Kickoff: Sunday, November 8th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Betting Odds: CAR +12, 51 total via Oddsshark
Teddy Bridgewater (Start-able QB2)
The Chiefs’ defense is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this year. Kansas City is also allowing the third-fewest passing yards per game. This game could be reasonably high-scoring, but I’m not trusting Bridgewater much this week. Teddy is a worthy example of a player with a decent floor and a nearly non-existent upside. He’s likely start-able if need be, but I wouldn’t expect much more than mid-range QB2 numbers.
Christian McCaffrey (Start, RB1), Mike Davis (Sit)
After three straight weeks of 20+ points from weeks three to five, Mike Davis has since been pretty quiet, averaging 9.6 PPR p0ints per game in the last three weeks. Plus, there’s a good chance Davis is back to RB2 on the depth chart with the possible return of Christian McCaffrey this week.
I can’t speak to McCaffrey’s overall health, but after six weeks of rest and recovery, he should finally be ready to go. Head coach Matt Rhule has said Mike Davis will continue to see carries in this offense, but we both know that’s likely a bunch of coach-speak. Kansas City is allowing the fourth-most ground yards per game this year. The Chiefs have been good (but not great) in fantasy points allowed to running backs this year. Still, this is Christian freakin’ McCaffrey we are talking about here. You didn’t wait this long to bench one of the best players in the league.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Robby Anderson (Start, WR2), D.J. Moore (Start, WR2), Curtis Samuel (Sit, Flex)
Robby Anderson has been a pretty safe bet for WR2/WR3 production throughout most of this season but had his worst performance just last week. Anderson still saw the most targets among Panthers receivers and nearly had a one-handed touchdown catch so, I wouldn’t be too worried. The Chiefs are allowing the third-fewest points to wide receivers this year, but Anderson should still be serviceable this week, assuming he keeps seeing plenty of targets.
D.J. Moore had his worst fantasy performance of the season last week, but seeing only two receptions is pretty unusual for him. The match-up isn’t great this week, but this game could turn into a bit of a shootout, creating plenty of chances for Moore.
Curtis Samuel’s production has been better and better over the past four weeks, but his usage has remained mostly the same, leading me to believe his recent success could be a bit of a blip. He gets about three carries per game but has only scored a rushing touchdown each of the past two match-ups. He consistently sees about five or six targets but grabbed his only touchdown reception of the season last week. Samuel could have some respectable flex production this week, but I wouldn’t expect much more.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes II (Start, QB1)
Patrick Mahomes II had an impressive performance last week with five touchdowns and 36 fantasy points. The Panthers have been pretty good against quarterbacks this year, allowing the eighth-fewest points to the position. Still, Carolina is right in the middle of the league in passing yards allowed per game, and Mahomes just threw for 416 yards last week. It’s unlikely the Chiefs throw the ball as much as they did last week, but Mahomes should still be an easy QB1 start.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Start, Low-end RB1), Le’Veon Bell (Start, Flex with RB2 upside)
The bad news for Clyde Edwards-Helaire is that he split work with Le’Veon Bell last week. Both backs had three targets for three catches and six carries. The encouraging news for CEH is that his efficiency was a bit better than Bell’s last week, and he seems to still be the top option on this team for the time being.
It seems like, for the most part, the Chiefs tend to stick with either a pass-first approach or a run-first approach in their games. When the pass was working last week, they stuck with it. It looks like Bell’s presence is going to limit CEH’s ceiling, which will be especially troublesome in games like last week’s. There will be other games when the Chiefs commit to the run, and when that happens, either of these backs will be capable of a respectable fantasy performance.
I like CEH and Bell’s chances for a favorable game script this week against the Panthers, a team allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this year (and a capable secondary to boot). Hopefully, that turns into a perfect storm of running back opportunity this week. I’m labeling CEH as a low-end RB1 and Bell as a high-end flex with RB2 upside this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill (Start, WR1), Mecole Hardman (Sit), Demarcus Robinson (Sit), Travis Kelce (Start, TE1)
Carolina has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this year, but Tyreek Hill has been incredibly consistent. He’s only failed to reach at least WR2 status twice this year. The Panthers have been mediocre in passing yards allowed this year, so I’m placing Tyreek in WR1 territory this week.
Mecole Hardman had the most targets and his best fantasy performance of the year last week, but that was against a pretty bad secondary. This week’s match-up is against a much more capable Panthers’ secondary. Assuming Hardman is back to three or four targets, he should be back on fantasy benches. Demarcus Robinson is in a pretty similar situation to Hardman. Robinson also had his best fantasy performance of the year last week on his first touchdown reception of the 2020 season. I’m having trouble trusting either of these guys this week.
Travis Kelce is the clear TE1 on the season thus far and should run away with that distinction after the recent George Kittle injury. The Panthers haven’t been bad against tight ends this year, but the match-up doesn’t matter much when we are talking about someone like Kelce. Start with confidence.
-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse)