One week removed from a much-needed offensive explosion against the Raiders, the Chiefs face an immediate test this Sunday as they host one of the best rosters in the NFL in the Dallas Cowboys. Fresh off of bringing Whataburger to Missouri, gunslinger Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs could quickly find themselves in a Texas-sized shootout in what figures to be one of the highest-scoring games of the NFL season.
While so much is on the line for both teams, this matchup has plenty of major fantasy ramifications as well. Get your popcorn ready, because this game is going to be fun.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
If you have Patrick Mahomes on your fantasy bench, you should be sent straight to jail. After an underwhelming first half of the season, one in which Mahomes still ranked second in both passing yards (2,940) and touchdowns (25), the 26-year-old juggernaut remains the best in the world at what he does and is obviously locked in as a no-brainer QB1 option anytime he steps on the field. I could go into more detail, but the guy is really good at football and you should play him.
Edwards-Helaire has a good chance to return from the IR this week after missing the last six games with a knee injury. While backup Darrel Williams (614 total yards and 5 TDs on 126 touches so far this season) has led the committee that has kept the run game afloat in CEH’s absence, the Chiefs offense would no doubt be glad to get back the talented 22-year-old back. While he may be difficult to trust in his first game back, Edwards-Helaire and the Chiefs will look to establish a strong run game against a Dallas defense that is allowing 101.2 rushing yards per game (9th-highest in the NFL). If he’s healthy, fire up CEH as a usage-based RB2 with the upside that accompanies this explosive Chiefs offense.
While Williams filled in admirably while Edwards-Helaire was on the shelf, the 26-year-old LSU product will likely be relegated to backup duties upon CEH’s return. There are still enough opportunities, of which Williams has earned himself more of, in the Chiefs backfield for both backs to have standalone value in most formats. A borderline RB1 if CEH is for some reason ruled out this week, Williams should slide back in as a low-end RB3/FLEX play operating on the lesser end of a committee.
While much has been said lately about the historical significance of the generational speedster, Hill gets a juicy matchup this week against a Dallas defense that is allowing 252.8 passing yards per game (21st in the NFL). A must-start in all formats, Hill has a legit case to be the overall WR1 for dynasty, and possesses as much ceiling as any player in fantasy, regardless of position. If this game does end up turning into a track meet, expect the Cheetah (and his hearty 32.3% target rate) to be heavily involved in the offense as usual.
Plain and simple, Mecole Hardman is borderline droppable in most fantasy formats. Even in the deepest of leagues, if you’re even having to debate starting Hardman at this point, you might as well pack it in that week because your roster isn’t equipped to compete. Drafted as a field-stretching slot receiver with big-play ability, Hardman has yet again underwhelmed this season, both on the field and in fantasy. Though, obviously, the passing game plays through Kelce and Hill, the Chiefs have desperately needed a reliable WR2 for some time now, and Hardman has consistently been unable to fill that role. Hardman is far from fantasy relevance, despite being the facto #2 WR in such an explosive offense. Should have drafted DK Metcalf.
Josh Gordon may help the Chiefs offense in many ways on the field, as the big-bodied enigma is perfectly built to fill their need for another outside receiver opposite of Tyreek. Unfortunately, it’s not looking like any of that upside will translate to fantasy anytime soon, barring a drastic change in offensive philosophy. Though his route participation (nearly 50% in Week 10) has increased each week since his activation, Gordon’s target numbers look like binary the way they alternate between 1 and 0. He’s worth a stash in deeper leagues if you can afford to sink a roster spot for a while, but he’s starting to run out of time to give us hope for this fantasy season.
The old man has definitely still got it this season, as Kelce again is proving himself to be in his own stratosphere at the tight end position as it relates to fantasy (and really just life in general). He leads all TEs in receptions (62), yards (747), and comfortably leads all TEs in fantasy points per game (16.5). Arguably Patrick Mahomes’ primary receiver, Kelce should be started in all formats without hesitation. I don’t need to tell anyone to start Travis Kelce, so we can move on.
Dallas Cowboys (7-2)
When at full strength, Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense form one of the most up-tempo offenses in the NFL and are capable of putting up points in a hurry. Since returning from last season’s gruesome injury, Prescott is throwing the ball as well as any quarterback in football, period. Prescott actually leads the NFL in both adjusted yards per attempt (8.5), and catchable pass rate (83.2%). Even without alpha wide receiver Amari Cooper, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, Prescott will have no shortage of weapons at his disposal. Facing a Chiefs defense that has made gradual progress over the past few weeks, primarily in the secondary, Prescott is likely going to have to throw often in this one and should see plenty of opportunities. Dak is a high-end QB1 this week, and an elite DFS play in what could end up being surprisingly sneaky value.
After landing on the injury report this week with a knee injury, Elliott looks to be all systems go for Dallas’ showdown at Arrowhead (yes, it’s still Arrowhead dammit). Believe it or not, the Chiefs defense is actually the fifth-best unit against the run this season, though Elliott has been as matchup-proof as they come thus far. Elliott has been a rock-solid RB1 so far this year, accounting for 831 total yards (RB8) and 8 total TDs on a healthy 18.7 touches per game (RB9). To top it all off, Elliott has seen 36 red zone touches (RB3) to go along with 10 goal line caries (RB2.) We know Elliott’s workload is going to be there, even if the game goes pass-heavy, and he can be fired up with confidence as a solid RB1 with massive upside.
As talented as Pollard is, there is only so much standalone fantasy relevance that can be squeezed out of the backup to a workhorse such as Elliott. While Pollard’s efficiency numbers have been phenomenal (he ranks inside the top-five among all RBs in true yards per carry (5.4), juke rate (42.5%), and EPA (+15.7)), he has yet to play more than 42% of snaps in a game and is outside the top-30 in both carries (RB31) and targets (RB33). Pollard has shown more than enough flashes of big-play ability, but the volume just hasn’t been consistent enough to warrant anything more than low-end RB3/ desperation FLEX considerations. With that being said, if you’re taking some dart throws chasing upside, this might be the game to roll the dice on a guy like Pollard, especially in DFS formats.
Even before Cooper was ruled out for this game, Lamb was a good bet for WR1 production, as the 22-year-old has firmly established himself as one of the best young receivers in football, and an elite fantasy option. Lamb has seen steady volume from Prescott, commanding more than eight targets per game thus far. With Cooper sidelined and the talented Michael Gallup playing outside opposite him, Lamb should see a heavy dose of targets, specifically near in the end zone, as the team’s top threat in the passing game. Lamb needs to be started in all formats.
Admittedly, Michael Gallup is one of my favorite wide receivers in the NFL. His field-stretching ability is on par with anyone, and he has made significant growth in each of his four professional seasons. Last week, in his first game returning from a Week 1 calf injury, Gallup caught three balls for 42 yards (on five targets) in a 40-point clowning of the Falcons. While Gallup’s lack of volume can be written off to negative game script, it was encouraging to see him still running his usual amount of routes in his first game back. Healthy and facing a beatable Chiefs defense, Gallup could end up being a sneaky WR3 play this week, with about as much upside as anyone outside the top-30 receivers. You could do a lot worse than plug Gallup in your FLEX spot in such a juicy matchup.
One of the biggest fantasy breakouts at the tight end position looks to have come to an end with the return of Gallup, as Schultz has seemingly settled back into his floor for fantasy as of late. After putting up legit weekly TE1 numbers for a stretch, Schultz has registered just 11 total fantasy points over the last three weeks combined. The return of Gallup further muddies the waters for the 25-year-old, though his touchdown upside remains very real. A sign of just how barren the TE landscape has been this year, Schultz still teeters on the low-end TE1/TE2 borderline, especially against a Chiefs defense that has struggled to contain opposing tight ends.