Are Justin Watson and Jody Fortson legitimate weapons for KC Chiefs?

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Jody Fortson (88) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Jody Fortson (88) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Washington Commanders 24-14 in their second preseason game of the season on Saturday. There were plenty of interesting storylines and takeaways from this game. Perhaps the biggest takeaway being how comfortable Patrick Mahomes looks with the new offensive philosophy of spreading the ball around to multiple targets. Another interesting storyline that relates to that new philosophy is the emergence of Justin Watson and Jody Fortson as two of those targets that Mahomes can spread the ball around to.

This is the time of year where training camp all-stars and preseason game standouts get fanbases throughout the NFL convinced that they’ve found the next “diamond in the rough” only for them to fade back to anonymity once the regular season games begin. Is that the case with Watson and Fortson in Kansas City this season or have they earned roles as regular contributors in the Chiefs new spread passing attack?

I considered including rookie sensation Isiah Pacheco in this piece as well. While he certainly fits the description of a training camp/preseason standout that has the fanbase excited, I think the running back situation deserves it’s own separate breakdown and wanted to focus more on the full time pass catchers this week.

For the past four seasons with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce the Chiefs operated with a mindset that those three guys were so special that defenses couldn’t stop them no matter how good their scheme or best defensive players were. It worked well enough to get the Chiefs to four straight AFC Championship Games, two Super Bowls, and one Lombardi Trophy. However, last season was the first time that opposing defenses looked like they were finally catching up to that gameplan.

This season throughout training camp and the first two preseason games it appears that the philosophy is now “you don’t have enough good defenders to cover all the weapons we’re putting on the field and we trust Mahomes to find the mismatch”. While that philosophy was expected by many fans, we may have underestimated the number of different targets that may play a major part in it.

I assumed coming into training camp that the Chiefs passing attack would feature Travis Kelce as the clear number one with the rest of the targets being spread between JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Mecole Hardman, and the running backs. Yes, I thought there would be the occasional pass to a back up tight end or the fullback, but I saw the spread as Kelce, four wideouts, and whoever is in at running back. As we sit here today I feel like we need to add Justin Watson and Jody Fortson’s names to that list of regular contributors to this new offensive philosophy.

So let’s take a closer look at each of these players to see if they really are players we think will contribute this season or if we’re being fooled once again by the training camp hype machine.