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Kansas City Chiefs: Fantasy Football 2016 Preview

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The fifth seed in the AFC last season returned all of its major offensive players this season, and even added a little extra at the quarterback position this year. While the Chiefs are one of the better teams in the AFC, that is mostly because of their defense. Their offense isn’t much to look at, though there is some fantasy football value to be mined there.


Alex “A-Smoove” Smith is the model of quarterback consistency. Unfortunately, that consistency is a consistent but unspectacular QB2. In the majority of leagues, he doesn’t offer a whole heck of a lot of value since he isn’t really capable of major games that would make him stream-worthy outside of two quarterback leagues. Smith’s constant consistency, however, makes him incredibly valuable as a second quarterback in two QB leagues. In his 46 games since joining the Chiefs, Smith has had a reliable but unremarkable 14 – 25 fantasy points in 28 of those games. He’s Captain Average, almost completely incapable of having a stream-worthy QB1 week (top six), but also avoids completely blowing up most of the time. This is because Smith doesn’t throw many interceptions, so he doesn’t get them removed from his fantasy football ledger (his 1.39% interception rate is second since 2013, only to Aaron Rodgers).

Don’t draft Smith in one QB leagues, but he’s worth it in two quarterback leagues. He’s QB27, 173 overall (per FantasyPros ADP data). If you need a QB3 that won’t hurt you most weeks, Smith is your man. Otherwise don’t bother.


Andy Reid snagged Nick Foles for the second time in his career. Reid drafted Foles in the third round in 2012, and Foles came back to Reid after the Rams cut him loose after he was dropped to third string. Foles never found great success until Chip Kelly and interception luck gave him a huge breakout. Despite some hot-taking to the contrary, he is not a danger to Alex Smith’s starting job. If Smith gets injured, Foles isn’t worth starting. The schemes, talent and weaponry is not enough to make Foles worth your while if he comes in for an injured Smith.


Running Backs
There’s only one running back to own in Kansas City, and that’s the legendary Jamaal Charles. Charles is coming off an ACL tear. The problem with going after Charles is that he is recovering from his second career tear. The last time he tore his ACL he came back with over 1700 yards from scrimmage the following season. Charles should have one strong season left in the tank, and given the Chiefs lean heavily on their running back, he is a shoo in for 1500 yards from scrimmage if he can stay healthy. Charles is a mid-second round pick by ADP. He has moved to the second round over concerns for his knee injury. He is the perfect RB1 to take if you ended up with DeAndre Hopkins in the first. He would be a rough RB2 to have, however, given that the RBs you would end up with in the first round have plenty of question marks themselves.


If you feel the need to handcuff Charles, Spencer Ware is apparently the backup, though early reports are that Ware & Charcandrick West would split reps.



Wide Receivers
If you’re looking past Jeremy Maclin in the Kansas City wide receiver corps, you’re doing it wrong. Behind Maclin is a whole mess of nonsense, and the KC passing game can’t support anyone other than Maclin. Maclin was wildly inconsistent last season, but finished off the year with six touchdowns in six games.  In the four games before that, however, he had only 129 yards combined. With the Chiefs being run-first and Travis Kelce second, you’re going to have to hope that the Chiefs build on that stretch to end last season. Maclin is a completely unsexy name to go for and likely not worth the effort. He’s currently going ahead players with much higher upside, like Golden Tate, Michael Floyd and Eric Decker. He has little chance of getting lower than WR20, but he doesn’t have a high bust potential either. Ideally he’s your steady Eddie third WR that allows you to gamble on later upside picks in case they bust out.



Tight Ends
More specifically, Tight End. Travis Kelce is currently TE5 off the board in that second tier of tight ends after Gronk. Kelce got a lot of draft helium last season as his hype train went out of control. He ended up with an ADP of 56 last year and disappointed a ton of owners. His massive disappointment caused him to slip a whole six slots by ADP. He ended up last season as the ninth TE by fantasy points per game (though behind ASJ so technically he was TE8). He ended the season only 0.06 points per game ahead of Ben Watson, who was free. Travis Kelce is the poster boy for not drafting a Tight End other than Gronk early. He was a back-end TE1 at mid-to-upper tier TE1 prices. If you waste a sixth-round pick again on him this year, don’t say I didn’t warn you against it.



Cairo Santos was one of the best kickers in the NFL last season, scoring the sixth-most points from the position last year. Much like his quarterback, Santos was decent in the short-and-medium range and faltered hard when he was supposed to make it from long distance. He was a viable kicker week-in and week-out last season, which makes him worth a draft pick. For some reason, however, his ADP is fifteenth. Back-end kickers aren’t in huge demand, so if you want him, go for it.



The Chiefs D/ST was the tops in the land last season, with 13.75 fantasy points per game last year. Fast forward to 2016 and they’re going barely outside the “it’s the last round time to draft a defense” range. If you’re going to draft a defense in not-the-last-round, the Chiefs are a good intersection of value and productivity.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com