Fantasy Football

2011 NFL Monday Night Football Preview & Fantasy Football Bits, Week 8: Chargers vs. Chiefs


Antonio Gates (Credits Below)

I’m sure I don’t need to remind those of you who are reading this at work, but it’s Monday! I can’t say that this is my favorite day of the week, but at least we have the silver lining of the Monday Night Football game hanging over our heads tonight. We have an old-fashioned  AFC West Showdown in Kansas City this week, but before we get to talking about Todd Haley’s beard, Antonio Gates’ toe, and the fact the KC hasn’t lost in over  MONTH…let’s take a quick spin around the league to recap yesterday’s action.

The phrase “Any Given Sunday” has fallen by the wayside a bit over the last few years (I blame Al Pacino), but yesterday was a "Exhibit A" for why we can’t retire that phrase just yet. At about 3 PM Eastern, it looked very likely that the Dolphins, Rams, and Cardinals were going to take down the Giants, Saints, and Ravens (respectively). A couple comebacks later…the Rams were the only David that actually took down Goliath behind the strength of a HUGE game by Steven Jackson. Home-field advantage was the only thing that helped the Giants and Ravens avoid embarrassment (along with 349 passing yards from Eli Manning, and 3 TDs from Ray Rice).

The two “Games of the Day” yesterday resulted in some pretty thorough beat-downs by the Eagles over the Cowboys and the Steelers over the Patriots (and yes, despite the score…it was a beat-down). LeSean McCoy (most points in standard fantasy leagues) and Michael Vick led the Eagles to victory, while Ben Roethlisberger took advantage of an undermanned Patriots’ secondary to the tune of 365 yards.

Moving quickly through the rest of the league…the Titans threw the Colts a bone in the “Suck for Luck” race by handing them a loss, Christian Ponder helped the Vikings take down the Panthers despite being “out-rookied” by Cam Newton, and the Texans took control of the AFC South with a 24-14 victory of the newly-resurgent Jaguars (to whom I owe an apology for doubting them last week). In the late-games, the 49ers won a snoozer at home against the Browns to move to 6-1, Buffalo handed Mike Shanahan his first shutout as a head coach, the Bengals shot to 5-2 by beating a regressing Seahawks team, and Tebow-mania was dealt a severe blow as the Lions absolutely destroyed the Broncos at Mile High, 45-10.

As I alluded to above, the Chiefs haven’t lost in over a month after starting the season 0-3. There are folks out there who are attributing the 3-game win-streak to Todd Haley’s facial hair, but here’s the bad news, Chiefs fans: the three wins came against “juggernauts” like Indianapolis, Minnesota, and a Raiders team intent on breaking the record for interceptions thrown. With Jamaal Charles out for the season, the Chiefs have actually done a good job of rallying around 29 year old journeyman Jackie Battle en route to a having a surprising 8th-ranked run offense. Insert the Debbie Downer noise again here, but that’s pretty much where the tea leaves start looking worrisome for the Chiefs. As his fantasy owners can tell you, Matt Cassel is leading the league’s 30th-ranked passing offense, and the defense isn’t fairing much better (18th against the run and 24th against the pass). I don’t see much coming of out the Chiefs fantasy-wise tonight outside of Dwayne Bowe, and a win for the team might be ever hard to come by. That being said…Arrowhead is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, and there’s always the chance that Jackie Battle wins some fantasy matchups by taking advantage of a defense that’s been allowing over 121 rushing yards per game.

Speaking of the Chargers…they’ve been a big of an enigma this year (gee…real shocker there). They avoided there typical early-season doldrums by starting 4-1, but last week’s 2nd-half collapse against the Jets couldn’t help but remind me of the typical mental midgetry that’s plagued the talented Chargers for a few years now. Outside of the aforementioned poor run defense (21st in the league), the Chargers are once-again ranked pretty high in other categories (8th-best rushing offense, 11th-best passing offense, and 4th-best passing defense). However, as many fantasy owners can attest to…these rankings aren’t exactly translating into Philip Rivers or Vincent Jackson justifying their draft position. The Chargers’ passing game has struggled a bit this year, but Antonio Gates seemingly healthy again, Rivers should be able to take advantage of the Chiefs’ pass defense and put up some yards tonight. The Chiefs also have a pretty shoddy run defense, and Ryan Mathews should go towards winning some fantasy matchups tonight…as long as Mike Tolbert doesn’t do what he does best: vulture TDs!

The Chiefs have only beaten the Chargers once in their last eight meetings, and coincidentally, the last win was a Monday Night Football game in Kansas City last year. The whole home-field factor is really the only thing making me consider the Chiefs to win tonight, but I think San Diego is going to come out swinging as they look to get the taste of last week’s stinker out of their mouths. My pick for this one: Chargers over Chiefs, 27-13.

And as usual, let’s take a look at a few quick-hit fantasy-worthy nuggets from today:

– Not as many injury updates as last week, but Montario Hardesty left yesterday’s game with a calf injury. Peyton Hillis should be back by next week, but if not, don’t get fooled into thinking Chris Ogbonnaya is worth picking-up.

-Yes, he’s a complete diva (among other things), but can we all stop sleeping on Michael Crabtree please? He led the league in targets two weeks ago and had another nice game yesterday (5 catches for 54 yards and a TD).

-Part of this was a product of the matchup and Hines Ward being out, but it’s hard to overlook Antonio Brown (9 catches for 67 yards and a TD) tying for the league-lead in targets yesterday.

-Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams split carries again in Detroit, but it looks like Morris (58 yards and a TD) is the one to own with Jahvid Best still out.

– I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it’s becoming pretty obvious that Sidney Rice’s fantasy value in Seattle hinges upon Tavaris Jackson staying healthy.

– Eddie Royal had a team-high 13 targets for the Broncos. It’s hard to remember back to 2008 sometimes, but this guy used to be pretty good!

– Ray Rice had a GREAT day (3 TD’s) yesterday, but it’s also worth mentioning that all three of his TDs were set-up by pass interference penalties.

– Lastly, Javon Ringer and Chris Johnson split carries (14 each) for the Titans yesterday and CJ2K needs to be benched until further notice. It’s a sad day when your 1st-round pick gets out-scored by Mewelde Moore…

Good luck to everyone who has match-ups hanging in the balance tonight!

Written by Trader X exclusively for Trader X is a top-50 gamer on a major fantasy sports website, and is the founder of You can follow him and/or ask him for fantasy advice on Twitter @FantasyTrade411

(September 10, 20112011-09-10 16:00:00 – Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

Tags: The Fantasy Fix, 2011 Fantasy Football Advice, Monday Night Football, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Phillip Rivers, Matt Cassel, Jackie Battle, Week 8, Waiver Wire, Injuries, Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer, Ray Rice, Antonio Gates, Montatio Hardesty, Michael Crabtree

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