Kickoff: Sunday, September 11th, 1:00 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston Texas
Betting Odds: HOU +8, 46 total via PFF.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (TheDunit13 on Twitter)
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes (Start, QB2)
It’s Patrick Mahomes; you are starting him. I know you are all gonna give me crap about listing him as a QB2, so let me explain. QB1 range for us is 20 or more points. Mahomes hasn’t gotten to that tier since Week 11. His interceptions generally keep him just outside of that range. The Texans are giving up the second FEWEST points to quarterbacks at 12.12. I don’t expect the Texans to put up a ton of points so the Chiefs won’t have to pass as much and can rely on the run game more. That being said Mahomes is still Mahomes and you are starting him without question.
Isiah Pacheco (Start, RB1), Jerick McKinnon (Sit)
First, let’s all have a moment of silence for Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s dynasty value.
Now let’s talk about the new hotness in KC that is Isiah Pacheco. He has become the main rushing attack for the Chiefs. He had 13 carries this past week which was the lowest he has seen in the past five weeks. He is mainly used in positive or neutral game scripts which is a great indicator of success for this week against the Texans. The Texans are giving up the most fantasy points to running backs at 29.51. The Texans also don’t put up a ton of points averaging only 16.2 points per game which is the third least in the league. The Chiefs should be able to get an early lead and let Pacheco get plenty of work. He is averaging 4.77 yards per attempt and has scored in two of his last three games. Start him as an RB1 this week.
If the Chiefs do get into a passing game script, it is Jerick McKinnon who gets the bulk of the work. We have seen the Texans at times play to the level of their competition like they did with the Eagles in Week 9. McKinnon is coming off a two-week scoring streak so the Chiefs may keep involving him as a more involved part of the passing game. I don’t see a game script that suits him in the passing game so I’m sitting him even with the hot streak. Let’s not forget that his one touchdown was on a broken play where Mahomes made one of his crazy passes. It was not something they drew up in practice.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Start, WR2), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Sit, FLEX) Travis Kelce (Start, TE1)
JuJu Smith-Schuster has finally taken over as the leading receiver for the Chiefs. He is playing on over 75% of the team’s snaps the past two games and is tied for the team lead in routes run over that stretch with 63. It’s not a great matchup for him this week, unfortunately. On top of the fact that the Texans are giving up the fourth fewest points to wideouts at 27.57, Smith-Schuster would probably see coverage from stand-out cornerback Desmond King II who rates at 72.1. Given the creativity of Mahomes and coach Andy Reid, I think they will find ways to get JuJu open and enough work to get him into the WR2 range.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has stepped into the number two role on the offense despite 60% of his routes coming from the slot position. He is only playing on just over 50% of the team’s snaps but has been third in routes run and is the deep speed threat that has been a staple in the Chiefs’ offense. He needs to connect on one of those deep bombs to truly be fantasy relevant and I expect the Texans to have a bend-not-break mentality and not want to get burnt so there will be less room deep. I’m not starting M.V.S. this week. I’m also not interested in starting Justin Watson even though he is playing on over 60% of the team’s snaps. He hasn’t seen more than five targets but once in the past five weeks. He would also see coverage from Steven Nelson who rates at 70.2.
You are of course going to start Travis Kelce. The Texans are giving up 11.55 points to the tight end which is 15th in the league. It’s not a great matchup based on that, but the Texans do not have a safety or linebacker who regularly plays coverage and rates over 55 on PFF.com. Kelce ties JuJu in routes run over the past two weeks with 63 and leads the team on the season with 469. He also leads the team by a wide margin in targets with 115. Plenty of volume and skill there to make him a TE1 every week.
Davis Mills (Sit, QB2) Jeff Driskel (Sit, exception below)
I’m not sure what the Texans were doing at the quarterback position this past week. Both Davis Mills and Jeff Driskel played 33 snaps and neither of them got hurt. It was a weird mix where they both saw time on the same drives. Mills attempted the most passes accounting for 21 compared to 6 for Driskel. Driskel seemed to play a Taysom Hill-type role getting 6 carries for 36 yards. The issue is that Driskel is not the athlete that Hill is so it’s kind of a moot point. The fact that he took work away even if it was only six attempts from Mills makes neither fantasy relevant. It’s a shame because it’s almost a week that you want to start Mills. The Chiefs are giving up the third most points to quarterbacks at 20.24. The Texans will almost certainly be in a negative game script, so there should be plenty of passing opportunities. Add in the injuries in the backfield it’s a game that Mills will have to put on his back. I’m not starting him but I expect he will get into the QB2 range.
I have found out that Driskel has TE eligibility on Yahoo. I think he is a good start in the TE spot. I can see him getting into the 10+ point range which would make him a TE1. He had 6 carries and 6 passing attempts and scored a touchdown and had a chance at another. If his workload increases with no Pierce, he could easily get there.
Dameon Pierce (OUT), Rex Burkhead (Sit), Dare Ogunbowale (Start, FLEX)
So no Dameon Peirce who will miss at least this game with a high ankle sprain. The Texans also released Eno Benjamin. This would leave them with Rex Burkhead and Dare Ogunbowale to carry the load. We really have no data to go off of since Pierce got hurt late in the game, and they gave Eno a chunk of the carries. I think Driskel gets an increase and make it so none of the three are all that great. If I had to pick one, it would be Ogunbowale who I’m sliding into my FLEX. He played on more snaps this past week at 27% compared to 8%. There will be people saying that Burkhead is the pass-catching back and that the game script will lean that way, and while yes Burkhead is very good at pass-catching, so is Ogunbowale. This past week he got two targets compared to Burkhead’s one. He also has a game this season where he saw seven targets. He has outpaced Burkhead in that category in most games since Week 6 BYE. The Chiefs are giving up the tenth most points to running backs at 24.54. It’s a decent matchup and could be a trap game for the Chiefs who are looking past the lowly Texans.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Brandin Cooks (OUT), Nico Collins (Sit), Chris Moore (Start, FLEX), Amari Rodgers (Sit), Phillip Dorsett (Sit) Jordan Akins (Sit)
Brandin Cooks missed the Week 14 matchup with a calf injury and looks questionable for this week. He hasn’t been a big part of the team’s plans so they may not be in a rush to get him back in the line-up. Nico Collins also missed this past week with a foot injury, and with nothing on the line for the Texans, you will have to monitor whether he gets back into the line-up. I’m expecting him not to.
This leaves Chris Moore to have another great week. He had 11 targets catching 10 of them for 124 yards. He has been a player always on the fringe of the FLEX range most of the season. The Chiefs are giving up the fourth most points to wide receivers at 38.86. Moore will have to beat coverage from Trent McDuffie who rates at 77.7 in coverage. That’s tough coverage that will probably shut down Moore, but I’m still willing to slide him into a FLEX spot if Collins is out.
Tied for the team league with Moore in routes run at 27 was Phillip Dorsett. He ended the game with only three targets, catching two of them for 18 yards despite playing on 82% of the snaps. He hasn’t been anything for a long time and I don’t expect him to be anything this week. He will be covered by Joshua Williams who rates at 64.6. Not shut-down coverage but given that Dorsett has only seen five or more targets in two games this year, has only scored once, and has one game over 50 yards, it makes me not want to roster him, let alone start him.
Amari Rodgers had a great game, catching his first career touchdown. The former Clemson Tiger caught four of his five targets for 57 yards on top of the score. He will be seeing a lot of L’Jarius Sneed since he played 76% of his snaps in the slot last week. Sneed rates at 83.2 in coverage, so I’m sitting Rodgers this week. I don’t like one outlier week to change the narrative on a player.
Jordan Akins remains the tight end for the Texans even as Brevin Jordan returns to the lineup. Akins was the only tight end to run a route in Week 14 with 21 of them which was good for second most on the team. He ended up only playing on 53% of the team’s overall snaps and saw only two targets. It’s just too low of a volume to make him fantasy relevant. The Chiefs are also giving up the twelfth fewest points to tight ends at 10.75. Sit him this week.