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2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 13: Chiefs 22, Broncos 9 (By Ross Jacobs)

Date:
December 7, 2021 11:11 AM
December 7, 2021 11:11 AM

2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 13: Chiefs 22, Broncos 9 (By Ross Jacobs)

 

The first two drives for Kansas City looked like business as usual. They drove right down the field and scored a TD and a FG for a quick 10-0 lead. And then things just kind of fizzled...the Chiefs would only score two more FG's on their own. Their last 9 points were off of turnovers by Denver.

I know most of FFM is as heavily invested in this offense as I am, and it's been hell watching Mahomes and company struggle to put up points for over a month now. We got the one great game against the Raiders and collectively assumed that all was right with the world. Turns out it's not.

So what's holding back the KC offense? The same thing that's been bothering them for the past month. Sketchy blocking, penalties, drops, a few inaccuracies from Mahomes, an underrated opponent, and teams playing deep coverage. A lot of these issues KC can fix themselves. The blocking and penalties for example. If they could just clean those up a bit the offense would seem more normal.

Drops have also been an issue, particularly by Tyreek Hill. Not trying to pick on one of the best receivers in the game, but he's been looking a lot like the 2020 version of Diontae Johnson in that department. Of course, this year DJ has barely dropped anything. It's very likely just a temporary issue or perhaps something Hill needs to address, but regardless it is holding the offense back at the moment. Drops kill drives, but even worse is when the ball goes off a receiver's hands straight to a defender. That's happened to Tyreek at least 4 times this year that I can remember. It's just bad luck unfortunately.

Let's also not forget that Denver is a pretty stingy defense. They are currently 3rd in the league in points allowed per game at 18.2 and 10th in passing yards per game. Fangio is the originator of the cover 4 scheme that's becoming more and more popular in the league this year due to the Rams success with it last year under Brandon Staley. The other two teams running this scheme are the Chargers (7th in pass yards per game) and Eagles (11th). Shockingly, if you drop a bunch of defenders it makes it much tougher for teams to throw. Rocket science I know.

In this game, the Chiefs essentially just abandoned the idea of throwing midway through the 3rd quarter. They weren't having much success and the defense was suffocating the Broncos, so they just began running and throwing short passes to the RB's.

So can the offensive issues be fixed? Perhaps. There's a variety of factors at play here, but I don't see any particular reason why they can't. The Raiders are a great place for KC to bounce back this week. When they met two weeks ago the Chiefs toyed with the Vegas defense to the tune of 41 points. After that the Chiefs get the Chargers, Steelers, Bengals, and Broncos again. No particularly easy defenses, but nothing too scary either. The Chargers are pretty good against the pass, but they can be beaten. Same goes for the Bengals. The worst matchup is the rematch with Denver but most fantasy seasons will be done by then.

I think we'll see a bit of a return to normal for KC the next month. Things may not be as high flying as they have been the past 3 years, but it shouldn't be the crapfest we've dealt with the last 4-5 weeks either.

The real story with the Chiefs is their defense. What looked like arguably the league's worst defense the first month of the season magically morphed into a top 10 unit basically overnight. Check out their last seven games of points allowed: 13, 27 (turnovers mostly responsible), 17, 7, 14, 9, 9. Now there's several bad offenses in that group, but they also shut down the Packers (albeit without Rodgers), the Cowboys, and Raiders. They are now 8th in the league in points allowed per game at 21.2!

Somehow most people still haven't caught on that the Chiefs defense is to be feared now. We still think of them as a joke because of the atrocious start to the season, but the reality is very different now.

If the Chiefs offensive struggles are mostly a fluke and the defense is actually a pretty good unit now, you have to take the Chiefs seriously as a Superbowl contender again. They are right in the mix with the Patriots and Bills. They should finish out the season 3-2 or 4-1 maybe which would give them 11 or 12 wins and a top 2 seed in the AFC.

The Broncos fall to 6-6 but still have life. They draw the lowly Lions next week which should get them to 7-6, then they finish out with the Bengals, Raiders, Chargers, and Chiefs. If they can somehow go 2-2 in that stretch it would get them to 9 wins with a shot at a wildcard spot. The two key games are against the Bengals and Chargers as those are two of the teams they'll be battling for the final playoff spots. Tiebreaks over them would go a long way towards getting in.

Ultimately, I don't think the Broncos will make it. They have a pretty good defense, but the offense is a mess. The big issue is their offensive line is atrocious and Bridgewater is being pressured on almost every play. Teddy is fine if he has time to throw, but muddy the pocket and he gets jittery and starts misfiring. My best guess is the Broncos only win 1 of those last 4 games and finish 8-9 just out of the playoffs.

 

 

Fantasy Notes

 

--Everyone and their grandmother was predicting a big game for Javonte Williams (23-102-0, 6-76-1/9) and boy did he deliver. It's been painfully obvious all year that Javonte is by far the best rookie RB and already one of the best in the entire league. This should have been the final straw to give him the starting job, but this never works out with NFL coaches. You can take it to the bank that as soon as Melvin Gordon can go he'll be back out there as the lead guy in a 60-40 split.

Just to give some context on how good Javonte is: RC and I were texting during the game and we both feel that he is performing better than any RB we've seen all year except Derrick Henry. That includes Jonathan Taylor. Now we're not saying Javonte will necessarily be a better fantasy producer than Taylor at any point in his career. We're simply saying he has the potential to do so. Taylor is a great RB no doubt, one of the best in the league, but his fantasy success has just as much to do with his situation (a great o-line, weak opponents, and tons of carries) as his talent.

Will Javonte ever get those factors working for him? Maybe, maybe not. He certainly doesn't have the line right now. But if he ever does watch out because he's as good as any back in the league. He'll be a top 4 pick in 2022 redrafts I can almost guarantee.

*RC NOTE: I AM saying Javonte will be better than Jonathan Taylor (no slam on JT). I’ll go out there on that limb. I’ve been on that limb for a few months...impatiently waiting. It took about a season+ for Frank Reich to get it through his thick skull. Fangio probably the same, or new coach/pal of Aaron Rodgers next year will get it. 

 

--If you haven't already bailed on Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant, it's time to do so. Both are great players, fantastic talents that are being underutilized. This goes back to talking about situation like with Javonte. Right now Teddy has no time to throw and so he is forced to take the short, safe throws to Jeudy and the TE's instead of looking for Sutton down the field. If he could ever get time for Sutton to beat 1-on-1 coverage outside, we might have something, but I don't see any cupcakes on the schedule for that to work against. It's the exact same issue that Claypool is dealing with in Pittsburgh. Both guys are a random play each week where you hope they connect on that one deep ball to make the day.

 

--Fant's situation is much the same. Great player but Teddy is splitting targets evenly between Fant and Okwuegbunam. Smart for real football. Sucks for fantasy. And of course, Okwuegbunam is a good TE in his own right. He deserves a starting spot too. But until one of these guys moves on I have no interest in either for fantasy.

 

--I've already said my piece on Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce. I believe they will all bounce back somewhat over the last month. That's the core of the KC offense. Nothing is wrong with them per se. They still know how to play football. The points will come, just maybe not at the insane rates we expected when we drafted them this year.

*RC NOTE: We will discuss the Mahomes-Tyreek dilemma more on the Video Q&A tonight. No, Tyreek is not killing you -- he’s the #5 PPR PPG WR in Fantasy a blink from #3. Mahomes is more of an issue, we’ll discuss more throughout the week. 

 

--The one KC player I haven't addressed yet is Clyde Edwards Helaire (14-54-0, 3-28-0/3). As expected he came right back to a solid lead position over Darrel Williams. What I didn't necessarily expect was that while Williams lost most of the run game work, he retained a decent chunk of the passing work at RB. That, plus the lack of scoring opportunities for the offense in general, has held Helaire back from making the jump into RB1 scoring that I thought might happen.

The good news is that Helaire has his normal workload back and is getting a decent amount of catches again. He's a safe RB2 for the moment as KC continues to rely on the short game as teams try to take away the deep ball. If they can reconfigure the offense in some manner to regain their explosiveness and start scoring closer to 30 ppg again, Helaire is a decent bet to get a piece of that and possibly propel him into back end RB1 territory. It's pure speculation though. I haven't seen any evidence that is happening yet. For now he's the same RB2 he's been for two years now.

*RC NOTE: For me, CEH and Mecole Hardman have been trying to tell you who they are in this KC situation for two seasons now. We all keep fighting it, and wanting to believe in fairy tales. We have to reprogram ourselves a touch on ‘everything KC is fantastic’. Tyreek and Kelce are...not Josh Gordon and not CEH. Kareem Hunt, the backup RB for the Browns, is a better FF RB than CEH week-to-week. Old Hunt memories also haunt CEH, because we keep (and I did as well when CEH was drafted) thinking ‘if Hunt was that good with KC, then certainly CEH will be great!’ 

There’s a reason why the Chiefs Vegas line is always inflated. The Chiefs are 12-16 ATS/against the spread the past two regular seasons...because our minds are programmed to believe KC is something they are not. They aren’t bad...just our ‘feeling’ on them is corrupt...and it bleeds into our FF analysis. 

 

 

Snap Counts of Interest

 

29 = Clyde Edwards-Helaire

26 = Darrel Williams

 

60 = Javonte Williams

17 = Mike Boone

 

68 = Courtland Sutton

67 = Tim Patrick

56 = Jerry Jeudy

14 = Kendall Hinton



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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

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