When the 2013 NFL season kicks off Thursday night in Denver in the Ravens/Broncos game, fantasy football freaks can put aside months of dormancy – with the exception being a half-hearted attempt to play fantasy baseball to kill the time between April and September – and start playing the totally make-believe pretend game of fantasy football for real! (Twelve points for Gryffindor if you caught the ironic sarcasm in that first sentence!)
The Kansas City Chiefs kick off in Jacksonville against the new-look Jaguars on Sunday and fantasy owners will be wondering exactly what they will get from their Chiefs players. They know the 2012 team was one of the worst fantasy point producing teams in history, with the exception of Jamaal Charles, and a lesser extent, Dwayne Bowe. It remains to be seen if the 2013 club under head coach, Andy Reid, will have a moderate improvement – or the kind of sleepers that deliver a fantasy championship.
Every Wednesday, I will give you my projections for how each Chiefs fantasy player will do in the upcoming game. This week, at Jacksonville at Noon, CT on Sunday. .
QB – Alex Smith is a decent back-up fantasy quarterback for your team this week. If the Chiefs played Jacksonville in a couple of months – like Week 8 or Week 9 – the offense will be jelled enough to allow Smith to pick Jacksonville’s defense apart. Unfortunately, they’re still working out the kinks.
- Prediction: 230 yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 15 rushing yards.
RB – Jamaal Charles must be started every week unless he is injured. (Imagine Tyler Durden from “Fight Club” telling you, “The First Rule of Fantasy Club – don’t sit your studs … ever!”). The Jags were among the worst defenses in the league last year against fantasy RBs (25.83 FP/G) and Charles should carve them up in running and receiving. Knile Davis has marginal value as a flex in TD-only leagues because of the chance to steal a couple of Charles’ goal line carries. Otherwise he'll have to prove it in a regular season game before he should start on your team.
- Prediction: Charles – 110 yards rushing, 4 receptions for 30 yds, 1 touchdown; Davis – 15 yds rushing, 0 TD.
WR – Dwayne Bowe has the ability to be a #1 fantasy WR from time to time, but he is actually just an extremely reliable #2 that has flashes of brilliance. The jury is still out on Donnie Avery, but the Chiefs third preseason game against the Steelers showed that he could become a force as a high-end #3 fantasy receiver or a flex player. The same can be said of Dexter McCluster, who could become a huge sleeper in your league if he adapts to Reid’s offense like his skill set says he should. But the safe play right now is to wait and see before sticking him in your starting line-up.
- Prediction: Bowe – 7 catches, 85 yards, 1 TD; Avery – 4 catches 50 yards; McCluster – 4 catches, 35 yds.
TE – I’d love to be able to tell you that Anthony Fasano will be the biggest sleeper of them all at tight end, but there are simply too many fantasy TEs that are better bets. Avoid Fasano for now until he shows a rapport with Alex Smith in the games that count. But be aware that the last time he played against Jacksonville, he caught 6 balls for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Kicker – The same goes for Ryan Succop. Just far too many fantasy kickers that are better. Succop will have the same or worse points earned than 20 other kickers. Don’t play Succop.
Defense/Special Teams – The Chiefs defense was historically bad last year at creating turnovers and they did nothing on special teams. The Jags have an All-Pro caliber running back with little tread left on his tires in Maurice Jones-Drew, and one wide receiver that can be a fantasy factor in Cecil Shorts. But, the best former Mizzou quarterback in the game will be standing on the Chiefs side of the field because KC back-up Chase Daniel can probably play QB in the NFL, but Jags starter Blaine Gabbert probably can’t. Finally, the way the Chiefs kick returners turned the preseason into their own personal track meet, the chances of a special teams touchdown makes me think KC is a sleeper play at D/ST this week.
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