Dexter McCluster had a career-high 53 receptions for 511 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, along with a league-high 686 punt return yards and two more touchdowns, but his first four NFL seasons have been mostly highlighted by untapped potential as an offensive weapon.
The Tennessee Titans signed McCluster to a three-year deal near the start of free agency on Tuesday, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt has suggested he could see a lot of playing time and touches if he performs well.
Should fantasy football owners be optimistic about McCluster’s outlook for next season?
Whisenhunt has suggested that he sees McCluster more as a running back than a wide receiver, and his role could be similar to how Whisenhunt used Danny Woodhead when he was offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 2013. Woodhead was a solid producer for fantasy owners last season, with 106 carries, 76 receptions, eight total touchdowns (six receiving, two rushing) and 1,034 yards from scrimmage, so if McCluster is used similarly his value has a chance to rise dramatically.
The Titans are looking to trade former 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson, and if they can’t deal him they seem likely to release him at some point. Shonn Greene would take over as Tennessee’s No. 1 running back if Johnson is gone, but McCluster would be in line to step in as his backup and take on a significant role. McCluster played running back extensively for the Chiefs in 2011, totaling 516 yards and one touchdown on 114 carries, and he also had 46 catches for 328 yards and another touchdown in his most productive season in terms of yards from scrimmage.
McCluster is not a player that can be pigeonholed as just a running back or wide receiver in fantasy circles, and if the past is any indication he could technically be eligible at both spots in some league formats. I don’t see him instantly becoming a fantasy star with the move to a new team and the potential for a bigger role, but McCluster has a chance to be worth drafting in deep PPR leagues and those in leagues that count return yardage need to have him on their radar.