We have reached the dead period in fantasy football. Championships were won or lost weeks ago and we still have a while to wait for the NFL combine. The 2018 season is just a blip on the radar, but for dynasty team owners — especially those who’ve missed the playoffs — free agency can spark some excitement as players find new teams and values can flip quickly once the contract is signed.
As part of an ongoing series here at RotoViz, I’m going to take a look at the fantasy-relevant free agents for the Kansas City Chiefs. I’ll walk through potential cut candidates and then examine some possible ways these player movements could affect the fantasy players on the team.
Free Agents information and cap numbers are courtesy of OverTheCap.
The Chiefs are currently projected to be $12,232,406 over the cap in 2018, with the league’s new cap set at $178 million.
|PLAYER||POSITION||DEAD MONEY||CAP SAVINGS|
Given the horrendous cap situation they must face ahead of 2018, it’s no surprise the Chiefs fired general manager John Dorsey – the same Dorsey who is now with the Cleveland Browns in the same capacity. Dorsey made an attempt to trade for Alex Smith by offering the Chiefs multiple draft picks but keeping Smith on a short-term deal. Ultimately, Washington sent a third-round pick in this year’s draft and one of the best slot corners in the league, Kendall Fuller, to Kansas City in exchange for Smith. The Chiefs will dip back under the salary cap once the trade for Smith becomes official on the first day of the 2018 league year, March 14.
Spencer Ware suffered a torn PCL and LCL in his right knee during the pre-season, landing him on injured reserve and paving the way for rookie Kareem Hunt to dominate the backfield touches. With Hunt clearly the lead RB, it’s possible the Chiefs move on from Ware or he asks for his release. His 2018 salary is modest and would provide depth alongside Charcandrick West should he remain in Kansas City.
I included Darrelle Revis on this list to show how dire the cap situation is. Revis was due an $8.8 million roster bonus in March and the Chiefs released him yesterday. With Smith and Revis off the books, the Chiefs will have just shy of $9 million available to sign their draft class and free agents.
NEEDS – QB, WR
With Smith out of the way and third QB Tyler Bray a free agent, Pat Mahomes could be the lone man in Andy Reid’s QB room for a time. Resigning Bray could be an option, but a veteran presence to back up the young Mahomes seems more in-line with traditional roster construction. Looking at the free agent QB class, Chase Daniel could be that guy as he played under Reid from 2013 to 2015 and his contract should be manageable even for the Chiefs.
When the Chiefs released veteran wide receiver Jeremy Maclin last year, it appeared to gut the WR corps. With Maclin now in Baltimore, Tyreek Hill stepped up as the top WR and finished this year as the WR9 overall in PPR scoring. With tight end Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt rounding out the top options, little volume remained for a thin WR corps.
If you’ve been a reader of RotoViz for a while, then you need no introduction to Albert Wilson. With Mahomes under center in Week 17 against the Broncos, Wilson caught 10 passes for 147 yards and capped his best season to date, finishing with 42 receptions for 554 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson will likely seek a larger opportunity elsewhere, perhaps with his former offensive coordinator Matt Nagy in WR needy Chicago. Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, and Jehu Chesson are the next men up, however, all play primarily on the outside. That leaves practice squad wide receivers, Marcus Kemp and Gehrig Dieter, both undrafted free agents, to compete for that role and most importantly save cap space.
If the Chiefs do dip into free agency to fill that need, I’d like to see Willie Snead get a fresh start. After posting 69 and 72 catches in 2015 and 2016, Snead was limited to just eight receptions in 2017. He was suspended the first three games for an off-season DUI and fell behind Brandon Coleman on the depth chart. The emergence of Alvin Kamara in the passing game also limited Snead’s usage. In Kansas City, Snead could be the top WR target behind Hill as Conley is trying to recover from a ruptured Achilles and the rest are still unproven. Snead is an exclusive rights free agent, which means he cannot negotiate with other teams. Rather, his rights belong solely to the team that applies the tender.
For fantasy purposes, any new WR brought in via free agency or the draft should be on our WR3 radar. That applies more to deeper dynasty leagues due to lineup requirements, but we haven’t seen Mahomes with a full complement of offensive weapons yet. Perhaps Hunt and/or Kelce take a hit in targets as Mahomes does his best anti-Alex Smith impression and gets the ball downfield.