Many people were expecting a big year from Dwayne Bowe in 2013. The arrival of pass-happy head coach Andy Reid, who’s teams in Philadelphia averaged nearly 35 passing attempts per contest. The expected increase in volume pushed Bowe higher and higher up fantasy draft boards this summer, but through three games, the Chiefs passing attack hasn’t benefited Bowe as much as some of the other players.
After a measly one-catch, four-yard performance against one of the worst secondaries in football on Thursday night, Bowe now has juts nine catches for 90 yards and a score on the season. He was absolutely non-existent in this contest, but quarterback Alex Smith stated that Bowe was often double-teamed. Double-teamed or not, it was still disappointing to see Bowe held to just one grab in a dream matchup. Perhaps it’s just the Thursday night curse, or maybe it’s something more? Kansas City’s passing attack hasn’t really been an attack, per say. Instead of giving their Pro Bowl caliber wideout tons of downfield targets, the Chiefs have been running a bunch of intermediate passing plays. Bowe has seen a pedestrian 17 targets through three games, which places him around the 30′s among the wide receiver position. Meanwhile, running back Jamaal Charles has been targeted an impressive 23 times in the passing game, which is tied for ninth-most out of any running back or receiver in football. He’s caught 18 balls already, and is currently on pace for 99 grabs, which would easily be a career high. The fact that Smith has been checking down to his running backs and tight ends so frequently, rather than look for his number one wideout is a tad bit concerning, especially after watching the game on Thursday night. Too many times did I see Smith bail out on his receivers, deciding to take off and run. Smith has always been an athletic signal caller, dating back to his days in Utah. Already this season, Smith has a ridiculous 22 rushes, which is more than the likes of guys like Cam Newton, for instance. He had 10 carries in this contest, while he ran with the ball eight times in Week 2. If Smith continues to tuck the ball and run, Bowe won’t see nearly as many targets in the passing game.
I absolutely love Bowe as a talent, and firmly believe he is capable of reaching top-10 level among receivers. Heck, he’s done it before (remember his magical 2010 season?). However, keep in mind that no receiver has been very fantasy relevant with Smith at the helm, and while Smith isn’t bad by any means, he just doesn’t take shots down the field. He is incredibly conservative, which is why he’s only tossed 63 interceptions in seven seasons.
Fantasy wideouts alongside Alex Smith (2006-2011)
*Smith didn’t play in 2008
Look, I’m not saying give up on Bowe, as Michael Crabtree definitely came on last season alongside Smith, but really exploded with Colin Kaepernick under center. You’d be hard-pressed to find many other receivers as complete as Bowe, but from what we’ve seen so far, this offense won’t be a candidate to throw the ball deep a ton, which hurts his value. However, despite the pedestrian wideouts alongside Smith over the years, that was on a very run-heavy offense, and we’ve clearly already seen how much Reid and company want to throw the football.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.