by Cris Benson
While I don’t often care to speculate on the fantasy value of most fantasy football players in March I can’t help but wonder? Is Andy Reid’s West Coast Offense going to enhance the fantasy draft stock of the Chiefs? Do the Chiefs have the potential to be an explosive offense? Can Alex Smith put the Chiefs receivers back on the fantasy football radar? Will Jamaal Charles remain a bell cow running back in Reid’s west coast system? Will Dwayne Bowe put up numbers that rival top tier wide receivers? Will fantasy stars emerge such as Dexter McCluster?
The Kansas City Chiefs finished last in points scored after a somber 2012 NFL season which sparked some major changes by the Hunt family. The Chiefs have a new front office with General Manager John Dorsey and a new Head Coach Andy Reid.
While Reid is clearly going to have the biggest impact on the Chiefs it was Dorsey who used the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert and also signed fantasy standout wide-receiver Dwayne Bowe. Figure in quarterback Alex Smith who was traded to Kansas City from the San Francisco 49ers and with those two moves the Chiefs are now in a position to have an impact draft pick as well.
Reid has always commanded offenses that are patterned after several different west coast molds and they are always high scoring. High scoring offenses produce high scoring fantasy football players but the problem is predicting which offenses will be doing the scoring.
Last season I kept insisting that my readers follow what was happening in Atlanta as the Falcons appeared to be on the cusp of a potential high scoring offense. After acquiring offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter the Falcons led one of the most explosive air assaults in the NFL making quarterback Matt Ryan a must have on fantasy draft day.
Could Reid’s coaching and Alex Smith’s limited mistakes start something big brewing the NFL? Maybe but nothing comes close to certain until NFL free agency is complete and the draft is in the rear view mirror. By the time spring OTA’s are done I should have a better idea.
After reading NFL analyst and historian Chris Brown’s recent column on the trade for Alex Smith I find myself not eager to declare the Chiefs receivers or Smith fantasy draft locks. On the other hand Jamaal Charles should be a lock yet will Reid abandon the run for a heavy passing attack? Brown conveys some serious questions that will require fantasy enthusiast to add the Chiefs to your Google news wire.
One thing is for certain, Reid knows how to identify talent and also develop talent. Look no further than Michael Vick who under Reid showed an overall improvement statistically from his days in Atlanta.
Vick was prone to poor decision making on and off the field in Atlanta and was also known for his poor work ethic as well. However Reid was able to develop his playmaking talent as well as teach Vick to rely on his arm rather than his legs. Vick became more of a pocket passer under Reid rather than an escape artist that couldn’t read a cover two from an all out blitz package.
If you’re worried about Jamaal Charles, don’t! “I think you can probably put him in any offense and he’s going to do a heck of a job.” Reid said to KCchiefs.com; “He’s a very good running back and there are probably a lot of coaches in this league that would like to have him. He’s a heck of a player. I’m not going to change that. I’m going to give him an opportunity to do his thing and do what he does best.”
It’s very reassuring to know that Charles will most likely be the anchor of Reid’s offense similar to the role Reid had for runningback LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia in the NFL 2011 season.
The complex question is will Smith be spreading the ball around like he did in San Francisco and will he be able to stretch the field to WR Dwayne Bowe. Bowe has the talent unlike Crabtree in SF to separate from coverage (look no further then the last play of the Super Bowl) and tends to draw lots of double coverage due to his sheer size and catching radius. Crabtree is a speedy receiver who out runs his coverage but seldom has the ability to go up and challenge for a ball.
One thing I am almost certain about is Bowe’s value will most likely be inflated by your August draft day and fellow receiver Dexter McCluster will be undervalued. McCluster is going to be a very important piece to the west coast offense and is certain to receive more receptions. I think McCluster has the better chance of the two receivers to be a bigger end zone threat between the twenties as his speed and talent for getting into space is amazing.
While there are many questions I cannot answer right now I will say that the Chiefs should be on your fantasy football radar in 2013. However determining the fantasy draft value of Smith, Bowe, and Charles right now is neither accurate nor necessary. Instead simply keep a close eye on the Chiefs in free agency as they now have a right tackle to replace as well as several other moves that Reid is going to formulate. After the 2013 NFL Draft it will be much easier to predict the Chiefs fantasy football value. Until then simply tweet my post and post your opinion on why Reid will or will not be able to add some more fantasy value to the Chiefs roster in 2013.