After a record-setting multi-touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders last week, eagle-eyed fantasy owners have noticed the similarities between Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles and Jolly Old St. Nick, in that they both like the color red, and #25 is important to them.
No doubt that 215 total yards and five TDs might have single-handedly put you over the top in your game last week – hey, we’ve all had weeks where our entire TEAM doesn’t score five TDs – and hopefully you are heading into your Championship Game this weekend.
Well, let me put it this way … if you play in an intelligent fantasy football league, this is your Championship Week. As a fantasy football writer for the last 17 years, but a fantasy football player for 20 seasons, I now refuse to play in any league that has its championship next week.
There is absolutely nothing more frustrating than drafting a team that dominates a league for 16 weeks, picking up key free agents along the way, and then having all of your studs sit on your fantasy bench because their real-life team has nothing to gain in Week 17 and benches your guy to get him ready for the real NFL playoffs.
Then you lose to an owner that you beat by 100 points in the regular season but he or she squeaked into your league playoffs with a .500 record. Nothing stings more than listening to a crappy fantasy owner squawk about beating you for the league trophy when your season point total doubled his.
And yes … before you ask … this exact scenario happened to me four years in a row in one of my leagues. Grrrrrr ….
So, my advice to you is that unless you’re playing more of a roto-style fantasy football league that uses cumulative stats throughout the entire year, do the smart thing and make this week your championship week.
But back to this week’s Chiefs game. You could not have asked for a better present than the San Diego Chargers upsetting the Denver Broncos last week because it gave the Chiefs a reason to go all-out against the Colts. There is a chance – a razor-thin chance, but still a chance – that the Chiefs might win the AFC West and get home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
So when they kick the ball off on Sunday, they definitely have something to play for, so Charles, Alex Smith, and Dwayne Bowe will play. At this time of the year, that’s all you can ask for as a fantasy owner.
Here is how I project this week going for the Chiefs in fantasy as they welcome the Colts to Arrowhead for KC’s final regular season home game:
Quarterback: Alex Smith is catching crap because three of his five TD passes last week were off screens to Jamaal Charles. WTF??? Any time your fantasy QB throws for five TDs, you just accept it and say thanks. The ONLY thing wrong with playing Smith at this point is that the yardage totals aren’t there, and probably won’t be. The Chiefs have not had a 300-yard passer in 28 straight games now. They would have had one last week, but Smith took a seat on the bench next to Charles during the 56-31 blowout. However, I think that changes this week and he breaks the 300-yard mark.
Projection: 310 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, 30 yards rushing.
Running Back: Jamaal Charles has made this job simple. Start him. There ya go … what more needs to be said? The last two weeks Knile Davis has given Charles the 4th quarter off and has scored a TD both weeks. Davis took a while, but it finally looks like he knows what he is doing out there and will become an excellent NFL running back. I wouldn’t trust him with your championship on the line this week, but if you’re desperate at flex, I would grudgingly give him a thumbs-up.
Projection: Charles – 90 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 6 catches, 50 receiving yards, 1 touchdown; Davis – 45 yards rushing, 1 TD.
Wide Receiver: Dwayne Bowe is the only WR that you can trust at this point and he’s basically a low-end #3 receiver. He’s not catching double-digit receptions and he’s never close to 100 yards receiving, but he is finding the end zone almost every week now. Smith has been giving Bowe double-digit targets every week and when you’re as talented as Bowe is with that many looks, you MUST play him.
Donnie Avery absolutely can’t be trusted with his Hands of Stone and inability to make simple catches. Dexter McCluster is dealing with an infected ankle and probably won’t play. The Chiefs will want him healthy for returning punts in the playoffs. Junior Hemingway and A.J. Jenkins basically get one or two looks a game so don’t start them either.
Projection: Bowe – 5 catches, 65 yards, 1 touchdown; Avery – 3 catches, 35 yards; Hemingway – 2 catches 20 yds.
Tight End: Yeah, Sean McGrath caught a touchdown last week once Charles went to the bench, but you can’t count on him doing that for your championship week. Fasano will probably be a game-time decision on playing, but I pray that you have a better option on your roster at TE than either of these two.
Projection: McGrath – 2 catches, 15 yards; Fasano (if he plays) – 2catches 25 yards.
Kicker: Eight extra points turned what could have been a disastrous game for Ryan Succop into a decent one. The fact is that the Chiefs have become the early-season Broncos over the last month and are scoring touchdowns instead of field goals, so Succop won’t be having a Justin Tucker-like six field goal game any time soon. The irony is that Succop hasn’t kicked this well in his career, so if you’re desperate at kicker, he’s not the WORST fantasy play every.
Projection: 1-2 FG attempts, 3extra points.
Defense: The D/ST fell asleep for about two quarters last week and let the Raiders go up and down the field on the way to 31 points. All but 14 of them were from mistakes the Chiefs kept making to extend Raider drives. But seven turnovers and a pick-six TD by Eric Berry made up for the 31 points. This week, they’re playing against one of the best young QBs in the game, but Andrew Luck is a far different quarterback on the road than he is at home and it’s going to be coooooooooold at Arrowhead on Sunday. The Colts will get some yards in the air, but I love the Chiefs D/ST this week. Start them with confidence.
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