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2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Kansas City Chiefs

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Andy Reid knows how to get the most out of his running backs. He's made a living of getting dominant performances from the position, and Jamaal Charles took advantage under his tutelage in 2013.

Charles should be great again this year, and he enters Draft Day as the consensus No. 1 overall pick in all leagues. He was the No. 1 running back last year with 259 carries for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns and 70 catches for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. The rushing touchdowns, catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns were all career highs.

Reid, going back to his days with the Eagles, now has coached a running back to seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons, eight 1,500-total yard seasons, 10 seasons with at least 50 catches and six seasons with at least 10 total touchdowns. There's a lot to like about Charles again in 2014.

Yes, the Chiefs lost three offensive linemen from last year with Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah leaving as free agents, but Reid is confident in his group up front. And you should be as well given his track record and Charles' talent.

Reid also did well with quarterback Alex Smith, who had a fantastic campaign with 3,313 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 61 percent completions, and he added 431 rushing yards and one touchdown. Smith finished as the No. 14 Fantasy quarterback in standard leagues, but he showed plenty of promise with eight games with at least 20 Fantasy points, including three of his first four and four of his last five. Smith will remain a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback this year, but you know he's someone you can rely on if needed.

Now, if only Reid could get a big year out of Dwayne Bowe, who was a tremendous bust in 2013. Bowe had one of the worst years of his career last season with 57 catches for 673 yards and five touchdowns. He reached double digits in Fantasy points just five times, and he looked nothing like a No. 1 receiver.

We're hopeful Bowe will bounce back -- it would be hard for him to be worse -- but Fantasy owners need to see it first. He's only worth drafting with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues.

Reason for hope ... Dwayne Bowe

Bowe has the talent to be a quality Fantasy receiver. He showed that in 2010 when he had 72 catches for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns, which was part of a four-year stretch where he had 70-plus catches and at least 1,000 yards three times.

He struggled last year as Smith was conservative with his throws downfield, and Bowe didn't reach double digits in targets until Week 9. But once Bowe got involved, he showed signs of life.

He reached double digits in Fantasy points in four of his final seven games, including the playoffs against the Colts, when he had eight catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. The catches and yards were easily a season high.

This offseason, Bowe appears to be on the right track. He hired a nutritionist and a personal trainer for the first time in his career, which shows he's motivated. And you have to hope another year with Smith in Reid's system should help him succeed.

The Chiefs also didn't bring in anybody to upgrade their receiving corps, even losing No. 2 receiver Dexter McCluster as a free agent to the Titans. The Chiefs need Bowe, and we hope he will respond. The good news is this season you can draft him as a No. 4 receiver with a late-round pick, and he should reward you based on that value.

Name to remember ... Travis Kelce

One reason the Chiefs feel good about their receiving situation is getting Kelce back from injury. He could be a difference maker in the passing game.

Kelce missed his rookie season after having microfracture surgery on his knee, but all reports this offseason are positive. And he has plenty of ability after he had 45 catches for 722 yards and eight touchdowns at the University of Cincinnati in his final year.

The Chiefs got only 53 catches from tight ends last year, so an upgrade is needed. And Smith has a good history with playmaking tight ends going back to his days with the 49ers and Vernon Davis.

You're not going to draft Kelce in the majority of leagues, but he is someone to keep an eye on during the year. If he starts off playing well then add him off waivers, because he could definitely finish the season as a Top 12 tight end if he can stay healthy and prove deserving of a featured role.

The ultimate handcuff ... Knile Davis

2013 Touches Leaders
775 total touches
Jamaal Charles 329 (259 car., 70 rec.) 42.5%
Knile Davis 81 (70 car., 11 rec.) 10.5%
Dexter McCluster 61 (8 car., 53 rec.) 7.9%
Dwayne Bowe 57 rec. 7.4%
Donnie Avery 42 (2 car., 40 rec.) 5.4%
All Others 205 26.5%

As we said earlier, Reid knows how to get tremendous production from his running backs. And should something happen to Charles then Davis will benefit with ridiculous stats.

We liked the way Davis played last season when he got the chance to start. It was Week 17 at San Diego with Charles resting for the playoffs, and he had 27 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the season with 70 carries for 242 yards and four touchdowns and 11 catches for 75 yards.

We're not expecting Davis to have an expanded role because the Chiefs need Charles on the field, but he should be more involved in his sophomore season. Every Charles owner needs to spend a late-round pick on Davis, just in case something happens. And even if you don't draft Charles, Davis is worth a flier because you could be sitting on a lottery ticket.

Schedule analysis

The Chiefs benefitted from a lot of games against backup quarterbacks last season, which helped their DST dominate. We still expect the DST to be a No. 1 option, especially with what should be a standout pass rush, but there will be a regression. On offense, the Chiefs get to face the NFC West, which won't be easy, especially with road games at San Francisco in Week 5 and Arizona in Week 14. The good news is Kansas City faces Oakland in Week 15 for the first round of the Fantasy playoffs, which should help Charles at a crucial time.

Training camp battles

Who's the No. 2 receiver? Donnie Avery could open the season as the No. 2 receiver opposite Bowe, which only excites opposing defensive backs. He only had 40 catches for 596 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. A.J. Jenkins and Junior Hemingway will be in the mix, but none of these receivers are worth drafting in the majority of Fantasy leagues. Keep an eye on how the Chiefs use rookie De'Anthony Thomas, who could help replace McCluster. But Bowe is the only Chiefs receiver worth using heading into the year.

Who's the starting tight end? Anthony Fasano will look to remain the starter in 2014, but he has minimal Fantasy value. He only had 23 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns in 2013, so he's not an option for Fantasy owners. But Kelce could be, and we hope he starts in Week 1. If Kelce can prove his knee is 100 percent and does well in training camp and the preseason, he would attract plenty of interest from Fantasy owners on Draft Day. But he has to prove that he deserves the starting job over Fasano with a strong performance this offseason.

Bold prediction

I'm not expecting Bowe to return to his 2010 form because 15 touchdowns are hard to duplicate. But he could return to the 2008 version of himself when he had 86 catches for 1,022 yards and seven touchdowns. He was a Top 20 Fantasy receiver that season, and that's the expectation if things go his way. You should plan on Bowe playing much better than last season, and he will reward Fantasy owners this year with a bounce-back performance.

Injury report

Travis Kelce (knee), probable for start of training camp.

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C.J. Anderson nets sixth touchdown in past five weeks
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Broncos running back C.J. Anderson ran 18 times for 83 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown, and caught eight of 10 targets for 55 yards in Monday's loss to the Bengals.

It was Anderson's sixth score in the past five weeks. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry after failing to average 3.0 yards per carry the previous two games.

Anderson dominated backfield snaps Monday night. But with Ronnie Hillman expected to return Week 17 against Oakland, Anderson could cede some touches. Anderson has averaged 28.5 touches over the past two weeks.


Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas joins exclusive club
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:10 am ET) With seven catches for 115 yards Monday night, Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas joined an exclusive club. He joined Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice as the only receivers in NFL history with three straight seasons of at least 1,400 yards and 10 touchdown catches.

Thomas also set a Broncos' single-season record with his ninth 100-yard game. Thomas drew a game-high 13 targets and got behind the secondary for a 46-yard reception in the third quarter.

But he was unable to haul in an end-zone pass on that drive, then got interfered with on the ensuing play, setting up C.J. Anderson's 1-yard scoring run. Thomas has 103 catches for 1,504 yards and 11 scores entering Week 17 against Oakland.


Peyton Manning throws four INTs for sixth time in his career
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(12:02 am ET) In a driving rainstorm at Cincinnati, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning fell apart in the fourth quarter. He threw three of his four interceptions in the quarter, including a pick-six with 2:41 left that put the game out of reach.

Manning made several brilliant throws in the third quarter before tossing a few wounded ducks in the fourth. He finished 28 of 44 for 311 yards and two touchdowns.

This was Manning's sixth career game with four interceptions, first since 2010. Manning was not totally at fault on his first interception, as Bengals safety Reggie Nelson wrested the ball from tight end Julius Thomas. But Manning's throws lacked zip at the end.

Manning threw both his touchdowns to wideout Emmanuel Sanders in the third quarter. Manning has 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions entering Week 17 against Oakland.


Bengals WR A.J. Green injures arm, goes without a catch
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(12/22/2014) Bengals star wideout A.J. Green injured his right arm in the first quarter of Monday's win over Denver and was not the same after that. Green tried to play through the injury, went for X-rays, then tried to play again.

He was barely on the field after halftime and finished with zero catches on four targets. If Green, who got popped by Broncos safety T.J. Ward, is healthy enough, he'll visit the Steelers in Week 17.

Brandon Tate and Dane Sanzenbacher would see increased snaps alongside Mohamed Sanu if Green can't play.


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(12/22/2014) Bengals kicker Mike Nugent returned from a third-quarter hamstring injury and kicked his third field goal, a 23-yarder, Monday night against the Broncos. Nugent earlier hit from 37 and 49 yards and converted three PATs.

Nugent, who has made 14 straight field goals, visits the Steelers in Week 17.


Broncos SS T.J. Ward leaves with neck injury
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(12/22/2014) Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward suffered a neck injury while making a tackle in the fourth quarter at Cincinnati. 

Ward stayed down on the field for several moments before getting up. He walked to the sideline with trainers, then was carted to the locker room. Ward made a team-high nine tackles before the injury.


Bengals K Mike Nugent probable to return from hamstring injury
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(12/22/2014) Bengals kicker Mike Nugent hurt his hamstring in the third quarter against the Broncos but is probable to return, the team announced.

Jeremy Hill returns for second half
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(12/22/2014) Bengals running back Jeremy Hill, who bruised his left ankle shortly before halftime, returned for the third quarter and carried the ball on Cincy's first play from scrimmage.

Bengals RB Jeremy Hill probable to return from ankle injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/22/2014) Bengals rookie running back Jeremy Hill limped off the field late in the second quarter against Denver after bruising his left ankle on a 4-yard run. The team called him probable to return.

Hill ripped off an 85-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and has 107 yards on 10 carries.


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(12/22/2014) Bengals wideout A.J. Green returned to the game against Denver in the second quarter after getting precautionary X-rays on his right arm. Green got hurt in the first quarter on a hit by safety T.J. Ward.

The injury continued to bother Green in the second half, as he spent a lot of time on the sideline and at one point slammed his helmet in frustration.


 
 
 
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