It seems like an eternity until we get to see real football again. But I was reminded yesterday that it’s actually a lot closer than it feels.
I had a message on my phone from a friend: “Make sure you sign up for our football league.”
“What’s the rush?” I thought. The draft can’t be anytime soon.
Turns out it’s only a week away.
That’s right, in one week I will be putting together fantasy football teams again. So don’t worry, football is just around the corner and unlike the past few years you will be able to draft Chiefs players without being mocked as a homer.
Last year on our podcast, The Red & Gold Report (returning soon), I went as far as to say there wasn’t any Chiefs player worth a starting spot on your fantasy team. Unfortunately I ended up being right, with only Jamaal Charles and Chris Chambers late in the season warranting a spot on your roster.
Oh, how things have changed.
A conversation that couldn’t be had last season now includes 10 players that you can at least put up on your board. Here is where each of those players should be classified going into your fantasy draft.
No Doubt Starters
He is going to start for someone in your league, it’s just a matter of how high he goes. My guess is that if you are in a league with non-Chiefs fans, they will all expect you to reach for Charles in the first round and you can use a little reverse psychology. Respond to any jab with a deadpan “he’ll probably be off the board” and when you spot comes up say that you really want to take Charles but go elsewhere and that it’s killing you. Guaranteed he flies off the board on the snake between picks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t draft Charles. But recognize that he is not going to get the same workload as he did the end of last season. In fact, Thomas Jones could have games where he gets on a roll and keeps Charles on the sidelines enough to stick you with a 6 or 7 point game. It’s tough to win if you are getting those kind of performances from your first two picks.
If he falls to the third round — not likely, but possible — his value sky rockets.
Make The Call: Late 2nd-3rd
What? Charles gets a 3rd round grade but Jones is still a starter? Yes.
Jones will get work throughout the game and steal enough carries in the Red Zone to make him worthy of whatever swing spot is on your roster. As everyone has been quick to point out since he signed in Kansas City, Jones had 1,400 yards last season and could easily duplicate that if anything were to happen to Charles, immediately bumping him into one of your top two RB slots.
Make The Call: 7th
Putting him into your starting lineup is a risk, but sooner or later things have to click for Bowe… right? When Matt Cassel had time last year, these two hooked up for their share of pretty plays. Better protection, legitimate play-action and little to no double coverage on the outside makes Bowe hard to ignore as your third WR or starting swing.
Make The Call: 8th
If you get even a slight improvement on his rookie season, Succop will be more than worthy of being your kicker all season. With the power he has in his leg, the potential for a 50+ yard field goal is there every week. Let people grab Nate Kaeding and Mason Crosby way too early while you sit back and get Succop in one of the final rounds.
Make The Call: 16th
After averaging nearly 17 yards a catch with the Chiefs last season, I wouldn’t hold it against you if you took Chambers as one of your top three WRs. But with there being less touches to go around and (hopefully) Dwayne Bowe finally getting his head on straight, it’s hard to imagine the veteran repeats the success he had after being released by the Chargers.
A solid guy to plug in during bye weeks throughout the season or if someone goes down, but fill out all of your major starting spots and backup running back before going with Chambers.
Make The Call: 15th
You might not believe it, but Cassel is now a Top 20 QB. Scoff if you will but this time next year I have all the confidence that he will rank 15-20 on every fantasy list.
Will he ever single-handedly lead your team to a league championship? No, but he should be exactly what you want out of your backup: consistent. With an improved line in front of him and a full year of Charles along with tweaking from Charlie Wies, Cassel will be a better 2nd option than Matt Leinart or Matt Stafford.
Make The Call: 16th
He will be involved in so many different sets that he’s worthy one of a backup role. If he adjusts to the speed of the game faster than most rookies, you could be looking at a poor-man’s Josh Cribbs. And as you know, McCluster does most things faster than everyone else.
Make The Call: 16th
Take A Shot With Your Last Pick
Once you get to the final round, there are no bad picks. If you are going to take a complete shot in the dark, why not have it be someone from your favorite team?
No one is talking about Urban and it’s understandable. He had a whopping 18 catches for 186 yards last season and had a career-high 448 yards two seasons ago, not exactly numbers that get fantasy geeks like me excited. But he’s a guy that will never be matched up with anyone better than a nickel corner and if Bowe screws up — it would be shocking, I know — it would blow the doors wide open for Urban.
Tony Gonzalez he ain’t, but Todd Haley loves Pope.
Maybe you don’t think Pope can get the job done. So roll the dice with the rookie from Iowa that has the tools to eventually be a legit fantasy option. Maybe he surprises everyone comes along quicker than anyone thinks. Maybe.