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The Chiefs Need The Offense To Take The Next Step In 2017

Brandon Murchison Staff Writer April 24, 2017 8:29PM EST

The NFL Draft Fantasy Preview Series : Cleveland – Chicago – San Francisco – Jacksonville – LA Rams – Tennessee – Jets – Chargers – Panthers – Bengals – BillsVikings – Cardinals – Saints – Eagles – Colts – Ravens –Redskins – Lions – Buccaneers – Broncos – Giants – Texans – Raiders – Cowboys

Team Needs: LB, DL, CB

Projected Top Three Picks:

First Round- Mike Williams, WR Clemson

Second Round- Chidobe Awuzie, CB Colorado

Third Round- Dalvin Tomlinson, DT Alabama

Coming off yet another disappointing outing in the 2016 playoffs, it is very clear that this Kansas City Chiefs team needs to spice it up a bit on offense to contend with the upper echelon teams in the AFC. They have a solid defense in place to keep them in ball games, but the offense tends to disappear at the most important moments. Adding another playmaker on the outside to complement Tyreek Hill would certainly go a long way, and that’s what they’ll hope for with their first pick, WR Mike Williams. If he happens to fall to this point in the draft, this would be a no-brainer steal for the Chiefs. Williams has Top 10 skills and would immediately slot into the starting lineup opposite Jeremy Maclin for the Chiefs. He has the size and speed that you look for in a WR1 in the NFL, and his route-running and ability to go after a catch are off the charts. A rookie season of 1,000 yards and seven TDs could be easily obtainable, as long as Alex Smith can open up this passing game just a bit more and start to get away from his “game-manager” moniker. In an offense that is more run-based, there could be too many mouths to feed, which ultimately keeps Williams’ potential at a modest WR5 level going into drafts. But expect for him to show his ability quickly and potentially surpass Maclin in the pecking order in this offense.

After a surprising rookie campaign, can Tyreek Hill ascend into the WR1 tier in 2017? (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)

After a surprising rookie campaign, can Tyreek Hill ascend into the WR1 tier in 2017? Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

In the second-round, I expect Kansas City to jump into the deep waters at CB, and pick up Chidobe Awuzie. He is the perfect complement to Marcus Peters, as he plays close to the ball with a nice combination of athleticism and tackling ability. This selection would allow the Chiefs to play a lot of man coverages and blitz more frequently to create turnovers. This Chiefs defense could easily be one of the top defenses in the draft, and I would expect them to be one of the first five to come off the board.

Alex Smith once again played the role of a quarterback who was better in real life than he was in Fantasy in 2016. Very rarely will he go out and win you a week, but with his modest stats, he’s not typically a QB that you can count on as your starter either. He mixes in rushing statistics with his passing, but it’s usually hit or miss on whether he can give you a multiple TD game in a given week. He has the skills and the weapons to propel him in to the upper tier of QB2s, but the restraints on this offense is what holds him back. Adding in Mike Williams could certainly improve that outlook. But for now, Smith is a QB that you draft late as a streaming type option or as a backup to your stud QB that you can potentially trade off to another owner.

Tyreek Hill was a pleasant surprise for this offense in 2016, as he came out of nowhere to lead this team in points at the position. He was handcuffed by a snap count last year, but all signs point to the shackles coming off in 2017. The team is expecting to try and find ways to get the ball in his hands more often this season, which could make the sky the limit. Based on last year’s play, look for Fantasy owners to jump the gun on him a bit and draft him as a high-end WR2. He could definitely play up to and exceed that value, or he could be another glorified Tavon Austin. Time will tell on this; but for me, drafting him at a WR3 value is where I’m most comfortable.

The other starting WR, Jeremy Maclin, must prove that he can stay on the field to produce the numbers he is capable of. Until last season, Maclin was very consistent for around five catches a game, but getting into the end-zone has always been a problem for the Chiefs’ WRs. Given last year’s poor performance, Maclin should come at quite the discounted rate in 2017, potentially as low as a WR4 in drafts. A great price for a receiver that holds potential WR2 value.

Travis Kelce finished 2016 as the top tight-end in Fantasy, but mostly on the strength of catches and yardage. If he doesn’t find more ways to get TDs, he will quickly be surpassed by a number of other TEs in 2017. Kelce will most likely come off the board in the fourth-round of drafts, making him a player that I will most likely be passing on this year.

The running game for the Chiefs in 2016 had so much promise with a quick start on the shoulders of Spencer Ware, a sleeper that I was very high on coming into drafts. He was doing everything that you want a RB1 to do. Ware was getting it done on the ground and through the air, scoring multiple times in the first few weeks. Once the injury bug hit him, he came back and was splitting time with Charcandrick West and looked very tentative in his running style. With the departure of Jamaal Charles, this running attack is being handed to Ware entering the 2017 season. But will he be capable of holding up to the increased workload? Will the Chiefs bring in a younger back via the draft? A lot of questions surround Ware as we get closer to the season. Possibly too many questions that you’d like in a player that you’ll have to draft as a RB2. Ware has what it takes to finish the season as a RB1, but team history shows an unwillingness to feature him as a three-down back. Drafting him as a RB2 sometime in the fourth-round seems to fit at the moment.

Team Ranks:

Passing Offense- 233.8 YPG (19th)

Running Offense- 109.3 YPG (15th)

Points Per Game- 24.3 PPG (13th)

Top Fantasy Performers:

QB- Alex Smith, 212 points

RB- Spencer Ware, 147 points

WR- Tyreek Hill, 144 points

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