Tomorrow’s Thursday night game should be one to remember as the AFC West is on the line. Since their week one meeting, both the Chargers and Chiefs have been red hot, however a win for Kansas City at home would clinch the division and lockup a first round bye. On top of that, we’re going to have two high scoring offenses in what should be a shootout that comes down to the end.
With Austin Ekler ruled out, and Melvin Gordon questionable the Chargers might need Philip Rivers more than usual in this one. Though the Chiefs defense has shown some signs of life (and Eric Berry is expected to return), Rivers is worth playing in all fantasy formats. If Gordon doesn’t play, the majority of touches in the Chargers backfield likely go to Justin Jackson. The Chiefs defense does provide a very good matchup for opposing backs, as they’ve struggled against them on the ground and through the air. Jackson would be a safe RB2 play if Gordon can’t go, while Gordon if playing is worth starting in lineups, but has potential to be a boom or bust play.
Keenan Allen comes into this game on quite a roll. He’s made the most of his increase in targets since the Chargers bye and has 100 plus yards and/or a touchdown in his last six games. He should be started without hesitation in all fantasy formats. Both Tyrell and Mike Williams can be big play dependent, but the good news for them is the Chiefs allow their fair share. Tyrell Williams hasn’t cleared 50 yards and/or scored a touchdown since week nine, but this could be a week to bounce back. Mike hasn’t seen targets in volume, so both would be risky fantasy plays. On paper, this a decent matchup for Antonio Gates. Unfortunately with Berry’s return and limited targets he’s a very risky fantasy play.
The good news for football fans is that Patrick Mahomes appears to be matchup proof. No matter who he’s gone up against, he’s been able to put up big numbers, and now he faces a Chargers defense he got for four touchdowns in week one. Obviously if you have Mahomes, you start him with confidence. With Spencer Ware listed as doubtful, Damien Williams should see the majority of the snaps in the Chiefs backfield. This could be a committee approach, but Williams is an intriguing flex play as the Chargers have struggled defending pass catching running backs.
Tyreek Hill played through injury on Sunday, but it didn’t matter as the Ravens couldn’t contain him. Listed as questionable, Hill is still a matchup nightmare and will be a must play fantasy option. The Chargers have been stingy to opposing tight ends, but Travis Kelce is a “start him if you have them” caliber player. Kelce has had struggles against the Chargers of late, but in Ware’s absence he might see a few more targets thrown his way. Sammy Watkins is still out, so there’s no telling what production will come from the other Chiefs pass catchers. Chris Conley has been inconsistent, Demarcus Robinson came out of nowhere last week, and Kelvin Benjamin could debut. It makes for a situation to avoid.
Despite both teams being banged up on this short week, this game should live up to the hype. Both offenses should be able to move the ball and keep this one close. I’m going with the Chiefs in this one however as staying at home on a short week, mixed with Rivers’ struggling historically at Arrowhead could be the difference. My prediction is Chargers 27 Chiefs (-3.5) 34