The arrival of Andy Reid as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs was thought to be great news for Dwayne Bowe’s fantasy value last year, but it was not to be as he finished with just 57 receptions for 673 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games. A lack of targets (103) was at least partially to blame with the conservative Alex Smith under center, but Bowe did have 31 catches for 371 yards and three touchdowns over his final seven games, with double-digit targets three times in that span. Add in an eight-catch, 150-yard, one touchdown effort in Kansas City’s playoff loss to Indianapolis, and fantasy owners can be fairly optimistic about Bowe this year.
Bowe was arrested for marijuana possession last November, and as a result he was recently suspended one game for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. So he’ll sit out Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans and be eligible to return for a road game against the Denver Broncos in Week 2. Bowe was bothered by finger and quad issues during the preseason, so a week of extra rest may actually be beneficial to him.
Bowe’s status as Kansas City’s No. 1 wide receiver will not change due to his one-game absence, and even approaching age 30 (Sept. 21) he has the size (6’2″, 221 lbs.) and physical tools to be productive. With a tougher schedule coming, the Chiefs are going to have to throw the ball more. The potential for more targets is good news for Bowe all by itself, since he has gone over 1,000 yards with at least 72 receptions in all three seasons of his career where he has been targeted at least 130 times (2008, 2010, 2011).
Bowe’s average draft position is falling, as could be expected, now into the 10th round via Fantasy Football Calculator’s most recent mock draft data. That puts him in the WR4 range, which qualifies as a suspension-induced discount that will only continue during late drafts and auctions. I personally like a few wide receivers that can be drafted later a little better (Anquan Boldin, Danny Amendola, Markus Wheaton), but a one-game suspension is not going to eliminate Bowe’s fantasy value for this year and he is a worthy bet to outperform his draft position.