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It’s hard to predict what Jeremy Maclin’s 2017 season will be like

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

In games that Jeremy Maclin had 60 or more receiving yards last season, the Kansas City Chiefs were 1-3.

That may not be the most telling stat, but there is something to be said about Maclin’s drop in production in 2016. While battling injuries that caused him to miss Weeks 10 through 13, Maclin had a noticeable drop off on the field.

Compared to 2015 (his first year in KC), Maclin’s total receptions and receiving yards were essentially cut in half last season. 2015 saw Maclin tally 1,088 yards, 87 receptions (a career high) and eight touchdowns in 15 games.

In 12 games last season, Maclin produced just 44 receptions, 536 receiving yards and two touchdowns. A lot could be said about the groin injury he had ... it very well could have been a factor in his declined production, aside from the four games that he actually missed.

Looking ahead to 2017, health will be a big factor for Maclin. If he can stay healthy and stay on the field, those numbers should improve. (The same could be said for just about every player, but it’ll be especially true for Maclin.)

The emergence of Tyreek Hill and KC trying to develop guys like Chris Conley and Albert Wilson could play a role in how much Alex Smith targets Maclin. That isn’t to say Maclin won’t be “the guy” on the field, but it may make things a little more complicated.

Some might say that Maclin’s numbers dropped because of Smith was the one at the QB position. While I might be inclined to agree, that’s probably not the best argument to be made. Maclin did have a great season in 2015, with Smith throwing the football.

There was no Hill in 2015, though, which no doubt took away some targets from Maclin. Travis Kelce had 13 more receptions in 2016 than he did in 2015, too.

Maclin, 29, may not always be the No. 1 receiver for Smith in 2017. CBS Sports had this outlook for Maclin in late-April (with a fantasy twist):

Jeremy Maclin took a big step back in 2016 in his second year with the Chiefs after a solid campaign in 2015. Maclin was easily the No. 1 receiver in Kansas City in 2015. ... While he missed four games with a groin injury [in 2016], he only managed two games with double digits in fantasy points in a standard league and only topped 75 receiving yards twice.

... He can easily rebound to be the No. 1 option in this passing game, even with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill on the roster. But Alex Smith will never help Maclin be a standout fantasy receiver, which lowers his value, and Kelce and Hill present more upside.

Maclin’s got the talent to play some great football. He’ll definitely be a viable option for Smith at QB, but will he repeat his 2015 numbers? With the emergence of Hill and other weapons, it may be more likely that Maclin’s numbers fall in between what he did in 2015 and 2016.

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