What We Saw: Week 3

Mike Williams is finally the guy we all wanted him to be, and the rest of What We Saw in Week 3

Chargers @ Chiefs

Final Score: Chargers 30, Chiefs 24

Writer: Adam Sloate (@MrAdster99 on Twitter)

 

What an incredible game! This one literally came down to the final minute, with the Chargers converting on a huge 4th down to keep their drive alive and buried the Chiefs with one last touchdown on a gutsy call by HC Brandon Staley. Both teams struggled to keep the ball out of the other team’s hands, however, the Chiefs truly struggled with turnovers, as they gave away the ball on four different drives. In the first half, QB Patrick Mahomes was sufficiently interrupted by the Chargers’ front seven, throwing two interceptions, and the Chargers’ secondary was able to force the ball out of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Tyreek Hill‘s hands. But, you can only keep the Chiefs dormant for so long, and they scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter to even up the game.

On the other side of the ball, Justin Herbert was quite good, taking just one sack and keeping the ball out of the Chiefs’ hands by not committing any turnovers. Oh, and he had four TD passes, so that worked out nicely for the Chargers and fantasy managers. The Chargers will take a 2-1 record into an exciting divisional matchup with the 3-0 Raiders, while the Chiefs will take an uninspiring 1-2 record into a matchup with the Eagles.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

 

Quarterback

 

Justin Herbert: 26/38, 281 yards, 4 TD | 4 carries, 16 yards

 

Herbert is one of my favorite young QBs to watch in this league, so I was excited to have the opportunity to watch him work in what was supposed to be a high-scoring environment. And, he was pretty much everything I expected. He made the difficult throws, he was efficient, and he found his WRs time and again for chunk gains. He threw some good looking passes today:

 

 

This one was my favorite:

 

 

I’m not much of a QB film evaluator, but I thought that second play, where he faked out the defender, was a good indication of his ability to read and react to what the Chiefs’ defense was giving to him today. The different defensive looks didn’t seem to faze Herbert, as he was able to calmly get the ball out of his hands when the Chiefs brought pressure and then punished them when the Chiefs dropped more players back into coverage, dropping balls into the arms of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and even the occasional Austin Ekeler target.

Last year, I devoted a significant amount of wordage to how Herbert seemed to rely on Ekeler as his first and second target of each play. It’s been encouraging to see Herbert find Mike Williams more and more, as Williams has been able to use his huge frame to reel in Herbert’s passes. The same goes for Keenan Allen, who Herbert has been finding early and often. All of this is to say that Herbert has been incredibly promising and I’m looking forward to how this offense evolves as the season goes on.

 

Running Back

 

Austin Ekeler: 11 carries, 55 yards | 6 targets, 6 receptions, 52 yards, TD

Larry Rountree: 4 carries, 3 yards | 1 target

Justin Jackson: 2 carries, 0 yards

 

Nothing really new here. Ekeler got a handful of carries on the ground and was pretty efficient, but Brandon Staley and the Chargers decided that Ekeler would be better off as a receiving threat, which led to an easy score:

 

 

Can’t be much more wide open than that.

Also, this:

 

 

All jokes aside, Ekeler did exactly what we all expected him to do: he got open on shorter routes and looked quite good as a receiving threat. He was Herbert’s safety valve when the Chiefs brought the blitz but it didn’t feel like Herbert was actively seeking out Ekeler to force the ball to him. However, Ekeler’s success as a receiver forced the Chiefs to send someone to defend him as the game progressed, which opened up the game for some of the other Chargers receiving threats, like Jared Cook. 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Keenan Allen: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 50 yards, TD

Mike Williams: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 122 yards, 2 TD

Jared Cook: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 27 yards

Donald Parham Jr.: 1 target, 1 reception, 19 yards

Gabe Nabers: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards

Jalen Guyton: 1 target | 1 carry, 3 yards

 

The other benefit of Herbert looking beyond Ekeler is that we are finally witnessing the long-awaited Mike Williams breakout season. When Phillip Rivers was under center, it seemed like Williams was primarily used as a deep-ball threat. To me, it looked like Rivers simply chucked it up to Williams a couple of times a game. Now, it seems like the Chargers are seeing Williams’ potential as a well-polished receiving threat opposite Allen. Herbert has been targeting Williams in higher amounts this season, which has seen promising results. They seemed to have a ton of that chemistry today:

 

 

Here’s a little more info on that Herbert/Williams connection:

 

 

The drawback for the rest of the Chargers offense is that there really isn’t much else for the remainder of the offense to fight over. There may have been some talk of Guyton or Parham breaking out in this offense, but Allen, Williams, Ekeler, and even Jared Cook are swallowing up all the targets. It seems as though Guyton and Parham are basically longball threats, similar to the role Williams seemed to serve in the early years with Rivers under center.

Cook didn’t seem to get very much attention today, grabbing all of his targets later in the game once the Chiefs started giving Ekeler more attention. It was a little surprising to me, given that Cook had been a popular target of Herbert in the first few weeks of the season.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

 

Quarterback

 

Patrick Mahomes: 27/44, 260 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT | 4 carries, 45 yards

 

It’s games like these when I realize just how good we have it with Mahomes. Sure, his stat line was a little ugly. And, he threw two picks. But, it still didn’t seem like he played particularly poorly. He had a rough throw for one of his picks:

 

 

Not a great throw, because it went behind the receiver, but it was a pretty fortuitous bounce for Asante Samuel Jr. That’s not a throw I’m particularly concerned about. This one was a little more difficult to justify. Mahomes just looked off-balance:

 

 

He only missed his receiver by a little bit here and was under pressure when he threw the ball. Again, I’m not much of a QB evaluator, but he probably could’ve just thrown this one out of bounds. It’s one of those interceptions you just kind of have to live with when Mahomes is under center. Just keep starting him.

 

Running Back

 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 17 carries, 100 yards, fumble | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards, TD

Damien Williams: 7 carries, 28 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards

 

CEH finally had a breakout game. Finally! For those of us that continued to invest in him, Edwards-Helaire delivered far beyond our greatest expectations (or at least mine). I didn’t expect over 5 YPC. I didn’t expect CEH to have a long run of just 14 yards and still deliver a beautiful, 100-yard performance on the ground. Incredible stuff. Trade him now while you still can.

At any rate, it really was nice to see CEH run with some burst and explosiveness. He even broke a few tackles here and there. But, he finally hit paydirt with a TD reception on a nice little screen:

 

 

I’m also a little shocked Reid stuck with CEH after he fumbled the ball for one of the Chiefs’ four turnovers. Thank goodness he did!

I’d like to think that this is the start of a beautiful, productive relationship between CEH and the end zone. But, if I’m being honest (and this is just my personal opinion), I think now is the time to ditch him with some other poor sap fantasy manager who buys into CEH’s potential for games like these.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Travis Kelce: 11 targets, 7 receptions, 104 yards

Tyreek Hill: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 56 yards

Mecole Hardman: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 33 yards, TD

DeMarcus Robinson: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Byron Pringle: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards

 

I think part of the reason the Chiefs’ offense stalled early on is that Kelce wasn’t able to get much of the ball. He just wasn’t reeling in the receptions to start off with, but once the Chiefs stopped tripping over their own feet, Kelce started to really get into a rhythm. Too bad they threw Kelce’s TD to his backup, TE Jody Fortson:

 

 

It’s not all bad. Kelce made a sweet catch here:

 

 

Tyreek Hill didn’t get much of anything going today. Once he got “peanut punched,” it was all downhill from there:

 

 

You can also see how well he was contained in the fact that his longest reception of the day was just 18 yards. When the defense can keep “Cheetah” in front of you and hold him to short gains, it sure can help.

And Mecole Hardman ended up getting a TD to help him stay fantasy relevant:

 

 

There wasn’t much else to say today about this offense. The fact that they were still able to keep it close despite struggles and turnovers is a testament to how good this team is when they’re clicking.

 

— Adam Sloate (@MrAdster99 on Twitter)

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