Underrated. Undervalued. Overlooked.
These are some of the words that come to my mind when talking about Dwayne Bowe. For years, I’ve said that he is quietly one of the best wide receivers in the game of football today, despite often being in a poor situation on a bad team. He has all the tools of an elite wide receiver. Speed, size, hands, athleticism. He has it all. However, like I said, the Kansas City Chiefs pedestrian passing attack has limited his production since being drafted in 2007. I’m a firm believer in Bowe’s talent, and he may be in his best situation to produce like a top fantasy wide receiver in 2013.
At least, both Bowe and the Chiefs believe he will.
The Chiefs rewarded their number one wideout with a 5-year, $56 million contract extension, making him the fourth-highest paid receiver in the game. A few months back, Bowe predicted that he would lead the league in receptions and touchdowns this season. A bit of a bold statement, but Bowe will have to produce to prove that he was worthy of that contract extension. Like I said, the statement was bold, but was it necessarily crazy? I mean, back in 2010, Bowe was in a much worse situation than he is now, yet he still caught 15 touchdowns. Guess what? That number led the league. I’m not saying he’ll do it again in 2013, but to put it simply, I’m a lot higher on Bowe than many others this year.
Joining the Chiefs this season is former 49ers’ signal caller, Alex Smith. Smith is known as more of a game manager, but that role will likely change this season. During his time in San Francisco, Smith led an offense that featured a run-heavy scheme, so Smith really didn’t have to do very much. Still, Smith was a very proficient passer, sporting a career quarterback rating of 79.1 during his time in San Fran. Over his past two seasons, he’s thrown just 10 interceptions. While many don’t believe Smith will be able to do enough to make Bowe a top fantasy receiver, they need to remember that his role will be much different than when he was with the 49ers. That’s because Smith isn’t the only new face in town. The team brought in Andy Reid as their new head coach, a guy who is known for favoring the pass during his time in Philadelphia. Smith will be asked to sling the ball around more than he ever has, and the number one receiver he’ll be targeting will be Bowe.
Smith never threw for 20 touchdowns or eclipsed 3,200 passing yards in any season. However, that’s because of the volume (or lack there of) of passes he threw. Over the past two seasons, Smith has averaged less than 28 passes per contest with the 49ers. Playing under Reid will force him to throw more, as his teams in Philadelphia averaged almost 35 passes per contest. Of course, Reid’s first target will be to get All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles involved in the passing game, as he has done in the past with the Eagles. However, Bowe will still play a major role. The last time Reid coached a receiver similar to Bowe was back in 2004 when he had a guy by the name of Terrell Owens. During that season, Owens caught 77 balls for 1,200 yards and 14 scores. Considering Bowe has posted similar numbers before, without a pass-heavy head coach in the mix, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he finished the 2013 with close to those numbers.
Bowe reminds me a lot of another underrated wideout, Stevie Johnson. Both have a very safe floor, consistently posting 1,000-yard, 6-7-touchdown seasons. If Bowe can continue to post safe numbers like that, I can’t wait to see what his fantasy production looks like with a capable quarterback and a pass-heavy head coach.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.