Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
The Chiefs versus Chargers seemed likely to be a passable game, something you could just watch highlights of on RedZone as far more adventurous and competitive games were available to watch. Just before the game, Tyrod Taylor was pulled from the starting lineup, giving way to highly drafted but not prepared on short notice Justin Herbert. And yet, somehow, we have possibly our most interesting and exciting game of the day, going down to the wire in the late fourth quarter. What can we pull from this for fantasy purposes? Let’s dive in!
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes: 27/47, 302 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 0 INT, 1 sack| 6 rushes, 54 yards
Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert possibly swapped bodies for the first half of this game, as Herbert looked poised and dangerous, standing in the pocket and showing some flashes, while Mahomes looked wishy-washy, very unsettled due to some high-end pass rushing by Joey Bosa and others, not comfortably settling in until early second half. Mahomes saved his day with two touchdown passes, but this by his expectations was disappointing and a pretty average showing for a not top-five quarterback. Not much will change in Mahomes’ value, however, as he still managed to eke out two touchdown passes and no picks against a sneaky livewire defense in LA. The scary part is this is Kansas City just two weeks into a season with no preseason to get fully on page with their change at running back.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 10 carries, 38 yards | 8 targets, 6 receptions, 32 yards
Darwin Thompson: 4 carries, 21 yards |1 target, 0 receptions
Darrell Williams: 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards
Can we calm the Clyde Edwards-Helaire hype train down just a touch? I spent the whole offseason once he was drafted by Kansas City attempting to see why everyone was losing their collective minds on him. Watched some college tape. He finishes his plays, and runs aggressively, and is coming in to arguably the most “high-powered offense” in all of the NFL. Fair. But there are a couple of concerns for CEH early on: can he carry his value in the passing game when the Chiefs fall behind early, and can he find the volume in the passing game while competing with the firepower already present in KC’s offense?
Both basically happened in week two, and Helaire finished Week 2 with 13 PPR points. I drafted him in a couple of leagues admittedly, but I’m glad I was right on this one. Edwards-Helaire is a top-end back in the league for as long as he roams at the top of the herd in KC, but temper your expectations a tad. He could potentially be an RB2 some weeks, or worse. Just be prepared for the bumps. The good news is he’ll likely take up almost all of the weekly touches out of the backfield.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Tyreek Hill: 11 targets, 5 receptions, 99 yards, 1 TD |1 rush, 9 yards
Travis Kelce: 14 targets, 9 receptions,90 yards, 1 TD
Mecole Hardman: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 30 yards |1 rush, 3 yards
Demarcus Robinson: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 28 yards
Sammy Watkins: 3 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards
So many options. Mahomes didn’t really find Tyreek Hill until early portions of the second half, but it was nice to see the other half of this quarterback showcase. Hill made a spectacular reception with his energy basically forcing him into the endzone, and the other half of the passing pie basically baked it’s way right to Travis Kelce‘s windowsill. This offense is just so much fun to watch. Hill will dazzle you with his speed despite his somewhat reckless route running, while Kelce will jump ball and beast away most secondary defenders at any avenue, and Mahomes will mostly always find an open spot to reach them. This game for passing showed us mostly what would be expected. Sammy Watkins came crashing back to earth after a big Week 1 and left the field late with a potential injury. KC is as set it and forget it as they come.
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert: 22/33, 311 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks |4 rushes, 18 yards, 1 TD
Holy moly. Justin Herbert was a delight to watch in this game. He started the game out with basically zero preparation as he stepped into a matchup with the best offense in the league across the field from him and performed admirably. Passing the 300-yard mark in the air, Herbert attacked, throwing haymakers consistently and making his presence known in the NFL. I love to watch Tyrod Taylor play, but Herbert may have just shown up and taken his snack pack with this performance. Straight thievery. The only glaring mark on his otherwise fantastic heavyweight bout was a roll-out of pocket play where he turned the corner and started cruising to a first down, only to air out a pass to Keenan Allen that got hoovered by L’Jarius Sneed. Herbert is gonna be a force in LA going forward. This was just his first performance, and I was lucky I got to watch it.
Austin Ekeler: 16 carries, 93 yards | 4 receptions, 55 yards
Joshua Kelley: 23 carries, 64 yards |2 receptions, 49 yards
Hey! Austin Ekeler showed up. So many people were nauseous at their second-round draft pick when Ekeler disappointed them all last week, but he was back in action and ready to rock in Week 2. Averaging over 5 YPC, and well over 10 yards per catch in the air, Ekeler may just have had some dust to shake out, or maybe he just saw Joshua Kelley appearing in his rearview. Either way, this was a welcome sight, as we finally start to see some consistency and form take place in the Chargers backfield. If you can get Ekeler off an owner thinking this was just a one-week situation with Tyrod resting his injury, pounce on it. Ekeler is a true air or ground back, and could actively vault himself into the top 10/15 player picks for next year.
Wide Reciever/Tight Ends
Keenan Allen: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 96 yards
Hunter Henry: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 83 yards
Jalen Guyton: 2 targets, 1 reception, 14 yards, 1 TD
Mike Williams: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards
Joe Reed: 1 rush, 8 yards
Keenan Allen just got paid in the offseason, but he’s not resting on any proverbial laurels. Just a touch under 100 yards receiving, Allen is a master of consistency, if he can stay healthy and on-field, and has clearly found a new friend in Mr. Herbert. Welcoming a new quarterback can be tough with some top-end talent, but Keenan and he didn’t miss a beat, aside from the brutal pickoff that seemed to be mostly of Herbert’s doing, as Allen was covered up throughout the whole play. Hunter Henry continues to showcase himself as a top-five tight end talent, soaking in three-quarters of his targets with ease, and also building some rapport with Justin Herbert. This offense fought valiantly against a team coming off a Super Bowl win, and this could begin an era in Los Angeles that ended with Rivers, hiccuped to Tyrod Taylor, and will break a wall down with Justin Herbert, and I for one am here for it.
-Matthew Bevins (Reddit:TheLongSpring/Twitter:MattQbList)