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Offseason Primers: Kansas City Chiefs

Senior Fantasy Writer
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You've heard it before, but the NFL has become a passing league. For every team but Kansas City it appears.

Can Alex Smith solve that problem? The Chiefs traded for Smith from the 49ers this offseason, and he's expected to be the starter. But he has a lot of work to do to turn this passing game around.

The Chiefs had eight passing touchdowns in 2012. No, that's not a mistake. Eight. Matt Cassel threw six, and Brady Quinn provided the other two. To put that in some context, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdown passes in Week 6 at Houston by himself.

2012 Touches Leaders
975 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Jamaal Charles 320 (285 car., 35 rec.) 32.8%
Peyton Hillis 95 (85 car., 10 rec.) 9.7%
Shaun Draughn 83 (59 car., 24 rec.) 8.5%
Dexter McCluster 64 (12 car., 52 rec.) 6.5%
Dwayne Bowe 59 rec. 6.0%
All Others 354 36.3%

The passing game in Kansas City was obviously a mess, with Dwayne Bowe disappointing and then hurt, and no secondary receiving option stepping up. Cassel was eventually benched for Quinn, and the Chiefs closed the season without a touchdown pass in their final four games.

Now, there was one lone bright spot -- Jamaal Charles. That is, when former coach Romeo Crennel remembered he was on the team. Charles bounced back from a torn ACL in 2011 and returned as an elite Fantasy running back. But the offense as a whole struggled, which is a big reason why Crennel was fired after going 2-14.

In comes Andy Reid, who was considered an offensive guru during his 14-year run as the Eagles head coach. He has a lot of work to do, and getting Smith is a start. The Chiefs also locked up their No. 1 receiver by signing Bowe to a five-year contract in March.

Reid now has to find some other weapons for Smith, and we hope he can develop Jon Baldwin and Dexter McCluster into reliable playmakers along with the additions of Donnie Avery and Anthony Fasano. It's clear the Chiefs can't get by with Bowe as the only legitimate threat in this passing game.

Reid also has to lean on Charles, who is ready for a heavy workload. But he would be much better off with at least some threat of a passing game.

Jamaal Charles -- Coaching impact

2012 Target Leaders
475 pass attempts
Dwayne Bowe 114 24.0%
Dexter McCluster 77 16.2%
Tony Moeaki 56 11.7%
Jamaal Charles 49 10.3%
Jon Baldwin 47 9.8%
All Others 132 27.7%

Charles just had an amazing year in 2012. Coming off a torn ACL, he set career highs in carries (285) and rushing yards (1,509) despite having three games with fewer than 10 carries -- what was Crennel thinking those weeks? When he had 17 or more carries, which happened nine times, he finished with double digits in Fantasy points. He also showed his explosiveness with two games with at least 226 rushing yards. Now he gets Reid as his head coach, and he could turn Charles into a beast. While Reid was in Philadelphia he had three primary running backs in Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy. That trio combined for six 1,000-yard rushing seasons, seven 1,500 total-yard seasons, nine seasons with at least 50 catches and five seasons with 10 total touchdowns. The last two times Charles played a full season -- which was 2010 and 2012 -- he had at least 1,700 total yards and six total touchdowns. When you add up everything in his favor it makes Charles a slam-dunk first-round pick in 2013, and he could have a career year.

Dwayne Bowe -- Bust

Bowe returned to the Chiefs as a free agent, and while the decision was good for his bank account, it will not help his Fantasy value. If he left the Chiefs it would have been the best thing for him -- even with the addition of Smith. Bowe was a star in 2010 with 72 catches for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was serviceable in 2011 with 81 catches for 1,159 yards and five touchdowns, but he was terrible last year with 59 catches for 801 yards and three touchdowns. Blame Cassel and Quinn if you want. Blame Crennel and hope the addition of Reid will help, which it should. But Bowe would have been better off with a better quarterback. Smith is not going to help him return to his 2010 form, and there are those around the NFL who questioned how Bowe would do after getting a new contract based on his attitude. He is still worth drafting as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with a mid-round pick. And we'd love to sit here and say he's the next Vincent Jackson, who got paid last season and had a tremendous year, but we don't know if Bowe has that same ceiling.

Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster -- Late-round flier

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Alex Smith Undrafted
Jamaal Charles 4-10 overall
Peyton Hillis Undrafted
Dwayne Bowe 70-78 overall
Jon Baldwin Undrafted
Dexter McCluster Undrafted
Donnie Avery Undrafted
Tony Moeaki Undrafted
Anthony Fasano Undrafted

Even with Bowe back and the addition of Avery there's a chance one or both of these receivers could play at a high level now that Reid is running the team. Reid should maximize the potential for Baldwin and McCluster -- if they have any. Baldwin has been a bust so far in his career, but this is his third season, which is typically when receivers have a breakout campaign. Through two years, Baldwin has combined for 41 catches, 579 yards and two touchdowns. He failed to reach double digits in Fantasy points in any game in 2012, and he has a lot to prove. McCluster has yet to establish himself as an asset to Fantasy owners, but this might be the year he breaks out. He's entering the final year of his rookie contract, so he has the motivation of a new deal. And McCluster is coming off his best season in 2012 with 52 catches for 452 yards and one touchdown. He also added 12 carries for 70 yards. We don't recommend drafting Baldwin and McCluster in the majority of leagues, but there could be a chance for both to contribute this season, especially under Reid. Keep them on your radar coming into the year.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Report: Seahawks to waive RB Robert Turbin
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) Seahawks running back Robert Turbin is expected to be waived with an injury designation, a source told NFL.com. Turbin is currently nursing an ankle injury, which will sideline him for five weeks.

Seahawks exploring trade for RB Christine Michael
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) With the recent acquisition of Fred Jackson, the Seahawks are discussing trading running back Christine Michael, reports CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. Michael rushed for 175 yards on 34 carries in 10 games last season.

Tom Brady on Deflategate: I am sorry our league had to endure this
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady released a statement about his role in Deflategate and was remorseful on the toll the case played on the sport.

"While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this," Brady said. "I don't think it has been good for our sport - to a large degree, we have all lost. I am also sorry to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt as I have tried to work to resolve this situation."

After being suspended for four games, a judge overturned the suspension.


Report: Raiders to release QB Christian Ponder
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) The Raiders are expected to part ways with quarterback Christian Ponder, a source told ESPN. Ponder was a first-round draft pick in 2011.

Colts acquire LB Sio Moore from Raiders
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) The Raiders traded linebacker Sio Moore to the Colts for a late-round draft pick in 2016, the Colts announced. Moore produced 90 tackles and three sacks in 11 games last season.

Report: Seahawks sign RB Fred Jackson
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) The Seahawks reached a one-year deal with running back Fred Jackson on Friday, a source told NFL.com. Jackson is expected to serve as Marshawn Lynch's primary backup.

Bills RB Karlos Williams expects to play in Week 1
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) Bills running back Karlos Williams was confident he would be healthy enough to play in Week 1, reports ESPN.com.

"Most definitely, most definitely," he said. "Definitely on special teams, try to work myself into the rotation as the week goes on. Try to get in there for the first game next week."

Williams has been out after undergoing an unspecific procedure in mid-August.

"Bad things happen to people sometimes, you can say that," Williams said. "But no, it was kind of a freak accident that kind of happened. A lot of pain. The trainers definitely took care of that. They found out what it was, got it taken care of and had a quick surgery. And actually a pretty quick recovery. I'm just happy to be back from that. But it was a very, very delicate situation."


Bears cut TE Dante Rosario
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) The Bears released tight end Dante Rosario on Friday, reports the Chicago Tribune. Rosario caught 16 passes for 116 yards in 16 games last season.

Texans QB Tom Savage dealing with shoulder sprain
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) Texans quarterback Tom Savage suffered a right shoulder sprain during Thursday's preseason game, reports the Houston Chronicle. The injury will keep Savage out for four-to-six weeks.

Colts not ruling LB Robert Mathis out for Week 1
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9/4/2015) Colts linebacker Robert Mathis still has a chance of playing in Week 1, reports ESPN.com. Mathis is recovering from a torn Achilles.

"There's a possibility," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's been practicing and we're getting him more reps. Every day he’s going through individual drills and we’re increasing the snaps he takes during the course of practice with each day. It started out with five snaps and we’ll increase that number again [next] week. We'll just evaluate how the week goes. Rob is doing great. He's making great progress."


 
 
 
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