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2009 Kansas City Chiefs Fantasy Football Preview
The 2009 Kansas City Chiefs will sport an all new look starting in 2008 and those changes will start at the top. Gone are Carl Peterson and Herman Edwards and in their place come former Patriot Scott Pioli and former Cardinal offensive coordinator turned head coach Todd Haley, respectively. Plus, the Chiefs have a new starting QB in former Patriot Matt Cassel and the three starters will try to bring excitement back to a franchise that has been a doormat for years. What impact will Cassel have on the rest of the Chiefs in terms of fantasy? Will Kassel have another successful season or will it be a bust? I examine these questions and more as I analyze Kansas City’s fantastic potential heading into 2009.
Cassel was one of the biggest surprises of the 2008 NFL season, replacing injured Tom Brady and throwing for 3,693 yards with 21 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. The numbers are much more impressive considering that Cassel hadn’t started a game since high school when he found himself in the limelight. Cassel’s performance down the stretch helped countless fantasy owners win titles as he went for back-to-back 400-yard games in the fantasy playoffs. Also, Cassel almost got me in as well as I narrowly escaped him in the championship round when he had 4 TD assists against the Raiders. Luckily, I had a fairly complete squad to overcome him, but needless to say, I was a little worried watching his game against my Raiders. Cassel played his heart out for Josh McDipshit last year but now comes to a team looking for an attacking identity. In terms of weapons Cassel has them but not an overabundance. WR Dwayne Bowe is entering his 3rd year and should be a star. Bowe will undoubtedly be Cassel’s number one target, especially after TE Tony Gonzalez leaves for Atlanta. Gonzalez’s departure is a huge loss for the Chiefs and especially for Cassel, as the young QB would certainly have looked at the veterans often. Cassel has Haley looking after him, but overall I wouldn’t bet your fantasy teams chances on him this year. He’s a decent option for a No. 2 QB, but far too many questions surround him to be considered a solid No. 1 QB fantasy on a weekly basis.
The Chiefs’ running game has always been the team’s strength, with Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson each having had monster seasons for the club. Holmes is long gone, Johnson appears to be back in 2009 but will be 30 and looks past his prime. I know this because I used my second pick on LJ thinking he was still good value at the time. Things never really worked out for him in 2009 due to several variables including playing on a terrible offense and suffering numerous off-field issues which resulted in a suspension. Johnson finished the year rushing for 874 yards and 5 touchdowns. Johnson showed flashes of his old self at times, namely the Week 4 game against Denver when he galloped for 198 yards and 2 scores, but it was mostly a disappointment for the former Penn St. product and the owners who fished him out. Johnson has said all year and most of the offseason that he wanted to leave KC, but seemed to change his tune once Piloi and Haley came on board. I honestly don’t really know what to think of LJ in 2009. I don’t think he’s quite finished yet as he sat behind Holmes for several years before finally getting his chance. Also, the Chiefs really don’t have a lot of backups behind LJ with Jamal Charles and Kolby Smith and neither of them are going to build fear into the defenses. Right now I see LJ as a nice number 3 RB or flex option with the potential to move up to a number 2 option. I think LJ has some upside this year, especially if you can put him in the 5-6 range , where he mainly participated in the draft simulations in which I participated. I think the problems off the pitch and the resulting poor season have been humiliated. Johnson and I are waiting for him to bounce back a bit. Some people compare him to LT but there is no comparison because LT has had a much longer career than Johnson and because of that might be closer to the end. Just be safe with LJ. Don’t reach for it too high and if you catch it, make sure to handcuff it to Charles with a late pick for insurance. Smith has no draft value at press time.
WR Bowe looks set for stardom in his 3rd year and could benefit hugely from Cassel’s presence at QB. Bowe caught 86 passes for 1,022 yards and 7 touchdowns, which was a slight improvement over his rookie campaign. There are receivers that seem to have it and Bowe seems to be one of those receivers. The 3rd-year LSU pro is an excellent road runner, has great hands, and seems like a good guy with character and very capable of coaching. Plus, he’s tall at 6’2″ 221, which gives him the ability to win balls with defenders. I wish Bowe has another solid season, because most NFL receivers seem to burst over the course of their 3rd year Draft him as the No. 2 option but don’t be surprised if he does better than that with Cassel and Haley now in Kansas City Not much else in the way of KC receivers regarding potential As mentioned, legendary chef Gonzalez is now an Atlanta Falcon leaving KC with virtually no one in TE and Mark Bradley and Bobby Engram are nothing more than emergency options for your fantasy team. look for Bowe for a stat breakout under Haley but avoid all other chief receivers.
The Chiefs have been terrible the past few years on defense, but I think that should start to change this year, especially if Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson play the way they are capable of playing. Picking Jackson over Aaron Curry is overkill if you ask me and the Chiefs made that pick purely based on the defensive pattern they play. Look for the Chiefs to improve defensively this year, but there are much better options available in terms of consistent DST production. Rookie Ryan Succop and Connor Barth will battle for kicking work during training camp. That concludes my review of the Chiefs’ fantastic prospects in 2009. Next up: the San Diego Chargers.
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