Back in 2010, when Dwayne Bowe scored 15 touchdowns and racked up 1,162 receiving yards as part of a Kansas City squad that unexpectedly won the AFC West, he looked like a fantasy force for years to come. However, in the four years since that sensational season, Bowe has scored just 13 touchdowns. His yardage totals dropped as well and the Chiefs, tired of paying Park Place hotel prices for Baltic Avenue style rooms, dropped Dwayne earlier this year. Hoping his decline was largely the result of a primitive Kansas City passing game, the Browns brought Bowe to Cleveland hoping he can revive his once-promising career. Can Bowe make a big impact in his new home?
The Cleveland front office passed on taking the likes of Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin in the 2014 draft. They also cut Charles Johnson, who did well down the stretch in Minnesota. So it is easy to question a shaky front office for banking on Bowe. Nonetheless, they are, and rather than dwell on the decision, one should focus on the fact Bowe has the potential to lead the team in targets. Cleveland looks to be the worst team in the AFC North once again, which means Dwayne will frequently have a chance to rack up numbers when the Browns fall behind.
It sounds strange to say because the Browns have a reputation for being weak at the receiver position, but Bowe is actually going to have a tougher battle for targets in Cleveland than he did in Kansas City. Players such as Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel and Brian Hartline range from competent to decent. Last year, until Albert Wilson came on at the end of the year, Bowe was the only passable player the Chiefs had out wide and he still struggled. Dwayne's defenders will blame his problems on timid Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, but Josh McCown is worse than Smith and Smith's conservative nature did not stop tight end Travis Kelce from emerging last year. Heck, journeyman blocking tight end Anthony Fasano scored four touchdowns in 2014 for the Chiefs while Bowe scored zero. And when Bowe was doing well in 2010, it was with Matt Cassel, another signal caller universally regarded as worse than Smith. The fact Dwayne is a player in decline is pretty hard to hide. Cleveland will be built around the run and also has a pretty tough schedule.
If your philosophy is to take established veterans as your reserve receivers, Bowe might be okay as a WR5/WR6. However, if you want a reserve with upside who has the potential to step in as a regular starter, look elsewhere. The combination of a player past his prime and a less than enchanting offense more often than not leads to fantasy frustration.