What changed for the Chiefs? Click here
Alex Smith's NFL career started out horribly as the former 1st overall pick threw a single touchdown pass against 11 interceptions as a rookie and barely completed 50% of his throws on a terrible San Francisco team. However that was eleven years ago and now at 32-years old, Alex Smith has become a very dependable quarterback with leadership qualities for the Chiefs.
In the past four years, he has completed 65% of his passes for 75 touchdowns against just 24 interceptions. He has also rushed for 1182 yards with the Chiefs in three years. He is a very good quarterback now although he will never be thought of as an elite fantasy football quarterback. He has only thrown 32 interceptions in his last seven seasons. That is pretty amazing by anybody's standards. Last season he had a career high in passing yards and rushing yards and he definitely is in control of this offense. I wonder if the 49ers are still kicking themselves they gave up on him.
Both Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray are young players that had success in major university programs but are still learning their craft at the NFL level. They are not really ready yet to be under center so hopefully Smith stays healthy for another season or two. Murray is the most ready if somebody has to go in.
Jamaal Charles suffered a knee injury last season in week five last year and he was lost for the remainder of the season. It was too bad as Charles was off to a fantastic start. By all accounts he is healthy and ready to go this season but this is his second major career as a pro and he will be turning 30 late in the season so he is on the downslope of his career. That said, Charles is an elusive, talented player that is a gamebreaker on the field. The Chiefs have two young talented running backs in behind him to help keep him fresh and that should keep him as a dynamic player for the next couple of seasons. Don't expect more than 220 carries from him in 2016 but 5.0 yards per carry is a strong possbility.
The player that interests me the most among the backups is Spencer Ware, formerly a 6th round pick from LSU... He has exceptional size and seems to thrive with more work. He had a two week stretch last year when he carried the ball 30 times for 210 yards and scored 3 times. He is big, quick and hits the hole with a purpose. I really like what he brings to the table but obviously he is not going to get many touches behind Charles and sharing the backup role. He is a player to keep an eye on though.
Charcandrick West is a dependable running back when given the chance. He has adequate size and has a really nice burst through the holes with patience to let blocks develop. I really like what he and Ware give the Chiefs in spelling Charles but a three-headed monster rarely is a good thing in regards to fantasy football. Just be aware of the name and be ready to stash him on deep rosters in fantasy football or be ready to scoop him up via free agency.
Knile Davis slid down the pecking order last year with minimal work but he has great size at 227 pounds and the former 3rd round pick from Arkansas can help to wear down a defense. The problem with Davis is he has very limited elusiveness, is a straight ahead plodder as his low yards per carry averages indicate. He has been rumored to be on the trade block so stay tuned.
Tyreek Hill, Mike Williams, Rod Streater:
Maclin had a very strong first season with the Chiefs last year after being a free agent acquisition. He caught a career-high 87 passes on the season for 1088 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. He immediately improved the Chiefs passing game and he will have another great year in 2016. His mix of speed, athleticism and quickness is tough to contain.
Chris Conley did not have a big impact as a rookie last year but his size and speed make him an a likely candidate to move up the depth chars in his second season.
Albert Wilson had decent success last year catching 35 passes for 451 yards and 2 scores. He doesn't have the talent of Conley but is a good pass route runner and works hard. If Conley doesn't elevate in preseason, Wilson will be the 2nd receiving option.
Demarcus Robinson from Florida was added in the fourth round of the draft and he has a chance to stick if he works hard to improve his below average route running. He is quick and explosive and looks capable of getting down the field at the NFL level. Lazy routes won't get the job done at the pro level though. Has also struggled with drops but there is no questioning he has the talent to play in the NFL.
James O'Shaughnessy, Demetrius Harris:
Kelce over the past two years as become one of the finest pass receiving tight ends in the NFL. His play didn't elevate in his third season but he still put up 72 receptions for 875 yards and 5 touchdowns. He has all the tools to be a top tight end and with a few more touchdowns he will be. He could catch 80 passes for score 8 times in 2016, making him a top-five fantasy tight end.
O'Shaughnessy and Harris did not have many catches between them (13) but both looked capable in minimal action and could elevate if pressed into starting duty.
Projected Starters: LT Eric Fisher, LG Parker Ehinger (rookie), C Mitch Morse, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RT Mitchell Schwartz
Key Backups: Jah Reid, Jarrod Pughsley, Zach Fulton, Jordan Devey, Reid Fragel
The Chiefs offensive line is very, very young and could be a top-ten unit by 2018. Eric Fisher is a former first overall pick in 2013 and he is becoming a very good football player. The Chiefs picked up Mitchell Schwartz who did a great job in Cleveland. Mitch Morse was a late second round pick last year and started 15 games. He is still learning on the fly but the potential is there. I really dislike their current guard options and that combined with youth is why the grade is so slow but if the guard positions are stable and the youth continue to improve, this unit could climb the ranks in a hurry.
The 23-year old had a good second season with the Chiefs hitting 30 of 37 field goals. He hit 39 of 41 extra points as well.