Fantasy Football

Cassel has fantasy weapons around him

Head coach Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has the ability to make Matt Cassel a fantasy threat in 2011.
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Ryan Fowler

Ryan Fowler has spent the past 10 years covering and talking sports on TV and radio, in newspapers and on the web. He joined FOXSports.com as lead Fantasy Sports Editor and also acts as Digital Content Manager at WhatIfSports.com. Follow him on Twitter. Listen to his FOX Sports Team Report Podcasts on SoundCloud and iTunes

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It's time we air out the Kansas City Chiefs' fantasy laundry.

The last time head coach Todd Haley ran an offense, the Arizona Cardinals finished second in passing yards per game (292.1 pass YPG) in 2008.  With offensive coordinator Charlie Weis calling the plays for the Chiefs last season, Matt Cassel ranked 30th in pass YPG (185.5).  Granted, the presence of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones in the backfield may have stunted any potential growth in the Chiefs' passing game.

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Before the team could tie a bow on their 2010 postseason, Weis announced he would not return and accepted the same position with the Florida Gators.  This could be a blessing for fantasy owners tempted to take a chance on Matt Cassel in 2011.

To fill the void left by Weis, the Chiefs promoted offensive line coach, Bill Muir, to o-coordinator and added Jim Zorn to tutor the quarterbacks. However, as of the first of August, neither knows if they will be the man to call the offense.

This leaves the spotlight on Haley, a guy who helped boost Kurt Warner’s fantasy value in 2007 (3417 pass yds / 27 TDs / 17 INTs) and 2008 (4583 pass yds / 30 TDs / 14 INTs) to its highest level since he was the Rams triggerman in 2001. This fantasy owner wants Haley calling the plays.

For a deeper fantasy perspective, take a look at the numbers Cassel compiled in 2008 with the New England Patriots.

Matt Cassel 2008 vs. 2010 Stats

 
  Comp. Att. Pass YDS TDs INTs SKs
2008 Cassel (NE) 327 516 3693 21 11 47
2010 Cassel (KC) 262 450 3116 27 7 26

 

Remember, QB-friendly Josh McDaniels was running the offense for the Pats the season Tom Brady's knee bent the wrong direction. Despite being knocked on his butt a league-high 47 times (even 2010 Jay Cutler thinks he deserved better), Cassel racked up nearly 3700 yards through the air with 21 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions in place of Brady.

Looking back at 2010, Cassel managed to increase his touchdown production (27), lower his interception total (7) all while throwing 66 fewer passes in a rush-first offense.

 

Cassel’s Top WRs in 2008

 
  Rec. Rec. YDS TDs
Wes Welker 111 1165 3
Randy Moss 69 1008 11

 

 

Cassel’s Top WRs in 2011

 
  Rec. Rec. YDS TDs
Dwayne Bowe (2010 stats) 72 1162 15
Steve Breaston (2008-2010 w/ ARI) 187 2528 7


I truly believe Cassel's one-two aerial punch of Randy Moss and Wes Welker could reemerge in the form of Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston this season. Breaston, just signed as a free agent, was one of Haley’s wide receivers in Arizona and a guy who marinated on the back-burner while Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald did work. When Boldin bolted for Baltimore and Breaston finally got his chance to start, Derek Anderson and Max Hall were behind center.

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Ouch.

On top of the former Michigan Wolverine creating fantasy opportunities for Cassel will be second-year spark plug Dexter McCluster, tight end Tony Moeaki, rookie Jonathan Baldwin and J-Charles who finished with 45 receptions for 468 yards and three touchdowns via the pass last season.

I realize they won’t have Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk providing run support, but if Cassel and Haley work together and the Chiefs’ offensive line can protect the QB (an honest concern), I think it’s safe to roll the dice on No. 7.

Remember, the AFC West's pass defense just became weaker with Nnamdi Asomugha signing with Philly.

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