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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CLE
Monday
NYJ
OAK
*updated
STL

Prediction: KC 10, CAR 24

The Chiefs come off their first win of the season and now head to Carolina where the 3-1 Panthers have to avoid this trap game since they play at Tampa Bay next week. That should serve to make this game a little lower scoring than it could be but the Panthers did not rest when they throttled the Falcons last week.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NE 10-17 +16.5 45
2 OAK 8-23 -4 34.5
3 @ATL 14-38 +5 36
4 DEN 33-19 +9.5 46.5
5 @CAR - +9.5 38.5
6 BYE - - -
7 TEN - - -
8 @NYJ - - -
9 TB - - -
10 @SD - - -
11 NO - - -
12 BUF - - -
13 @OAK - - -
14 @DEN - - -
15 SD - - -
16 MIA - - -
17 @CIN - - -
KC at CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Damon Huard     140,1
RB Larry Johnson 70 10  
TE Tony Gonzalez   50,1  
WR Jeff Webb   10  
WR Devard Darling   10  
WR Dwayne Bowe   40  
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Nothing like finally getting a win to quiet down the detractors for a few days. If that. On a Sunday that held several upsets, perhaps none was as big as the Chiefs bringing down the undefeated Broncos and making it actually look easy. It all worked last week including a return to rushing excellence by Larry Johnson. The defense stood up and stopped what had been a prolific passer in Jay Cutler and the return to Damon Huard meant no turnovers and a controlled passing attack. There is no certainty that the Chiefs will win another game other than perhaps the week 16 meeting with the Dolphins but after 12 straight losses, any win is welcomed.

Quarterback: Damon Huard may not be a prolific passer, but he is the only quarterback on the roster that can at least manage games and avoid making costly mistakes while still making at least moderate use of Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez. And Huard has been the only one since the departure of Trent Green despite the experiments with Brodie Croyle or Tyler Thigpen.

Just for a little perspective though, consider that last week Huard passed for 160 yards as a team best this season and the Chiefs only have one passing touchdown in the two away games this year.

Running Backs: Larry Johnson comes off a performance reminiscent of a couple of years ago when he gained 198 yards on 28 carries and scored twice against the visiting Broncos. He had 121 yards on 24 runs and one touchdown in Atlanta the previous week. Those were about the opposite of the results of the first two games this year though. The only reliable thing about Johnson is that the Chiefs will run him as much as they can get away with. But they rarely throw to him this season and this road game will really help determine which two week span we should consider as his norm this year - 96 yards and no scores or 319 yards and three touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: Why any defense covers a Chiefs wideout other than Dwayne Bowe is a mystery. While Bowe has scored twice (both on the road actually) and averages 67 yards per game, no other wideout on this team is worth even a casual glance on the waiver wire. Since week one, the best any wideout has done is literally 15 yards.

One interesting qualifier here. While Bowe has scored in both road games and never at home so far, he also has never done worse than 85 yards at home but has been stuck below 50 yards in both away games. He scores away from home but his catches and yards have always been less.

Tight Ends: Oddly enough, Tony Gonzalez runs opposite to Bowe. He has scored in two games this year as well - but both were at home. He still has never had more than 55 yards in a game this year but that season best came on the road.

Match Against the Defense: The Chiefs bring in their suddenly working rushing game to face the Panthers who have only allowed one rushing score this year and no player has topped 100 yards against them including Tomlinson, Peterson, Turner or Forte. Johnson should have enough carries to rack up moderate yardage but a big game here is very unlikely.

Huard faces a secondary that is one of the best in the league and that have not allowed any passing scores to visitors this year. No team has passed for more than 217 yards and that would be astronomic for Huard anyway. Expect more mediocre numbers here though the Chiefs could eventually get a touchdown pass at least in trash time. That would definitely favor Gonzalez over Bowe.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 23 19 27 7 29 21
Preventing Fantasy Points    CAR 5 9 5 24 16 10


Carolina Panthers (3-1)
Homefield: Bank of America Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 26-24 +9 42
2 CHI 20-17 -3 37
3 @MIN 10-20 +3.5 37
4 ATL 24-9 -7 39.5
5 KC - -9.5 38.5
6 @TB - - -
7 NO - - -
8 ARZ - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK - - -
11 DET - - -
12 @ATL - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 TB - - -
15 DEN - - -
16 @NYG - - -
17 @NO - - -
CAR vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Delhomme     210,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 80,1    
RB DeAngelo Williams 70,1 10  
TE Dante Rosario   10  
WR Steve Smith   80,1  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   60  
WR D.J. Hackett   30  
PK John Kasay 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Panthers have been on a hot streak this year outside of the one game in Minnesota and this week the visiting Chiefs pose more of a threat as a trap game than a major challenge. Making matters slightly worse is that LT Jordan Gross has a Grade 3 concussion and could miss a couple of games and RT Jeff Otah has a sore ankle but is expected to play anyway. Next week is a much more critical game in Tampa Bay but the Panthers need to put this one away first.

Quarterback: After a disappointing three weeks with only one touchdown pass, Jake Delhomme got back in gear against the Falcons last week when he passed for 294 yards and two scores. Delhomme was supported by the same strong rushing game but had a breakthrough game connecting with both Muhsin Muhammad and Steve Smith. Granted, it was only Atlanta. But this is only the Chiefs this week.

Running Backs: DeAngelo Williams remains the starter here and while he usually has a few more carries than Jonathan Stewart, he does less with them. Williams has gained 201 rushing yards on 55 carries for a 3.7 yard average and no scores this year. Stewart gets his work later in games and has 197 yards on 45 runs for a 4.4 yard average and four rushing touchdowns. So far it has worked but at some point the Panthers are just losing out by sticking with Williams over the more powerful Stewart who has scored in each of the last three games.

Wide Receivers: After slogging through the Chargers, Bears and Vikings defense, the Panthers finally got a break and faced the Falcons. Muhsin Muhammad ended up with eight catches for 147 yards and one score while Steve Smith had six receptions for 96 yards. Muhammad had been stuck around 60 yards in most games until last week and Steve Smith is picking up steam after missing the first two weeks because of a team suspension.

D.J. Hackett remains the slot receiver that never gets more than two catches per week but Smith is incorporating both Smith and Muhammad now. If he can continue that when the opponents get tougher, the Panthers will be even harder to beat.

Tight Ends: Never more than a couple of inconsequential catches now that Smith is back and Muhammad is getting into the groove.

Match Against the Defense: The Chiefs have been very soft against the run and both Stewart and Williams should have at least decent stats if not a big game here. Expect at least one rushing score if not two and at least 150 rushing yards to split up.

Delhomme had a nice game last week and can do that again here, the question is if he will bother. I will project for him to have a moderate game with a score to Smith but it could be much bigger if he bothers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 21 21 17 11 15 23
Preventing Fantasy Points    KC 10 28 13 5 25 23

The Huddle
WEEK 5
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
CLE
Monday
NYJ
OAK
STL
Other Features
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Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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