As part of the premium content package, we’re unveiling dynasty capsules for every team in the NFL all Spring and Summer. This year, we also have a precursor to every team capsule, with more detail on one of our favorite pieces – the dynasty sleeper. We continue our alphabetical journey through the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Back in 2008, Cassel was a hot commodity in dynasty leagues. After all, he was fresh off a campaign in New England where he replaced an injured Tom Brady and responded with 3,693 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was rewarded by being anointed the starter in Kansas City and many dynasty owners believed he could be a future QB1.
Cassel’s first season as a Chief was simply mediocre. He threw for under 3,000 yards and threw as many touchdowns as interceptions with 16 each. Those who believed Cassel was simply a product of the Patriots system had all the firepower in the world to call Cassel a total bust. However, he responded well in 2010 with 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, though he did only throw for just 3,116 yards.
The story didn’t end there, though.
Cassel failed to build on his 2010 performance last year by again completing less than 60% of his throws (he’s never had a season over 60% for the Chiefs) and had his season cut short after breaking his throwing hand. For the year, he had just 1,713 passing yards, ten touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Simply put, Cassel doesn’t seem to have anything close to elite ability and has questionable arm strength as well. He’s not a player you can build an offense around and tends to be more of a game manager than true offensive weapon.
While Cassel is certainly on a short leash, the one thing he has going for him in the short term is the fact the Chiefs have very little to choose from in the form of a replacement. You should expect another season of around 3,000 yards and an even number of touchdowns and interceptions from Cassel, making him a low-end QB2 at best. In the long-term, it’s really tough to see Cassel being the answer for the Chiefs without a monster season, though.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The Dolphins were once ridiculed for taking Ted Ginn Jr. over Quinn in the NFL Draft. While Ginn has been nothing special, Quinn now finds himself on his third team after failed stints with the Browns and Broncos.
There was some buzz around Quinn last year as he apparently flashed in Broncos camp. Unfortunately, he was caught in the middle of Tebowmania and was never able to play in a game to prove that was anything but coachspeak.
Going into 2012, Quinn finds himself with a familiar Coach in Romeo Crennel and on a team where he could conceivably get some playing time if the cards fall right for him.
Quinn has never really had an extended chance to lead a team, but his inaccuracy may always hold him from ever getting that chance. As such, he’s not worth a roster spot at this point. Keep an eye on his battle with Ricky Stanzi, though.
The former Iowa product is still developing for the Chiefs, but wasn’t really deemed quite good enough to play last season – that’s saying something after watching the Tyler Palko experience last year. Stanzi will continue to develop and could get a shot this season should Cassel falter and he beats out Brady Quinn for the backup job.
Charles was an absolute dynasty league stud in 2009 and 2010 as he posted a total of 2,587 rushing yards on a ridiculous 6.2 yards per carry. Throw in another 765 receiving yards and a total of 16 touchdowns those two seasons and you had all the makings of a true RB1 in dynasty leagues.
Then disaster struck.
In the Chiefs second game last year, Charles tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season. It’s a horrible injury for a running back, but Charles is very young and still doesn’t have much tread on his tires. On another positive note, Charles isn’t one of those workhorse backs who needs 25 or 30 carries to be productive. In fact, he’s one of the select few who can dominate a game with just ten or twelve touches.
Time will tell on Charles. You have to hope he can come back and be near the player he was pre-injury. He’s an electric talent and his rehab is said to be going well, so it’s tough to bet against him.
After his breakout campaign in 2010 when Hillis posted 1,654 total yards and 13 scores for the Browns, things were looking great for Hillis. After all, he was the new cover boy for the Madden game.
After failing to reach an agreement on a long term contract with the Browns, Hillis played in 2011 and looked very mediocre. On the season, he had just 587 yards rushing and three touchdowns in ten games as he battled various injuries. At one point, there was even a rumor that he was interested in retiring and joining the CIA, though some dynasty owners may have thought he was already part of the agency the way he disappeared last season.
Hillis gets a fresh start in Kansas City as an insurance policy for Jamaal Charles, who the Chiefs will undoubtedly bring along slowly from his injury. On the plus side, Hillis is reunited with offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who helped orchestrate his breakout campaign in 2010.
At best, Hillis is slated for a “thunder” role similar to that of Thomas Jones from years past and could conceivably get some starts early in the year if Charles has a setback. At worst, he continues to be less than productive and, well, ordinary. He’s only on a one year deal, so 2012 is the biggest season of his career after he botched his contract negotiations with the Browns.
The former Texas A&M player has a legitimate chance to make the roster and should be monitored closely since Hillis is only on a one year deal. If he shows some ability, he could easily become the RB2 at this point next season. He has some injury concerns, but was super productive in college. He’s worth a roster stash for sure in deep leagues.
With Gray in the fold, it’s likely the end of the road for Draughn.
If I was to say to you there was a 27 year old receiver who has averaged 77 catches, over 1,160 yards and ten touchdowns per season over the last two years available in round five in most start up drafts, you’d think I was crazy.
Nope, it’s none other than Dwayne Bowe.
Bowe is consistently one of the most underrated receivers in all of dynasty leagues. After all, how many other receivers can put up numbers like those, especially with the mediocre play of the Chiefs quarterbacks?
This is an important year for Bowe as he’ll play on the one year franchise tag for the Chiefs and many don’t expect him back with the team next season. If Bowe was to find himself on a more explosive offense, he has the talent and ability to put up some monster numbers. After all, this is the same player who once scored in an amazing seven straight games in 2010 when Cassel had his lone great season.
Bowe should be penciled in as a great WR2, with WR1 upside. Though there’s some risk with him,, many coaches simply don’t realize how good he can really be.
Baldwin’s rookie season was a mess. After doing nothing to dispel the notion that he was a diva receiver in the preseason by breaking his thumb in a locker room fight with Thomas Jones, he was able to muster just 21 catches for 254 yards and one touchdown on the year.
On the plus side, Baldwin has shown great ability at times and by all accounts has had a very solid off-season. He has no shortage of talent and is being overlooked in many dynasty leagues since the Chiefs have frankly been one of the least exciting teams to watch in recent years. If Dwayne Bowe moves on after this season, he’ll have an even greater opportunity in the future. Can he mature quickly and take advantage?
Breaston was a hot sleeper pick last year, but the results were mixed. His 61 catches and 785 yards were solid, but he only scored twice, leaving him as an emergency flex player at best. With Baldwin nipping at his heels for targets, Breaston seems to be a very average option with diminishing upside.
There was a lot of hope for McCluster after he was brought in to be a swiss army knife type of player out of the University of Mississippi. Unfortunately, things just haven’t clicked for McCluster and he looks like a prime candidate for the waiver wire at this point. After all, there just aren’t enough touches to make him relevant.
Wylie is a hot rookie sleeper these days. While his contribution early on looks like it will likely come in the return game, he should have the ability to emerge as a nice slot receiver eventually. In a PPR league, he’s certainly worth a shot as a late rookie pick. He’s extremely fast and just needs to show he can be durable. If he can, he should be effective at some point.
We focused on Moeaki in our Kansas City sleeper spotlight.
It seems like a long time ago when the former New York Giant was a chic pick as a future star at TE in dynasty leagues. After leaving the Giants in 2010, Boss spent a lost year in Oakland in 2011, posting just 28 catches for 368 yards and three touchdowns. He now finds himself in Kansas City and may be a bit of a sleeper pick himself, given the fact that Moeaki seems to get hurt quite often. While he shouldn’t be on a roster now, he should be monitored, especially if Moeaki has a setback in his rehab.
We’ll continue our team-by-team breakdowns with the Miami Dolphins up next.