Fantasy Futures: Kansas City vs. Oakland

Unfortunately the end is near for the Kansas City Chiefs as they'll be home in January with the playoffs and a winning record all but out of reach. Kansas City's playoff hopes are now reserved for 2005 and breaking the .500 barrier means very little as the Chiefs are better served lining up higher draft picks and evaluating talent instead of winning games.

But as a fantasy owner your season is just starting to get exciting. In most leagues, fantasy playoffs are a mere week or two away so regardless of how your team has fared thus far, the real fantasy season is about to start as you begin to line up for your post season. So prepare now and begin realizing your team's potential because it's all about winning your league!

This week fares to be a fantasy outpouring as these two longtime rivals face off in the desolate Black Hole. Oakland put on quite a show last week in a fantastic AFC West showdown against the Denver Broncos. It appears, though lacking a consistent ground game, the Raiders offense is jelling around first-year Raider Kerry Collins. Collins looked phenomenal throwing the ball in the snow filled Denver air and this week he gets a shot at a depleted Kansas City secondary.

The Chiefs, reeling after a loss to the Chargers, face the possibility of playing this week without the services of their starting running back, for the third straight week, and quarterback Trent Green. Should Green miss this weeks game, the Chiefs will focus on running the ball with Derrick Blaylock and Larry Johnson. Both backs looked good last week against a very good Chargers run defense and Johnson showed a burst that Chiefs' fans were hoping to see all year.

Let's look at the match-ups and see how these players can jump start your run to the playoffs.

QUARTERBACK:
Trent Green - Will he play or won't he? Prepare as though Green will play. Even though the Chiefs playoff chances are gone, Green has started 59 straight games for the Chiefs and has shown his durability since that terrible knee injury with the Rams. Expecting his start, Green should connect on a couple of scores this week as the Raiders are likely to put up some points against this Chiefs secondary. Don't expect another 300 yard day because the offense will focus on running the ball. If Green doesn't start, look elsewhere for your fantasy quarterback as Todd Collins is not a viable option.

Kerry Collins - A hot commodity on the fantasy wire when Rich Gannon went down, Collins took awhile to pick up head coach Norv Turner's offense. But if last week was any indication of what he can do, he seems to be the perfect fit. Collins threw for over 300 yards and had four touchdown tosses, three of which went to Jerry Porter. I'd expect Collins to continue putting up solid numbers as his receiving core gets better each week, and the Chiefs secondary is missing two starters, Woods and Wesley, and has a penchant for giving up the big play. Expect another 300 yard day and at least two scores; though three touchdowns is more likely.

RUNNING BACK:
Derrick Blaylock & Larry Johnson - Pick your poison as the Chiefs are officially a running-back-by-committee team. Without Holmes, and without a chance at the playoffs, its likely Johnson will see the bulk of the carries. He showed power and speed last week, but he didn't do that well in pass protection. If he continues to struggle picking up the blitz, he won't see the field that often. Start either player warily as whoever gets hot is likely to play the most. Blaylock hasn't gotten close to the numbers he put up against the Saints and the Chiefs must see what they have in Johnson. Don't expect too much, but Blaylock should get around 70 yards, and Johnson around 80 and a score.

Raiders Backfield - The Raiders are a true committee team. If I had to guess I would expect Amos Zereoue to see the majority of carries. Zereoue is also a receiving threat and could see some balls thrown his way. But if you want to win your league, stay away from any Raider running back as none of them are worthy of a fantasy start.

WIDE RECEIVER:
Eddie Kennison & Johnnie Morton - Kennison continues to put up solid numbers and should once again have a decent day if Green is at the helm. I don't recommend starting either Kennison or Morton this week, but would suggest Kennison as an emergency start only. His numbers warrant a look this week, but only if Green starts at quarterback. Expect 80 yards and a score from Kennison and play him as a third receiver only. Don't start Morton as he is too inconsistent.

Jerry Porter & Ronald Curry & Doug Gabriel - Anyone of these guys could blow up this week. Curry looked great against the Broncos, but Porter really impressed as he showed chemistry with Collins that's lacked all season. Porter's three touchdown day is unlikely to be repeated, but those fantasy owners who kept Porter on their bench all year may reap the rewards at the end of the year. Start Porter as a third receiver because he will get at least 5-10 balls thrown his way. Curry is a spot start and if you're hurting at receiver, he is a solid choice as both Chief safeties are out and the Raiders will definitely test their replacements with deep routes to both Curry and Gabriel.

TIGHT END:
Tony Gonzalez - Still a stud and still a must start. Looked good against the Chargers and will see plenty of balls thrown to him regardless of who starts at quarterback. Expect 100 yards and a score.

Doug Jolley - He is an athletic tight end who has seen his touches limited this season. Don't expect much from him as the Raiders like to go to three receiver sets and have the back flank out of the backfield. Find a different tight end if you own Jolley.

KICKER:
Lawrence Tynes - Tynes misses extra points and is not worthy of a start this week. He's too inconsistent and is unreliable.

Sebastian Janikowski - He's got a deep leg and should have plenty of opportunities this week. Start Janikowski and feel comfortable knowing he might get a 50-yarder for you.

DEFENSE:
Kansas City - Injuries will hurt this unit. Dante Hall did have one return and almost another. Can he do it two weeks in a row? Start the Chiefs at your own risk, but you should really look elsewhere.

Oakland - Not a real good fantasy unit. The Chiefs will run the ball a lot this weekend and if Green starts he should fare well against this group. As I said above, look elsewhere for your fantasy defense because there won't be a whole lot of defense at this game.


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