Chiefs @ Broncos
The Broncos were never really able to keep it close against the Chiefs on Sunday, playing their first game this season in snowy, windy, cold conditions. Kansas City’s offense wasn’t nearly as stout as usual, but they made up for it with a defensive TD and a kickoff return for a TD by WR Byron Pringle. The Chiefs’ debut for RB Le’Veon Bell was highly anticipated and turned out mostly quiet as the Chiefs romped the Broncos 43-16. Who delivered for their managers and who left us scratching our heads? Let’s dive into what we saw:
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes: 15/23, 200 yards, 1 TD
Chad Henne: 2/2, 13 yards | 4 carries, -2 yards, 1 TD
You would likely be surprised to find out that Kansas City scored 43 points and QB Patrick Mahomes threw for only 200 yards and one TD, but that’s exactly what happened on Sunday. Mahomes’ 23 pass attempts were his lowest of the season, and the second-lowest of his career – the only lower output coming last season in Week 9 (also against Denver) when Mahomes left early with a knee injury. In fact, after some pretty deep digging, I found that Sunday’s performance was the second-lowest fantasy output of Mahomes’ career – the lowest coming in Week 17 of the 2017 season which was Mahomes’ first career start. Who was he matched up against that week? You guessed it, the Broncos again. Even with such a lowly performance on Sunday, Mahomes is still a top-tier fantasy quarterback and will surely bounce back next week against the miserable Jets.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 8 carries, 46 yards, 1 TD | 4 targets, 1 reception, 17 yards
Le’Veon Bell: 6 carries, 39 yards
DeAndre Washington: 3 carries, 5 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 2 yards
The anticipated Chiefs’ debut for RB Le’Veon Bell came and went without much fanfare. It wasn’t much of a surprise considering Kansas City’s offense sputtered for most of the afternoon, and also considering that it will likely take a bit more time to get acclimated to the Chiefs’ offensive scheme. Bell was only on the field for 33% of offensive snaps, but his 6.5 YPC was impressive when he touched the ball. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire salvaged a mediocre day with a rushing TD – and he should have had another receiving TD, but he had a terrible drop on a perfect ball from Mahomes that hit him right between the numbers. All in all, it was a tough day for Kansas City’s offense and a matchup next week with the Jets will be just what they need to get back to normal.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill: 10 targets, 6 receptions, 55 yards, 1 TD
Mecole Hardman: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 57 yards | 1 carry, 13 yards
Marcus Kemp: 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards
Demarcus Robinson: 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards
Travis Kelce: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 31 yards
If you were relying on your Chiefs’ pass-catchers to have a big game this week, you were likely left disappointed in their lack of production. WR Tyreek Hill was the best of the bunch – pacing the group in targets, catches, and TDs. While Hill had the best outing of the day for the Chiefs’ pass-catchers, he hasn’t been as electric this season as we’re used to seeing. Sunday marked Hill’s fourth straight game under 80 yards. TE Travis Kelce‘s 3 targets were his lowest total since 2017. It was just an off day for the Chiefs’ offense, and with their defense and special teams contributing touchdowns, it didn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. As with the rest of the Chiefs’ offense, the pass-catching group will likely get back on track next week against the Jets.
Drew Lock: 24/40, 254 yards, 2 INTs, 3 sacks | 3 carries, 8 yards, 1 TD
Broncos’ QB Drew Lock hasn’t held much fantasy value this season in most formats, and Sunday’s poor showing was no exception. The lone bright spot for Lock was his first career rushing TD, but otherwise, he had a pretty rough day. The Broncos are hoping that Lock will be their franchise QB of the future, but he still has a lot to prove. The weather conditions weren’t ideal for throwing the ball on Sunday, and both offenses failed to move the ball through the air consistently. That being said, if you are playing fantasy football in any capacity, there are likely better options out there than Drew Lock.
Melvin Gordon: 17 carries, 68 yards, 1 TD, 2 fumbles | 4 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards
Phillip Lindsay: 9 carries, 79 yards
Royce Freeman: 3 carries, 12 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards
The biggest takeaway from Sunday from Denver’s RB group is how sharp RB Phillip Lindsay looked before leaving the game with concussion symptoms just before the end of the first half. He gashed the Chiefs’ defense posting nearly 9 YPC before his exit. RB Melvin Gordon got a bump in usage after Lindsay’s exit and was able to find the end zone as well. Gordon was much less efficient with his carries (4.0 YPC) and also had two bad fumbles. One of which was a lateral back to Drew Lock on an attempted flea-flicker type play that sailed over Lock’s head – and the Chiefs recovered it for a turnover. If Lindsay is forced out of next week’s game with his concussion, Gordon will shift into a much larger role with RB Royce Freeman spelling him.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tim Patrick: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 44 yards
Jerry Jeudy: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards
K.J. Hamler: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 24 yards | 1 carry, 10 yards
DaeSean Hamilton: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards
Noah Fant: 7 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards
Albert Okwuegbunam: 7 targets, 7 receptions, 60 yards
As QB Drew Lock struggled against the Chiefs on Sunday, so did the Broncos’ pass-catchers. The big story was Denver’s two young TEs Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam pacing the pass-catching group in targets. Fant returned from his knee injury to tie for the team lead in targets, but he wasn’t able to turn them into much. Rookie TE Albert Okwuegbunam posted career highs in receiving yards, targets, and receptions against the Chiefs on Sunday, but he is still unlikely to carry much fantasy relevance going forward – unless Fant were to miss more time. That being said, it was encouraging to see Okwuegbunam’s usage remain similar to where it was when Fant was out with injury. This entire pass-catching group will look to improve their production next week against a tough Chargers’ defense – who can be susceptible to the pass at times.
— Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, LightsKamaraAction on Reddit)