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Why Jeremy Maclin Won't Match his 2014 Production in Kansas City


With a change of scenery in Kansas City, Jeremy Maclin will look to build upon the best statistical season of his six-year career. Coming off of an ACL tear that kept him out of the 2013 season, he put up monster numbers in Chip Kelly’s high-powered Philadelphia Eagles offense. Maclin set career highs in receptions (85), targets (143), yards (1,318) yards per reception (15.5), and tied a career high in touchdowns (10). Maclin returns to head coach Andy Reid whom he played under from his rookie year in 2009 to Reid’s departure in 2012.

Maclin was always considered a second option in Philadelphia behind the speedster DeSean Jackson. Never able to post a 1000-yard season under Reid, Maclin fell short by 36 yards in 2010 where he also had 70 receptions and 10 touchdowns, all highs with Reid. He regressed a bit in ensuing two years, posting 63-859-5 in 2011 and 69-857-7 in 2012. Look for Maclin to post very similar numbers to his past seasons with Reid in Kansas City, and perhaps even lower numbers due to quarterback Alex Smith throwing him the ball.

Last season, Chiefs’ receivers did not have any receiving touchdowns. Read that again, it's important to note. It’s an incredibly unfortunate stat; a professional football team can go a whole season without throwing one touchdown pass to a wide receiver. Dwayne Bowe was the number one receiver and even though he has surpassed his prime, it's ludicrous to imagine that he couldn’t haul in one touchdown. Alex Smith threw 18 touchdowns all season; five to tight end Travis Kelce, five to running back Jamaal Charles, and four to tight end Anthony Fasano (the other four were all to running backs). Bowe was second in receiving yards, 754, to Travis Kelce who finished with 862 receiving yards. Maclin is obviously much more talented than Bowe, but how will the Chiefs offense look this season?

Chief’s offensive coordinator Doug Pederson has already said he wants Smith to be more aggressive in throwing the football downfield. Smith has been a travesty to the most glamorous position in sports, frequently checking the ball down and awfully scared to throw a deep ball when faced with an opportunity. Last season, Smith made only four attempts over 35 yards. To put that into perspective, Aaron Rodgers threw 15 balls over 35 yards. I am very skeptical that Smith will be taking many deep shots this season, which will definitely have a negative impact on Maclin’s fantasy outlook. It'll be nearly impossible for him to duplicate last season’s insane six receptions for 153 yards on throws of 11 yards or greater this year when your QB plays the kind of football Smith does. On third downs of six yards or more last season Maclin had an astounding 13 receptions for 226 yards. Although Smith loves throwing short, those numbers should definitely dwindle as he targets Charles and Kelce more than he even looks at WRs. On top of that, teams will be putting double coverage on Maclin on those third and long plays because the other wide receivers are Jason Avant and De’Anthony Thomas, two no names in comparison to Jeremy Maclin.

Last season, the Chiefs handed it off 420 times and threw it 493 times. Meanwhile the Eagles ran it 474 times last season while still attempting 621 passes. The Chiefs desire to run the ball and play control oriented football will take away more looks in the passing game for Maclin, and, in turn, hurt his fantasy outlook.

In his final season with the Eagles, Maclin was the first option and nailed his role. He will yet again be the first option here, but look for him to have around a 65 reception, 725 yard, 7-touchdown season; and there's a large amount of variation possible in that touchdown number. His average draft position in a 12-team league is in the mid sixth round, which he's not likely to play up to. He will be more of a third receiver or a flex play this upcoming season.

I would not overdraft Maclin nor would I be upset if someone else drafted him before me. If you’re looking for Maclin to duplicate last season’s career year, look elsewhere. Hopefully the Chiefs will get Maclin in on some reverses and handoffs to increase his points outlook, but Maclin will ultimately suffer in the Chiefs’ abysmal passing offense.

 

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