Chiefs Preview Capsule
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-5)
New faces: LB Reggie Ragland, QB Patrick Mahomes II, RB Kareem Hunt, LB Kevin Pierre-Louise, DT Bennie Logan.
Key losses: WR Jeremy Maclin, RB Jamaal Charles, DT Dontari Poe, LB D.J. Alexander, LB Josh Mauga.
Strengths: Offensive line should be solid after returning every starter from last season, while TE Travis Kelce is among NFL’s best at his position. Veteran group of linebackers and defensive backs should keep Kansas City near top of league in most defensive statistical categories.
Weaknesses: Losing mammoth DT Dontari Poe in free agency hurt defensive line that already struggled to stop run, while release of WR Jeremy Maclin in salary cap-saving move left big hole on offense. Chiefs have few pass catchers with experience, instead turning to second-year pro Tyreek Hill and several rookies and newcomers to fill void. Running back became problematic after Spencer Ware went down with likely season-ending knee injury in third preseason game against Seattle.
Fantasy Players To Watch: Hunt should get majority of touches and provides versatility catching passes out of backfield. Hill is coming off breakout rookie season but will not handle kickoff return duties, an area in which he shined last year. Kelce dealt with minor knee injury during training camp but should be Chiefs’ top pass catcher this season.
Expectations: Chiefs return most key players from AFC West title team last season. QB Alex Smith needs to impress to earn final year of his contract, otherwise Mahomes is waiting in wings. Maclin’s release was big blow to offense already starved of playmakers. Biggest questions on defense concern health: Houston missed time last season with persistent knee trouble, Johnson is returning from ruptured Achilles tendon, and SS Eric Berry dealt with nagging heel injury in training camp after signing $78 million, six-year contract in February.
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