It feels like the Kansas City Chiefs haven’t played in a year with all the sports stories going around Kansas City these days, but it was just two Sundays ago that they crushed the Detroit Lions in London in the last game of the NFL’s International Series for 2015. Several Chiefs had terrific fantasy performances and look to continue this week against the Broncos in Denver.
As far as injuries are concerned, the Friday injury report shows that all of the Chiefs players you would think about starting for your fantasy team have practiced in full this week including Alex Smith, Charcandrick West, Travis Kelce and most important, Jeremy Maclin. Only OL Ben Grubbs and DE Allen Bailey have been officially declared “Out” for the game.
Here is my take on what you can expect out of the Chiefs for fantasy this weekend:
QUARTERBACK: How often will Alex Smith be considered the best fantasy QB on the field when a future first-round Hall-of-Famer will be on the other sideline? Strange, but that is what we have this week when Smith pairs off against the ancient, decaying remains of the player that was once Peyton Manning. Many fantasy sites have Smith ranked higher than Manning which might be Manning’s biggest red flag that he should have hung it up last year. However, this is about Smith going against the Denver defense on the road which means that you really need to find another option for fantasy points this week.
Projection: 245 yds passing, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 25 yds rushing.
RUNNING BACK: Charcandrick West has surpassed everyone’s expectations since taking over for Jamaal Charles in Week 6. Despite being non-existent against the Vikings that week (33 rushing yards on nine carries) West has bounced back the last two games with 207 yards rushing and 44 receiving yards on six catches. Even better, he’s scored a touchdown in both games. On paper, West isn’t a good play against a Denver defense that isn’t giving up much to RBs overall. However, Charles gouged them for 125 yards in their Week 2 game and the Chiefs will commit to the run this week. West is the only RB worth starting from KC and that’s more as a flex than a RB2.
Projection: West – 65 yds rushing, 20 yds receiving, 1 touchdown.
WIDE RECEIVER: Jeremy Maclin will be the #1 target for Smith in the passing game despite the presence of CB Chris Harris, who will probably draw most of the coverage duty. Not the greatest play in the world, but the Chiefs will need him to win the matchup if they want to win. Albert Wilson could be a sleeper going up against rookie Bradley Roby, who will be playing for the suspended Aqib Talib. Roby will live in infamy forever in KC as the lucky recipient of a Jamaal Charles fumble that Roby scooped up and returned for the game-winning touchdown with 27 seconds left in the Broncos Week 2 win at Arrowhead. Perhaps the football gods will give Roby a bit of karmic retribution this week? De’Anthony Thomas played in 25% of the snaps in the last game and he has the type of game-breaking speed that could be a big factor in the game. Awwww, who am I kidding? Play Maclin and forget the rest even though one of them might have a decent game. If you can guess which one that will be, you truly are psychic.
Projection: Maclin – 6 catches, 60 yards; Wilson – 3 catches, 25 yards; Conley – 3 catches, 35 yds, De’Anthony Thomas – 2 catches, 25 yards receiving, 25 yards rushing.
TIGHT END: Despite falling from his elite status that his Week 1 performance indicated he might achieve on a weekly basis, Kelce is still a must-start every week as he might be the guy that can take advantage of the injuries on the Denver defense.
Projection: Kelce – 6 catches, 65 yds receiving, 1 touchdown.
KICKER: No compelling reason to start Cairo Santos this week as he shouldn’t be appreciably better than any other kicker. This will probably be a low-scoring game so don’t expect more than 2-3 FG attempts.
Projection: 2-3 FG attempts, 2 extra points.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: Had a pick-six and played well for most of the Week 2 game. They still remember Manning coming back on them in the second half and will want to show that they can play some defense too. The Broncos offense is banged up and Emmanuel Sanders is dealing with a sore ankle. KC is a top-10 defense this week.
Projection: 17 points given up, 3 sacks, 2 forced turnovers.