Faceoff - WR Eddie Kennison, Kansas City Chiefs
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Downside - by David Yudkin
By all accounts, Eddie Kennison had a great season last year, surprising many fantasy football prognosticators by producing a Top 20 season. However, there is a good chance that 2004 will go down as Kennisonís career year, as he set career highs in receptions (68), receiving yardage (1,086), and fantasy ppg (11.3) while missing his high in TD by a single touchdown.
At this point, Kennison has to be considered a journeyman receiver, with Kansas City his fifth team in a 10-year career. By comparison, Kennison had averaged only 5.6 fantasy ppg in the 9 years preceding his ranking as the #18 wide receiver last year, so basically he was twice as productive as his career average.
Part of Kennisonís gaudy numbers stemmed from Kansas City posting some inflated passing numbers overall. The 2004 squad set team records for attempts, completions, yardage, and passing TD. With the 2005 team looking a lot better defensively, the dominance of the Kansas City ground game, and the return to health of Priest Holmes, it is very unlikely that the Chiefs will post similar passing totals.
As for Kennison, I suspect that he, too, will return a lot closer to ďnormal,Ē as most WR do not usually begin to expand their production at age 32. Heís started to have some minor injuries the past couple of seasons, some slightly limiting his mobility while others have kept him off the field. Kennison may still beat his ADP, but donít expect him in the Top 20 again in 2005.
Upside - by Mark Wimer
Sometimes, no news is good news. Such is the case with Eddie Kennison coming into the 2005 season: the Chiefs have done virtually nothing to challenge Kennison as the #1 WR on the team, and allowed their other tried-and-tested receiver, Johnny Morton, to exit the scene. With Morton gone, the challengers for the #2 spot on the Chiefís roster are: Samie Parker, Freddie Mitchell, Dante Hall, rookie Craphonso Thorpe, and Marc Boerigter Ė think any of these guys will knock Kennison off his perch as the #1 receiving option at his position? I donít either.
Trent Green has thrown for at least 3690 passing yards and at least 26 TDs in his last 3 seasons with the Chiefs (369/556 (a 66.4 completion percentage) for 4591 yards, 27 TDs and 17 interceptions last year). The Kansas City defense looks like itís headed for something between a lack-luster to disastrous season during 2005. The Chiefs will be throwing the ball a lot, and somebody has to catch all those accurate tosses from Green.
The bottom line for me is that, though Kennison isnít the flashiest, most talented guy in the NFL, he is a consistently productive receiver playing with a fantastic quarterback, and heís the top dog among the teamís wide receivers. Heís improved his number of receptions each year since arriving in K.C.; he broke the 1000+ yard receiving barrier for the first time last year; and there is nobody else around for Green to rely on at his position.
Kennison will get his fair share of Greenís passes again this year, and he should easily meet or surpass last yearís mark of 62/1086/8.