Tuesday, May 29, 2012

32 in 32: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs turned the undefeated Packers into the one-loss Packers last season, meaning that Romeo Crennel would stay on as the head coach after Todd Haley was shown the door. I really like Romeo as a defensive minded guy, but I'm not certain about his ability to spark this team offensively. Last season the Chiefs only managed to score 13.2 points per game, good enough for 31st in the league. Tamba Hali had another great season, scoring double digit sacks for the second season in a row, but the Chiefs lost Brandon Carr in free agency. I don't want to put too much emphasis on Carr here, because they still have Brandon Flowers, who is a little better in my opinion, and they added Stanford Routt, who was cut from the Raiders after signing a huge contract just before they let that new Eagles cornerback walk. They also have Eric Berry coming back from injury, meaning that they should actually have one of the best pass defenses in the league. You can quote me on that.

Another Chief returning from injury is Jamaal Charles. I think Romeo will probably be committed to the run this season, especially if Charles can stay healthy. The common belief amongst football gurus is that Charles' injury is the kind that take two full seasons to fully recover from. I think he got injured early enough and is young enough to bounce pack this season. Last year was supposed to be his break out campaign, but instead he ran for only 83 yards in two games before going out for the season. This was a serious problem for many fantasy owners who drafted him in the top 5 of most fantasy drafts. As an insurance policy, the Chiefs added ex-Madden-cover-star, Peyton Hillis. How about that. Two new Peytons in the AFC West. I refused to touch Hillis in my fantasy drafts last season. The guy was a fullback for the Broncos and had one good season for the Browns. There is absolutely no reason to believe he will ever get more than 100-150 carries again, barring injury to Charles. He has a terrible attitude, an inflated ego, and his best season as a pro saw him rush for less than 1,200 yards, although he did rack up 11 touchdowns. Do not draft Peyton Hillis. In case anyone was wondering, the Chiefs are no longer sporting Jackie Battle or Thomas Jones on their roster.

Matt Cassel is returning as the starting QB for this Chiefs team, but there is an alarming lack of competition on the roster. Cassel is accompanied by Rickie Stanzi and Brady Quinn, neither of whom are threatening to take away his job. I am somewhat surprised that the Chiefs didn't keep Kyle Orton around, at least through training camp, to help push Cassel after his injury last season. Perhaps Romeo didn't want to rock the boat before seeing Cassel play with his head-coaching glasses on, but whatever the reason, I think it is a mistake. Cassel has some potential to be a good QB, but I don't really see him as better than mediocre. Just to be clear, this isn't even the Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco mediocre where they are pretty good game managers who are typically a positive force on the team. No, this is the Tavaris Jackson mediocre where you never know is he is going to lose you the game or not. There is always a chance I will get burned on this, but I'm probably not going to draft Cassel this season. Even very late in the draft. I would just end up dropping this guy in week 2.

Dwayne Bowe, on the other hand, is a pretty valuable wide receiver. He had a very pedestrian season last year, but he should be a consistent player. 1,200 yards and 7 touchdowns are probably his mean productivity with Cassel as the starter, which translates to a 4th or 5th round pick in most drafts, for me. Steve Breaston has some low-end value, but I haven't seen anything to suggest that he is going to be better than 700-800 yards with 2-3 touchdowns. After missing Tony Moeaki (pronounced Moe-A-ah-key) for a whole season, this third year player should be ready to step up and play a pretty big part in the passing game. I am hopeful that he can get 700 yards and 7 touchdowns, but that might be a little steep. He is worth a late round look, if you have your other positions solidified.

These are the Chiefs. Their defense is good, their offense is bad, and they have a few players worthy of being on your fantasy team. Not an especially flashy bunch, but they were good enough for 7 wins last season. That seems about right for this season, too.

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