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“James Addiction” 2016 Kansas City Chiefs Preview

The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off of three straight winning seasons under head coach Andy Reid, with two 11-5 playoff seasons book ending a 9-7 season in 2014. They have finished second to division winner, Denver, in all three seasons. The Raiders and Chargers should both be improved this season, and with Mark Sanchez leading the Denver Broncos the division title is up for grabs for the first time since Tim Tebow last played in the league.

2015 Record: 11-5
Passing Offense (YPG): 30th (203.4) Passing Defense (YPG): 9th (231.1)
Rushing Offense (YPG): 6th (127.8) Rushing Defense (YPG): 8th (98.2)
Total Offense (YPG): 27th (331.2) Total Defense (YPG): 7th (329.3)

Offseason

Free Agency

The Chiefs were fairly quiet in free agency, but they did sign the best right tackle available in Mitchell Schwartz, who bolted from Cleveland after receiving a less than stellar offer. Rod Streater also signed in the offseason, and could be a welcome addition if he can stay healthy. Over the last two seasons he’s managed to play in only four games.  But in 2013 he did put up a 60/888/4 line which is better than all Chiefs receivers not named Jeremy Maclin. The Chiefs also extended TE, Travis Kelce and RB’s, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware who both showed they can play while filling in for the injured Jamal Charles last year.

Draft

In the draft the Chiefs traded out of the first round to select DT Chris Jones with the 37th pick. Jones could provide help immediately in the defensive line rotation, and also provides depth at the position where Dontari Poe is a free agent in 2017. In the third round the Chiefs selected CB KeiVarae Russell from Notre Dame. After losing corner Sean Smith to the rival Oakland Raiders, and Safeties Tyvon Branch to Arizona and Husain Abdullah to retirement, the Chiefs need help at every position in the secondary. With their first pick of the fourth round, the Chiefs selected offensive lineman Parker Ehinger. Look for Ehinger to get a chance to start at one of the guard positions.

 

Offense

 

Quarterback

At Quarterback, the fast and steady Alex Smith will once again lead the team. After zero touchdown throws to wide receivers in 2014 Smith threw a whopping 11 touchdowns to wide receivers in 2015. Overall, Smith threw 20 TDs through the air against 7 INTs and added another 2 TDs on the ground. While Smith has never been a top fantasy QB pick, he does do a great job of leading the Chiefs, and he’s 16 games above .500 in his NFL career. The backup Quarterback job will be ironed out in pre-season between Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray and rookie Kevin Hogan out of Stanford.

Running Back

Jamaal Charles Red Friday (2)

 

At Running Back, Jamal Charles is expected to be available when the regular season starts. He has suffered two major knee injuries over the last four years, and will turn thirty in December, but when on the field he has been electric in both the running and passing games, and Offensive Coordinators Brad Childress and Matt Nagy will be happy to have him back. He has both speed and elusiveness with the ball in his hands, and has never averaged less than 5.0 yards per carry. When healthy, he should once again be a major weapon for this team. Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware will provide depth at the running back position. West is both a capable runner and pass catcher out of the backfield. Ware is more of a power back and could see short yardage and goal line duties this season. If Charles should miss any time, look for West and Ware to once again split time in the backfield.

 

Wide Receiver

Jeremy Maclin is coming off a season of continuous double teams and very little help at the other receiver positions. Still he managed 87 receptions for 1,088 yards in 15 games. He also caught 8 of Alex Smith’s 11 TD’s to receivers. Imagine if the defense had to worry about the other side of the field. This offseason he invited the other two starting receivers to train with him in Kansas City. Both Albert Wilson and Chris Conley accepted the offer. The Chiefs are hoping both will have made significant strides towards improvement by the start of the season, and if they get their wish there is no reason Maclin can’t maintain or slightly improve upon his 2015 numbers. Wilson is more suited to the slot receiver role, and if Conley comes into his own after a bit of a rough rookie season, Wilson should be able to play where he is more comfortable. I look for Conley to improve the most this season, he has ideal height (6’2”), and speed (4.35 forty at NFL Combine) for the position. Rod Streater, rookie Tyreek Hill and De’Anthony Thomas are the most likely candidates to fill out the receiver positions.

 

Tight End

travis-kelce-012816-usnews

The Chiefs are solid at TE with Travis Kelce and just extended him for 5 years and $46 million, making him the second highest paid TE in the league behind Jimmy Graham. Kelce is a complete TE, a great blocker in the running game and a consistent weapon in the passing game. He has had nearly two identical seasons thus far– averaging 70 receptions, over 800 yards receiving and 5 TDs. In fantasy, Kelce has not had the breakout performance owners have hoped for, but he is still a solid TE. If the receiving corps improves, look for more redzone targets to Kelce this year. Still I wouldn’t expect Rob Gronkowski or Jordan Reed type numbers. The Chiefs simply do not score enough TDs through the air, and with Jamal Charles returning for hopefully his first full season with Maclin, there are more capable targets than ever in Kansas City. James O’Shaughnessy and Demetrius Harris are second and third tight end for the Chiefs. It is rumored that in mini-camp the Chiefs have explored more two and three TE sets to provide additional receiving options if the wide receiver core is not able to make a leap forward this year.

 

Defense

Defensive Line

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Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, runs a base 3-4 Defense and has many capable parts. Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey play the end spots with two time pro bowl player Dontari Poe in the middle. Rookie Chris Jones will be a welcome addition to the rotation where his depth is very much needed. Together this line is a big reason the Chiefs finished top 10 in overall defense, but as far as fantasy football is concerned, there are not a lot of statistics to be had.

Linebackers

The ageless Derrick Johnson, coming off yet another 100 tackle season, leads the linebacker group. Josh Mauga struggled next to Johnson last year at the other ILB spot.  But he was re-signed for another 3 years in the offseason, and should once again start. Longtime Chief, Tamba Hali, who will turn 33 years old in December, will play at one of the OLB positions. His numbers have declined over the last couple of seasons, but 2014 first round pick Dee Ford has not been able to replace him in the starting lineup. However, with the Chiefs’ best defensive player, Justin Houston, likely to miss the start of the regular season Ford will get a chance to show what he can do. When Houston, one of top pass rushers in the league, is healthy he’ll immediately return to the starting lineup.

Secondary

marcus-peters

In the secondary, safeties Eric Berry and Ron Parker along with corner Marcus Peters make up one of the best defensive back groups in the league. Peters, who had some off-field question marks during the draft stepped in and played like a veteran, intercepting 8 passes during his rookie year. Eric Berry, cancer survivor, is about to be one of the highest paid safeties in the league. Gone is corner Sean Smith who will be missed.  But former draft picks Phillip Gaines and Steven Nelson are expected to step in and handle the duties with Nelson playing the slot corner. Rookies KeiVarae Russell and Eric Murray will provide depth at the position and gain valuable experience throughout the season.

 

 

Special Teams

On Special Teams, Cairo Santos will once again be the Chiefs kicker. He was very accurate on FGs of less than 50 yards, but was only 4 of 8 on FGs over 50 yards (which accounted for 4 of his 7 missed FG attempts).

De’Anthony Thomas has been one of the better punt returners in the league for a couple of years, but his roster spot is not assured. Rookies Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson could see time in this role.

On kickoff returns, RB Knile Davis has been the kickoff return guy for a while, but his roster spot is also not assured. He is the 4th RB on the team. If he does move on from the team, look for Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West to handle the returns.

 

Fantasy Targets (ADP provided by myfantasyleague.com as of 7/05/2016)

Jamal Charles – Current ADP of 37.08 across all leagues and the 8th best RB. Charles, if healthy, is one of the best fantasy football players in the league. His ability to break long runs and catch the ball out of the backfield makes him  a constant threat for fantasy points.

Jeremy Maclin – ADP of 51.29 across all leagues and the 25th WR off the board. Maclin has all the ability needed to be a WR1, but Kansas City just does not throw the ball enough for this to happen. Maclin is a solid WR2/WR3 again this year.

Travis Kelce – ADP of 64.92 across all leagues and the 4th best TE. Kelce is best in PPR leagues, and if his TD total increased he would definitely by worthy of this number 4 position. I would rank Kelce a few spots lower on the list.

Derrick Johnson – ADP of 157.25 across all leagues and the 20th best LB. This spot is about where I’d think Johnson should be. He is fairly consistent and at times strings together impressive tackle games.

Eric Berry – ADP of 248.17 across all leagues and the 17th best Safety. Because of the strength of the front of the Chiefs defense, Berry doesn’t compile gaudy fantasy numbers. He is most valuable when he is able to create turnovers.

Marcus Peters – ADP of 146.06 and the 2nd Corner off the board. Would be 1st on the list, but Tyrann Mathieu spends time at both corner and safety. It is Peters’ ability in coverage that has him ranked this high. He had eight interceptions in his rookie season and 26 passes defensed. Interceptions are hard to predict, but Peters will soon be considered one of the best corners in the league.

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(Click the Red link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Football Radio: Join Ej GarrCorey D Roberts, and Coach Jeff Nelson live Saturday July 9th from 1-2:30pm EST for episode #63 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. This is a live broadcast and we take callers at 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the hosts. Our first 4 shows of the year covered each AFC division. This week we begin the NFC side with NFC East.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the Red link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio: Join Corey D Roberts and Kyle Amore live on Thursday June 30th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #72 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host.

Our guest this week is Marc Foster a veteran owner with MLFS since 2009, an occasional writer, and 3 time champion in MLFB/MLFF leagues.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I grew up a Dallas Cowboy's fan in Washington Redskins' country, but I currently reside in Florida. I have played fantasy sports since 1999, but have narrowed it down to football only over the last few years. I have a beautiful daughter that keeps me busy and feeling young, and in my free time I write for Major League Fantasy Sports, play golf and spend time on outdoor activities.

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