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chargers vs. Chiefs sit/start tips for week 2 Thursday evening football

“They wrote me off, but I’m not writing back.” What a bar. What a way to end week 1 of the fantasy football season. But we were already looking ahead within a few minutes Geno Smith we dropped the hottest quote of 2022. Updates of injuries and reactions to off-season assumptions immediately filled our timelines.

And we’ll see how accurate some of the analysis was when week 2 kicks off tonight.

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Battle for the AFC West kicks off as Chiefs host Chargers

Again, the NFL schedule makers got us ready for a good night. Instead of a possible Super Bowl matchup, we’re getting a future AFC playoff game. Patrick Mahomes didn’t seem to stop at the Chiefs’ unveiling of their new attack, but as you’ll see, Justin Herbert and the Chargers still have the firepower to match:

I’ve watched and rewatched this throw more times than I care to admit. I do not understand. It’s not just the pass itself, but the decision to split two defenders and put a ball for a third that confuses me. And look Herbert after the release. He knew it was good before it happened Keenan Allen‘s hands.

It’s hard to underestimate how much talent will be on the pitch during this match. But I’ll pay attention to a few things within the Chargers offense.

Last season, Los Angeles was sixth in the early-down pass rate in neutral with 56.8 percent. They opened at 66.7% in 2022. But even though he’s a cyborg below center, Herbert’s aDOT in those games was 5.5 air yards. For reference, Mahomes had a 6.6 aDOT on Sunday in similar circumstances. So you’d think the Chargers on the ground would be equally effective at keeping their attack moving.

Los Angeles was 30th in EPA per rush. Somehow their blockage got worse. Kansas City held James Conner to a quick 40.0% success rate and he needed a touchdown to save his day. Austin Thank you may need a similar spout. Or the Chiefs can force the Chargers into a high-scoring affair.

On the KC side of the ball, life without Tyree Hill looked pretty easy. My long-held belief was that the Chiefs could move their reception room to Hill Frankenstein. Instead of having one man do more than one thing, just have several boys. It makes our job as fantasy managers more difficult, but we soon saw who had that “Tyreek Hill” feature on Sunday.

Hill was the team’s leading final receiver in 2021, a position Mahomes targeted for 37.3% of his dropbacks. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman bound for most routes running from inland. But Smith-Schuster’s 1.79 YPRR was much better.

Unsurprisingly, Hill earned the most goals from over 20 air yards last year. Mahomes’ deep-ball rate has steadily declined as he’s seen more two-high covers, but he’ll still swing to the fences if given the chance. Again, Hardman deserved some looks. And of course, Marquez Valdes-Scantling took a handoff on a jet sweep to keep Kansas City’s penchant for pre-snap window dressing intact.

It’s all still there, just with new (and more) faces. Reports of the Chiefs’ deaths were greatly exaggerated. But they still have a big test ahead of them.

The Chargers defensive front nearly matched the Bills’ pressure at 30.2%. As result, Derek Carr was 26th in EPA per game. The Raiders’ only explosive passing game came in the fourth quarter, a 31-yarder to Darren Waller. Mahomes can handle pressure, but we’ll see if his new passing options can do the same.

Don’t put these guys on the couch

I’m trying to keep my reactions from last week in check. It’s easy to get excited when a late-round guy shows up. But we only have a few days to make lineup decisions, and we can’t use hype as a reason to start anyone. To help out, I’ve got a few guys worth starting out if you need a flex option.

Gerard Everett

Starting Everett (or feeling comfortable with it) shouldn’t depend on Allen’s availability (he’s already been ruled out). I mean, sure, anyone can connect two dots and see more opportunities for Everett with one less option for Herbert. But we don’t know how the Chargers would fill an Allen-sized hole in their offense. Let’s start with what we do know:

At worst, Los Angeles eased Everett on the attack. His TPRR of 17.4% was ranked 15th among his peers (min 4 goals). However, compare its use to other tight ends on new squads. Evan EngramThe TPRR was 11.4%. PB Howard earned half as many goals, and I forgot Austin Hooper was on the Titans until the fourth quarter. In addition, Everett was efficient with the looks he received.

Everett’s 2.35 YPRR puts him comfortably in the top five, with half of his targets on the way as the Chargers were in scoring position. The Chargers’ willingness to move him in his first game (slot, wide, backfield) points to their plans. I would start it Thursday night with the most fringe top-12 options.

Jerick McKinnon

I feel justified about Clyde Edwards-Helaire after sunday. The Chiefs put in him as a rusher and receiver, as we all envisioned, with two touchdowns to keep our hopes alive. But he was not a one-man army.

Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a big fantasy day in week 1. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

McKinnon matched Edwards-Helaire in snaps (27), but McKinnon’s 22.2% targets per route run (TPRR) rate was higher than Edwards-Helaire’s (20.0%). McKinnon also had a higher EPA per rush while the game was still competitive (0.3 to 0.15). His only downside was that he was absent from the red zone, but we can’t expect a similar scenario tonight.

McKinnon was a one-on-one trade with Edwards-Helaire in Week 1. At age 30, his 13.6 YAC per reception was in line with his younger counterpart (14.0). Kansas City will need explosive play to keep up with Los Angeles, and McKinnon still has the juice. If you need help with RB, take a look at McKinnon.

Mecole Hardman

Don’t get it twisted. I’m not trying to chase touchdowns here. Hardman shook in the end zone after most Cardinals fans left the stadium. In addition, he only had 16 receiving yards that day. But his use caught my eye, as the Chiefs will have to use all their weapons to win tonight.

Hardman saw a target on 24.0% of his routes in week 1. Only Mahome’s target Travis Kelce and Smith-Schuster at a higher rate. The types of goals were also intriguing.

Hardman led the team in goals in the red zone (3) and tied Smith-Schuster in deep goals, while the rest of his goals came in the short area of ​​the field. While mostly staying on the perimeter, it took into account his box score volatility. But it didn’t stop Mahomes from looking Hardman’s way.

My only concern is his participation in the route, as he ran just 25 of Mahomes’ 41 dropbacks (the fewest among the full-time players). However, Hardman did achieve a 28.3% airyard share in the opener. It will be less popular given its track record, but it’s worth a try if you need some spice in your lineup.

Let’s wait a week and see how it goes

On the other hand, I don’t want to overreact to a one game example. I’m still holding onto a few preseason stories that I couldn’t answer to last week’s action. Maybe week 1 was a sign of things to come, but I’m keeping these guys on my couch for now.

Joshua Palmer

The off-season story for Palmer was that he is the replacement for Allen. His 10.0 aDOT matches where Allen typically operates. When Allen ran out of time last season, it was Palmer who took over the coveted final role for the Chargers. And yet we didn’t see more work for the sophomores after Allen left the game.

The positive spins are that he ran the second most routes and was the only WR with a red zone target for Los Angeles in Week 1. Palmer and DeAndre Carter split the slot roll into three targets each. And Carter was the most prolific of the duo with field versatility.

Palmer looks like another cog in the Herbert machine. I would rather have more time to get some clarity even in what we expect to be a high scoring game.

Isiah Pacheco

Maybe I’m the stubborn one here. Anyway, I need to see more from Pacheco. Boxscore scouts will quickly point to his yardage total as a reason to start him. Okay, cool. I would also be happy with 12.2 points from a late round player. But let’s be honest about his results for a moment.

Pacheco’s first touch came after the Chiefs’ third drive as the last man in the rotation. He won two yards on two carries (with one goal-line attempt). We didn’t see the rookie until the fourth quarter when the score was 37-15. With the game in hand, Pacheco amassed 60 of his 62 yards as Edwards-Helaire took his seat and McKinnon mounted a pointless attack on their final drive. It’s hard to see a similar game scenario in TNF.

Pacheco did nothing on Sunday to change his pecking order status. He was the least efficient of the trio on the ground (0.01 EPA per attempt). In addition, he did not earn a single target on only four routes. I would wait another week for more clarity on Pacheco’s role going forward.

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