Our evaluation of the Chiefs 2010 training camp roster continues on this Saturday. In Friday’s edition, we looked at the very bottom of the roster, those players ranked No. 60 through 81. If you missed that, here’s the link.
Today, the focus is on the lower middle of the roster. These are guys that all have a legitimate shot at making the final 53-man roster. Generally, there isn’t a lot of difference between slots in the rankings with the middle ground. A guy could be No. 57, or just as easily be No. 47. These players can contribute, but for the most part they are not going to be key performers.
On Sunday the Fourth of July comes players rated No. 20 through 39 and then on Monday, No. 1 through 19.
Again, a reminder about the evaluations – they are based on performances of the past and potential for the future. One thing everyone involved in football learns to do is trust their eyes. My evaluations are based on what I’ve seen, not what I was supposed to see. Plus, in the NFL a player or a team is either getting better or getting worse. They are either moving up or moving down. For any player who has played in an NFL game, our evaluation comes with an arrow indicating the direction of the player’s career. If they are an ascending player, or one at the top of his game, the arrow points up. An arrow down indicates a descending player, who may still be able to perform and contribute, but has most of his career visible in the rear-view mirror.
Pros: Before 2009, Bowe was an up-and-comer. He tallied 156 receptions in his first two seasons, increasing his yardage and touchdown totals in his second year. As the No. 1 receiver, he is often targeted double-digit times per game. A year after wholesale changes in Kansas City, Bowe has some started to build chemistry with quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel said he has high expectations for the duo in their second year together.
Cons: The Chiefs’ passing game is a project. Bowe’s career yards-per-catch average (12.8) isn’t impressive, and he doesn’t score a lot of touchdowns (5.3/year). He was suspended four games last year for violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. One more pop and he is gone a full year. Bowe, at times, found himself in the dog house of head coach Todd Haley last year, too, due to lack of effort and focus.
Fantasy tip: Bowe is typically being selected in the fifth round of fantasy football drafts but isn’t a player we’re too crazy about. His ceiling isn’t very high. Those in PPR leagues will find him more valuable, but we’d ideally take him as a No. 3 fantasy receiver.
Pros: Charles took over the starting duties in Week 9 and reeled off five 100-yard rushing games during the second half of the season, including a 259-yard showing during a Week 17 rout of the Denver Broncos. Despite defenses knowing he was the only option late in the year, Charles still clicked at 5.9 yards per attempt. He is lightning quick and shifty, which makes it difficult for defenders to square up and provide a solid lick. Charles is also a suitable receiver out of the backfield, hauling in 67 passes in two years, including 40 last season.
Cons: Charles may be lightning in a bottle, but the Chiefs apparently weren’t completely sold on him as a feature back. During the offseason they added some thunder to the backfield with the addition of Thomas Jones, who has five consecutive 1,100-plus campaigns under his belt. Ladies and gentlemen, the committee approach has landed in KC. Jones is coming off a career-best 1,402 yards rushing and has a chip on his shoulder after the New York Jets bid him adieu. He will be a factor. The Chiefs also drafted speedy Dexter McCluster, who is shifting to wide receiver. McCluster will likely swipe some of the receptions Charles would have been in line for. Plus, four of his seven rushing touchdowns came from beyond 40 yards last year … that will be tough to replicate.
Fantasy tip: Don’t get too caught up or mesmerized by last year’s production; it was a perfect storm for Charles and a lot of things have changed. On average, he is coming off the fantasy football draft board during the latter portion of the second round, which is a severe reach for him. His numbers will be inconsistent, which will make playing him weekly a frustrating endeavor. If you want him, take him as your No. 3 fantasy back if he falls far enough; otherwise let him become someone else’s headache.