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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Sortable Player Projections
Game Predictions Summary

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WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT* OAK at TEN* GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB* CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU* CIN at NE* SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
*UPDATED DET at CHI DEN at JAC* ARI at STL* SD at KC*

Prediction: SD 34, KC 17

Update: Dexter McCluster is doubtful to play because of an undisclosed illness. He is too risky to rely on this week.


These divisional foes haven't been close in years and in 2009 the Chargers decimated the Chiefs last year, winning 37-7 and 43-14. The Chiefs are rebuilding, again, and there's not much reason to expect more than a better showing in the loss by the Chiefs. This is the first Monday night game of the year.

San Diego Chargers (0-0)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @KC -- 10 Bye -
2 JAC -- 11 DEN --
3 @SEA -- 12 @IND --
4 ARI -- 13 OAK --
5 @OAK -- 14 KC --
6 @STL -- 15 SF --
7 NE -- 16 @CIN --
8 TEN -- 17 @DEN --
9 @HOU -- - - -
Chargers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN DIEGO at KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers - - 280,2
RB Ryan Mathews 90,2 20 -
TE Antonio Gates - 90,1 -
WR Malcom Floyd - 60,1 -
WR Buster Davis - 20 -
WR Legedu Naanee - 60 -
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 4 XP -
Pregame Notes: As if losing the franchise's icon of LaDainian Tomlinson was not enough, the #1 wideout of Vincent Jackson is also gone for at least seven weeks and could be the entire season if his agent can keep Vinny's "eye on the prize" that probably doesn't actually exist. The Chargers did not replace Jackson but they did opt to use their #1 draft pick on Ryan Mathews to re-energize the suddenly lethargic rushing game.

QUARTERBACKS: The question surrounding Philip Rivers is how much will he miss Vincent Jackson? Chances are not as much as Jackson's agent wants to believe. Jackson did occupy a big role with the team but only had 68 catches last year. Malcom Floyd gets his shot to step up and the youngster Legedu Naanee should improve. They brought in Patrick Crayton and there's always a chance that Buster Davis can deliver on his promise. Oh yes, and Antonio Gates and Darren Sproles and maybe Ryan Mathews. Rivers should get by just fine as long as his missed left tackle Marcus McNeill doesn't get him injured.

Rivers passed for 268 yards and three scores in Kansas City last year. He had 317 yards and two scores in the second meeting. Expect a nice showing here again.

RUNNING BACKS: The early returns on the rookie Ryan Mathews have been fairly glowing and while perhaps he won't rise to the same atmospheric levels that Tomlinson once had, Mathews can be at least as good as Tomlinson of the last couple of seasons. The Chargers have a great schedule and will want to rely on Mathews as much as they can. So far Norv Turner has worked with Emmitt Smith and Tomlinson. There is a reason why those runners were so successful and he had at least a small part in int.

The Chiefs were horrible against running backs last year and Mathews will want to have a big debut so expect at least a solid game here that could end up a big one.

WIDE RECEIVERS: As noted, Jackson is a nonfactor for at least the near future and the receivers will have to step up and do more. Malcom Floyd looks to become the primary wideout and at 6'5" he provides the big target that Jackson once did .Legedu Naanee will be the #2 and he's a promising fourth-year player they drafted in 2007 in the fifth round. Buster Davis has made the team again but may not hold onto the #3 role with Patrick Crayton landing here in a trade last week. Rivers is a talented quarterback and helped Jackson realize his potential after four years in the league. Now it will be Floyd or Naanee's turn.

The Chiefs are weak against the pass as well and while Floyd is the most likely safe play here, but he and Naanee should have at least decent numbers.

TIGHT ENDS: No arguing that Antonio Gates remains one of the elite tight ends and with Jackson gone, he may be even more productive this year. Gates caught five passes for 55 yards in Kansas City in 2009. He recorded seven receptions for 118 yards and two scores in the second meeting.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 9 7 14 3 1 12
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 22 31 27 18 30 25


Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SD -- 10 @DEN --
2 @CLE -- 11 ARI --
3 SF -- 12 @SEA --
4 Bye - 13 DEN --
5 @IND -- 14 @SD --
6 @HOU -- 15 @STL --
7 JAC -- 16 TEN --
8 BUF -- 17 OAK --
9 @OAK -- - - -
Chiefs Report | Statistics | Roster
KANSAS CITY vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel - - 220,1
RB Jamaal Charles 90 40 -
RB Thomas Jones 20,1 - -
WR Dexter McCluster - 50 -
WR Chris Chambers - 60,1 -
WR Dwayne Bowe - 60 -
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Charlie Weis is back in the NFL and doing what he is best at - shaping offenses and running complicated schemes. He's far more adept at that then running an entire team and probably one of the best having turned Tom Brady and the Patriots into a powerhouse. The Chiefs are not featuring anyone new but installing a new scheme will take some time and Matt Cassel needs to prove himself yet again.

QUARTERBACKS: Matt Cassel had an even worse second season with the Chiefs when he only totaled 2924 passing yards and 16 scores against 16 interceptions. He'll be helped by the new offense and tutelage by Charlie Weis. If Cassel can drive the car the way they want, this offense will start picking up speed this year. Just probably not in week one.

Cassel passed for only 97 yards and one score when the Chargers visited last year. He only managed 178 yards and a score in the second meeting.

RUNNING BACKS: The Chiefs finally parted ways with Larry Johnson last year and in the eight games as a starter, Jamaal Charles was a fantasy goldmine. He scored in all but one game and topped 100 total yards six times. He even ended the year with a 259 yard thrashing of the Broncos in Denver. He's taken the torch from Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson and become one of the better backs in the league.

The Chiefs added Thomas Jones as well and that would suggest a committee. Jones is 32-years old and is no long term solution. But the guy comes off his career best season when he rushed for 1402 yards and scored 14 times for the Jets last year. For week one, I am assuming Charles gets the bulk of work and that Jones is only there for short yardage and goal line work. This is a definite watch to see what the new offense wants to do in the backfield.

Charles was the starter in the second game with the Chargers last year and he ran for 93 yards on 14 carries with one touchdown.

This is a season opener and at home so expect a decent showing here by Charles who has to prove himself to the coaching staff again this year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Chris Chambers was a great mid-season pickup last year and he had his best efforts while at home. Dwayne Bowe has reportedly seen the light and spent the offseason working out instead of visiting Burger King. The fourth-year player should become a focal point in the new offense and looks to return to his production level of 2008 when he had 86 catches for 1022 yards and seven scores. The Chiefs also added the diminutive Dexter McCluster to the mix as a player that can be used as a runner, receiver or a returner. How that translates into actual stats remains to be seen but at the least, McCluster will provide some dazzling theatrics on the field. Just probably not consistently enough to merit a fantasy start.

Bowe only had two catches for 11 yards in the meeting last year but scored once. Chambers later scored in the week 12 matchup with his old team and had 70 yards on seven catches.

The passing all depends on Cassel being able to quickly adapt to the new offense but it is very similar to the one in New England that remained when Weis left for Notre Dame. Bowe and Chambers are both decent starts this week but a big game is unlikely.

TIGHT ENDS: Even with the new offense, there are not any talented receiving tight ends here to use. Of the four with catches last year, none had more than 175 yards on the season. No fantasy value here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 25 21 17 29 17 21
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 13 17 8 17 17 1

WEEK 1
2010
MIN at NO ATL at PIT OAK at TEN GB at PHI
MIA at BUF CLE at TB CAR at NYG DAL at WAS
IND at HOU CIN at NE SF at SEA BAL at NYJ
  DET at CHI DEN at JAC ARI at STL SD at KC
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