Learning Curve: Cardinals vs Chiefs, NFL Preseason Week One
Thanks for returning for another Learning Curve article! This one will be the last one for Week One of the preseason, but on Thursday night there will be a whole new week of preseason starting! Starting after the Thursday games, I will recap what I learned from every preseason game. As for this article: Zach Bahner, a member of the iCon Nation and a fantasy footballl writer, has joined me to review the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals.
1. The Chiefs are going to have a formidable back field with Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis and Cyrus Gray. Charles was limited, but effective with his three carries and one reception. Hillis also ran well with an average of 4.33 yards per carry even after you take out his fantastic 28 yard run. Gray, a rookie sixth round pick out of Texas A&M, was solid with 4.3 yards per carry on 15 attempts and a touchdown. If either Charles or Hillis goes down with an injury, Gray becomes a valuable handcuff in redraft leagues. Charles is a solid RB2 this year, and Hillis will be a high end flex play. If either of these runners goes down, the remaining healthy back gets a boost to a capable RB1. In dynasty leagues, target Gray in the middle to late rounds of your rookie draft. With Hillis only being on a one year contract, Gray should have a good sophomore season.
2. Dexter McCluster looks better at receiver than he has ever looked at running back. With 46 receptions in 2011, McCluster was a huge part of the pass game. However, with Hillis and Gray in town, McCluster made the switch to wide receiver, where he is a better fit. McCluster caught three passes for 45 yards in the preseason opener, and I think McCluster will continue to get snaps in the slot even in the regular season. I don't think that McCluster makes a big enough splash to make a fantasy impact, but Steve Breaston should be completely off of your radar. Jon Baldwin is also going to be a big part of the offense this year, and with McCluster's switch and the acquisition of Devon Wylie in via the draft, I don't see how Breaston can make an impact this season.
3. When the Cardinals said that Michael Floyd is the fourth receiver, they weren't just saying it to say it, they were serious. We have seen very little of Floyd with the first team in the two preseason games they have played so far. The Cardinals staff has made it clear that he's not going to get the job handed to him. Believe it or not, I think Andre Roberts and Early Doucet is fairly tough competition for Floyd. That's not saying that I don't expect him to win the job by the end of the year, I just don't think it's a lock that he has the job because the team used a first round pick on him.
4. With a 62% completion percentage, 130 yards passing, a touchdown and a fumble, Richard Bartel has looked much better than Kevin Kolb, and is almost on John Skelton's level. I really expected Skelton to come out of the games and easily out-play Kolb, which he has done, but I really expected a bigger impact. He is still hesitant to hit his targets, but when he is competing with Kolb, Skelton's arm is far superior, and his decision making is a mile ahead of Kolb's. The Cardinals took a risk with Kolb that didn't pay off, now they're stuck with a free agent level quarterback that is barely even third best on the team.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to hit me up on Twitter, @TheFFAddict, for any article recommendations, where you too can become a guest writer in one of my game reviews! I'll see you all again on Thursday night to review the Bengals vs Falcons and the Browns vs the Packers!