Now, Hill is back, Hardman is around to bolster a roster already deep at the skill positions, and a team with maybe the most athletic offense in football is even more dangerous. Kansas City’s attack has the potential to be so explosive that some teams’ personnel men told B/R they believe the single-season scoring record of 606 points, set by the Peyton Manning-led Broncos in 2013, could fall.
Consider that last year the Chiefs scored 565 points, and this offense might be better. Just look at the ages of some of the key contributors: Mahomes, 23. Hill, 25, Sammy Watkins, 26. Hell, Travis Kelce isn’t even 30 yet.
“I’m trying to pick up things as quickly as I can so I can be a viable option for them.”
Thompson said he’s trying to learn all three wide receiver positions and is looking forward to showing off his special teams skills in training camp.
He said Watkins has been a leader for the rookie receivers.
“I used to watch Sammy Watkins film when he was at Clemson; he was a freak player,” Thompson said. “Now I’m learning from him. He’s a great guy, a humble person. He’s passing down some knowledge.”
RB Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
ADP Rank: 2.08
The Chiefs have a new full-time lead ball-carrier going into the 2019 campaign. Damien Williams started the last three games of the 2018 regular season and two playoff games. He only recorded more than 13 rushing attempts in one of those outings but produced with efficiency, registering 362 rushing yards and five touchdowns along with 24 catches for 210 yards and three scores in that stretch.
Veteran fantasy managers in standard leagues know running backs can make or break a roster. Williams isn’t a truly notable name, but he shouldn’t slip past the second round of your draft. As we saw at the end of last year, the 27-year-old will also see targets out of the backfield, which makes him a high-upside option in PPR formats.
Fantasy Prediction: 926 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns, 31 catches, 315 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs — Had the Chiefs boasted any sort of defense in ‘18, they probably would be NFL champions. Now, they can boast a little bit, with Clark supplying a pass rush and Mathieu playmaking everywhere.
The long-time coach was asked by a reporter if he had done anything fun or exotic during the offseason, to which Reid responded with a very on-brand answer.
This is too good:
Chile rellenos, of course, is a delicious Mexican dish that consists of chile peppers stuffed with your choice of meat, pork or cheese, and then they are battered and fried and topped with a spicy red sauce.
They are really darn good.
85. Frank Clark, DE, Kansas City Chiefs
Frank Clark terrorized offenses, recording one or more sacks in 10 different games throughout the 2018 season. Clark is also one of seven players with 9.0+ sacks in each of the last three seasons.
Charvarius Ward vs. Tremon Smith vs. Keith Reaser
Charvarius Ward, an undrafted free agent, became a starter by the end of his rookie campaign, but he won’t be handed the position. Tremon Smith, who doubles as a returner, is entering his second season, and Keith Reaser is coming off a spectacular performance as arguably the best defender in the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.
Ward showed he can be a quality starting option. According to Pro Football Focus, he graded as a top-five cornerback from Week 17 (his second start) through the playoffs. His skill set is apparent as a 6’1”, 200-pound corner with 32¼-inch arms and 4.4-second 40-yard-dash speed, but the Chiefs must find out whether he can be consistent. Otherwise, Smith or Reaser could steal the spot.
Projected Winner: Charvarius Ward
Monday Night Football in Week 4 of the 2018 season matched the Chiefs and the Broncos in Denver. It was the first nationally televised game of Patrick Mahomes’ career as an NFL starter. Mahomes’ box score statistics weren’t outlandish: 28-of-45, 304 yards, one passing touchdown in a close win. But those statistics didn’t fully reflect what actually happened on the field.
Around the league
Dubbed “Sanchize,” the franchise quarterback got off to a good start under Rex Ryan, helping the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games in his first two seasons, which included playoff wins over Peyton Manning’s Colts, Tom Brady’s Patriots, Carson Palmer’s Bengals, and Philip Rivers’ Chargers. The hype surrounding those first two seasons rose to a palpable level after Ryan’s defense did most of the hefty lifting. As the Jets attempted to give Sanchez more responsibility, the QB’s career took a nosedive.
The lasting, most indelible memory most of the public will have of Sanchez is the infamous “Butt Fumble,” on Thanksgiving, 2012, against the New England Patriots, in which the QB ran directly into the rear-end of his guard Brandon Moore, and lost the ball that was returned for a defensive touchdown
Getting Boyd extended was one of the Bengals’ biggest goals this offseason, and they ultimately got it done right before training camp begins last this weekend.
A former second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by way of the Pittsburgh Panthers, Boyd was entering the final year of his rookie season. He has repeatedly said this offseason that he wanted to sign an extension with the Bengals, and both parties get what they want before Day 1 of training camp.
After a solid rookie season, Boyd endured an injury-plagued 2017 season that did end on a high note when he caught the game-winning touchdown to knock the Ravens out of the playoffs in Week 17.
Johnathan Abram, S, Oakland Raiders
Drafted: Round 1, No. 27 overall, out of Mississippi State.
Best-case scenario: Abram provides a physical presence in the middle of the Raiders’ defense and proves he is capable of playing up high or down in the box. He is a dynamic blitzer and generates a couple of exciting plays every week. Abram matches up well with tight ends in the AFC West (the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, the Chargers’ Hunter Henry and the Broncos’ Noah Fant), and he becomes a fan favorite because of his “hair on fire” style of play.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers not only have some of the best top-end talent in the division, but they also have even better depth than the Broncos. While the Raiders and Chiefs both have two elite receivers, their third receiver leaves much to be desired.
Despite losing their No. 3 receiver from a season ago, the Chargers still have the best wideout in the division in Travis Benjamin. Benjamin can take the top off defenses and be a danger underneath thanks to his elite speed and elusiveness which pairs excellently with the Bolts’ other two top receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen.
The 29-year-old linebacker was at Seattle’s offseason workouts, but, due to his contract status, didn’t participate in practice, rather taking more of a mentor role to younger players. It’s possible Wagner takes a similar approach to training camp, not putting his body in harm’s way -- thus risking injury -- until a deal gets done. As a leader, Wagner will be there in mind, but be cautious with his body.
Wagner was blunt in May that he wants to become the new highest-paid linebacker in the NFL, surpassing the $17 million-per-year average C.J. Mosley earned from the New York Jets. The veteran is representing himself in negotiations
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Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes revealed he did stay in contact with Hill throughout his time away.
“You always stay in touch with your teammates, with guys that you build relationships with,” Mahomes said. “We stayed in touch with him as much as possible, as well as letting that stuff handle itself. It was good to welcome him back now and be a part of the team and can build the team that we want to build.”
Saunders and Derrick Nnadi are the only two interior defensive lineman under contract in 2020. The group is thin — and regardless of Saunders’ development and the contract status of Chris Jones, this group will need to be addressed in the offseason. How much the Chiefs have to invest will largely depend on Saunders — especially if they can’t get something worked out with Jones.
Saunders seems like a perfect fit to play in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. He fits the density profile and has the athleticism to execute the stunt game employed by Spagnuolo and defensive line coach Brendan Daly. If he builds confidence within the building, Saunders could make decisions a little easier for the Chiefs.
For the last few years, this has been nothing new for Chiefs fans. Despite Kansas City being 9-1 in the last four years against the Chargers, 16-2 against the AFC West in the the last three years and winning the division title three seasons in a row, many national analysts refuse to pick the Chiefs to win the West.
Why do these experts continue to put their faith in everyone but the Chiefs — despite Kansas City’s success against the rest of the division? Analyzing the context to the predictions for the last three seasons may provide some answers.
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