Justyn Ross has juicy setup for a breakout game for Kansas City Chiefs

Justyn Ross has a clear opportunity to seize in Week 18 against the Chargers.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

When it comes to any career projections for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justyn Ross, most fans can be found in one of two camps: 1.) the potential to be the team's next great receiver or, 2.) much ado about nothing.

Ross is currently in his second season with the Chiefs, and by now, most prospects would have been labeled boom or bust. Consider the verdicts already handed out to Skyy Moore or Kadarius Toney. However, Ross has been short on playing time or opportunities thanks to injuries (or suspension) that have largely kept him watching from the sidelines.

That's been true of Ross for the last several years now, however, which is why all 32 NFL teams passed on him on several occasions back in 2022 when he went undrafted. Even the Chiefs didn't see fit to spend one of three seventh-round selections on him in that draft, but they were intrigued enough by the Clemson's star's ceiling to take a chance with a rookie free agent contract.

Justyn Ross has a clear opportunity to seize in Week 18 against the Chargers.

Ross sat for the entirety of his rookie campaign on injured reserve, stashed away as a long-term developmental project for the Chiefs roster. That allowed Ross to recover and train at the professional level, and he came into 2023 as one of several young wideouts hoping to grab the brass ring in a wide-open competition for roster spots on a remade WR room.

To his credit, Ross did exactly what he needed to turn the heads of decision-makers in the preseason, and it forced the Chiefs front office to go with seven wide receivers on the active roster for the first time since Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City. Suddenly fans were giddy with excitement over what Ross would do catching passes from Patrick Mahomes.

Things haven't worked out as hoped, however. Even as other wideouts on the team were melting down in real-time—from a lack of trust to dropped passes to route-running mistakes—Ross failed to step up into the void. For the first seven games of the season, Mahomes targeted Ross a total of 6 times. He caught 3 of those passes for 34 total yards. Then came the suspension.

In late October, Ross was arrested on domestic battery charges and was ultimately suspended for six games. Just like that, the bulk of his second season was taken away and it looked like another ineffective season for Ross with the Chiefs.

Before closing the books on another season, however, Ross has one more door to walk through in 2023: a Week 18 visit to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Because the Chiefs are resting so many players heading into the postseason, Ross is in line to get more playing time than ever before. And while it won't be PatricK Mahomes throwing him passes, Ross will still be a greater offensive focal point than ever before.

The promise of seeing more from Ross before the regular season ends has more than just fans excited. Chiefs players and coaches are also ready to see more from Ross if given the opportunity:

Even if the year hasn't gone as planned for Ross, the truth is that a breakout effort from Ross in the year's final regular season game could go a long way toward generating positive momentum for next year. After all, the Chiefs will be overhauling the position and Ross could lay an early claim to a spot with a new bunch.

At this point, seeing is believing for Justyn Ross and the Chiefs yet it's hard to show what a player can do with so little playing time. This week, however, is set up for Ross to succeed—if he's ready to seize the moment.