Chris Conley Might Not Break Out, But You'll Want Him in Fantasy Football If He Does
If fantasy football was as easy as identifying talent, we wouldn't really care about things like positional scarcity, opportunity cost, and game theory in general.
If it was just identifying opportunity, we wouldn't get excited about an athletic freak who is buried on the depth chart.
If fantasy football was easy, it wouldn't be this hard.
So when we have a player such as Chris Conley, who has the build at 6'2" and 213 pounds, the opportunity to be a second receiver for his team, and a jaw-dropping athletic profile, it's near impossible to know what to do because he also plays on the league's seventh-most run-heavy team from last year, ran the fourth-fewest passing plays in 2015, and grades out as a below-average passing offense with a quarterback who is unwilling to take chances in Alex Smith.
He's not on the fantasy football radar yet, going undrafted in even 14-team leagues according to Fantasy Football Calculator, but make sure that Conley is a blip on yours as the 2016 gets underway.
Conley's Athletic Profile
Here are their percentile ranks based on their size-adjusted measurables (sorted by height).
Conley's size-adjusted 40-yard dash places him in the 97th percentile among his peers, his adjusted-burst (broad jump and vertical leap) are basically unmatched, and his catch radius is in the 99th percentile, too.
There are some sprinkles of agility and athleticism elsewhere, most obviously among some smaller receivers, but nobody with his size offers much in the way of top-end athleticism. I'm not ignoring Rod Streater, but it appears as if the outside job opposite Maclin is Conley's to lose at this point.
What kind of opportunity will he have?
Conley's Chance in Kansas City
Conley, who posted 117 career catches at Georgia over a four-year span, is looking like he's primed for a real chance in the NFL.
Chris Conley running as Chiefs' starting X receiver https://t.co/43jhC2U8ha
— numberFire NFL (@numberFire_NFL) July 25, 2016
That'd be slick.
Problematically, though, it's nearly impossible to configure what Conley's real opportunity is. Because of the dearth of talent at the receiver position, Andy Reid's Chiefs since 2013 have had some sparse target totals among receivers.
Maclin in 2015 saw 124 targets. Dwayne Bowe got 103 in 2013 and 95 in 2014. These are the only three instances of a receiver seeing more than 85 targets in these three seasons, which isn't terrible necessarily, but the drop off after the top receiver has been horrific.
If you want to count Dexter McCluster as a receiver (he had 83 targets in 2013), but the true wideouts who topped 32 targets in this three-year stretch have been just Donnie Avery (71 in 2013) and Albert Wilson (57 in 2015).
So, to clarify, six Chiefs receivers, if you want to count a running back/receiver hybrid, have seen more than 32 targets in the past three seasons.
Part of that is because of the lack of talent past the top option on the depth chart, but it also has a lot to do with the fact that they own the eighth-lowest pass-to-run ratio since 2013, the sixth-fewest plays overall, and the fifth-fewest drop backs.
This isn't a pass-friendly offense by any means, but if there's a talented option out wide, things can change.
A Free Lottery Ticket
There isn't much to bank on Conley for, really.
His opportunity is going to be limited at best, but he did post a collegiate touchdown rate of 17.09%, as 20 of his 117 catches in college resulted in end zone visits. For some context, that would have ranked him seventh among 98 collegiate receivers with more than 55 catches last season.
The bottom line is that he's an athletic marvel who might have a real chance without much talent ahead of him on the depth chart. And for no cost, he's worth monitoring entering the 2016 season.