Fantasy Futures: Eagles vs. Chiefs

Well forget last week's column. Let's just forget that game. We'll all have nightmares about those Plummer bootlegs. I didn't make an accurate prediction for which to base your fantasy problems. Ah, but with another week comes an opportunity for redemption. And into the fantasy fire I throw my fearless prognostication. Read on at your own risk.

Without tackle Willie Roaf, Kansas City lacks consistent protection and it really disrupts the offensive flow for Trent Green. No Roaf means another player like tight end Tony Gonzalez or running backs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson must stay behind and pass block. The unstoppable toss left is suddenly stoppable.

The Chiefs offense must maintain balance and not get too pass happy early, like we saw against the Broncos on Monday. If they can do that this week against the Eagles, their patience should pay off. If Kansas City continues running the ball, it can feed their play-action passing a steady diet of completions that should allow the Chiefs to catch the Eagles sleeping.

This week the Chiefs face one of, if not the very best, team in the NFC. They must buckle down on run defense and focus on containing Eagles running back Brian Westbrook and keeping quarterback Donovan McNabb in the pocket.

Westbrook is as good as any other back in the NFL. He can run the ball but he's even more effective catching the ball out of the backfield.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb is suffering from a sports hernia, but will start and still find Terrell Owens streaking all over the field. The Chiefs will face as complete an offense as they themselves fielded at the end of last season. Look for this to be a high scoring affair as both defenses take chances.

Now take these predictions and run, because they are as good as gold. Fool's gold.

QUARTERBACK:
Trent Green - At home, Kansas City and Trent Green are a tough bunch to defend. The Arrowhead crowd fires up the offense and when that generally happens it usually means some fireworks. That means this game could be a see-saw affair with one team matching the others offensive output. But this could be a break out game for Green. Watch for the Chiefs quarterback to explode on the fantasy scene for the first time in four weeks. Start him, even though the Eagles defense is a stout group and has some of the games best collections of corners and safeties. The Eagles defense is not shy or bashful as they could blitz upwards of 30 times in this game. But Trent Green is smart enough to find the mismatch at least a few times. Expect 265 yards and two scores.

Donovan McNabb - The man is a legend. He threw five touchdowns with a bruised sternum. Did you miss that? I said five touchdowns with a bruised sternum. Granted it was against San Francisco so I'll hold the 49ers defense partially responsible. I know Terrell Owens can be a "distraction" but he is the best receiver in the game. His presence alone vaults McNabb's fantasy value into the top three each and every week. Start him because you drafted him to start him every single week. Last week he went off on our friends the Oakland Raiders for 365 yards and two scores. That dude is good. Start him with confidence and expect 300 plus and at least two or three scores against the Chiefs defense. But be weary, he is one solid hit from watching the game on the bench where he'll have to root back Ty Detmer and hope he can lead them in his absence.
EDGE: DONOVAN McNABB

RUNNING BACK:
Priest Holmes/Larry Johnson - Start both of them until further notice. Priest is the best option, but Johnson's potential is ridiculous. The Eagles come to town and must react defensively in a hostile environment. Behind a solid ground game, Kansas City can keep the Eagles offense off the field. Watch Priest get back to his running ways as he breaks the century mark and scores one on the ground and one by air. LJ finds the end zone as well and should rack up over 75 yards.

Brian Westbrook As hot a running back as there is in the league. Westbrook's speed is deceptive and his hands are as good as most wide receivers in the NFL. Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid will get the ball into his hands at least 25 times through any means necessary. I expect Westbrook to have a big day at Arrowhead, but I think his touches will be below his average as the Chiefs will try to dominate time of possession. Expect 120 plus yards passing and receiving with at least one touchdown.
EDGE: BRIAN WESTBROOK BY A YARD OVER PRIEST HOLMES

WIDE RECEIVER:
Eddie Kennison/Samie Parker - The Eagles are an aggressive bunch defensively and often times put their corners in single coverage on the outside. The Chiefs don't have receivers that demand double coverage. So expect safety Brian Dawkins to cheat down and cover tight end Tony Gonzalez more often than not. With single coverage, Kennison should get loose and catch a long one. And if Parker can quit dropping passes, he may become a decent number three receiver for your fantasy squad. Until then, sit Parker and start Kennison only as a weak second or a strong third receiver.

Terrell Owens/Greg Lewis - With so much attention on Owens, Lewis may sneak behind the defense and catch a long touchdown. T.O. is as good as it gets. The success of the offense rides on the shoulders of McNabb, but fantasy wise anyone could throw the ball to T.O. and find success. Believe in T.O. to get his usual 100 plus yards with one touchdown if Patrick Surtain is defending him. Two scores if he finds a match up with veteran Dexter McCleon covering him in the red zone. Greg Lewis is a decent spot start this week.
EDGE: T.O.

TIGHT END
Tony Gonzalez - He has yet to have a break out game and this could be that week. The Eagles allowed Raiders tight end Courtney Anderson to break the 100-yard mark. Start Gonzalez because he is an elite player with special skills.

LJ Smith - Smith is playing as well as any tight end in the league. He is a red zone threat the McNabb looks towards every week. Start LJ as there are few tight ends with better match-ups this week.
EDGE: TONY GONZALEZ

KICKER:
Lawrence Tynes - Tynes is a serviceable start here as the points should pile up and he's a better start than his counterpart this week.

Todd France - David Akers has a pulled hammy. France steps into a great gig. Don't start him as he's never kicked a field goal in a regular season NFL game. Watch this situation if you're an Akers owner before you hit the waiver wire.
EDGE: LAWRENCE TYNES

DEFENSE:
Kansas City - If you're going to start a defense this week, I think the Chiefs could be better pick than some would expect especially when you factor the Denver debacle. But they're at home and they'll be looking to redeem themselves. I can think of at least eight other defenses that I would rate higher but you could do worse.

Philadelphia - This is one of those defenses I rate higher. No Willie Roaf means plenty of pressure to Green's blindside. If they stick to the run and taking a chance on draws during pass situations, the Chiefs offense could make them pay. Green's not very mobile and is more likely to be sacked than McNabb. Start Philly if you have them on your team.
EDGE: PHILADELPHIA

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