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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
WEEK 1
September 7, 2005
Season Ticket
Thur 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
OAK at NE NO at CAR HOU at BUF DAL at SD IND at BAL
Sun 1 PM SEA at JAC NYJ at KC STL at SF Mon 9 PM
CHI at WAS TEN at PIT TB at MIN ARI at NYG PHI at ATL
DEN at MIA CIN at CLE   GB at DET Times ET

Prediction: New York Jets 21, Kansas City 24

Here's a great game lining up. The Jets come off a wildcard season in 2004 with a sound defense and surprising play from Curtis Martin to face the Chiefs that featured, once again, a tremendous offense that could score more than any NFL team other than the one that was playing against the Chiefs defense that day. Kansas City was only 4-4 at Arrowhead last year exactly like the Jets were on the road. This should be a great game.

New York Jets (0-0)
1 Sep 11 @KCC 10 Nov 13 @CAR
2 Sep 18 MIA 11 Nov 20 @DEN
3 Sep 25 JAC 12 Nov 27 NOR
4 Oct 2 @BAL 13 Dec 4 @NE
5 Oct 9 TBB 14 Dec 11 OAK
6 Oct 16 @BUF 15 Dec 18 @MIA
7 Oct 24 @ATL 16 Dec 26 NE
8 Open Bye 17 Jan 1 BUF
9 Nov 6 SDC . . MON
NYJ Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Chad Pennington 0 0 250,2
RB Curtis Martin 90,1 20 0
RB Derrick Blaylock 20 10 0
TE Chris Baker 0 20,1 0
WR Laveranues Coles 0 60 0
WR Justin McCareins 0 50,1 0
WR Wayne Chrebet 0 20 0
PK Mike Nugent 0 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Jets brought in Mike Heimerdinger from the Titans to serve as offensive coordinator and to dump the dink and dunk west coast offense. Curtis Martin was highly effective last year but the team was unable to score points offensively and was saved by the defense. In nine games last year, they posted only 17 points or less. The re-acquisition of Laveranues Coles and the change in the offense is aimed at putting more points on the scoreboard.

Quarterback: Chad Pennington is said to be in love with the new offense and he's quickly reconnected with Coles as if he had never left. Pennington had a personal best in 2004 when he played in 13 games and his durability should be a bigger issue than is talked about. With pedestrian passing numbers and never more than 22 scores in a season, the change in offense could reinvigorate Chad with a career year. Opening in Kansas City should be a great jump start for the season.

Running Backs: The ageless Curtis Martin returns after leading the NFL in rushing yards for 2004 at the tender age of 31. He's a lock for a 1000 yard season and while his 12 scores last year were abnormally high, he should have no problem meeting his average of eight touchdowns. The Jets let Lamont Jordan finally leave and replaced him with Derrick Blaylock from the Chiefs while also drafting Cedric Houston later in the NFL draft.

The new offense is predicated on what Tennessee has done and that doesn't feature specialists or committee rushing. Martin should be a safe bet for another 300+ carry season.

Wide Receivers: The story here is all about Laveranues Coles return and how in synch he already looks with Pennington. Justin McCareins had a solid season last year across from Santana Moss, but has more upside this year since Moss was a one trick, "go deep" receiver. The new offense should see deeper routes by both Coles and McCareins this year which will result in better years for both players.

As always, Wayne Chrebet is still playing but after ten seasons, he is little more than an occasional outlet. He only has one score in each of the last two seasons.

Tight Ends: The Jets traded away their first round pick to acquire Doug Jolley from the Raiders but Chris Baker has outplayed him this summer and takes the start. This new offense from Tennessee could make significant use of the tight end but it remains to be seen what variant Heimerdinger uses with the personnel at hand.

Match Against the Defense: The question here is not unlike the last several seasons - how much to buy into the "new and improved" Chiefs defense? Rookie LB Derrick Johnson looks like a wise draft pick and certainly CB Patrick Surtain and SS Sammy Knight will strengthen a weak unit, but does it all come together in week one for what has been a disaster of a defense the last few years?

The Jets will be opening with a new offensive scheme which won't likely be instantly working to form and at least the hint of an actual defense in Kansas City could effect the outcome significantly. Surtain will get matched on Coles which will be interesting but the offense will run first and such was the major Achilles for Kansas City last year. Look for Martin to get heavy use this week and to have some success against a defense that cannot change their stripes this quickly. That'll open up the passing game but as with all games against the Chiefs, it depends on how many points New York will need to post to win. Since this game is in Kansas City, expect Pennington to have to throw for much of the second half and through volume to generate sound decent fantasy points.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
1 Sep 11 NYJ 10 Nov 13 @BUF
2 Sep 18 @OAK 11 Nov 20 @HOU
3 Sep 26 @DEN 12 Nov 27 NE
4 Oct 2 PHI 13 Dec 4 DEN
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @DAL
6 Oct 16 WAS 15 Dec 17 @NYG
7 Oct 23 @MIA 16 Dec 24 SDC
8 Oct 30 @SDC 17 Jan 1 CIN
9 Nov 6 OAK . MON SAT
KCC Projections Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green 0 0 240,2
RB Priest Holmes 100,1 40,1 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 50,1 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 50 0
WR Samie Parker 0 40 0
WR Chris Horn 0 30 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Kansas City had the second highest scoring offense last year and yet ended 7-9 on the year thanks to the bend and then break repeatedly defense. All the same players return on the offense other than Johnnie Morton being replaced by Samie Parker. The quest this season is to continue to score well offensively, manufacture an actual NFL defense and to keep Priest Holmes in uniform beyond mid-season this time.

Quarterback: After four seasons with the Chiefs, Trent Green gets better every season and that will likely end this year if only because his 4591 yards with 27 touchdowns will be so hard to match - for any quarterback. Green posted gaudy numbers last season but much of that was thanks to the shootouts that virtually every game became. If the defense improves as expected, it will win more games but come at the expense of Green's passing totals.

Running Backs: Priest Holmes only made it eight games in 2004 before getting injured but it was a glorious run until that time. His 892 yards and 15 touchdowns by midseason had many fantasy owners already counting the league winnings. "He what?"

Holmes turns 32 this season and certainly cannot be considered as more durable than he has been. Larry Johnson was electric last season subbing for him and already looked great this summer in limited play. The question is if Johnson will be used to keep Holmes fresh or if Holmes will be Holmes until he gets hurt. Then it turns into the Larry Johnson show. Week one against a good defense in the Jets should start to answer that question.

Wide Receivers: While the Chiefs had always little used the wideouts with Holmes and Tony Gonzalez around, Eddie Kennison broke through last year to end with 1086 yards and eight touchdowns but the team allowed (rather willingly) Johnnie Morton to leave last spring and now has the diminutive Samie Parker installed as the #2. Parker has been impressive in camp but he is only a second-year player with a total of nine NFL catches. Until Parker shows more on game day, Kennison looks even more attractive this year.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez has been the best tight end in the NFL for the last five straight years - hands down. While his seven scores last year trailed Antonio Gates, his 1258 yards topped all tight ends. His 102 catches topped all receivers in the NFL.

Match Against the Defense: The Jets had one of the better rush defenses in the league last year but still gave up good games to teams with top backs willing to rush more than 25 times which is a given on the Chiefs. Look for the healthy Priest Holmes to start the season with his first of many 100 yard games though he'll have to work harder for it than most weeks. Kennison gets matched on CB Ty Law who at 31 may not be as fast as he once was, but he'll be " Kennison fast" and lower his output. Look for Gonzalez to likely get held in check to a small extent by a defense that met most of the top tight ends last year and held them to barely average games - including Antonio Gates (39 yards).