If you combine one of the most talented receivers in football with one of the league’s pass-heaviest head coaches, you’d expect fireworks out of the stat sheets, right?
So far, not so good. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe hasn’t exactly been utilized the way a top tier wideout would like to thus far. Before the season, he predicted that he would lead the NFL in both receptions and touchdowns, which at the time, really wasn’t the craziest statement. However, fast forward to Week 5, and it sounds just asinine. Through four games, Bowe has caught just 13 balls for 148 yards and two scores. In fact, he has yet to catch more than four balls in a single game all season long. He currently ranks as the number 47 fantasy wideout, and quite frankly, he hasn’t had the opportunity to make the big plays for the Chiefs this season, which is odd considering who is calling the shots on the sidelines.
Andy Reid has been known to fall in love with airing the ball during his time coaching in the NFL. During his tenure in Philadelphia, the Eagles have averaged almost 35 pass attempts per contest, and his teams seemingly finished inside the top-10 in pass attempts every single year. And the last time he had a true, prototypical number one wideout at his disposal, it was Terrell Owens, who hauled in 77 balls for 1,200 yards and an impressive 14 touchdowns. Many expected similar numbers from Bowe this season under Reid, who is easily part of the best group of talent of his young career. So, with all of the pieces around him, why hasn’t Bowe taken that next step as a fantasy wide receiver?
Gee, why don’t you ask the guy throwing him the football?
Quarterback Alex Smith has never wowed anyone with his stat lines, arm strength or accuracy. He is a viable starting quarterback who gives you a tremendous chance to go out and win a ball game. He takes care of the ball, makes the easy throws and, not to use cliches, gets the job done. However, one thing he’s not is a gunslinger, and that may perhaps be the downfall of Bowe’s fantasy value this season. According to Christopher Harris of ESPN, Smith is one of six starting quarterbacks that have seen more than half of their attempts travel five yards or less through the air. Face it, folks. Smith is simply the king of the checkdown, and it’s hindering Bowe’s fantasy prospects for this season. Bowe hasn’t been able to run the type of routes he would normally prefer. Let’s look at some of the receivers running short routes so far this season.
Routes Under 5 Yards
*Bradford is one of those six quarterbacks
57 of Bowe’s 93 routes have been under five yards, which hurts because that isn’t his game. He’s a downfield, vertical threat who makes the big plays, and especially serves as a big time red zone threat. Too many times this season have I seen Smith make his first read towards Bowe, shy away from making a difficult throw and check it down to Jamaal Charles. I mean, it isn’t a coincidence that Charles already has 23 grabs on the year, and is on pace for 90. He already has seen 35 targets through four games, while his career-high for a season is 66. The type of pace he is on is insane.
Coming into the season, I was pretty high on Bowe. I have always liked his game, but I didn’t think Smith would be afraid to force some throws towards him this much. Bowe is currently on pace for his lowest amount of targets ever. I would look to sell Bowe the first moment you can, simply because I’m not sold that he’ll get the required looks to finish as a top-2o wideout.
Stupid, Alex Smith.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.