Kansas City Chiefs (3-3, 2-4 ATS) at Tennessee Titans (4-2, 4-2), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Chiefs Stats and Trends
The Chiefs are the only AFC West team with a losing ATS record at 2-4.
Kansas City is 4-13 ATS in its last 17 games.
Patrick Mahomes has now thrown more INTs this season (8) than he did in each of the last two seasons. He’s thrown INTs in five straight games and multiple INTs in three of his last four games. He’s still tearing it up with multiple TD passes and 22+ FP in every game this season. Josh Allen just ripped the Titans for 353/3 passing and 29.7 FP last week.
Tyreek Hill still got his production against the Football Team in Week 6, but he wasn’t quite right playing through a quad injury that caused him to miss practice time leading up to the game. He finished with 9/76/1 receiving on a team-best 12 targets (26% share), but he played on just 57% of the snaps and he ran a route on 58% of Patrick Mahomes’ dropbacks. Hill didn’t have quite the same burst he typically displays, and he also dropped another pass that resulted in an interception for the second straight game. Stefon Diggs posted 9/89/1 receiving in this matchup last week.
Mecole Hardman has posted his two best receiving totals the last two weeks for a combined 13/138 receiving, but Demarcus Robinson did run more routes (39 to 37) and he scored more FP (13.6 to 9.8) last week. Secondary options Emmanuel Sanders (5/91 receiving) and Cole Beasley (7/88/1) each went off against the Titans last week.
Travis Kelce has scored 17+ FP in five of his six games this season after posting 8/99 receiving on 11 targets despite playing a season-low 82% of the snaps. The Titans limited Dawson Knox to 7.5 FP last week with the rest of the passing game going off.
Darrel Williams stepped into the lead role in Kansas City’s backfield in Week 6, and he saw more touches in a game (24) than Clyde Edwards-Helaire had seen in a game since Week 6 of 2020. Williams hung 23.9 FP in his first start since CEH landed on the injured reserve with his knee injury, which will keep him out through at least Week 8. He finished with 21/62/2 rushing and 3/27 receiving on four targets against Washington while playing a generous 72% snap share. Jerick McKinnon played a small role on 28% of the snaps, posting 3/10 rushing and adding a five-yard reception on four targets. Buffalo RBs Zack Moss and Devin Singletary combined for 13/51 rushing and 7/31 receiving against the Titans last week.
Brolley’s Titans Stats and Trends
Tennessee is 4-1 ATS in its last five games.
The Titans are 8-1 toward overs in their last nine games as an underdog.
Derrick Henry placed the Titans’ offense on his back and carried them to a victory with 20/143/3 rushing against the Bills — he has 19 carries of 10+ yards this season. After flopping in the season opener, Henry has 110+ rushing yards in each of his last five games with 10 total rushing TDs in that span. The Chiefs are giving up 4.7 YPC to RBs, and Henry had 257/3 rushing in two matchups against Kansas City during the 2019 season.
Ryan Tannehill has topped 19+ FP just once this season with Henry averaging two rushing TDs per game since Week 2. Tannehill’s TD rate is sitting at just 3.0% and his YPA average is at 7.3 yards this season after he posted a 7.2% TD rate and a 8.6 YPA average in 2019-20. It hasn’t helped that his receiving corps can’t seem to get healthy, but this is a spot to potentially get right against the Chiefs. Kansas City gave up 28+ FP in four straight games before running into Taylor Heinicke last week, whom they held to 182/1 passing.
With Julio Jones aggravating his hamstring injury last week, A.J. Brown will be the no-doubt top option in this passing attack this week. Brown has been battling his own hamstring injury, but he managed a 79% snap share on his way to 7/91 receiving on nine targets against the Bills, which was his best fantasy performance of the season. Brown had fallen below 50 receiving yards in his previous four games this season. The Chiefs have held Terry McLaurin (4/28 receiving) and Stefon Diggs (2/69) in check in each of the last two weeks.
The Titans continue to be a hot mess behind Brown and Julio at receiver. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine has separated a bit after running the most routes (17) and posting the most production (3/27 receiving) of the secondary options. Anthony Firkser, Chester Rogers, and Geoff Swaim each ran 11 routes last week followed by Marcus Johnson with 10 routes.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.1 (11th)
Plays per game: 71.7 (6th)
Pass: 63.2% (13th) | Run: 36.8% (20th)
Pace: 27.6 (14th)
Plays per game: 74.2 (1st)
Pass: 56.0% (26th) | Run: 44.0% (7th)
This slate is light on games with massive scoring upside, but this right here is an amazing spot. With both sides above-average in pace and top-6 in play volume, it should come as no surprise that this matchup is easily the highest rated game of the week. Prior to last week where Washington flopped, Chiefs’ games combined for at least 54 total points in five-straight for an average total of 63.4 combined points. Whew. Meanwhile, the Titans have been a shootout team as well – especially when they are underdogs (look at Brolley’s stat above). Kansas City’s games keep going off because their defense is the worst unit in the league – they’re dead last in yards and second-from-last in points per drive allowed – and Tennessee isn’t much better! The Titans have given up 27 or more points in 4-of-6 games with the Jaguars and Colts being the lone team’s failing to hit that mark. For just a bit more juice towards the upside here, these two teams met twice back in the 2019 season and those contests went to the moon for 67 and 59 total points combined. Everything points to this spot following suit.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Why would I recommend a QB in Ryan Tannehill who has only topped 20 FPs in one game this season, has only averaged 15.6 FPG over his last three, and has fallen short of floor value in each? When the Titans defeated Buffalo on Monday Night Football, they positioned themselves with an 87% chance to make the playoffs. Tennessee will close out the rest of the season with the fifth-easiest schedule. And they’ll welcome two of their three most significant remaining tests at home. That includes this one against Kansas City — fortunately, from both a personnel and a coverage-shell standpoint, it’s a matchup Tannehill should thrive in.
One individual I’ve been bearish on in the past has pieced together some consistency, especially over the last two weeks. More than anything, the rapport between Mecole Hardman and Patrick Mahomes has been clear as day. There is no doubt that OC Eric Bieniemy has drawn up plays specifically designed to quickly put the ball into Hardman’s hands. The interchangeable slot-to-outside rotation between Hill and Hardman envisioned when he was drafted has been set in motion. Hardman is averaging 13.2 FPG over the last two weeks with 17 total targets.
Tennessee recently lost corners Kristian Fulton and Caleb Farley to injury. For a defense hemorrhaging FPs to receivers out of the slot (second-most at 27.0), defending Hill and Hardman will fall on the shoulders of ‘21 third-round nickelback Elijah Molden and dimeback Chris Jackson. Molden is permitting 1.33 YPCS (30th among slot CBs), 0.33 FP/CS (36th), 0.28 AY/CS (31st), and a 153.0 TPR (43rd) that borders on perfect. Molden has been the sixth-most targeted slot corner this season. Jackson has better metrics than Molden this season. And that is likely to land him across from Hill when DC Shane Bowen has a say.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Tennessee had a massive win against the Bills in Week 6, revitalizing their entire season, but they still have some serious issues headed into Week 7’s showdown with Kansas City.
Those start — as they’ve been for most of the year — with the wide-receiver position, where Julio Jones aggravated his hamstring injury last week and is up in the air to play. He joins AJ Brown (illness) and Chester Rogers (groin) in the injured department.
There’s no word on if Brown’s illness is the same that affected him last week before he suited up anyway against Buffalo, but it sounds like Brown had a pretty severe case of food poisoning and toughed it out. It’s possible he’s working to regain the weight and conditioning he lost with the illness.
AJ Brown had food poisoning. Was very sick for 48 hours, needed an IV. From where? “Chipotle. I’m sorry, Chipotle. Probably won’t get an endorsement with Chipotle.”— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) October 19, 2021
My body is rejecting any food I eat . This shii ain’t no joke— AJ Brown (@1kalwaysopen_) October 21, 2021
If any of the Titans’ trio can’t go in this glorious matchup, it will make Nick Westbrook-Ikhine all the more appealing. The odds suggest at least one Titan WR is missing this game, so I am fully on board firing up Westbrook-Ikhine as a WR3.
.@Titans OC Todd Downing on WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: I can't say enough good things about him. He works hard, and he's an extremely valuable part of our offense— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) October 21, 2021
Obviously, I like that Wes is fond of Ryan Tannehill’s matchup. But I’d be much more fond of him if Brown is available to him on Sunday. I’m not counting on Julio at all — if Julio does manage to play, he will be as volatile as volatile can be, though the matchup is obviously appealing.
Obviously, Derrick Henry is in your lineup, but if you just want a further push… (left and bottom are bad). And the Chiefs will be down LB Anthony Hitchens (tricep).
The Chiefs continue to be an easy fantasy team to deduce, despite Patrick Mahomes really toeing the line between reckless and improvisational, more so than ever falling to the “reckless” side. Here’s what our Greg Cosell had to say about Mahomes this week:
“Mahomes still at times a tendency to break down in the pocket prematurely without working through progressions with the result that he continued to leave some throws on the field, He has perceived pressure more over the last month than in previous seasons.”
Still, Mahomes threw for 397 yards and 2 TD (with 2 INT) last week, and that was even with Tyreek Hill playing limited snaps through injury and Travis Kelce favoring his hand a couple of times. (Hill is questionable but expected to play this week, and Kelce doesn’t have a gameday designation.) As Wes points out above, the horrible injury woes for the Titans’ secondary makes this a blowup spot for the KC passing game, and with byes in play, Mecole Hardman is extremely viable this week. You can even take a shot on Demarcus Robinson or Byron Pringle and hope for a big play.
“Williams isn’t just a must-start, he’s our No. 5-overall RB on the week.
He should be viewed no differently for fantasy than as a richer man’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Essentially, CEH if CEH were allowed to score touchdowns. (Williams is the only Chiefs player with a carry inside the five-yard-line, and he has 5 such carries.) Over the past two weeks (minus CEH), Williams has handled 26 of 30 carries and 9 of 13 targets out of the backfield (73% XFP%) while playing on 56% of the team’s snaps. Over this span, he’s averaged 15.6 carries, 5.5 targets, 19.8 XFP (RB4), and 19.2 fantasy points per four quarters (RB6).
Gamescript is strong (favored by 5.5-points), and the matchup is neutral-at-worst, against a Titans defense that ranks 7th-worst in YPC allowed (4.62) and middle-of-the-pack in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (-0.3).”
In other words… Williams has CEH’s role, plus the role CEH doesn’t have because he loses it to Williams.