Wow! The Kansas City Chiefs had some very surprising fantasy stats last week in their 29-13 victory over the Denver Broncos. The most satisfying for fans, however, was that they might have put the final nail in the coffin of Peyton Manning’s career by intercepting him four times, forcing a fumble, and sacking him twice before Manning was finally benched – maybe for good – in the third quarter.
The D/ST was so dominant over Denver in the first half that they went to a softer, prevent-style defense in the third quarter that ensured the Broncos were going to have to put together drives and eat up valuable clock to get back into the game. Therefore, Denver eventually put up garbage yards and points that took a bit of the shine off of the defensive performance, but outside of scoring a return touchdown themselves, the KC D/ST played about as well as a team could on the road.
On offense, the name of the game was Charcandrick West, the Chiefs former back-up running back to Jamaal Charles and kicker Cairo Santos, who successfully kicked five-of-six field goal attempts. Denver’s D/ST played every bit as well as Kansas City’s unit, but could not keep KC off the scoreboard because of the field position Denver’s offense was giving up. West scored an early touchdown and was kept under control for most of the game. However, when Alex Smith found him alone in the secondary on a 2nd-and-nine play, West went 80 yards for a TD reception that suddenly made him one of the top fantasy backs in the league on Sunday.
This week, the Chiefs face Denver’s opposite in the San Diego Chargers. Philip Rivers, unlike Peyton Manning, is at the top of his game and he has to be that way because the Chargers D/ST is statistically the worst in the league this weekend. As of Friday’s injury report, there are no Chiefs players that you would be playing in your fantasy league that is affected by injury. All are good to go for Sunday. 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: On a weekend when you have Big Ben, Brees, and Eli on bye weeks plus injuries to other starting quarterbacks, Alex Smith is a decent spot starting option for your team. I’m not going to pretend that Smith will suddenly throw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, but if you are stuck, he will put up points with his arm and his legs. Not the worst option in the world if you need a temporary QB.
Projection: 270 yds passing, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 35 yds rushing.
RUNNING BACK: Charcandrick West is officially a must-start every week at either RB2 or Flex on your team. The young back is showing great instincts for the game and the Chiefs are able to run every play in their playbook with him, just like they could with Jamaal Charles. Spencer Ware is his back-up and if you’re wasting a roster spot holding onto Knile Davis, drop him and use it to get ready for your league playoffs. Neither Ware nor Davis has any reason to be near your starting fantasy lineup.
Projection: West – 105 yds rushing, 30 yds receiving, 1 touchdown.
WIDE RECEIVER: Jeremy Maclin may not be putting up eye-popping numbers since his return from a concussion but this is the worst defense he has faced outside of Detroit, by far. Maclin will lead the team in targets (probably double-digits) and should come close to putting up 100 yards receiving. Albert Wilson dropped an easy throw from Smith in the end zone last week, which could have given him another 30 yards and a TD. Wilson, De’Anthony Thomas, and Chris Conley just haven’t produced enough on a weekly basis to make them strong recommendations. One of these guys will have a good game this week, but only a psychic can tell you which one it will be. Start Maclin and ignore the rest.
Projection: Maclin – 7 catches, 80 yards, 1 touchdown; Wilson – 3 catches, 35 yards; Conley – 2catches, 20 yds, De’Anthony Thomas – 2 catches, 20 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 San Diego defense.
Projection: Kelce – 5 catches, 65 yds receiving, 1 touchdown.
KICKER: Santos is proving himself to be a reliable fantasy kicker so if he is on your team, play him. I believe the Chiefs may get 30+ points this week, so Santos will get some XPs if nothing else. If nothing else at this time of year and seeing the weather conditions around the NFL, it’s nice to have your kicker kicking in 70 degrees and sunshine on a good field.
Projection: 2 FG attempts, 3-4 extra points.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: Should continue to force turnovers against a very shaky SD offense and the Chiefs know how to get to Rivers with sacks. On the other hand, Rivers is almost a lock for 300+ yards so the Chiefs could give up plenty of yards. You also have to wonder if they can remain as focused as they were last week against Manning. In other words, the KC D/ST is a high risk/reward play this week.
Projection: 19 points given up, 3 sacks, 2 forced turnovers.