With the NFL's free agency period slowly winding down, now is the time for owners to start picking out those Fantasy Football Sleepers who could surprise in 2014. With many fresh faces in new places, it's no surprise that fantasy owners would look at those guys first. But lets take a look back at a guy who I thought would have some major value in 2013. Unfortunately, injuries derailed that prediction.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Chiefs TE Travis Kelce.
Readers of our site should be familiar with Kelce as he was the No. 1 tight end in my Top Five Rookie Tight Ends rankings going into the 2013 season. I took a chance, even though Kelce had off-field issues. Those issues were the biggest reason he dropped to the third round. While many went the easy route and tabbed Bengals TE Tyler Eifert as their No. 1, there were two reasons I liked Kelce more: Alex Smith and Andy Reid. Throughout his tenure as head coach in Philadelphia. Reid leaned heavily on Brent Celek and Chad Lewis before him. He also attempted to make L.J. Smith a star, but that experiment failed miserably.
As for Smith; there was no mistaking how much he loved Vernon Davis when both were with the 49ers. Thanks to Smith, Davis was considered a top 5 fantasy option at the tight end spot for years.
Between Reid, Smith and a tight end corps that consisted, at the time, of guys like Anthony Fasano and Tony Moeaki, Kelce should have been a shoe in for the starting job. However, a bone bruise suffered in the preseason caused Kelce to appear in just one regular season game. He was eventually placed on injured reserve and underwent micro-fracture surgery to repair a piece of cartilage that no one noticed during initial MRI's. In the meantime, the Chiefs relied on Sean McGrath and Fasano to make up for the loss. McGrath was a name owners were hoping would pop out. But with the athletic ability of a slug, he wound up with just 19 yards per game and 2 touchdowns on the season.
Going into 2014 should prove that Kelce can be the guy the Chiefs were hoping for. Because his knee surgery took place very early last season, he is expected to be fully ready by the time OTAs pop up. Not only that, it appears that Kelce has left his off-field problems behind him as I hadn't heard a peep from him since his injury.
Here is one more tidbit that shows the Chiefs are serious about getting Kelce involved this year. During a Q & A session, ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher wrote:
They have Anthony Fasano as their starter but Travis Kelce will be their pass-receiver at tight end. Kelce is an important piece of their passing game. He showed the ability last year in offseason practices and at training camp to line up in a variety of places and get down the field to beat coverage and make a catch. He's not just an end-of-the-line tight end. No matter where they come from, the Chiefs need more than the 53 catches they got from their tight ends last year.