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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
*updated Sat
*updated

Prediction: KC 3, BAL 24

Saturday Update: Matt Cassel was limited in practice all week but says he is going to play. I am leaving his projections as is but in no case is he an attractive start this week.

Friday Update: Matt Cassel is still being limited in practice and he still is not a lock to play despite word that he will be the starter. Cassell's knee is still not healed and he's going to come down to being a game time decision most likely. Of course playing in Baltimore is never a good thing for any quarterback much less a gimpy one. I may remove him tomorrow but no matter what - this is a bad situation for week one.

This is really not the way the Chiefs want to start out their new coaching regime. This is exactly how the Ravens love to open their season. Todd Haley is used to using Warner and Fitzgerald and Boldin to beat the 49ers and Rams. He is not used to using gimpy Matt Cassell, Dwayne Bowe and maybe no one else to face the best defense in their home stadium.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @BAL - - -
2 OAK - - -
3 @PHI - - -
4 NYG - - -
5 DAL - - -
6 @WAS - - -
7 SD - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 @JAC - - -
10 @OAK - - -
11 PIT - - -
12 @SD - - -
13 DEN - - -
14 BUF - - -
15 CLE - - -
16 @CIN - - -
17 @DEN - - -
KC at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassel     160
RB Larry Johnson 40 10  
TE Sean Ryan   10  
WR Dwayne Bowe   50  
WR Bobby Engram   50  
WR Mark Bradley   30  
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG    

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs bring in new HC Todd Haley to bring some tough love to a franchise that has been plenty sloppy for many years. Initially Haley kept Chan Gailey on board to run the offense but just last week let him go. Haley will call the plays though the offense remains much the same obviously. Haley is a Parcel's disciple from way back. Haley was last the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals who reached the Super Bowl. His offense will be inventive and rely more on the pass than the run.

The Chiefs were 2-14 last year. How bad could losing week one really be?

Quarterback: Matt Cassell is the prized new quarterback in Kansas City but he'll have a hard time not only playing the Ravens in Baltimore but his sprained knee is still not 100%. He's been cleared to play this week and we will get to see just how much of Cassell 2008 was the product of being in a great system for several years and how much of it truly was a player who wasn't even a starter in college.

Cassell also inherits a somewhat lesser set of receivers than he left in New England and the only known weapon - Dwayne Bowe - isn't all that happy about being there and feeling underpaid. Cassell also just missed out on playing with perhaps the greatest tight end of all time. Losing the offensive coordinator two weeks ago may be helpful in the long run, but it cannot be a positive this week.

Expect lower numbers that in no way justify Cassel as a fantasy starter this week. The average veteran quarterback had 150 passing yards in Baltimore last year.

Running Backs: Larry Johnson returns as the primary back but he's a couple of years removed from his fantasy star days. He's also a big back who turns 30 in November and the history of big backs (6'1", 230) is not stellar once they hit 30. Jamaal Charles is the #2 here and has been speculated to eventually supplant Johnson. Charles is more in the vein of what a spread offense would use but also recall that now HC Todd Haley is calling the plays and there were never that many passes thrown to the backs in Arizona.

Johnson faces a road game against the #1 defense against running backs last year. This is not going to be pretty. Once Charles has established a fantasy relevant role, I will include him in the rankings.

Wide Receivers: Dwayne Bowe is unhappy, the Chiefs are aware and they do not care. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Dwayne. Haley has always been a hard-ass and Bowe is not going anywhere despite the depth chart boo-ga-loo that the team has been playing with lately. Bowe is clearly the most talented receiver on the team. You could maybe argue he is the only talented wideout. Devard Darling was considered an option before he tore his ACL. Mark Bradley is a starter for however long he remains healthy and Terrance Copper has spent time at split end in some mock punishment for Bowe. The Jets are rumored to have made a trade inquiry that was denied because they also have no receivers and would happily accept a malcontent from another team if it meant getting some talent for Mark Sanchez.

Expect Bowe, Bradley and Bobby Engram to be the starters and for only Bowe to really matter - if he is willing to make it so. Just not this week. Stay very far away.

Tight Ends: Do you remember all the monster games by Tony Gonzalez? The touchdowns? The catches? Get it over, Skeeter because Sean Ryan is the starter and think about how many fantasy tight ends have recently come out of Arizona.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 9 31 27 2 32 25
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 4 1 4 9 4 20


Baltimore Ravens (0-0)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC - - -
2 @SD - - -
3 CLE - - -
4 @NE - - -
5 CIN - - -
6 @MIN - - -
7 BYE - - -
8 DEN - - -
9 @CIN - - -
10 @CLE - - -
11 IND - - -
12 PIT - - -
13 @GB - - -
14 DET - - -
15 CHI - - -
16 @PIT - - -
17 @OAK - - -
BAL vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco     160,1
RB Ray Rice 120,1 30  
TE Todd Heap   20  
WR Mark Clayton   40  
WR Derrick Mason   50,1  
PK Steve Hauschka 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Ravens were #1 last year with 592 rushing attempts and their 2376 yards were fourth highest. That came at the expense of the passing game that ranked no better than 28th in completions, attempts and yards. And yet still it could not be denied that Joe Flacco was an excellent addition to the team even if they continually deny him any notable receivers. The Ravens ran 592 times last year. When they threw the ball the defenses probably couldn't believe it.

The Ravens were 11-5 and went to the playoffs with a wildcard. They eventually lost in the AFC Championship game to the Steelers but this team has done plenty well enough without any star wideouts.

There is a great chance for a defensive score this week.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco passed for 2971 yards and 14 touchdowns as a rookie and only has 12 interceptions. More importantly, he was improving as the season progressed. He'll have to avoid a sophomore slump with a tougher schedule for 2009 but the Ravens will remain all about defense and the rushing game.

The Chiefs secondary ranks as below average but Flacco won't need to press much to win this game. He'll likely throw a score because he can but his yardage won't be enough to warrant any fantasy consideration.

Running Backs: The Ravens love to run and last year had the best results using Le'Ron McClain. That is not expected to happen again since Ray Rice has been promoted to the primary role and also works as a receiver as well.

Willis McGahee still figures in but has fallen from favor with Rice impressing everyone in the offseason and in training camp. No doubt at least two runners will be used each week but for now, I am only projecting for Rice who should have a monster game here at home against the #29 defense against running backs last year. There should be significant opportunities to run the ball this week. I'll add McGahee or even McClain as warranted in later weeks.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts here obviously have marginal value at best and at least Derrick Mason decided he would return this year. Mason has been the clear #1 on this team which has never really had anyone worthy of calling a #2. Mason recorded 80 catches for 1037 yards and five scores with Flacco last year while Mark Clayton brought up the rear with 695 yards and three scores. The best this unit offers is Mason to use to cover bye weeks. Never has a big game but almost never has a bad one either.

Good chance for a score with the Chiefs showing up but not much yardage since the run will be plenty effective enough. Expect Mason as the most likely to catch the touchdown. Reward him for coming back.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap had a mild uptick last year when he turned in 35 catches for 403 yards and three scores but that equates to just a couple of catches per week. Still no true fantasy value.

 

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 23 9 20 24 11 2
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 22 29 16 26 28 19

The Huddle
WEEK 1
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Other Features
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Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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