The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

Fantasy Letdown Ahead


Matt Cassel was among the most pleasant surprises this past season, not just on the field but in fantasy football as well. Don't expect it continue next season in Kansas City.

Cassel was a system quarterback in New England. He had a future Hall of Fame coach and a sharp offensive coordinator who brought him along just right. He had perhaps the best one-two wide receiver punch in the league in Randy Moss and Wes Welker. In short, Cassel was set up for success with the Patriots.

He's not going to have that comfort zone with the Chiefs, so fantasy owners beware. First, there will be enormous pressure for Cassel to produce right away. That's what happens when you put up the numbers he did last season, especially down the stretch. There's no telling how he will respond to expectations, and that's too much of a risk for fantasy owners to make him a high pick.

Then there is the talent around him. Tony Gonzalez is a lock Hall of Famer who continues to be among the top three at his position in fantasy, but Cassel isn't going to be producing dizzying statistics by throwing to a tight end.

His No. 1 wide receiver is Dwayne Bowe, who is a promising fantasy wideout but far from a sure thing. Behind Bowe, the Chiefs don't have another wide receiver who matters in fantasy.

The running game -- so important for a young quarterback -- is in flux too. We all know Larry Johnson wants out of Kansas City, and his off-field transgressions have become a major distraction for the club. That probably means Jamaal Charles and Kolby Smith will share the rushing load. That's not exactly Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams or Chris Johnson and LenDale White.

Lastly there's the matter of a new coach. Todd Haley helped revitalize the career of Kurt Warner, but the Cardinals quarterback was a proven veteran who had the benefit of throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Haley's job will be much more difficult with Cassel, considering the two have never worked together.

All this isn't to say Cassel will be a bust. It's simply fair fantasy warning, a caveat for owners who became enthralled with his 3,693 passing yards and 21 touchdowns and envision him surpassing those numbers next season.

By Gene Wang  |  March 2, 2009; 2:54 PM ET  | Category:  Denver Broncos , Gene Wang , Kansas City Chiefs , New England Patriots Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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