NFL training camps open this week and for fans that means the time to start preparing for their fantasy league drafts is beginning. Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Matt Cassell is, to put it mildly, not going to be a highly valued commodity in these drafts, with an early perusal of some different rankings showing him clearly in the bottom half of the league’s 32 starters and in many cases, the bottom quarter.
The skepticism, if not outright hostility to Cassell is understandable, even for someone like me whose optimistic about his potential for 2012. In the best of circumstances, Cassell is not going ring up big passing numbers thanks to Kansas City’s emphasis on the ground game. And bringing in running back Peyton Hillis to complement running back Jamaal Charles in the backfield means Cassell is unlikely to pick up any cheap 2-3 yard touchdown passes. The Chiefs will be able to run it into the end zone in those spots. If Cassell is going to be successful, it’s going to be running a high-efficiency offense, converting third-down throws and managing the game. In other words, something that helps his team win football games, but doesn’t help his Fantasy owner win accumulate points.
To make matters worse for Cassell, that’s the sunny side of the equation. It could get worse—he could suffer through injuries like he did in 2011. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe could be disgruntled after not signing a long-term contract in the offseason and take away the quarterback’s best target. In such a circumstance, wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin might not be ready to be the #1 target. We already know that receiver Steve Breaston is better suited as a complementary piece, rather than first option. A series of unfortunate events could derail Cassell’s season in both real-life and Fantasy terms.
In short, I like Matt Cassell and believe he’s going to have a nice season in 2012. But the limited Fantasy upside that accompanies him, along with the legitimate question marks that persist mean to steer clear from him on Fantasy draft day.
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