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AFC West

KC Chiefs – Pre-Season Update

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by Greg Talcott

The Kansas City Chiefs are to football as the Olive Garden is to Italian food. Phrased another way, the Chiefs have been one of the most disappointing teams of the last 20 years. The last time the Chiefs won a playoff game was with Joe Montana at quarterback and Marcus Allen at running back in 1993! The number one song that year was, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston (deceased).

Considering the Chiefs’ best years took place during the Vietnam War, I am surprised anybody still loves them. Are the Chiefs going to end that championship drought this year? I would say you have a better chance of finding Gordon Ramsay working the fry machine at your local DQ than the Chiefs have of winning the Super Bowl. The fact is, the franchise is about as relevant to title aspirations as Members Only jackets are to fashion; here today and gone tomorrow. That said, I think the Chiefs will battle Denver for the top spot in the division and at best score a road game in the playoffs where they will again disappoint their fans with an early exit. Best advice you can give a Chiefs fan? Find another team…

For fantasy owners, taking Alex Smith in the draft is the same as saying, “I have no interest in winning, I am only here to fill an empty slot at my friend’s request so you don’t have an unbalanced league”.  Alex Smith is barely a serviceable backup from a fantasy perspective let alone a starter. The most ballyhooed player each year in the backfield is Jamaal Charles; and each of the last 3 years, owners have seen production declines in yardage, and declines in receptions and TD’s between 2013 and 2014. This season, Charles is expected to share even more touches with Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas which further diminishes his fantasy value. When combined with his questionable durability, Jamaal Charles is really more of an RB2 on the decline than an RB1.

The Chiefs attempted to improve their offense, saying good bye to Dwayne Bowe and signing Jeremy Maclin who is coming off career highs in every statistical category. This is like swapping grape for strawberry jam on your PB&J. Prior to 2014, Bowe posted better numbers statistically than Maclin, but not by much (except for Bowe’s ridiculous 2010 fluke season). I do not expect those numbers to be repeated this season playing with Alex Smith. For fantasy purposes, Maclin grades out at a WR3 or WR4 entering 2015.

The best option on this offense is actually TE Travis Kelce, who is a true TE1 coming into 2015. His combination of size and athleticism make him a favored target of Smith. I would look for 75 receptions, approx. 1000 yds, and closer to 10 TD’s than the 5 he had last year.

The strength of the Chiefs is their defense; ranked number 2 overall last year behind the Seahawks, making the Chiefs defense an every week play for fantasy owners this season. The Chiefs hope that the defense combined with basic game management out of Alex Smith and a sound running game will be good enough to dethrone Denver. The only reason that is possible is questions about Peyton Manning and whether or not he can continue to dominate the division or if they are going to take a step back. Kansas City is not going to take anything from Denver without the Broncos giving it to them first.

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