When I first looked at this match-up, my reaction was a solid… meh. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have many shares of the Broncos and Patrick Mahomes is an auto-start that never leaves your lineup. However, the more I looked at this game the more opportunity I saw for fantasy points that had previously been elusive to me.
As I always do when evaluating matchups, let’s take a look at the Chief’s and the Broncos defenses as we head into tonight’s game.
Chiefs Defense – Fantasy Points Against
v. QB – 25th
v. RB – 23rd
v. WR – 11th
v. TE – 29th
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So, on paper, it looks like the Broncos should have a field day with fantasy points against a rather porous defense. However, the reality is that Denver is dealing with Joe Flacco as their starting QB and he hasn’t been all that stellar this season while he also hasn’t been Josh Rosen or Marcus Mariota bad either. Over six weeks, Flacco has completed 130 passes on 196 attempts for a 66.33% completion percentage with 1,435 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Like I said, not awesome but not terrible. As offensive weapons go, the Chiefs defense has been slowly climbing the up the ranks defending against opposing wide receivers while still bleeding receptions and yards to the tight ends. Their defense against running backs is almost as bad allowing 4 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown to the position.
Even though the Chiefs have allowed 46 receptions and nearly 430 yards to tight ends, they have only allowed one touchdown. Plus, this is Noah Fant and Joe Flacco. I don’t like it. Fant disappointed last week in an excellent match-up. If you’re desperate with bye week blues, then fine, I get it. I am avoiding him if I can.
If you have been concerned about Emmanuel Sanders’ status heading into tonight’s game, he has been deemed a “full go” at practice and will play. I like him and Courtland Sutton in this match-up. The same goes for Phillip Lindsay and yes, even Royce Freeman. I think there will plenty of opportunities for these players against the Chiefs’ defense.
Broncos Starters: Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman
Broncos Defense – Fantasy Points Against
v. QB – 3rd
v. RB – 18th
v. WR – 1st
v. TE – 13th
This is another “on paper” situation when you look at Denver’s defense. Logically, one would think to sit a quarterback going up against the third-best defense against the position. However, this is Patrick Mahomes we’re talking about. We can expect Mahomes may be limited or we can see him throw four or five touchdowns. (Insert shrug emoji here).
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Since we’re starting Mahomes, we’re also starting Tyreek Hill. I know, best defense against wide receivers, but it’s Mahomes and Hill… so… (insert shrug emoji here). Might as well add Travis Kelce to this list. You’re simply not sitting them.
The questions for the Chiefs are whether or not to start Mecole Hardman or Demarcus Robinson as well as which running back will be featured back for Kansas City. This is where it gets murky and falls into downright guessing territory. What I can tell you for certain is that Hardman and Robinson are straight-up boom/bust players with Hill back in the lineup. They are still involved in the offense and have the potential for big plays, but you can’t rely on that to happen especially against the Broncos’ defense.
The turnstile RB corps is equally as frustrating. Out of the group, LeSean McCoy has been the lead back, but even that has been underwhelming recently. Against the Broncos, I don’t see a huge boom game for any of these guys. If you have better options to start at RB/FLEX, I would fade these players if you can. Thursday night games are always weird, but you should only play those players you feel confident can give you a boost heading into Sunday.
Chiefs Starters: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce (Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy if you have to.)
Remember to move any starters in tonight’s game out of your flex spot! You don’t want to be caught in a pickle because of last-minute injuries and your flex spot is already taken.