For four seasons, Dexter McCluster was Kansas City’s jack-of-all-trades player. He returned kicks, lined up frequently in the slot, and made occasional appearances in the backfield. McCluster’s reputation was greater than his play, but his departure in free agency to the Tennessee Titans left a void. To fill that void, the Chiefs drafted former Oregon standout De’Anthony Thomas. Can Thomas take the Chiefs places that McCluster couldn’t?
If the first game of the preseason was any indication, the Chiefs made the right choice. Thomas returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in a victory over Cincinnati. Of course, anyone who saw Thomas at Oregon knows how big of a threat he can be. For example, last year in a lopsided victory over Virginia, De’Anthony rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns on only 11 carries. You can bet the Kansas City coaches will load the playbook with some calls designed to feature De’Anthony.
Maybe Thomas is a better player than McCluster. But even if that’s the case, the same factors that worked against McCluster are also working against Thomas. Jamaal Charles anchors the offense, with Knile Davis providing quality depth. Dwayne Bowe is the top wide receiver. Tight end Travis Kelce looks like the team’s number two receiver. There simply aren’t going to be enough touches for a smaller player like Thomas. Kansas City’s offensive line is in shambles to boot.
While Thomas will break some big plays, he will not get enough usage to regularly help fantasy teams. The only place he might come in handy is in a return yardage league.