Kansas City Chiefs (1-0, 0-1 ATS) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1, 0-1), SNF, 8:20 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Chiefs 29, Ravens 25.5
Spread/Total Movements: 2.5 to 3.5, 54.5
Weather: 72 degrees, 5% chance of rain, light wind
Chiefs Injuries to Watch: None of note.
Ravens Injuries to Watch: WR Marquise Brown (ankle, questionable), LT Ronnie Stanley (ankle, questionable), LG Tyre Phillips (knee, IR), CB Chris Westry (meniscus, IR), CB Marlon Humphrey (back, questionable), CB Jimmy Smith (ankle, questionable)
Brolley’s Chiefs Stats and Trends
The Chiefs are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games, including a 2-9 mark as a favorite.
The Chiefs are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games in September.
Kansas City beat Baltimore 34-20 as 3.5-point road underdogs in Week 3 last season.
Patrick Mahomes didn’t have a Super Bowl hangover in the season opener with 337/3 passing while averaging 9.4 YPA and he added 5/18/1 rushing. Mahomes has thrown for 374+ yards with nine passing TDs in three career games against the Ravens.
Travis Kelce put up a casual 6/76/2 receiving on seven targets against the Browns. He’s now posted 6+ catches and 65+ yards in 12 straight games and he’s scored 16+ FP in each of those contests with 11 scores in that span (postseason included). Kelce has gone 6/87, 7/89, and 7/77/1 receiving in his last three matchups against the Ravens.
Tyreek Hill went for a silly 11/197/1 receiving on 15 targets in the season opener against the Browns, which gives him double-digit targets in four straight games dating back to the postseason. With Hill, the Ravens will have to be more selective with their zero-blitzes after they repeatedly sent the house at Derek Carr in Week 1. Hill has posted 5/77/1 and 8/139 receiving in his two career matchups against the Ravens.
Mecole Hardman finished second in WR routes (34) but he posted a typical Hardman line with 3/19 receiving, and his aDOT sat at -.3 yards on three targets. Hardman has gone for 80+ yards and a touchdown in each of his two games against the Ravens.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire needs a break-through performance in the worst way after another uninspiring showing to start the 2021 season. He finished with 14/43 rushing (3.1 YPC) while catching all three of his targets for 29 yards (9.7 YPR) in a victory over the Browns. CEH did play on 72% of the snaps, well ahead of Darrel Williams (22%) and Jerick McKinnon (6%) so it could be just a matter of time before he busts out. CEH has just five career TDs and Andy Reid hasn’t found a way to get CEH more involved in the passing game since early in his rookie campaign (either that or he’s no longer interested in doing it). Still, all indicators continue to point toward CEH getting some positive regression playing in one of the league’s best offenses, and maybe it will come this week against a Ravens’ defense he torched for 134 scrimmage yards early last season.
Brolley’s Ravens Stats and Trends
The Ravens are 9-1 ATS in 10 games as an underdog with Lamar Jackson with their lone failed cover coming against the Chiefs in 2019.
Baltimore is 4-1 toward overs in its last five home games.
The Ravens backfield is still a complete mess. Ty’Son Williams played the best with the rock in his hands with 9/65/1 rushing and 3/29 receiving, but he screwed up in pass protection and in RPOs and earned a spot on the bench. Latavius Murray stepped into the lineup and looked like a 31-year-old RB who just got cut, finishing with 10/28/1 rushing. Devonta Freeman could be added to the mix so play Williams or Murray at your own risk, but the Chiefs did get gashed by the Browns for 21/116/3 rushing last week.
Lamar Jackson had a rough first showing of the season with two lost fumbles, but he ran for 86 yards and he added 235/1 passing (7.8 YPA). The ball will be in his hands more than usual in a potential negative game script and with their backfield situation. He’s averaging 170.3 passing yards per game with three TDs and 65.3 rushing yards per game with one rushing TD in three career matchups with the Chiefs.
Marquise Brown has posted 80+ yards and/or a TD in nine straight games (postseason included) after catching all six of his targets for 69 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders on Monday Night. The Chiefs have suffocated Brown in two career games, limiting him to just 4/62 receiving on 15 targets the last two seasons.
Sammy Watkins showed up in Week 1 with 4/96 receiving on eight targets with a team-best 37 routes in his first game with the Ravens. He gets a #RevengeGame this week against his old squad. Browns WRs combined for just 9/144 receiving last week.
Mark Andrews fell flat against the Raiders last week with just 3/20 receiving on five targets, but he did at least run a team-high 37 routes. The Chiefs limited Andrews to just 6/37 on 15 targets the last two seasons but Browns TEs did go for 7/120 receiving last week.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 29.2 (29th)
Week 1 – Plays per game: 63 (22nd)
Week 1 – Pass: 63.5% (14th) | Run: 36.5% (19th)
Week 1 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 23 (12th)
Week 1 – Plays per game: 72 (13th)
Week 1 – Pass: 51.4% (26th) | Run: 48.6% (7th)
This game is probably the most straight-forward of the week in the sense that you know exactly who you’re starting. We don’t have any questions about where the ball is going to and where the production will likely come from. However, the Ravens are in an ominous spot. The Chiefs are 3.5-point road favorites, which marks the biggest home-underdog spread the Ravens have gotten since Week 4, 2017. Baltimore is going to try to run the ball, but they may have to abandon it if the Chiefs run hot and build a lead. That’s not the way the Ravens want to play. Baltimore is 0-2 ATS against Kansas City in their last two meetings, but the good news (for fantasy), is that both of those contests were points-fests – combining for 61 and 54 points.
(Note: We’re dealing with very small sample sizes early in the season – so I’m saving the deep dive into play-calling tendencies until Week 4.)
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
With the number of times that OC Greg Roman has mentioned that he wants to more prominently feature the pass, you’d think he’d finally try to set it in motion. It didn’t happen in Week 1. The Ravens’ collapsing offensive line likely had something to do with that, and that poses a massive problem for Baltimore as we head into Week 2.
That’s because Chief DC Steve Spagnuolo has had a lot of success playing Cover 1 against this Raven offense, while also not being afraid at all to bring the house with zero blitzes against QB Lamar Jackson. Given how often Jackson was under pressure from the Raiders last week, “Spags” has to be utterly licking his chops to pin his rushers’ ears back and unleash them.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
This is as simple a game on the slate as there is to break down. You know who you’re playing from the Chiefs, at least with the “Big Three.” (For what it’s worth, the Ravens put two of their top four CBs, Marcus Peters and Chris Westry, on IR, and both of their other top CBs are listed as questionable. Yikes.)
When it comes to RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, I think you just have to suck it up and understand that his opportunity is huge. He had a 72% snap share in Week 1 and handled 89.5% of the backfield opportunities, but the Chiefs simply don’t need to run the ball with alacrity to move the chains. I mean, would you when Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes were hooking up as easily as they were with the Browns? CEH did torch the Ravens last year, and with Baltimore’s offense collapsing around Lamar Jackson, the run game could be more important for the Chiefs in Week 2. But that’s not enough for me to consider CEH any more than an RB2.
At WR, perennial breakout candidate Mecole Hardman continues to be one of the biggest disappointments in all of fantasy football. Despite finishing second in routes (33) among Chief WRs and running one on 80.5% of Mahomes’ dropbacks, indicating an increased role, he did nothing in Week 1 to suggest he’ll be a consistent fantasy option. He has, however, gone for 80+ yards and a touchdown in two career spots against the Ravens, and Baltimore’s secondary has been decimated by injuries.
You have to play Lamar Jackson, but the vibes are nuclear here, though not of his doing. The offensive line is a massive problem — LT Ronnie Stanley (ankle) is out, LG Tyre Phillips (knee) is out for the year, and RT Alejandro Villanueva was a pylon last week. Villanueva will likely slide over to LT, his more natural position, but there are now multiple huge holes up front against a Steve Spagnuolo defense that is going to bring a ton of pressure.
WR Marquise Brown (ankle) looks like he’s trending to play, and he had a strong Week 1, but the injury is a little bit worrying. Both he and Sammy Watkins in a #RevengeGame could get behind the defense for a big play if Spags decides to bring a zero blitz and the Ravens’ porous OL manages to pick it up. Brown is a WR3 given the injury, and Watkins a dart-throw FLEX. TE Mark Andrews is an obvious start.
In the backfield, the only guy I’m comfortable playing is Ty’Son Williams. I expect he will rotate going forward with Latavius Murray getting the first crack, but Williams looked by far the best of any Raven RB in Week 1. He’s a low-end RB2.