Buffalo Bills (3-1, 3-1 ATS) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-2, 1-3), 8:20 p.m., SNF
Brolley’s Bills Stats and Trends
The Bills have reeled off three straight covers and they’re 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games.
The Bills have completely dominated their opponents since their bizarre loss to the Steelers in the season opener, outscoring their last three opponents 118-21.
The Bills are 3-1 toward unders this season.
Buffalo has covered five straight road games, including four straight covers by double-digit margins.
Josh Allen didn’t need to do too much in Buffalo’s shutout victory over the Texans last week, posting 248/2 passing and 6/41 rushing. He’s averaged 8.3 YPA in each of his last two games after averaging 5.4 YPA in his first two games. Allen posted just 122/2 passing and 8/42 rushing against the Chiefs in the regular season before he used garbage time to rack up 287/2 passing and 7/88 rushing in the AFC Championship.
Stefon Diggs has posted 8+ targets and 60+ yards in every game, but he finally broke through last week with a dominant performance like the ones he showed routinely last season — he saw 37% of Allen’s attempts and 46% of his passing yardage. Diggs posted 10/123/1 receiving on 19 targets in two games against the Chiefs last season.
Emmanuel Sanders has seen 6+ targets in every game with 5+ catches and 70+ yards in his last two games since Allen hit his stride. DeVonta Smith posted 7/122 receiving in this matchup last week, and the Chiefs are giving up a healthy 14.2 YPR to WRs.
Cole Beasley has been a bit gamescript dependent through the first four weeks. He saw 13 targets in the two games that were at least moderately competitive against the Steelers and Dolphins, in which he posted a combined 19/158 receiving. In Buffalo’s two shutout victories, Beasley caught all six of his combined targets for just 52 yards. We should expect a competitive matchup this week, and he posted a combined 11/133/1 receiving on 16 targets in two games against the Chiefs last season.
Dawson Knox busted through with 5/37/2 receiving on eight targets (27% share) against the Texans, as he scored on a 25-yard post route and on a one-yard scramble play. Knox is a full-time player after he ran a route on 82% of Buffalo’s dropbacks last week. Dawson has scored in eight of his last 13 games with nine TDs total in that span. (postseason included). One of those performances includes his 6/42/1 receiving performance against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship.
Zack Moss has the slight advantage in this backfield the last two weeks with a 56% snap share in each game with Devin Singletary sitting around 44%. Singletary was more effective with 15/86 scrimmage compared to Moss’ 14/61 scrimmage, but Moss scored on a goal-line carry and ran more routes (17 to 11). It’s notable that 31 of Singletary’s rushing yards came with the backups on the field, and he fumbled for the fourth time but he’s been fortunate not to lose any of them. The Chiefs are giving up the fourth-most FPG (29.7) to RBs this season, including 4.9 YPC to the position.
Brolley’s Stats and Trends
The Chiefs won outright and covered both matchups against the Bills last season, a lopsided 38-24 affair in the AFC Championship — Kansas City covered by an average margin of 7.3 points in this matchup last season.
Even with a cover last week, the Chiefs are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games.
Kansas City is 3-1 toward overs this season.
Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 3+ TDs in every game, and he’s coming off a 278/5 passing performance against the Eagles. He averaged 8.6 YPA while posting 325/3 passing in Kansas City’s victory over the Bills in the AFC Championship. The Bills are giving up league-lows in FPG (10.5) and passing yards per game (167.3), but they’ve faced the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Jacoby Brissett, Taylor Heinicke, and Davis Mills
Tyreek Hill snapped out of his worst two-game stretch since 2019 in grand fashion last week. He won the week with 11/186/3 receiving against the Eagles after he had just 8/70 receiving in Weeks 2-3. The Bills are giving up the fewest FPG (22.2) to WRs this season, and they’ve limited Brandin Cooks (5/47 receiving) and Terry McLaurin (4/62) the last two weeks. Hill turned in 9/172 receiving against the Bills in the AFC title game last season.
Travis Kelce has fallen below 20+ FP in two straight games after reaching the mark in 10 straight games before that (postseason included). He posted just 4/23 receiving on six targets last week, which was his worst fantasy performance since he posted 3/31 receiving against the Broncos in Week 7 last season. Kelce hung 13/118/2 receiving on the Bills in the AFC Championship last season.
Mecole Hardman has seen four or fewer targets and under 35 receiving yards in three of his four games. He’s second in WR routes with 113, just ahead of Demarcus Robinson (106), but the Chiefs could add Josh Gordon to the mix starting this week. Hardman scored a receiving touchdown against the Bills in the AFC Championship as he had just 2/4/1 receiving and a 50-yard carry in the victory.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has seen 13+ carries in every game this season, and he went from averaging 3.3 YPC in the first two games to averaging 6.5 YPC in the last two games. He’s topped 100+ rushing yards in each of those games and he’s added a receiving TD in both games. On the downside, he saw his two lowest snap shares (62% and 52%) the last two weeks, and Darrel Williams has received both carries inside the five-yard line (he scored one of those carries). The Bills are giving up the fourth fewest rushing yards per game (51.3) and just 3.3 YPC to RBs this season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 28.3 (17th)
Plays per game: 65.3 (20th)
Pass: 59.7% (15th) | Run: 40.3% (18th)
Pace: 27.1 (11th)
Plays per game: 75.3 (2nd)
Pass: 57.0% (22nd) | Run: 43.0% (11th)
Game of the week! Honestly, this is probably the game of the year so far. These two teams have met twice since the start of 2020 and their Week 6 date last year produced just 43 total points and flew way under while the AFC Championship game went over for 62 points. Well, there is a lot working in the favor of a shootout here and it largely comes down to the Chiefs non-existent defense. Kansas City is giving up a ridiculous 3.34 points and 45.6 yards per drive and both of those figures lead the league. Just think about that for a second. Every time their opponents get the ball on offense, regardless of their field position, the Chiefs are expected to give up more than a field goal right off the bat. In a perfect bit of symmetry, the Bills offense is third in the league in points per drive (2.81) trailing only the Cardinals (2.96)… and the Chiefs (3.56). Kansas City’s faltering defense and high-scoring offense has fueled four-straight shootouts as their games have combined for 62, 71, 54, and 72 total points so far. This game is going to decide a lot of Week 5 fantasy matchups.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
It’s no surprise to see Vegas favoring Kansas City at home by 2.5 points. Nobody expected to see the Chiefs enter Week 5 at 2-2. A victory over Buffalo here would result in 3-2 records for these playoff-hopeful teams. But far too many factors are standing in the way of KC in this game. Patrick Mahomes is the top QB in the game. That said, even an offense led by Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill can’t overcome the deficiencies of an entire defense. Kansas City’s defense is surrendering the second-most FPG to entire opposing offenses (112.3). That number includes the second-most to QBs (26.0), fifth-most to RBs (29.5), 12th-most to WRs (39.9), and fourth-most to TEs (17.0).
The singular weakness of the entire Bills’ franchise is a struggling O-line that has permitted the sixth-most QB pressures this season. But the O-line is actually pretty good at establishing run blocking lanes. Zack Moss will need an injury to Devin Singletary before he’ll see the type of workload that would provide him the opportunity to go nuclear. Even though he’s sharing backfield touches with Singletary and Josh Allen, Moss is the unquestioned goal-line back for one of the three most explosive offenses in the NFL. He’s being provided with the second-most attempts/game inside the five among all RBs (2.33). Kansas City is yielding 7.75 red zone touches to opposing RBs (the most) and 2.0 rushing TDs/game (the most).
I also think this will be a huge game for Stefon Diggs, especially when he gets to work across from the overmatched Mike Hughes.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
I do understand that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a player folks make decisions on. CEH lost two awful fumbles in two straight games, definitely costing the Chiefs one game and potentially costing them a second (it was early, but the Chargers scored off it). And all Andy Reid did is… stick with his young RB. CEH has rewarded the Chiefs — and fantasy players — with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. The caveats still apply for Edwards-Helaire, who has a miniscule 5.7% target share (8 of 141) from a QB who simply doesn’t check the ball down. The Chiefs will have games where they don’t commit to running it at all. And the Chiefs love #2 RB Darrel Williams, which is why CEH saw merely a 54% snap share in Week 4. But the point here is that CEH has answered the bell two weeks in a row after Reid threw a tacit vote of confidence his way, and that counts for something. He’s a fantasy RB2. Just keep in mind that this is no longer the Bills defense he shredded for a career-high 161 rushing yards last year — the Bills have allowed the 4th-fewest FPG to opposing RBs this year.
Anyway, I’ve been a Josh Gordon skeptic for years, and that’s been a winning bet since the first year of Barack Obama’s second term. But I’m OK stashing him on a bench… even if I don’t think he’ll ever become more consistent than, say, Mecole Hardman already is in this offense.
Eric Bieniemy on the on-field relationship between Mahomes and Josh Gordon: "Those two have clicked from Day 1."— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) October 7, 2021
If you weren’t excited about Josh Gordon on the Chiefs before, just listen Travis Kelce describe what he’s seen so far from the former All-Pro 🔊🔥pic.twitter.com/6SyXKI1ztt— CHIEFS HIGHLIGHTS (@ChiefsHighlight) October 4, 2021
You know to start Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. Diggs has been frustrating, but it’s impossible to sit a guy who has 42 targets in four games. Wes also made a really compelling case for Zack Moss above, even if you think the Bills will have to come out firing the football with alacrity to keep pace with the Chiefs (much like Philly did last week).
The Bills’ secondary passing options are what are more interesting. The Chiefs gave up massive production to Eagles TEs last week… and that is even with Jalen Hurts missing Zach Ertz for an easy TD and a second Dallas Goedert TD coming off the board. I’m in on Dawson Knox.
Brolley made a great case for Cole Beasley up above as well — this game should be competitive, so expect Allen to lean on his chain-mover in the slot. Both he and Emmanuel Sanders are WR3s. Sanders has seen 6 or more targets in every game so far, and he’s gone over 10 FP in PPR the last two weeks for the first time with Buffalo.