Kickoff: Sunday, January 1st, at 1:00 PM EST
Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Betting Odds: DEN +13.5, 45 total via Oddsshark
Writer: Matthew Cava (@cavaM_ Twitter & Reddit)
Russell Wilson (Sit)
Ignore what the matchup suggests; the fact that the Chiefs defense are allowing the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season is no reason to ever consider Russell Wilson in the fantasy championship. Wilson is coming off of a Christmas-night embarrassment, completing 15 of 27 attempts for 214 yards, one passing touchdown, and three interceptions. It’s been an awful 2022 for the first-year Bronco, and with head coach Nathaniel Hackett fired on Monday, Denver will hope better days are ahead for their expensive QB.
Latavius Murray (Sit)
Like Wilson, Latavius Murray falls off the fantasy radar this week, despite being on it (somehow) in recent games. He turned eight carries into 34 scoreless yards against the Rams, and a likely negative game script will negate any production from Murray.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Jerry Jeudy (Start, WR3), Courtland Sutton (Sit), Greg Dulcich (Start, TE2)
Even with Courtland Sutton back, Jerry Jeudy remained to be the lead target-getter last week. Against Los Angeles, he caught six of 10 targets for 117 yards, whereas Sutton caught five of seven for 64 yards. Perhaps the Broncos offense will be shaken up without Hackett in the fold any longer, but I would only be comfortable starting Jeudy over Sutton this week. Jeudy projects as the WR21 in full-PPR leagues this week per FantasyData. Greg Dulcich found the end zone last week against the Rams — his first time since Week 6 — catching four of eight targets for 39 yards. The Chiefs have allowed the fifteenth most fantasy points to TEs this season, and Dulcich is a sensible TE2 on the week.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes (Start, QB1)
Another week, another multi-touchdown day for Patrick Mahomes. He had three total (two through the air and one on the ground), showing no issues against the Seahawks last week. The “allegedly” stout Denver defense just allowed 51 points to Baker Mayfield and the Rams, and so Mahomes should have no issues whatsoever to build on his 4720 and counting passing yard season.
Isiah Pacheco (Start, RB2), Jerick McKinnon (Start if you must, FLEX)
Jerick McKinnon certainly let down managers in the fantasy semis, as he only had five carries against Seattle which turned into seven yards. His fantasy day was saved because he ended up catching all three targets for 31 yards and a touchdown. Isiah Pacheco turned 14 carries into 58 scoreless yards and had one reception for 32 yards. The Broncos defense is allowing the 14th most fantasy points to RBs this season; however, they did just allow Cam Akers to cook them 118 yards, three touchdowns on 23 carries, making Pacheco a worthy RB2 on his rushing volume.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Start, WR3), Kadarius Toney (Sit), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Sit), Skyy Moore (Sit), Travis Kelce (Start, TE1)
If you made it to the fantasy finals and want a Chiefs WR in your lineup, side with JuJu Smith-Schuster. Aside from a four-target Week 16, JuJu saw 21 total between Weeks 14-15, and one would suspect his share will increase again with the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore struggling to produce consistently. Kadarius Toney returned against the Seahawks from his nagging hamstring injury and did find the end zone, but only had two targets in the game on limited snaps. Travis Kelce, need I say more? He’s coming off a 6-for-113 game against Seattle and is set to face a Denver defense that just allowed Tyler Higbee to catch nine of 11 targets for 94 yards and two touchdowns.