down to the No. 17 slot in 2011. Despite concerns around Cassel, and the run before pass mantra developing in KC, Bowe is still a solid WR2.
After signing a five-year, $22.55 million contract in July 2011 Steve Breaston was a bust with 93 fantasy points last season. A reliable target for his quarterback, but a total frustration for his fantasy owners, Breaston is a guy to grab if he comes cheap later in your draft. Though he may be another year away, keep an eye on 6' 4" WR Jonathan Baldwin. The Chiefs Swiss Army Knife, Dexter McCluster, will also get his share of run, pass, and special teams touches.
Chiefs WR Analysis Bowe is still a beast and we see him as a solid WR2. There are a lot of hands that all want a share of the limited passes that will be available in Kansas City. As such we would proceed with caution with the rest of the KC receivers but - consider McCluster and Baldwin as sleeper candidates.
Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Fantasy Options
Chiefs sophomore tight end Tony Moeaki blew out his knee in the final pre-season game last year and missed the entire 2011 NFL season. Moeaki dealt with injuries throughout his college career as an Iowa Hawkeye and, while he is expected to be at full strength to start the season, we don't like to invest in damaged goods. TE Kevin Boss signed a three-year deal in Kansas City, after a one-year flop with the Oakland Raiders, and will also be in the mix.
Chiefs TE Analysis: The Chiefs are expected to run two-tight end sets on a regular basis. Not only is there going to be a TE by committee situation in Kansas City but there are plenty of more reliable TE options scattered through the NFL. Move along now - there's nothing to see on the tight end front in KC.
Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Bottom Line: When I started researching the Chiefs' 2012 fantasy options, I did so with an open mind. Now that I am through, it there appears to be an abundance of mid-range talent (past Dwayne Bowe) that are all going to be competing for looks in the Kansas City offence. If the Chiefs can stay healthy, they should regain the top spot in the AFC West this season. While I wouldn't reach for any of the Chiefs, if they fall to you in a good spot, go ahead and take a chance on them.