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Kansas City Chiefs Late August Scouting Report
John Cooney

The harvest is in the barn and the pre-season games are done. Cut-downs are in full blast mode and it is time to turn towards the new 2019 season with some plain talk about the Chiefs, fantasy football style.


QB Patrick Mahomes had a season for the ages in 2018. C’mon, we all know he’s not going to prop up another 50 TDs and 5000 yards. Yeah, okay, but he will come close. Usually passers that rack up all-world stats one season suffer a deep dip in production the next. Mahomes is different. And think about it, how many of us would be thrilled with our 2019 starting FFB QB firing 39 TDs and 4500-4600 yards?


A huge reason Mahomes won’t fall off a statistical cliff this year is the WR group. Tyreek Hill is back after his off-season of drama. Bet the house he comes in with a mad-on and plays with added spark. Oh, and he has an expiring contract to keep the fires burning. Sammy Watkins has been pretty darn quiet, hasn’t he? Yeah, just the way Coach Reid and Sudden Sammy want it. If he avoids those nagging foot/leg ailments… look out. I see Watkins’ average ADP is around the 8th round; jump on that action. Rookie Mecole Hardman isn’t going to rack up big numbers this season but he will be cleaverly deployed on attention-getting routes that force defenses to take their eyes off Hill and Watkins for a second or 2, and that’s all they need.


We all know what Travis Kelce is about to do… again.


Now, the RB situation isn’t as fun as we might have thought for fantasy purposes, from what I am seeing. Sure, Damien Williams has been identified by Coach as the starter, but what does the "starter" in 2019 mean for the Chiefs’ backfield? In my opinion, it means he’s the lead back of a RBBC that includes rookie Darwin Thompson, versatile Darrell Williams and converted DB Tremon Smith. The one left out is Carlos Hyde.Veteran players who not only suit up for the last pre-season game but see quality snaps and touches (for RBs) usually are not ticketed for a role on a regular season lineup. Hyde did suit up and handle the football for too often in the last game to think he matters in KC for 2019. OK, back to Damien Williams. He has the look and feel of a 14-18 touch RB this year. As the season progresses I can see Thompson cutting into D-Will’s touches to keep both backs fresher, longer. Darrell chips in with about 4-6 touches per. Fanballers employing the services of Damien should get about 75-85 YFS weekly and by season’s end, health permitting, 10 combined TDs. Quite honestly I’m not sure what Thompson brings for FFB use other than a must-have hand-cuff to Damien Williams.


The O-line is pretty set withLT Eric Fisher, LGAndrew Wylie, CAustin Reiter, RGLaurent Duvernay-Tardif and RTMitchell Schwartz. Wylie subbed for the injured Duvernay-Tardif at RG last season and is set to run LG this year. Coach Reid and O-Line coach Heck always get the most out of the talent down the line. I expect this group will be fine for 2019.


On defense, with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in charge, it all starts up front. I love who the Chiefs are lining up on the D-line this year. Key is sure to be DE Frank Clark. Remember, while Clark is an end, he has been a penetrating terror moving inside to DT on passing downs in the past. Look for that to happen a bunch this season. So while IDP folks may get a bit nervous about Clark playing inside at times, let it go. Clark is a beast rushing through the inside. And speaking of the end position on defense, just look at this fun platoon KC will be rotating from down-to-down: Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah, Breeland Speaks, TanohKpassagnon. They have size, length and ability top-to-bottom. I am especially excited about Kpassagnon in Coach Spags system. K-Pass has looked darn good in pre-season, getting to the QB and holding his own on runs around his edge. Again, other than Clark I don’t expect any of the other DEs to rack up snaps or approach the sack totals of Justin Houston and Dee Ford of past years. However, I do think the 50-sack range is in the cards once again as a unit. If you play IDP formats, Clark is a def, but give Kpassagnon a good look over. Of courseChris Jones is still there and he is tailor-made for this program.


The LBs are going to clean up tackles, led by Anthony Hitchens. And I’m pretty stoked to see Darren Leeget after it as well. Not sure he will offer much in the way of IDP value over the long haul, but he has some matchup opportunities to provide a few big tackle performances.


The one player in the secondary that I feel will make a surprising impact is rookie safety Juan Thornhill. He is a ball-hawk. With him and Tyrann Matthieu patrolling the middle of the field, and the pressure coming hard at the line, opposing QBs will be trying to force balls to the sidelines and short. That sets up Thornhill perfectly, driving hard to the football, jumping routes and picking off 5-6 passes. He is dangerous after the pick as well.


We are headed for another wild and crazy season in Kansas City. The defense should be better with Coach Spagnuolo at the helm, making better use of the personnel. The offense will be just as lethal as it was in 2018. But I do think RBBC is in play more than many anticipate.


Week 1 is right around the corner. Jacksonville, here we come!!!


Next report I preview the opener versus those Jaguars, who sport a couple of ex-Chiefs (Nick Foles, Chris Conley).


Keep your Eye in the Sky over Kansas City.



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