Fantasy Futures: Kansas City vs. Baltimore

This week's match-up pits the Chiefs against the Ravens on Monday Night Football. A fantasy battle between two of the NFL's premier backs, Priest Holmes and Jamal Lewis. Both players are the foundation for their respective offenses. Who will win the head-to-head match-up? Nobody knows but its going to be a great battle to watch.

Another defeat for Kansas City last week, and the Chiefs find themselves in the AFC West basement at 0-3. The need for a win is amplified this week as the Chiefs face an AFC team with playoff potential. The Ravens host Kansas City with one of the most intimidating defenses in the NFL, as well as a power rushing game led by Jamal Lewis.

An improved KC rush defense held the Houston Texans to 76 yards last Sunday and the Chiefs offense effectively ran the ball 176 yards, led by Priest Holmes with 134. This marked improvement must continue this week if the Chiefs are to have any shot at winning this ball game. The key to defeating the Ravens is forcing second-year quarterback Kyle Boller to throw the football. Can the Chiefs defensive improvement continue? It has too for this team to get to the playoffs.

Let's take a look at your fantasy options this week, and see how this game will affect your weekend production.

QUARTERBACK:
Trent Green - Finally the Chiefs quarterback came through and provided some points by tossing three touchdowns last week. For those of you who made Trent Green your quarterback mainstay, he should continue to provide solid numbers throughout the season. This week could be an exception. The Chiefs must score points early and force the Ravens to play catch up. Green struggled last year against the Ravens, 159 yards passing and one score, and this year should not be much different. Still without consistent wide receiver play, Green could post average numbers. Expect 210 yards and at least one score.

Kyle Boller - Realizing Boller is on very few fantasy rosters, owners with Boller will want to drop him and scour the waiver wire for a replacement. Rarely does Boller throw the ball over 20 times a game and his wide receivers and tight ends for this game are not consistent enough to warrant a start. Boller is good for 140 yards and a possible score.

RUNNING BACK: >BR> Priest Holmes - Last year Priest rattled off 90 yards on 22 carries against his old team. This year, the Chiefs will rely on Priest even more to carry the load. Holmes should face an eight man front for most of the day, as the Ravens defense is capable of solid one-on-one coverage in the secondary. The Ravens are an aggressive bunch, so draws and delays should be effective ways to keep the blitzing ends honest. Priest should find similar success to last year and combine for 130 yards and a score.

Jamal Lewis - The only real offensive threat for the Ravens is a beast. Lewis is a bruising back with speed. Kansas City will be forced to bring a safety down and stack the line of scrimmage against this power rushing team. Solid tackling can limit this offense to some key three and outs, but Lewis will make you pay if simply try to arm tackle him. The loss of TE Todd Heap for this game, will only increase the chances Lewis has of catching the ball out of the backfield. Lewis has the potential to be the fantasy player of the week in the NFL, but after seeing the way the Kansas City defenders were flying to the ball last week, Lewis will only be above average. Expect around 140 total yards and at least one score.

WIDE RECEIVER:
Eddie Kennison & Johnnie Morton - Who do you start? Neither. Both are too inconsistent to consider, especially against this secondary. Chris Horn looked pretty good last week, and should continue to get better. But chances are he'll have Deion Sanders on him this week, and I don't like that match-up for Horn. Stay away from Kansas City's receivers. All three should average around 40-50 yards a piece.

Randy Hymes & Kevin Johnson - Same question. Same answer. Hymes is replacing the injured Travis Taylor and looked pretty good last week against the Bengals. He's big and physical and has some speed. But the dedication to the run by Baltimore will limit his touches and won't provide him many opportunities for fantasy points. Kevin Johnson is a possession receiver that was held without a catch last week. If you're backed in a corner and are forced to start one of these two, go with Hymes as he gives you your best chance at a score. Hymes could go for 70 yards, but 30 are more realistic.

TIGHT END:
Tony Gonzalez - Gonzalez is a must start this week. Around the NFL, tight ends have become more and more involved in the offense. At the same time, many are nursing injuries only three games into the season. Your opponent may be stuck with a waiver wire hopeful, while Gonzalez is one of the most consistent tight end in the NFL. Gonzalez has a tough go this week, but he's healthy and provides your fantasy team with opportunities to score. He should have between 30-70 yards and a touchdown.

Todd Heap - Heap is injured and will not play this week. Take him out of your line-up and find a replacement. Neither Terry Jones nor Daniel Wilcox (Heap's back-ups) is a suitable option as both are primarily blocking ends that can't catch the ball.

KICKER:
Lawrence Tynes - As stingy as this Ravens defense is, Tynes should get some opportunities for field goals. There are better options, but Tynes is a decent start. Matt Stover - This is a conservative offense that feeds off its defense. So the coaching staff is happy to kick field goals all day long. Stover is an excellent start.

DEFENSE:
Kansas City - This offense is pretty easy to decipher. Hand-off Jamal Lewis. Play-action passes and field position. If the Chiefs can force Baltimore to throw the football, Kansas City could force several turnovers. Dante Hall returned a game-winning touchdown last year. Expect Gunther to blitz on obvious passing plays, which could lead to turnovers.

Baltimore - One of the premier defenses in the league. The Ravens are an every week starting defense that has very few holes. If the Ravens are on your fantasy roster then play them. In fact play them every week!


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