You can no longer look at the Kansas City Chiefs roster and ignore everyone except for Jamaal Charles. We all have seen what Travis Kelce is capable of over the last two seasons and when healthy and properly utilized Jeremy Maclin not only produces but flashes low end WR1 type ability. It’s hard to call any Alex Smith led team explosive and despite being one of the more respected offensive minds in the NFL head coach Andy Reid can get a tad cute with his play-calling but I can’t stress enough, don’t bail on on Kelce and particularly Maclin just because Jamaal Charles is returning from injury.
RB Jamaal Charles
Allow me to explain something to you about Jamaal Charles. “5.5.” That would be his career mark for yards per carry. Allow me to put that into its proper context for you. That’s better than every non-quarterback with the qualifying number of carries; with the exception for Hall of Famer Mario Motley (5.7) who played during the 40s and 50s. It’s a staggering number and prior to going down to a season-ending knee injury (2nd of his career) Charles was sporting a robust 5.1 ypc average as well as being a consistent part of the Chiefs passing game averaging nearly six targets a game through five contests. It’s his dual-threat skill set as well as his game-breaking speed and per carry effectiveness that has convinced me that Charles (nearing 30 years of age) is still an elite fantasy option. The age-old-adage is to “let IT go” a year early rather than a year late. Noted. Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware looked good last season in Charles’ absence. Noted. The Chiefs are going to temper Charles’ workload in an effort to keep him healthy. Noted. But you see, none of that matters with Jamaal Charles. He’s never been a 300+ carry back, his fantasy value doesn’t hinge on volume, rather, being healthy. Following his lost 2011 season Charles only missed two games from 2012-2014. He may have a higher injury risk than some of the Top Tier players at the running back position but don’t write off Charles in 2016. If… IF he’s available in Round 2 pull the trigger.
WR Jeremy Maclin
Underappreciated, under-utilized and underrated. Some may have thought Maclin’s breakout season in 2014 was a contract year driven performance of the one-year wonder variety. Then Maclin signed with KC, with Alex Smith at QB, notorious for his cautious, check-down nature. Maclin’s fantasy value may never have been lower. But with back-to-back thousand yard seasons to his credit and coming off a career high 87 receptions Maclin is more than deserving of a WR2 distinction in Fantasy Football until proven otherwise. He was the only player with 100+ targets and less than three drops in 2015. If Reid and Smith wise up and find a way to get Maclin’s targets over the 140 number (124 in 2015) you can put Maclin down for double digit TDs as well (8 in 2015).
TE Travis Kelce
Kelce is today’s quintessential tight end. Capable run-blocker, good hands, prime albeit under-utilized red-zone target, and a problem after the catch. His 72 receptions in 2015 tied Rob Gronkowski and his 875 receiving yards were good for 6th most among TEs last season. He has been a consistent and integral part of the Chiefs passing attack over the last two seasons and while he will most certainly be 1 of the first 5 players selected in fantasy drafts at his position he isn’t quite elite. That is a result of his average TD totals (5 in each of the last two seasons). If Kelce’s reception and yardage totals hold steady and his touchdown totals draw closer to double digits “Baby Gronk” as some would have it may enter the Greg Olsen/Jordan Reed discussion in 2017.
Others of note:
- QB Alex Smith
- RB Charcandrick West
- RB Spencer Ware