Patriots @ Chiefs
Just hours before settling in for a weekend chock full of football, with a hot coffee or cold beer enveloped in our hands, we reached for our phones to see the notification that Cam Newton had tested positive for COVID-19. The game was quickly pushed back to Monday night, and while the game seemed super intriguing at first with a matchup between a high flying QB and his mobile counterpart, we instead ended up in uncharted waters with a matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Brian Hoyer. Let’s dive in!
New England Patriots
Brian Hoyer: 15/24, 130 yards, 1 INT, 2 sacks | 1 carry, 8 yards
Jarrett Stidham: 5/13, 60 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT’s |2 carries, 3 yards
Brian Hoyer really struggled in this one, and, similar to a journeyman reliever throwing mop-up duty meatballs in the World Series, it was only fair that the Patriots would turn to Jarrett Stidham just to see what he could do.
— Ben Brown (@FelixTheDog23) October 5, 2020
How bad is Jarrett stidham if belichick is playing Brian hoyer over him LmAo pic.twitter.com/6SypMm7wTf
— John (@iam_johnw) October 6, 2020
Cam Newton won’t be walking through those doors anytime soon, as he’s at least a couple of weeks away from returning, and with Newton on a one-year contract, it makes sense for this to be the Stidham Show in the meantime. Stidham has poise and is willing to take chances deep downfield. He attempted to build a rapport with Damiere Byrd tonight, but the Chiefs squad stepped up to the task. Stidham had a nice touchdown throw to N’Keal Harry early in the 4th quarter to put the game within three…
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 6, 2020
… but he gave it back via a pick-six on a ball that Julian Edelman should have caught.
The "rare" drop from Julian Edelman gifts Mathieu and the Chiefs six 🎁pic.twitter.com/I3OWSefCj5
— PFF (@PFF) October 6, 2020
He later threw a terrible interception on an underthrown ball to Byrd, and this should be all the evidence you need to prove that neither Stidham or Hoyer are worth rostering in fantasy.
📽 3e interception du match pour la défense de Kansas City, la 2e lancée par Jarrett Stidham ! Rashad Fenton #ChiefsKingdom
— NFL France (@NFLFrance) October 6, 2020
Rex Burkhead: 11 carries, 45 yards |1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards
James White: 3 carries, 21 yards | 8 targets, 7 receptions, 38 yards
Damien Harris: 17 carries, 100 yards
Rex Burkhead has found himself in the grind it out role for the Patriots backfield, taking over the role vacated by Sony Michel this week. Not outdone, Damien Harris has finally found his way back to the lineup, just weeks removed from impressing the squad so much in preseason there were murmurs he would take the “starters role” from Sony. And after watching this game, it’s not tough to see why.
— Roto Street Journal (RSJ) (@RotoStJournal) October 6, 2020
Harris is built out, runs with a purpose, and doesn’t waste any steps in the backfield. While you’re always shocked to see players rise, a fourth-round pick in the backfield schemed by Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels could find a way to fantasy gold on a team that is always looking for a bright spot or two on offense, and still not rounded out by a true #1 wide receiver (Where’s Randy Moss right now?)
The true question remains: Where will Sony Michel find himself in a few weeks? I shaded him in the preseason with the rise of Harris, and now we’re looking at him coming back three weeks removed from Harris’ chance to shine, while only having one true stud game in the first month. The Patriots need these opportunity players. Harris needs to be pulled from any waiver wires he remains on, and I’m glad I used a last/second to last round pick on him in almost all of my leagues.
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends
Damiere Byrd: 10 targets, 5 receptions, 80 yards
N’Keal Harry: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 21 yards, 1 TD
Julian Edelman: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 35 yards
Gunner Olszewski: 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards
Isaiah Zuber: 1 carry, 8 yards
Not a true WR1. It’s something I keep finding echoing in my head as I watch these games and try to find some true depth for our fantasy squads. Julian Edelman spent another week riding the “questionable” tag, likely guaranteeing he would play, but between some poor play execution from Brian Hoyer, and some likely shutdown defense on one of the consistently targeted offensive options, Edelman finds himself staring well under double-digit targets in the eyes with minutes left in a difficult matchup against KC. Is it a quarterback issue? Jarrett Stidham stepped in and immediately locked into a corner endzone back shoulder target to N’Keal Harry. Or is it two drops on the evening, one of which led to a pick-6 from Tyrann Matheiu. It’s possible that the game was almost seen as unattainable, as the team attempts to sneak a possible win before they ride into an early-season bye week, but I’m hedging Edelman down to a high-end WR-2 in PPR leagues, and a shaky WR-3 in non-PPR leagues, due to the inconsistency of targets with the lack of Tom Brady. You’re actually starting to see Harry and Damiere Byrd also start to hawk in on some of those targets, as Byrd has continued to see the highest target share of all the options. Of all the WR’s, the one I’m continuously most excited about is Byrd.
Another guy worth mentioning is Gunner Olszewski, who is not fantasy-relevant (yet) but he did bail out Edelman on yet another drop early in the game. He is the future Edelman replacement and after seeing this catch I’m very intrigued.
— Ben Brown (@FelixTheDog23) October 5, 2020
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes: 19/29, 236 Yards, 1 sack, 2 TDs | 5 rushes, 34 yards
Mahomes sat in waiting, as Tom Brady did way back when, to take over the helm and be the true king of fantasy quarterbacks. Now, every time I see Mahomes play against my home team, I feel a sharp pang where my heart should be. Mahomes is no joke. There’s just something silky smooth and effortlessly agile, even in defensive stalemate games like the one they were faced off in with New England on Monday night. The Patriots game planned out Mahomes’ greatest weapons as they’re known to do, and going through the first half, all but quieted Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Travis Kelce. Not much will change here, as the Patriots employ one of the best coached defensive squads in the league, even while half of them are watching from home due to COVID opt-outs. If you have Mahomes, he’s your set and forget QB1 for the remainder of the season. If anything, the only real question at hand for his value is if Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, or Russell Wilson will overtake or contend with him for the number one overall fantasy QB.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 16 carries, 64 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 27 yards
Darrell Williams: 1 carry, 2 yards | 1 target, 0 receptions
Clyde Edwards-Helaire all but “ran away” with the starter’s role when Damien Williams opted out prior to the season starting. While it’s a good thing for Helaire’s fantasy value on the season, it was a bad time against the Patriots on Monday. Here’s a little secret I’ll let you all in on because I like you: Even if I have some high-end players that aren’t “top 5 players”, I likely will sit them against the Patriots if I have any solid/breakout players I’m weighing starting on my bench. The Patriots game plan against the stars of teams, and take them out of your gameplan, and force you to win with your lesser talents. Akin to making the worst shooter on the court take some shots, CEH averaged a steady 4.0 ypc, but through a little over a full half, had no breakout plays, and he couldn’t get himself moving on the field. He’s probably still a top 10 back on the season despite the subpar performance against New England.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TD
Sammy Watkins: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 43 yards
Travis Kelce: 6 targets, 3 reception, 70 yards
Mecole Hardman: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 27 yards
It only took almost 40 minutes, but the wide receiving and tight end core finally burst onto the scene after some halftime adjustments. Tyreek Hill was held to under 30 yards receiving through the first half, but the first drive of their second-half showed the big body brawn and receiving of Travis Kelce, and the cheetah trickery of Hill out of the backfield. The Chiefs will capitalize on almost any opportunity, and the touchdown Hill took to the edge was a mixture of great game call and an immense angle/take to the pylon, one that almost no one else in the league could make.
Tyreek Hill races to the pylon on the end-around for the first TD of the game 🐆
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 6, 2020
Hill and Kelce continue to showcase that they’re top tier offensive weapons in all fantasy leagues. Sammy Watkins has almost become a defacto check-down/breakdown play performer for Mahomes and can almost be employed as a sneaky flex option in leagues where injury/COVID has ravaged your squadron. In a late second-half burst of scoring, we also saw Mecole Hardman waltz into the endzone almost untouched, as the Chiefs backfield continues to be one of the hardest things to watch over close to the goal line.
-Matthew Bevins (@MattQBList on Twitter, TheLongSpring on Reddit)