The Kansas City Chiefs are now 4-0, only the second team in NFL history (1980 Detroit Lions) to win their first four games the year following a 14-loss record. The “wounded animal” that last week’s opponent, the New York Giants, were supposed to be just turned out to be a one-legged dog that couldn’t hunt and the one leg was named, Victor Cruz. In fantasy football, only the Chiefs defense sparkled, but Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, Sean “Duck Dynasty” McGrath, and eventually Dwayne Bowe had decent days.
This week, the Chiefs travel to Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans in a game that might be one of the most boring of the season. Well … at least fantasy-wise.
You basically have two good defenses playing against two average and mostly unspectacular offenses that just don’t turn the ball over. When the Chiefs lost a fumble in the second quarter of the Giants game, it was the first turnover of the year for the team. Later, Alex Smith threw two interceptions, one that came when Bowe ran the incorrect route, and the second that bounced off of Jamaal Charles’ leg that Giants safety, Aaron Ross, just made a spectacular athletic play to intercept.
The Titans, on the other hand, still haven’t turned the ball over to their opponent through four games. On the downside, Tennessee lost their starting quarterback, Jake Locker, for 6-8 weeks with a hip injury and are now turning to former Buffalo Bills QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who just happens to own a 4-1 lifetime record against Kansas City.
Here is how I project this week going for the Chiefs in fantasy football:
Quarterback: Alex Smith finally started looking downfield in the passing game last week and ended up throwing two interceptions. The Titans, like the Chiefs, live on causing turnovers and giving their offense short fields to score with. The math for a boring day in fantasy is there as Smith will probably play it very close to the vest and protect the football. Look for lots of dinking and dunking and hoping Donnie Avery can break a long run after catching a 6-yard pass like he did in the Philadelphia game. Only start Smith for your fantasy team if you have no other choice.
Projection: 230 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, 40 yards rushing.
Running Back: Jamaal Charles is on pace for nearly 380 touches this year and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he’ll be sitting on the sidelines in a walking boot long before he reaches that many touches. The Chiefs must start getting either Cyrus Gray or Knile Davis more involved in the game plan just to give Charles a breather. The problem is that Andy Reid hasn’t shown enough confidence in either of his back-ups to give them significant carries. However, from a fantasy point of view, it makes it simple to discuss the Chiefs rushing game – play Charles, sit Gray and Davis until further notice.
Projection: Charles – 80 yards rushing, 6 catches and 65 receiving yards, 1 touchdown; Davis – 20 yards rushing; Gray – 5 yards rushing, 10 yards receiving.
Wide Receiver: A late touchdown catch turned a bad day for Dwayne Bowe into an acceptable one for his fantasy owners. Call me crazy, but Bowe seems to be moving much slower this season, and there is no question that he and Smith aren’t connecting yet. Donnie Avery followed up his breakout 141 yard performance against the Eagles with a 2-for-23 day out of his 10 targets. We’ll chalk that up to the superior play of the Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara. Dexter McCluster had a solid flex-kinda day as the third down back caught all five of his targets for 48 yards. Of course, he had the biggest play of the game with his 89-yard punt return for a TD, but most of you probably don’t get individual touchdowns for special teams play, so that was just a nice thing to see if you own McCluster.
The Titans have an excellent secondary so there will be risk playing any Chiefs receiver this week. Bowe should break out at some point so you almost have to start him and Avery’s targets have increased every week, so start him at flex or as your #3 wide receiver. McCluster has marginal value in a PPR league, so it’s up to your roster if you start him or not.
Projection: Bowe – 5 catches, 55 yards; Avery – 4 catches, 50 yards; McCluster – 4 catches for 30 yards.
Tight End: FEAR THE BEARD!! If you followed my advice last week, you might have picked up Sean McGrath – the Bearded One – and played him as a deep sleeper. This week, he’s not so deep. That’s what happens when you begin the game as a third-string tight end and finish up catching all five of your targets from your quarterback for a sweet 64 yards and a touchdown. Then again, when you sport a beard that looks like you walked off the set of “Duck Dynasty”, you’re going to get a lot of attention from your quarterback and the television cameras. We Chiefs fans kinda thought Alex Smith would like to throw to his tight ends a lot and we’ve been proven correct. When in doubt, he looks to get the ball to his tight ends. Keep an eye out on the injury report later this week, because Anthony Fasano might be back on the field Sunday. If he is, he is worth starting on your team as a solid #2 fantasy TE. Otherwise, McGrath will take the role as the Chiefs #1 tight end and could be worth another start.
Projection: McGrath – 5 catches, 45 yards.
Kicker: The Titans don’t give up many points at home, so Andy Reid will take them whenever he can get them. Ryan Succop will have 3 FG attempts and possibly 2 extra points. Not a terrible game, but the same game that 10 other kickers will have for fantasy. Succop is an decent option at kicker if your regular one is on a bye.
Defense: The Chiefs defense/special teams has been one of the best in the league this year and Tennessee has struggled offensively at times. The Chiefs will be lucky to get two turnovers, but they’ll play well in all other facets of the game. The only time I would suggest sitting the Chiefs D/ST for the rest of the year is when they travel to Denver in Week 11. Other than that, enjoy the ride the defense as long as the good times last.
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