It doesn't happen very often that a rookie wide receiver can miss the first five games of the season and then come into a situation and be effective from the start. But that's exactly what's happened with the Kansas City Chiefs and Jon Baldwin. The former University of Pittsburgh star had been sidelined with a cracked thumb injury suffered in a locker room altercation with veteran running back Thomas Jones.
Baldwin displayed his talents for the entire country on Monday night against the Chargers and finished with 82 yards on five catches and one spectacular 39-yard touchdown catch. Baldwin was lined up all over the place for the Chiefs on offense and was effective everywhere. He was targeted eight times on the night, which was second on the team behind Dwayne Bowe's 11 targets. Bowe's emergence as a true No. 1 receiver and Steve Breaston's recent success paves the way for Baldwin to light up the stats board for the rest of the season. At 6'4 230lbs he is a perfect red-zone target and quarterback Matt Cassel is already looking his way often just two games into his professional career.
Baldwin should get picked up in all deep leagues and is a safe start in those same leagues. The Chiefs are going to continue to throw the ball and Bowe, Breaston and Baldwin will get the majority of targets. With defenses keying on Bowe, that leaves Baldwin an opportunity to get some 1-on-1's and that proved successful against the Chargers.
It's also a safe start for the Chiefs defense this week against the Miami Dolphins. The Chiefs forced Philip Rivers into four turnovers and Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore has seven turnovers to just one touchdown pass this season.
I'd back-off from Jackie Battle this week as the Dolphins have a top-half of the league run defense. It's a perfect setup for a let-down game for the Chiefs but I still think Baldwin gets a few big plays on the day.