FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 1 BAL at DEN (THU) GB at SF *NE at BUF *TB at NYJ
*ATL at NO MIA at CLE *OAK at IND TEN at PIT
CIN at CHI MIN at DET SEA at CAR HOU at SD (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at STL *KC at JAC NYG at DAL PHI at WAS (MON)

Prediction: KC 17, JAC 20 (Line: KC by 3.5)

Players of Interest: Alex Smith, Donnie Avery, Anthony Fasano, Denard Robinson

Update: Marcedes Lewis is out this week with a calf injury. Blaine Gabbert is listed as questionable but was able to practice and is expected to play this week. If you are relying on Gabbert, man that is a big league.

The Chiefs start an all-new era under HC Andy Reid and try to wash away the stench of a 2-14 season that featured the lowest scoring offense in the league that averaged a paltry 13 points. The Jaguars fared no better with a matching 2-14 record and an entirely new coaching staff as well headed by Gus Bradley. This will be a good measurement of how far these teams have come in a short eight months. Optimism remains higher for the Chiefs but the Jaguars are at home.

1 @JAC - 10 BYE WEEK
2 DAL - 11 @DEN -
3 @PHI - 12 SD -
4 NYG - 13 DEN -
5 @TEN - 14 @WAS -
6 OAK - 15 @OAK -
7 HOU - 16 IND -
8 CLE - 17 @SD -
9 @BUF - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
KC @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 240,1
RB Jamaal Charles 70,1 6-40
WR Jason Avant 2-30
WR Donnie Avery 4-50
WR Dwayne Bowe 6-90,1
TE Anthony Fasano 4-40

Pregame Notes: The new regime under Andy Reid sparks much optimism after a horrific season and it should play well into the personnel at hand. That all assumes the move to get Alex Smith works out well but at least the fantasy fortunes of Jamaal Charles should remain high as Reid's scheme likes to use plenty of running back receptions. The expectations for the season are guarded with everything so new but at least the Chiefs have a proven winner at the top.

QUARTERBACKS: When Alex Smith was acquired by the Chiefs, it prompted some to ask "What does Reid know that I do not?" Smith was the first overall pick in the 2005 draft and Reid apparently has coveted him since then. But Smith's resume' does not feature a year with more than 273 completions while Reid's offensive routinely produces around 330 completion per year.

On the plus side, the dink-n-dunk west coast offense is probably better suited to Smith who has been dinged for a lack of a big arm. His precision, timing and ability to read defenses will be the success factors here.

RUNNING BACKS: What's not to like about Jamaal Charles? He comes off a lost season of 2011 with a blown knee and then posts 1745 yards and six scores last year on a team devoid of any other offensive punch. He's been a a top ten back for three of the last four seasons and his career best of 45 receptions in 2010 should be on the rise since LeSean McCoy had 54 last season in the same offense and as many as 78 catches in 2010. The Chiefs drafted Knile Davis who looked surprisingly good in the preseason but he's only there to offer backup. The Reid offense does not use a committee system and with the short pass considered a sort of run, the carries may go down for Charles even if the touches won't. McCoy never had more than 273 runs in a year and usually remained around 200.

This is an exciting season to watch Charles who has never gained less than 5.3 yards per carry in any year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Dwayne Bowe has been the big dog in KC since his 2007 rookie season that ended with 995 yards. He's at 1000 yards or better nearly every year when healthy but dropped to only 801 yards and three scores in 2012 thanks to a lack of quarterbacking. At 6-2, he's certain to be a focal point of the shorter passing scheme and by far the best receiving talent. Donnie Avery will play the #2 and the opportunity is immense for him to finally matter. But Avery is on his fourth NFL team in five seasons and has never done better than the 60-781-3 stat line in Indianapolis last season. There is such a lack of other receiving talent on the team that Avery has to be a significant contributor..

The Chiefs swamped Johnathan Baldwin for A.J. Jenkins with the 49ers since both were tired of looking at first round draft busts but the 49ers seemed to have gotten the ever so slightly better side of the trade. The offense will search for a suitable #3 but that will take some time to determine and may never have fantasy value anyway.

TIGHT ENDS: The Chiefs waived Tony Moeaki thanks to his continuous health problems and while they drafted Travis Kelce in the third round last April, he's slowly coming along and is no better than the #2 tight end for now as he learns blocking better to get him on the field more. Anthony Fasano will be the starter and the offense typically uses a tight end to some degree. Fasano has never produced more than 528 yards in any of his seven seasons.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Jaguars keep the 4-3 scheme and the defense is better than their stats but the Jaguars offense has done no favors for them the last couple of years. Of course the Chiefs had the worst QB and WR stats in the entire league in 2012 so how this all meshes is pure speculation. These are two very bad teams looking to bounce back to respectability using all new coaches. It is premature to rely on Alex Smith against a defense that only allowed seven passing touchdowns to visitors last year. Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles are every week starters but beyond them the offense is still too undefined for a real match-up here.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: We need to see how Donnie Avery and Anthony Fasano play to get an idea of how this offense is going to work. Avery in particular is in a good space for a surprising year if he can take advantage. Alex Smith needs to prove he can command this offense and fill the ever-so critical role of quarterback in this scheme.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 32 2 32 30 26 30
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 19 28 16 18 32 27

 

1 KC - 10 @TEN -
2 @OAK - 11 ARI -
3 @SEA - 12 @HOU -
4 IND - 13 @CLE -
5 @STL - 14 HOU -
6 @DEN - 15 BUF -
7 SD - 16 TEN -
8 SF - 17 @IND -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
WR Ace Sanders 3-50
WR Cecil Shorts 6-80,1
TE Marcedes Lewis
PK Josh Scobee 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Jaguars come off a horrific season but look to turn it around by hiring Gus Bradley as head coach after he ran the Seattle defense for the last four seasons. The offense will be run by Jedd Fisch who coached with the Seahawks when he met Bradley and who comes off running innovative offenses in college. His last job was running the University of Miami's offense for the last two years. Fisch inherits a group of players who might actually have more talent than we could know so far and his challenge will be turning high draft picks from the last couple of seasons into productive players.

QUARTERBACKS: Blaine Gabbert is back for his third season and the 1.10 pick of the 2011 draft has yet to reward the Jaguars faith. He missed six games last year with a nerve problem in his arm and was outplayed by journeyman Chad Henne. But Gabbert once again gets the reins and needs to show up greatly improved this year. He's never thrown more than two scores in any game and topped 225 yards in only one of his 25 games played. He has the personnel to get the job done, he just needs to do it. A new coaching regime will be patient for only so long.

RUNNING BACKS: In the vein of "how quickly they forget", Maurice Jones-Drew comes off a terrible season where he held out then showed up with his tail between his legs and nothing to show for it. And then struggled for a few weeks before getting a Lis Franc injury that cut his season off at week seven. But MJD was a top five back for the three previous seasons and at the age of 28 he still has plenty in the tank. His rehab has gone well and he is expected to be 100% for this first game of the year. How he fits into the new offense is not really an issue - he is by far the best weapon of the offense and he's playing for a major payday next year somewhere else.

His backup is not really clear since Justin Forsett missed the preseason because of a sprained foot and Jordan Toddman was impressive. The Jaguars also drafted Denard Robinson who will be used as a runner, receiver, returner and maybe even quarterback. But those sort of players rarely end up with fantasy value of any reliability. This team will revolve around Jones-Drew regardless of the new offense.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Cecil Shorts had a breakout season with 55-979-7 on a team that struggled to throw otherwise. He was joined by hot rookie Justin Blackmon who not only nursed a groin injury this summer, he also was suspended for four games for violating the drug policy. Next one will be a year and he's only been in the NFL for one season. While he is out, the rookie Ace Sanders will get more playing time and he has impressed in camp. But nothing here matters unless Gabbert can elevate his play this year.

TIGHT ENDS: Marcedes Lewis remains the starter but he has been the same 500 yard tight end for the last seven years and his 2010 season with ten scores was followed up with none the next year. He is just a fantasy bye week filler.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Chiefs defense was better than the rankings suggest but they gained no favors from the offense. Installing a new offense means Jones-Drew is the only safe play here though Shorts could end up as a decent flex play as the #1 wideout while Blackmon is out. First week out and playing it safe means avoiding almost all Jaguars besides MJD.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: This is the same set of players from last year - healthier for Jones-Drew though. The new offense will be want to watch and for players, the only really interesting ones will be Denard Robinson if they use him much at all and Ace Sanders who should be #3 there at worst and #2 if Blackmon pulls yet another dumb move.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 25 29 14 29 31 29
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 21 21 15 3 30 29

WEEK 1 BAL at DEN (THU) GB at SF *NE at BUF *TB at NYJ
*ATL at NO MIA at CLE *OAK at IND TEN at PIT
CIN at CHI MIN at DET SEA at CAR HOU at SD (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at STL *KC at JAC NYG at DAL PHI at WAS (MON)


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