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Chiefs fantasy football studs and duds: Week 15 KC at Oakland Raiders

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For all but a handful of fantasy football leagues, this week is the week your league playoffs really kick it into gear. For most leagues, this is the semi-finals weekend with the championship game next week. If you own Kansas City Chiefs players, you have some good options – and a couple of positions to avoid.

Here is how I project this week going for the Chiefs in fantasy as they travel for a road game against the Oakland Raiders:

Quarterback: Alex Smith surprisingly had one of his better games at QB last week against the Redskins, but you would never have known that looking at his paltry statistics (14-20, 137 yds, 2 TDs, 7 yds rushing). Smith was a “victim” of both the weather in Washington, and the Chiefs extraordinary defense and special teams that consistently gave KC the ball deep on the Redskins side of the field. Smith could have thrown the ball on every play and still might have only gained 35 yards passing. This week, the Raiders await and to be honest, their defense is showing signs of fatigue and injury. In the first meeting between the Chiefs and Raiders, Smith might have had his worst game as a Chief (14-31, 128 yds, 0 TDs), but a lot of those incompletions were dropped passes by his receivers plus several throw-aways to avoid sacks. Smith and the offense has been on a roll since the second half of the Chargers game three weeks ago and I think he uses the height advantage his receivers have over the smaller Raider corners and puts up solid top-10 QB numbers.

Projection: 285 yards passing, 2-3 touchdowns, 30 yards rushing.

Running Back: Jamaal Charles is getting better as the year goes on. And now he has a legitimate threat in Knile Davis behind him to take 10-12 carries a game and give Charles a breather. Unlike most backs, Charles will actually do a little better with 18-20 rushes and 5-6 catches as he’ll be a little fresher in the fourth quarter. And, because it’s Chiefs vs. Raiders, the score will be within 7 points late in the 4th quarter. Davis doesn’t get the ball enough now to trust him fully, but his 17-yd TD run last week gave the Chiefs coaching staff more confidence to maybe give him the ball even more. But YOU cannot start him in your playoffs.

Projection: Charles – 125 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 5 catches, 55 receiving yards; Davis – 35 yards rushing, 0 TDs.

Wide Receiver: Dwayne Bowe is back to being an every week starter. He’s not putting up monster yardage numbers for sure, but Smith is getting more confidence with him and this week, Bowe has a great shot at scoring another touchdown. Dexter McCluster was a MONSTER on special teams last week (177 punt return yards and a touchdown before Washington figured out to NOT punt the ball to him), but his receiving stats were poor. The crazily-inconsisten Donnie Avery might be playing his last three games in a Chiefs uniform, so don’t start him. The darkest of dark horse candidates that you should only play if you’re desperate, is Junior Hemingway who towers over the Raider corners and safeties. If I was betting some peanuts on the game, I would bet that Hemingway will have a touchdown catch.

Projection: Bowe – 5 catches, 65 yards, 1 touchdown; Avery – 3 catches, 35 yards; McCluster – 5 catches, 45 yards; Hemingway – 2 catches 20 yds, 1 TD.

Tight End: Anthony Fasano is still suffering from concussion symptoms and may not play. Keep an eye on the practice report to see if he has a chance to play Sunday, but even if he does, he probably won’t have decent fantasy numbers at all. Sean McGrath is a fan favorite with his “Duck Dynasty”-style beard, but that ain’t enough to make me start him on my fantasy team.

Projection: McGrath – 3 catches, 15 yards; Fasano (if he plays) – 3 catches 55 yards, 1 TD.

Kicker: The Chiefs have gotten their TD-machine mojo back and just aren’t kicking that many field goals. The upside for Ryan Succop is that they’re playing in Oakland (good weather) and these games are always close, so he has a chance to be a late-game hero. Succop will have average fantasy numbers for you this week.

Projection: 1-2 FG attempts, 3extra points.

Defense: They’re baaaaaaaaaaack!!! After playing the two best QBs in the AFC over the last three weeks (Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers), the Chiefs D/ST got to play against a mere mortal in RGIII. Many sacks and turnovers later, RGIII has now been benched and the Chiefs special teams got you two touchdown returns. If linebacker Derrick Johnson had one more blocker in front of him on his 40-yard interception return, you might have gotten THREE touchdowns out of the Chiefs. This week, another rookie QB and the Raiders running game has been banged up with injuries. Don’t count on two touchdowns, but remember that last time these guys played, the Chiefs got nine sacks and an interception return for a TD. Start the Chiefs D/ST.

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