Kickoff: Sunday, September 19th at 8:20 PM ET
Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Betting Odds: KC -3.5, 55 total via Oddsshark
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes (Start, QB1)
I was going to talk about match-ups here, but what’s the point? Last week against the Browns, Patrick Mahomes once again showed that he’s match-up proof with an overall QB2 performance and 33.2 fantasy points. Enjoy your set-and-forget quarterback if you’re lucky enough to have Mahomes on your fantasy roster.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Start, RB2), Darrel Williams (Sit)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire only had a Flex-worthy performance in Week 1, but there were plenty of positives to take away from his game against the Browns. Cleveland’s defensive front was impressive, bringing relentless pressure all game. Plus, Kansas City was playing from behind for most of the game, and the game script dictated they abandon the run. “CEH” out-snapped Darrel Williams 47 to 14, and the former ran the ball 14 times while no other Chiefs backs had more than one. Edwards-Helaire was also the only Kansas City back to see a target.
I’m confident that we saw Clyde’s floor last week, and I believe he should have more impressive fantasy performances this year with better game scripts. The Ravens were only slightly worse than the Browns in fantasy points allowed to running backs last year, so it could be another tough week for CEH if the Chiefs fall behind early. That said, Edwards-Helaire can achieve a solid RB2 performance this week in what could become a high-scoring game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill (Start, WR1), Mecole Hardman (Sit), Demarcus Robinson (Sit), Byron Pringle (Sit), Travis Kelce (Start, TE1)
Tyreek Hill didn’t waste any time picking up where he left off last year. The speedster was the second-highest-scoring wide receiver in Week 1 and showed his big-play ability is just as dangerous as it ever was. Hill scored 14.5 points of his 37.1 total on one play with a 75-yard bomb from Mahomes. Tyreek is a must-start fantasy player who should be in line for another WR1 performance this week.
Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson had similar snap shares last week (45 and 48, respectively), but neither had an impressive fantasy performance. Hardman is likely worth a stash on fantasy benches for now but hasn’t earned a starting distinction yet. Fantasy managers can safely drop Byron Pringle if last week is any indication. Pringle only saw 11 snaps in Week 1.
Travis Kelce justified his high fantasy ADP with an impressive 25.6-point performance in Week 1. The Ravens were pretty good against opposing tight ends last year, but even the worst match-up wouldn’t be enough to bench Kelce. Start your stud tight end with confidence.
Lamar Jackson (Start, QB1)
His fantasy stat line wasn’t great last week, but Lamar Jackson had a solid performance against the Raiders. If it were not for the fumbles in Week 1, Lamar would have reached QB1 territory. Plus, Jackson only fumbled five times in total last year, so I wouldn’t worry about him protecting the football in the future. The Chiefs allowed the 12th-most points to fantasy quarterbacks in 2020, so this game could turn into a high-scoring shootout. Jackson should be in line for a respectable QB1 performance in Week 2.
Ty’Son Williams (Start, High-end Flex), Latavius Murray (Sit), Le’Veon Bell (Sit)
The fantasy world was high on Ty’Son Williams heading into Week 1, and the young man turned in a respectable RB1 performance on Monday night. Williams did well with the ball in his hands (nine carries, four targets, and 50.7% snaps). That said, there were some red flags in his game that I can’t ignore. Firstly, Latavius Murray came onto this team and into last week’s game “cold” with hardly a chance to read the playbook and still had 10 rushes and a 31.3% snap share. With minimal experience in Baltimore, the Ravens still trusted Murray with a red-zone carry which Latavius took to the end zone. Second, Ty’son Williams looked impressive on his long touchdown run, but the inexperienced back struggled in pass protection. He completely missed his blocking assignment multiple times, including a game-losing play where Lamar Jackson fumbled. Lastly, Williams only received two more carries for one yard after the first half. That usage is concerning.
This backfield will be a full-blown RBBC for the foreseeable future, and Williams is already at risk of losing snaps because he’s proven he’s a liability in pass protection. At this point, for all we know, Murray could command most of the goal-line work. Not to mention, one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league that can take away plenty of rushing yards each game. Kansas City was pretty generous to running backs last year (10th most fantasy points allowed), but it’s going to be tough trusting the running back comity in Baltimore. Ty’son deserves Flex consideration against the Chiefs while fantasy managers give it one more week to see if he can turn in another impressive fantasy performance or if Murray commands a significant workload. That said, I believe his value lies somewhere in high-end Flex territory. You may not have a better option (especially if you’re in a deeper league), but you could do worse. Williams has some PPR value and looked impressive in the first half last week, but his second-half usage and missed blocks have me concerned about trusting Ty’son in Week 2. Murray is a sit for now, but that could quickly change if he earns a substantial role in Baltimore.
Don’t worry about Le’Veon Bell for now. I imagine Williams and Murray will continue leading the backfield in Baltimore unless one of them gets hurt. Bell could enter the conversation if he’s promoted to the active roster.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Marquise Brown (Low-end WR3), Sammy Watkins (Sit), Mark Andrews (Start, TE1)
Marquise Brown had an impressive fantasy output last week, but that was made possible with a touchdown reception. The problem with Brown is pretty much the same concern I had last year; he almost always needs a touchdown to find fantasy relevance. Over his short NFL career, Brown has averaged 7.5 touchdowns each season. “Hollywood” deserves some low-end WR3 consideration this week, but you could be praying for a touchdown by the fourth quarter. I fear Brown will be “boom-or-bust” all year. Plus, the Chiefs have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers in their last nine games. You likely have other options with safer floors on your team.
Sammy Watkins had eight targets last week but only came down with four. His stock could continue to rise, but Watkins doesn’t belong in the start conversation for now. Experienced fantasy players will remember that Watkins is habitually inconsistent.
The outlook for Mark Andrews hasn’t been great lately. He was held to only three catches on five targets last week, and he’s struggled against the Chiefs in the past (three catches for 26 yards in his previous two games against KC). That said, the Chiefs gave up the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends last year, and once again, this game could quickly turn into a shootout. It may not be an ideal situation, but you pretty much need to trust Andrews for at least another week before fantasy managers should start worrying.
-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse)