Matt Cassel: Fantasy Owners Should Take a Chance with Chiefs QB vs. Chargers

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #7  of the Kansas City Chiefs tries to get off a pass under pressure from linebacker Philip Wheeler #52 of the Oakland Raiders during the fourth quarter on October 28, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  Oakland defeated Kansas City 26-16.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Matt Cassel will prove his critics wrong on Thursday night when he shines at quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs against the struggling San Diego Chargers.

For fantasy football owners who have been disappointed with Cassel this season, this could be the week that the Chiefs quarterback proves that he deserves to be on your team moving forward.

Cassel was put back into the starting role when backup Brady Quinn suffered a head injury during last week's loss to the Oakland Raiders and will start in Week 9, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

The Chargers are a very favorable matchup for Cassel, who has not performed well this season. The 30-year-old veteran has thrown just six touchdown passes with 10 interceptions thus far and is completing just 59.7 percent of his passes.

However, the Chargers defense has been poor during the team's current three-game losing streak.

Over the last three games, San Diego's pass defense has allowed an average of 269.3 yards through the air and a total of seven touchdown passes. The Chargers have also allowed 24.3 points per game during their losing streak, which is about four points above their season average.

Overall, the Chargers are ranked 21st in pass defense.

San Diego wasn't able to stop Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson last week, who rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown in his team's 7-6 victory.

Expect the Chargers to struggle defending the run again, because the Chiefs have the third-best rushing attack in the NFL, and Jamaal Charles is one of the most talented running backs in the league.

Cassel will be helped by the running game because it will open up the play-action pass where he can connect with star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for huge gains downfield.

Charles will also be a factor in the passing game because of his speed and ability to be effective on screen plays. Charles is the team's best player, and Cassel will give him plenty of carries and pass targets.

Cassel will just have to manage the game and not make mistakes for the Chiefs to win on Thursday. He played well after coming into last week's game, completing 20 of his 30 pass attempts for 218 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

He also rushed for 35 yards on seven carries last week and is always a threat to score a rushing touchdown near the goal line because of his mobility.

Fantasy owners who play in leagues where two quarterbacks are played should not be afraid to start Cassel this week. He has plenty of incentive to perform well, because if he shines, he could keep the starting job when Quinn returns and is healthy.