Fantasy Football: Jeremy Maclin quietly viable option

(Photo by James Allison/Icon Sportswire)

Jeremy Maclin does nothing spectacular, at least in a fantasy sense. Kansas City’s passing game doesn’t get much notice with Alex Smith in charge and that, in turn, impacts how much coverage Maclin gets.

And yet, outside of a torn ACL that cost him all of 2013, Maclin has been one of the more consistent wide receivers in the game. Since coming into the league in 2009, he has never had fewer than 762 receiving yards.

Since his rookie season, he’s had at least 857 yards and five touchdowns every year, averaging eight TDs per season. That’s a good amount and the exact total he finished with in his first season with the Chiefs.

A year after going off for 1,318 yards and 10 TDs with the Eagles, he backed his play up in an offense that failed to throw a touchdown to a wide receiver the previous season.

And yet, with all of this consistency, Maclin is just a ho-hum fantasy prospect that no one looks forward to drafting.

“Oh, I guess I’ll get Maclin. I don’t like anyone else.”

That’ll be a common phrase in drafts this year, but is he all that bad?

Maclin was the No. 17 receiver in standard fantasy leagues last year and No. 15 in PPR due to his 87 receptions.

But, in the FantasyPros consensus WR rankings, he comes in at No. 19 in standard and No. 21 in PPR.

The Chiefs did nothing to change their offense in the offseason, outside of trying to make Alex Smith more aggressive and a couple improvements to the line. A stable of dynamic running backs is still there as is tight end Travis Kelce. At wide receiver, it’s Maclin and a bunch of question marks like Albert Wilson and Chris Conley.

So why does no one care about No. 19? The last time he received an update at RotoWorld (as of mid-August) was incredibly back in mid-January after Kansas City’s playoff loss to the Patriots.

Maybe it feels like he’s been in the league a long time, but he’s still only 28 years old.

Among those ranked above Maclin are Demaryius Thomas, Julian Edelman and Kelvin Benjamin. In consensus ADP, Benjamin is getting taken an incredible 15 spots above Maclin.

Benjamin is coming off a torn ACL and moving into a run-first offense that didn’t really need him last year. Then there’s Demaryius Thomas, who gets to play with Mark Sanchez. And even Edelman, whose dealt with random injuries as of late, is 30 years old, gets Jimmy Garoppolo for four games and also has to deal with Martellus Bennett stealing targets.

So what are we missing? Why does no one seem to recognize the Chiefs’ star?

November 29, 2015: New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton during the Saints at Texans game at NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/ICON Sportswire)

(Photo by Ken Murray/ICON Sportswire)

Maclin finished with 87 catches for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games last season. There’s no reason he can’t reach those totals again. In fact, if Smith does open things up a little more, maybe Maclin will surpass those numbers.

In the final six games last year, Maclin averaged 6.5 receptions and a touchdown per game. While he isn’t the definition of healthy, he has made it at least 15 games in five of his seven seasons in the league.

Most recently, he missed some preseason practices due to a groin injury. But little, nagging injuries are a common thing for Maclin and he’s still posted the numbers mentioned above.

If you deny his consistency, consider his touchdown rate (every other game). That comes in useful as his yardage totals weren’t outstanding, but he did have at least 48 yards in 12 of 15 games and at least three receptions in every appearance.

While others pass on him, Maclin will give steady WR2 value in the fourth round. That’s great value.

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