The Kansas City Chiefs had a strange game last week in their 34-20 win over the Oakland Raiders from a fantasy perspective, at least. The offense struggled, the defense couldn’t stop the Raiders between the 20’s, and even the normally reliable Cairo Santos missed two extra points. But then the fourth quarter started, the defense forced three turnovers including a game-clinching pick-six by Tyvon Branch and Jeremy Maclin scored two touchdowns, giving some fantasy owners smiles for the first time all day.
This week, the Chiefs welcome the San Diego Chargers to Arrowhead on Sunday afternoon and, considering Kansas City obliterated their long-time rivals 33-3 just three weeks ago, the odds of several fantasy owners having better games this week are good. In fact, you could make a case that both of the Chiefs running backs could be good starts as well as the usual fantasy suspects.
All of the Chiefs who might be starting for your fantasy team on the offensive side of the ball have been at practice this week with the exception of receiver/running back De’Anthony Thomas, who is still recovering from concussion symptoms. If you play IDPs, Justin Houston and lineman Mike DeVito missed practice on Thursday and are good bets to miss the game on Sunday.
Here is my take on what you can expect out of the Chiefs for fantasy this weekend:
QUARTERBACK: Alex Smith only threw for 162 yards last week as Maclin and Travis Kelce were the only two receivers that could seem to get open. However, he threw for two touchdowns and ran for another so his day wasn’t a total waste. Smith is not a horrible play this week because the Chargers are a train wreck on defense, and the Chiefs will look to try and bury them early. The only word of caution will be that there is a chance of showers in KC on Sunday which could mean a bigger emphasis on the running game. Still, Smith is not a bad play as a #2 fantasy quarterback.
Projection: 240 yds passing, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 30 yds rushing.
RUNNING BACK: Charcandrick West just never really got it going last week and to be honest, the turf at O.co Coliseum was so terrible, it was probably a good thing that he only got 11 touches for the game. Spencer Ware didn’t fare much better behind the Chiefs patchwork offensive line, but he did get a touchdown carry as part of his 26 yards rushing. Both backs should get back up to speed this week against a Chargers defense that has been getting crushed over the last few games. West should get the starting nod for the game and I would expect him to get around 20 touches. Ware should contribute another 10+ touches (especially if it is raining as expected) and he could be the choice for any short-and-goal carries because of his size.
Projection: West – 75 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving, 1 touchdown; Ware – 40 yards rushing.
WIDE RECEIVER: Jeremy Maclin is the ONLY Chiefs receiver worth playing on your team and he is facing a Chargers defense that is missing cornerback Brandon Flowers. Maclin is a definite must-start for your team. Albert Wilson and Chris Conley might get a catch or two, but the odds are slim if any of them will be for a touchdown. Don’t even think about starting them.
Projection: Maclin – 7 catches, 110 yards, 1 touchdown.
TIGHT END: Travis Kelce ended up having to stay in and help block when the Chiefs O-line got hit with even more injuries during the Raiders game. The Chargers pass rush is so terribly bad that Kelce should be a bigger part of the offensive game plan. Start Kelce this week.
Projection: Kelce – 5 catches, 65 yds receiving, 1 touchdown.
KICKER: Cairo Santos has moved himself into consideration to be a #1 fantasy kicker and started every week. It is highly unlikely that the Chiefs won’t score at least 24 points Sunday and if the Chargers come to play, it could be even more. Start Santos.
Projection: 2-3 FG attempts, 3 extra points.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: The defense had a monster fantasy game against them in San Diego a few weeks ago and the Chiefs are gobbling up turnovers like a fat kid with a tree full of candy canes. Rivers is always scary to put up big numbers, but he’s got virtually no one to throw to and this game will be at loud Arrowhead. A definite must-start on Sunday.
Projection: 13 points given up, 4 sacks, 3 forced turnovers.