The Kansas City Chiefs have a surprising fantasy football stud this year and its one that not many people drafted high. No, not Jamaal Charles. He went in the top 10 of any decent draft. Not Dwayne Bowe either. Except for a decent game in Week 2 against Dallas, he’s been a dud and not a stud. .
No, the Chiefs defense is making a case to be one of the biggest fantasy surprises of the year, because of their penchant for getting turnovers, sacks AND being #2 in the NFL in giving up points is the stuff of championship fantasy defenses. Throw in two defensive scores in the first three weeks and the Chiefs are outperforming every fantasy defense that was drafted before them with the exception of the Chicago Bears, who are tied with KC in fantasy points in most scoring formats.
There are plenty of fantasy owners like me that benched the Chiefs last week against Philadelphia. I thought my #1 defense, the San Francisco 49ers, would have a better week against the Indianapolis Colts than the Chiefs would against the high-flying Eagles. In my Fantasy Sports Writers Association Experts League, the Chiefs defense scored 22.8 fantasy points, while the 49ers scored one point. I lost my game by 8 points. Slow burn ensues ….
This week, the Chiefs take on a struggling New York Giants team that is giving up turnovers by the bushel and can’t stop anyone on defense. If that sounds similar to fans of the 2012 Chiefs team, it is. These Giants are playing as bad as that Chiefs team did, and the fantasy results for a lot of the Chiefs might be sweet on Sunday!
Here is how I project this week going for the Chiefs in fantasy football:
Quarterback: I think by now we know exactly what we’re going to get from Alex Smith. A smart, calm, cool and collected leader that doesn’t panic and 9 times out of 10 will make the correct decision and won’t put the team in a position to lose the game. He also will rarely throw for more than 300 yards or two touchdowns. In real life, a solid and winning quarterback. In fantasy, a reliable back-up that won’t kill you if you have to play him. With bye weeks starting this week, Smith has a role if your #1 QB is off.
Projection: 245 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, 35 yards rushing.
Running Back: This is still a one-man show with Jamaal Charles and this week could be the week that Charles breaks off some of those typical 40+ yard runs. The Giants linebacking corps is struggling badly and if the Chiefs offensive line can get Charles a few holes to run through, he could easily have the best fantasy day for any running back. Head Coach Andy Reid seems reluctant to use the fumble-prone Knile Davis extensively now and Cyrus Gray is only used in certain formations. Start Charles, leave the other two on the bench.
Projection: Charles – 110 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 55 receiving yards; Davis – 15 yards rushing; Gray – 10 yards rushing, 10 yards receiving.
Wide Receiver: As bad as I felt about benching the Chiefs defense last week, I patted myself on the back for starting receiver Donnie Avery, who rewarded me with 7 catches for 141 yards. Avery seems to have positioned himself to be a worthy #3 fantasy receiver or flex player. Dwayne Bowe could finally shine for the Chiefs this week as the Giants secondary is banged up and Corey Webster, the guy playing on Bowe is playing terribly. Both Avery and Bowe should be started this week, but I would hold off on starting Dexter McCluster. McCluster in now going into his fourth week of the 2013 edition in totally fooling fantasy owners around the world who thought, “This is the year McCluster makes a BIG difference in the NFL!!” Yeah …. not so much.
Projection: Bowe – 6 catches, 70 yards, 1 touchdown; Avery – 7 catches, 85 yards.
Tight End: What a week to be missing your top two tight ends! The Giants have been getting rocked by opposing tight ends, but the Chiefs will probably be missing Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce this week as neither has practiced this week. It’s highly doubtful either guy is on your fantasy team, but if you need a deep, deep, deep sleeper at tight end, pick up Sean McGrath who proved to be worthy of a few targets from QB Smith last week in Philly. McGrath has been practicing with the first string all week long and might become a nice red zone target for Smith this week.
Projection: McGrath – 5 catches, 45 yards.
Kicker: My apologies to everyone who took my advice and benched Ryan Succop last week against the Eagles. Well, ok technically I didn’t say bench him, I said that there would be plenty of other kickers that could give you the same stats. However, a 1-for-6 red zone touchdown performance by the offense in Philly gave Succop some opportunities to kick. I still believe there are 15 other kickers that will give you the same stats as Succop this week, but if you really like playing him, knock yourself out.
Projection: 2-3 FG attempts, 3 extra points.
Defense: The right side of the Giants offensive line is collapsing due to injury. The man with the NFL’s most sacks, Justin Houston, rushes from that side. Eli Manning has that gunslinger mentality where he’ll toss the ball around and often it lands in the hands of the guys in the other jerseys. The only guy they have that can be a threat running the ball, David Wilson, also can’t hold onto it when he gets hit. Everything about this game screams to play the Chiefs defense/special teams. Wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks do have the potential for big games on the outside, but the Giants have too many problems on offense to bench KC this week.
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