Broncos @ Chiefs
While it isn’t much surprise that Kansas City pulled out a victory on Sunday night, this was a game that felt like Denver was in it the entire way. The Broncos’ offense was certainly more competent with an actual QB on their roster, but it ultimately wasn’t enough as Denver fell to the Chiefs, 22-16. The biggest story in this one was the absence of Chiefs’ RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire was declared as active after being questionable towards the end of the week with a stomach illness. Even though Edwards-Helaire was active, he did not see a single offensive snap – so if you started him in your lineup it could have had huge implications on your matchup. Who else may have had huge implications on your matchup? Let’s dive into what we saw:
Drew Lock: 15/28, 151 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs | 2 carries, 9 yards
Broncos’ QB Drew Lock returned to action in Week 13 after being forced to miss Week 12 against New Orleans – along with the rest of the Broncos’ QBs. Lock hasn’t been great for fantasy purposes this year, but he did keep the Broncos in the game until the end – only to fall to the division-leading Chiefs. Lock’s 151 passing yards were his lowest total in a game that he started and finished this season, but he did throw multiple TDs for the first time since Week 9 against Atlanta. Lock isn’t providing a ton of fantasy value in redraft leagues for the remainder of this season with the playoffs looming, but he remains an intriguing young prospect in dynasty formats.
Melvin Gordon: 15 carries, 131 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards
Phillip Lindsay: 14 carries, 26 yards | 1 target
While Broncos’ RB Melvin Gordon has been fairly inconsistent throughout this season, he did have a solid outing on Sunday night against the Chiefs. RB Phillip Lindsay nursed a sore knee during practice all week, but ultimately his status for the matchup was never really in doubt. While Gordon and Lindsay have been splitting snaps and touches fairly evenly over the past few weeks, it was clearly Gordon who made the most of them on Sunday night. Gordon’s 8.7 YPC average on Sunday night was the highest of his NFL career. While Gordon clearly has more upside at this point, if you manage either of these backs, they are worth consideration over the fantasy playoffs as they both have a soft upcoming schedule.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tim Patrick: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 44 yards, 2 TDs
K.J. Hamler: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards | 2 carries, 13 yards
Jerry Jeudy: 4 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards
Noah Fant: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 57 yards
After a matchup last week that saw Denver’s pass-catching group nearly shut out completely, it must have felt nice for them to get back on the field with an actual QB leading the way. WR Tim Patrick was the biggest beneficiary – scoring twice for the first time all season and providing his largest fantasy output since Week 4 against the Jets. Patrick’s second TD grab was a brilliant toe-tapping catch on the sideline in the end-zone that was originally ruled out of bounds by the side judge. Rookie WR Jerry Jeudy was limited in practice with an ankle injury for most of the week, and made his only reception with under a minute left in the game. TE Noah Fant had a mostly quiet night against the Chiefs, but still had his highest fantasy output since Week 8 against the Chargers. It will be tough to trust any of these pass-catchers moving forward with their shaky QB play, even though they do have relatively soft playoff matchups as well.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes: 25/40, 318 yards, 1 TDs, 1 sack | 4 carries, 26 yards
Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes had a solid outing against the Broncos’ on Sunday night despite only throwing for 1 TD pass. Only one other game this season was Mahomes held to a single TD – and it was Week 7, also against Denver. Mahomes had a couple of potential TD passes that ended up not counting. The first of which was on a crazy play early in the second quarter – Mahomes threw a deep bomb to WR Tyreek Hill that appeared to be deflected by a defender and fall harmlessly to the ground. Looking at the slow-motion replay, the ball appeared to never hit the ground and bounce back into Hill’s possession at the end of the play, but the Chiefs punted the ball away without challenging the ruling on the field. Later in the 4th quarter, Mahomes connected with Hill on another TD that was called back due to a holding penalty. But even with limited production from Mahomes, he still produced at a QB1 level in Week 13. He has a couple of relatively tough matchups over his next couple of weeks, but if your fantasy championship is in Week 16, Mahomes gets the lowly Falcons’ defense.
Le’Veon Bell: 11 carries, 40 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards
Darrel Williams: 6 carries, 38 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards
The earlier-mentioned absence of RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire may have been just enough to sink some fantasy teams’ playoff hopes out there, and that is absolutely gut-wrenching to think about. Once Edwards-Helaire was announced as active before kickoffs, it was assumed he would see the field in at least some capacity, but it was not meant to be. Instead, RB Le’Veon Bell paced the Chiefs’ backfield in touches and yards, even though he wasn’t able to do much with them. RB Darrel Williams provided a few flashes in relief duties, but neither RB found the end zone or provided any pertinent amount of fantasy value for their managers. While Edwards-Helaire should be back to action next week, it’s worth mentioning that the Chiefs’ backfield faces the toughest of playoff schedules for their position players.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill: 10 targets, 6 receptions, 58 yards | 1 carry, 30 yards
Travis Kelce: 13 targets, 8 receptions, 136 yards, 1 TD
Sammy Watkins: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 35 yards
Demarcus Robinson: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 39 yards
After WR Tyreek Hill‘s absolutely monstrous game last week against Tampa Bay, it was fair to assume that he would crash back to earth a bit in Week 13, and he did just that. Hill failed to find the end-zone against the Broncos, but as mentioned above, there were a couple of times that he appeared to score that neither one actually counted. His second would-be TD of the night ended up with Hill pausing near the goal line and facing away from the play, just before completing a backflip into the end-zone. Hill’s output was his lowest since Week 6 against Buffalo, but he heads into a favorable matchup with the Dolphins in time for the fantasy playoffs. The Broncos failed to find an answer for TE Travis Kelce Sunday night – Kelce put up his highest fantasy production of the season even as the Chiefs were less-than-stellar in the red-zone. Kelce was open early and often against the Broncos – showing yet again how he is in a tier of his own this season when it comes to fantasy TE production. Kelce has a tough TE matchup next week against Miami, but the rest of his playoff schedule eases when he faces New Orleans and Atlanta in Weeks 15 and 16.
— Corey Saucier (Deputy_Commish on Twitter, LightsKamaraAction on Reddit)