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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey

The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket

Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday night
Sunday
Monday
updated

Prediction: KC 17, HOU 23

This match-up looks a lot different than it would have a couple of years ago. The Chiefs ties to a vaunted passing game are now severed and Larry Johnson is finally rich even if he is not 100% in football shape. The Texans also enter their second year of a new offense but one that might actually pass better with Matt Schaub at the helm and Ahman Green manning the backfield. While the Chiefs look like a team on the decline and the Texans may be on the rise, they are still just meeting in the middle of a coin flip game.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @HOU   +3 38
2 @CHI 16-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
3 MIN 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @SD 30-Sep SUN 4:15 PM
5 JAC 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 CIN 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 @OAK 21-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
8 BYE - - -
9 GB 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 DEN 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 @IND 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 OAK 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 SD 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @DEN 9-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
15 TEN 16-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
16 @DET 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @NYJ 30-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
KC at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Damon Huard     190,1
RB Larry Johnson 110,1 10  
TE Tony Gonzalez   50,1  
WR Eddie Kennison   40  
WR Samie Parker   30  
WR Dwayne Bowe   40  
PK Justin Medlock 1 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Even the presence of Priest Holmes in camp this summer could not rekindle the wonder years of Dick Vermeil. The Chiefs wanted to go with youth this year but Brodie Croyle could never show enough to warrant making a change from Damon Huard. Johnson crossed his arms and held his breath long enough to cash in on his big paycheck and gets to return to his role as the most over-used tailback in the history of professional football. But the defense is underrated here and offense still good enough to make games close. At least for now.

Quarterback: After repeated attempts to give Brodie Croyle the chance to become the youthful starter failed, the Chiefs are back to using Damon Huard until such time they want to experiment again. Trent Green was sent packing and in this new offense even he had a major step backwards last year even before he cracked his noggin with the concussion heard around the world. Huard starts this week and he better look good because a storm is brewing with CHI, MIN, SD and JAX up next.

Running Backs: Larry Johnson is signed, he is happy and he may actually challenge the NFL record again for carries despite turning in 416 last season. Johnson has not been with the team in training camp and he's not 100% into "football shape" yet but he's clearly the best weapon on the team and there's been no changes to skill players this year anyway. They will use Johnson a lot again this year - they need to get their money's worth. The only downside here at all is that Johnson is in the perfect situation for getting hurt or otherwise disappointing. It doesn't always happen, but it happens enough to be a concern.

Wide Receivers: Eddie Kennison returns for his 12th NFL season but at the age of 34, he's the sort of older guy the team wants to get away from this year. Kennison comes off a down year with only 53 catches for 860 yards and five scores. Samie Parker is also the sort of wideout they want to replace (young but unproductive) but the drafting of LSU's Dwayne Bowe hasn't produced a starter quite yet. No doubt he will in the future and none too soon as far as the Chiefs are concerned but this new offense last year fell from the top of the heap to one of the worst with Herman Edwards taking over. That limits what any wideout can do here, let alone with relying on aging journeyman quarterback Damon Huard again this year.

Tight Ends: The great one somehow managed to keep pace last year despite no other receiver doing the same. Tony Gonzalez had a solid 73 catch, 900 yard season with five scores and even had two games over 100 yards with Huard under center. He may be 31 years old, but trading old for new certainly makes no sense here. Gonzo still has a couple of seasons left in him and returns to being the primary receiver for the team.

Match Against the Defense: The Houston defense is improving but that still doesn't mean they are average yet. Look for Johnson to shake off the rust and hit the ground running in what should be another 400 carry season. He should top 100 yards even if he isn't 100% from the number of carries alone.

Huard has been little more than an adequate quarterback and while he is not a liability, he is no advantage either. The Texans ranked highly against tight ends in 2006 but barely faced any good ones (ie, Shockey had 66 yards and score against them). This passing attack has been a notch below expectations since Edwards showed up so the only fantasy play here is Gonzo. It would be great to see Bowe get into the game and score but it's too early to expect that.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 30 6 28 2 16 27
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 26 20 12 5 23 20

 

Houston Texans (6-10)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC   +3 38
2 @CAR 16-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
3 IND 23-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
4 @ATL 30-Sep SUN 1:00 PM
5 MIA 7-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
6 @JAC 14-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
7 TEN 21-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
8 @SD 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 @OAK 4-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
10 BYE - - -
11 NO 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @CLE 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 @TEN 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 TB 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 DEN 13-Dec THU 8:15 PM
16 @IND 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 JAC 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
HOU vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     200,1
RB Ahman Green 100,1 20  
TE Owen Daniels   30  
WR Andre Johnson   70,1  
WR Kevin Walter   30  
WR Jacoby Jones   40  
PK Kris Brown 3 FG 2 XP 11 Pts

Pregame Notes: The Texans look to take the next step up with HC Gary Kubiak who has finally given the Texans their first non-Carr starting quarterback in Matt Schaub. The running game that was so befuddling in 2006 has also been revamped by acquiring aging and durability-challenged Ahman Green. An upgrade to the wideouts by adding Keenan McCardell thankfully was ended with his release made possible by the rookie Jacoby "look at me" Jones. This is an off mixture of inexperience and aging vets but after last year, it's bound to be better.

Quarterback: Matt Schaub takes the reins in Houston this year after the Texans opted to trade in their Carr for a player that has never had more than 33 completions in a season before. Still, the early returns are that the Texans are very pleased with Schaub and his leadership and devotion is something never seen in a Houston quarterback before. Unfortunately he pits against solid corners this week but there's no game film on him yet and the Texans are finally excited about the position for the first time since Carr was the first ever draft pick of the franchise.

Running Backs: The Texans could never decide between Wali Lundy, Ron Dayne, Samkon Gado or Chris Taylor last year so they went out on the free agency market and came back with 30 year old Ahman Green who has not played all 16 games in a season since 2003. Curious, eh? Green is an obvious upgrade to the position though and his receiving ability should get some use here as well. He'll prove a benefit if he can do the one thing he hasn't done in three years - remain healthy. When he goes down, it's back to Ron Dayne and whatever other back-up happens to be standing near the coach.

Wide Receivers: The beauty of Matt Schaub, other than him not being David Carr, is that he brings optimism back to the passing game that has disintegrated into Andre Johnson and nothing else. Johnson led the NFL last year with 103 catches but his 1147 yards only ranked 11th. His five touchdowns were paltry compared to those catches. He needs not only a better passer, but some help on reducing the constant double and triple teams that force him into short catches. Kevin Walter will start the season out as the starter and has some minor promise but this summer was buzzing about the rookie Jacoby Jones who appears far better than his 3.09 draft pick suggested. Johnson has been held back for a couple of years now but there is promise of better passing and even some help by other wideouts.

Tight Ends: The rookie Owen Daniels was a surprise starter last year and after eight weeks he had already caught five touchdowns and had a 99 yard game. But as happens with many new offenses going through growing pains, it all changed by mid-season and Owens never scored again. Still a part of the offense, but the numbers from 2006 all happened in the first half of the season.

Match Against the Defense: The Chiefs had an average defense across the board last year which was actually a major upgrade from previous years. But on the road this week against a team sporting a new QB and RB, it will be a tall order to expect a big showing here. The Chiefs are getting Holmes back into the offense and glumly accepting that they are stuck at QB again to the game situation here should allow for some nice gains by Ahman Green who is, right now, healthy.

Schaub will want to have a nice game here out of the gate but must be careful with Ty Law and Patrick Surtain waiting on the wideouts this week. Look for moderate numbers here that do not clearly favor any receiver. We all want to see Jacoby Jones explode, but that's probably unrealistic this early. If a passing score happens, it most likely ends up with Johnson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 27 22 30 15 30 28
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 14 15 14 13 19 14

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