What We Saw: Week 8
Broncos vs. Chiefs
The Broncos backfield was reduced to a two-man committee due to RB Royce Freeman‘s injury, allowing RB Phillip Lindsay to assert himself as the lead back in week eight in a 30-23 loss in Kansas City. Lindsay carried the ball 18 times for 95 yards and a touchdown and had several big gains called back on penalties. The Broncos showed some creativity getting Lindsay the ball outside on runs, although I would like to see him more involved in the passing game as he contributed only three catches for 17 yards. Lindsay is a solid RB2 while Freeman is out, and is capable of a huge week if the Broncos can get a lead and control the clock.
RB Devontae Booker also had a solid day, rushing nine times for 78 yards and catching all four targets for 23 yards. He sees most of his work in the passing game and is a playable option for however long Freeman is out, especially when the Broncos find themselves in expected shootouts. When Freeman returns, he Booker likely will become just a bench stash.
Fantasy Unfriendly Passing Game
QB Case Keenum had a lackluster game as a potential streaming option with 262 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He was constantly under pressure as well, taking five sacks and losing a fumble. With the state of passing offenses around the league, Keenum failed to produce a fantasy-worthy performance in a game with shootout potential. He’s only an option in two-quarterback leagues.
Not only did the overall volume of the passing game disappoint, but both passing touchdowns went to fantasy irrelevant players in WR Tim Patrick and TE Jeff Heuerman. Patrick’s touchdown came on his only target that went for 24 yards, and Heuerman caught only one of his five targets for his four-yard touchdown.
The fantasy relevant Broncos wide receivers had disappointing days, led by WR Emmanuel Sanders and his four catches on four targets for 57 yards. He even lost six yards on his lone carry. Sanders briefly left with a right shoulder injury, but he appears to be fine as there has been very little talk about it. WR Demaryius Thomas was only able to produce three catches for 30 yards on a team-high seven targets and remains an unexciting touchdown-dependent option. Both players have been the subject of trade rumors, and a trade would likely hurt either player’s value as they would have to learn a new offense on the fly. If one is traded, however, the one that remains with the Broncos would likely see an increased target share and see his value rise. We will have more information by the time we set our lineups this week.
WR Courtland Sutton is a big reason why the Broncos would feel ok trading a wide receiver, and in week eight he efficiently turned four targets into three catches for 78 yards. His value would skyrocket with a trade, as he has shown big-play ability and just needs more opportunities.
Broncos’ Defense and Special Teams
Denver’s defense struggled fantasy wise as expected against the Chiefs explosive offense. The Broncos have a home game next week against a Texans team that has struggled to keep their quarterback upright for most of the year. However, Houston has straightened things out lately, scoring 62 points and allowing only one sack with no turnovers the last two weeks. If you don’t want to play them against Houston, feel free to drop them, as they have a bye the following week.
K Brandon McManus is a good option trapped in a mediocre offense. With his bye coming up, now is the time to drop him if there is a better option available that has already had their bye week.
The Kansas City Chiefs continued their AFC West dominance on Sunday, defeating the Denver Broncos 30-23. The Chiefs have won 18 of last 20 games against the division. What’s more is the Chiefs have lit up the once vaunted Broncos defense, scoring 27 or more in seven straight head-to-head matchups. The division just cannot keep pace with this explosive Kansas City offense that had plenty on weapons on display Sunday.
Patrick Mahomes continues to light up the league
Second-year Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes continues to defy the convention of what a young QB should be. Mahomes threw four touchdowns for the fourth consecutive game (NFL record is five) and threw for 300 yards for his seventh consecutive (NFL record is nine). Midway through the season and Pat Mahomes is performing like a seasoned veteran, comfortable in the pocket, with full control of the offense. When we see Mahomes struggle it is for a handful of throws in a long drive or when occasionally pressured. If you decided to take the risk on Mahomes in your fantasy draft, be sure to hang on tight. While it may be tempting to see what you can get at an undervalued position, all of that goes out the window when you have a player that can single handily win weekly matchups for you. At this point, the only thing owners should be concerning themselves with is the chance that KC wraps up a playoff bye week during the fantasy playoffs.
Kareem Hunt is currently in an impressive fantasy stretch
Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt has been on a tear recently and Sunday he continued his streak of eight straight games with 14 or more points in PPR scoring. While Hunt only managed 50 yards rushing on 14 carries, he added five receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. Hunt’s ridiculous agility and elusiveness were front and center during a touchdown run midway through the 3rd quarter, putting the game out of reach. Hunt took a shuffle pass on a fake pitch and proceeded to make his way through traffic, hurdle a tackler before dragging a tackler across the end zone. It was a highlight sure to be on every end of the season reel.
Hunt continues to work his way up the RB scoring leaders and is a must-start for fantasy owners.
Sammy Watkins finally finds his groove in the red zone
Early in the season, Pat Mahomes has been handing out touchdowns like Oprah hands out audience swag yet Watkins had just one touchdown on the season. Sunday Watkins exploded for two touchdowns, finishing with eight catches for 107 yards. Early in the game, when the Broncos fought for an early lead, it was critical scores by Watkins that kept the pressure on the Broncos. Heading into the game we felt Watkins could be a sleeper and he didn’t disappoint. Watkins at worst in an every week flex play with the skill to pace the team should it be needed.
Tyreek Hill had his chances but took the backseat in this game
With the Chiefs trailing 7-3 early in the second, WR Tyreek Hill caught a slant, broke free of a tackle and looked like he was headed to another score. The play went for 40 yards before he was tackled inside the 20 but this lead to the team’s first touchdown. Hill finished with just three catches for 70 yards and was targeted just four times. It’s worth mentioning that in games that Watkins performed well Hill is quiet, and vice-versa. It’s a trend we expect to continue and Hill might be in danger of missing a Week 9 game.
Travis Kelce makes all things look easy
On Sunday TE Travis Kelce was the Chiefs most targeted receiver with ten and as we have said time and again he is the most important player for this Chiefs team. Kelce finished with six catches for 79 yards and the team’s first touchdown. Up to that point in the game, the team was really struggling to get anything going against a Denver defense that came ready to play. Mahomes found his star tight end for a 9-yard TD in the second which served to get the team back on track. No matter the opponent or matchup Kelce is like clockwork, a fantasy stud for owners.