Demaryius Thomas to match up with rookie CB on TNF
On Thursday, Kansas City Chiefs beat reporter Herbie Teope of The Topeka Capital-Journal stopped by the Pro Football Focus show hosted by Mike Clay on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio (10 a.m. ET weekdays – Sirius 210 & XM 87). Teope talked about which cornerback will match up with Demaryius Thomas, if Alex Smith will start throwing the ball downfield, and more. You can follow Teope on Twitter @HerbieTeope.
In 2014, the Chiefs matched up cornerback Sean Smith against Demaryius Thomas when the Chiefs took on the Broncos in Week 13. With Smith out, Teope provides some insight on how the Chiefs plan to defend this Broncos passing game.
“This year with Marcus Peters, it would not surprise me one bit if you see Peters shadow Thomas with Gaines on Sanders,” Teope said. “This (Peters) is a guy who plays with a lot of confidence.”
In Week 1, Peters allowed 122 yards receiving and two touchdowns on eight receptions. Peters did tack on an interception, however, and he only allowed 8-of-13 targets to be completed for receptions. Having said that, Hopkins beat him down in the red zone for two scores. On a short week and on the road, it makes sense to be skeptical about starting Peyton Manning, but you should feel safe starting Thomas.
Will They Finally Take More Shots?
Alex Smith finished with 6.0 aDOT — average depth of target — in 2014 and his aDOT was 6.3 in Week 1. Will he be throwing down field more often in 2015?
“Well, arguably his best throw against the Texans didn’t count on the 39-yard go route to Jeremy Maclin down the left sideline. That’s what you saw during preseason and training camp. The Chiefs will take their shots down the field and Maclin will give them that option. Andy Reid is comfortable enough to open up the playbook.”
If the Chiefs do work the go route into their game plan more often, it will be very beneficial for Maclin. During the 2014 season, five of Maclin’s 10 total touchdown catches came on passes that traveled at least 20 plus yards in the air.
So What Do We Expect From Maclin?
When Clay first had Teope on earlier last month, Teope was skeptical that Jeremy Maclin could come anywhere near the 100 reception mark. Maclin saw a whopping 29 percent of the Chiefs targets in Week 1, which would put him on pace to get close to this mark. Is it fair to expect him to sustain this pace?
“That has to be your ceiling because Kelce is going to be heavily involved. They have yet to unleash DeAnthony Thomas and I think he will be the X factor. The Chiefs love to exploit matchups and I think he will become a factor because of what he gives them out of the slot.”
Teope was hesitant on Maclin’s ceiling when he first joined the show and nothing has chanced since. Can you blame him? The Chiefs spread the ball around, with an emerging elite option at tight end and several gadget running backs that poses mismatches for linebackers and safeties.
Rookie wide receiver Chris Conley was an NFL Combine standout with limited exposure in a college offense that skewed toward the run. He has a ton of talent and he drew rave reviews during his first training camp. Can he make an impact in 2015?
“You’re going to have to be patient with him. This scheme is so complex that you can’t hit the ground running. Look for the Chiefs to work Conley in late in the season like they did with Albert Wilson last year.”
The Deep Dynasty Dive
Why do we keep hearing about tight end Demetrius Harris?
“We’ve all been intrigued by him. This guy was catching everything at camp. He gets the scheme and the Chiefs are high on him. Even though he’s listed at 230 pounds, he’s actually around the 250-260 pound mark. He is back healthy now and it would not surprise me if he’s the first guy they turn to if Travis Kelce goes down with injury.”
Harris offers a unique blend of size and speed at a position that is often featured in the Chiefs offense. In dynasty leagues, while Harris is not yet a preferred addition, he is definitely someone you should keep on your radar. The Chiefs like to use multiple formations, and a 12 personnel package featuring both Kelce and Harris will continue to be a part of their playbook.
Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy and he covers the NFC East beat for FOX Sports. You can find him on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL. You can also add him to your network on Google+ to find all of his past material.