Time for sleeper wide receiver number two (or three I guess if you count Johnny Knox). My second sleeper wide receiver is ……
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Photo courtesy of G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images
Bowe was supposed to finally be able to breakout last season. Matt Cassel was supposed to be the answer at quarterback and his strong-arm and accuracy was supposed to turn Bowe into a fantasy force. Cassel failed to repeat his stunning Brady-fill-in performance and Cassel, Bowe and the Chief’s passing game faded into obscurity. I bet you that some people even wonder if Bowe is still in the league or what has happened to him. Although he fell apart last year, I believe this is the year Bowe lives up to his potential and breaks out for real. I have a couple of reasons to back that up.
1) Charlie Weis. The offensive mastermind comes in from Notre Dame and has the ability to completely revamp the Chiefs’ passing game. Weis’ primary goal is fixing Matt Cassel’s problems and turning him into a more effective quarterback. Weis has spent a ton of time analyzing Cassel’s film from last year and has been working with him all training camp. Weis even said, “You know I have to look at Matt Cassel all the time, I see him more than my wife. I am kind of tired of looking at him and he is tired of looking at me too.” Improving Cassel’s play can only help Bowe. Weis’ play calling should be a breath of fresh air for the Chiefs’ offense and should lead to more scoring, something that should directly benefit Bowe.
2) Improved conditioning. Bowe came into camp last year out of shape and not as committed to football as he should have been. He was nagged by injuries and commitment issues all season and was never really able to reach his full ability. Reports from this year’s training camp tell a completely different story. Bowe showed up at camp in great shape and with a warrior’s mentality, fully ready to bring his all on the field. Bowe is 6’2″ and weighs 221 pounds giving him enough size to win jump balls as well be a force after he catches the ball. He has also flashed moments of brilliance (see picture above) and generally has very reliable hands. His improved conditioning and spirits should lead to a much more devoted and effective Dwayne Bowe than we saw last year.
3) Improved offense. The Chiefs’ awesome, while not fearsome, is beginning to take shape and has the ability to put up points. The past couple of seasons, the Chiefs have been plagued by an awful running game. It seems like they may have finally cured that problem. They bring in Thomas Jones who is coming off back to back 1300+ yard, 13+ td seasons. They also have Jamaal Charles, who finally was able to get out from LJ’s shadow and proved he could be an elite feature back. From Week 9 on, Charles was the best running back not named Chris Johnson (although Charles and Johnson are very similar in their running style). Charles has home run hitting capability and great hands which make him a threat in the passing game as well. Between Jones and Charles, opposing defenses will have to dedicated a lot of attention to the run game which greatly benefits the Chiefs’ passing attack. The Chiefs have Chris Chambers who is enough of a threat to take some of the heat off Bowe. If Cassel is able to return to anything close to his ’08 Patriots form, then the Chiefs could have a dangerous passing attack.
Fearless Forecast: 90-100 receptions, 1100-1200 yards, 7-9 tds