Eric Adams, Staff Writer
In a battle for the AFC West crown, the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Arrowhead in week 15 to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. These two met back in week 3 where the Chiefs were still firing on all cylinders and the Chargers were still floundering. That seems like forever ago because the Chargers have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL while the Chiefs have dropped 6 of their last 8 games. Here’s how the two stack up, fantasy-wise, for their Saturday night showdown.
Alex Smith: The Chiefs signal caller has had an incredible season, posting the 3rd most fantasy points among all QBs. However, take away his 37-point performance against a putrid Jets defense and he has combined for 29 points over the last 3 games. Things don’t get easier because the Chargers have a stellar defense. Defensive Ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram combined for 4 sacks alone in the week 3 matchup that saw Smith post a modest 14-point performance. In fantasy playoff season, Smith is a risky pick this week but you likely don’t have a better replacement.
Philip Rivers: Mr. Bolo tie is currently the 9th best fantasy QB. That isn’t bad at all and should be remembered heading into next years fantasy season. What should also be remembered is that Rivers threw 3 picks in the last matchup against the Chiefs. He only managed a 3-point performance and that game was in LA. The Chargers have been a much better team the past 2 months but that’s a rough game to say the least. This matchup, for both QBs, is a tough one to say the least. This very well could be a defensive ball game.
Kareem Hunt: The last time these two teams met, Kareem Hunt was still in God-tier. Now, not so much but he is still a very serviceable fantasy option. He’s had some rough weeks posting a 9-point performance 3 separate times against the Jets, Broncos and Cowboys. He bottomed out with a 2 point performance against Buffalo but bounced back in a big way last week against Oakland with a 22-point outbreak. He scored his 1st touchdown since week 3 in his last game against the Raiders so the lack of touchdowns is alarming. He had a 25-point performance back in week 3 against LA so there’s reason to believe he can run on the Chargers. If you have him, you’re obviously starting him. Volume is too high not to plus the Chargers have given up the 5th most rushing yards in the league.
Melvin Gordon: The Chargers workhorse back has had another great season after breaking out in year 2. He’s been reliable in 10 of his 13 matchups this season and one of them was against Kansas City in week 3 when he posted a quaint 13-point performance. The Chiefs have given up the 4th most rushing yards in the league AND have given up 3rd most rushing touchdowns. Gordon has the chance to have a big game, as does Hunt. If these two teams want success on offense then running the ball is in their best interest.
Tyreek Hill: The blazing burner of the Chiefs offense has been a major steal since being drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Currently the 10th best player at his position, Hill is no doubt in your starting lineup even against a stingy Chargers pass defense. He burned the Chargers to the tune of 5 catches for 77 yards and a score in their week 3 matchup. Tough matchup, not a tough call. Start this man.
Keenan Allen: One of the feel good stories of 2017 has been the season Keenan Allen has had in his return from yet another knee injury. He currently stands as the 3rd best receiver in fantasy and is one of the leading candidates for steal of the year in fantasy based on where some people took him in drafts. He draws Marcus Peters in this contest and that is one of the taller tasks for any Wide Receiver in the league. Allen posted a modest 11 in week 3 against the Chiefs but has been on fire in his past 4 games, going off for a combined 116 points. Peters or not, this man is in your starting lineup.
Travis Kelce: The number 1 tight end in football this season, Kelce has continued to improve into one of the most complete tight ends in the NFL. If you have him, you will obviously not bench him because there is literally no better option. However, it is worth noting that in the week 3 matchup against LA, Kelce had 1 catch for 1 yard. While that is likely to not happen again, it is still definitely worth noting. Also worth noting is that outside of 2 games where he posted 7 catches for 84 yards and 6 catches for 74 yards, Kelce has historically performed poorly against the Chargers. He has also never scored against the Chargers. I’m not saying sit him, I’m just saying understand that the matchup is not in his favor.
Hunter Henry: Other than Allen and Gordon, it’s difficult to predict the type of game Rivers’ other weapons will have. He’s so sporadic with his targets and usually does a good job of spreading the ball around but it’s tough to rely on anyone outside of those top 2 targets. Henry didn’t record a catch in week 3 and has been up and down this season. He’s had 18, 15 and 15-point performances in his past 3 weeks, respectively, and should be trusted as the hot hand but his floor is low.