Week 9 Game Hub: GB-KC

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Week 9 Game Hub: GB-KC

Green Bay Packers (7-1, 7-1 ATS) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-4, 2-6), 4:25 p.m.

Brolley’s Packers Stats and Trends

  • The Packers are riding an NFL-best seven-game outright and ATS winning streak since no-showing in the season opener against the Saints.

  • Green Bay is 4-1 ATS in its last five games as an underdog.

  • The Packers have played under the total in five straight games.

  • Jordan Love will make his first career start with Aaron Rodgers (COVID) away from the team for at least the next 10 days. He played relatively well in a limited sample size in the preseason, completing 24/35 passes for 271 yards (7.7 YPA), one TD, and one INT, and he added 3/16 rushing with a lost fumble. The Chiefs are giving up the second-most FPG (23.9) to QBs, but they limited Daniel Jones to 222/2 passing and 5/12 rushing last week.

  • Davante Adams is expected to return to the lineup after missing last week with COVID. He posted 4+ catches and 55+ yards in each of his first six games this season, and he saw a hefty 34% target share from Rodgers. Adams played seven games without Rodgers and with Brett Hundley back in 2017, and he averaged 5.9/69.9 receiving and 8.7 targets per game with four TDs. A.J. Brown posted 8/133/1 receiving in this matchup back in Week 7.

  • ​​Marquez Valdes-Scantling will likely return from his hamstring injury this week, and he’ll give Love a vertical threat. MVS had 3/59/1 receiving in his last game against the 49ers in Week 3 before he picked his hamstring injury. The Chiefs have given up by far the most 40+ yard passing plays this season with 11, which is four more than the next closest teams.

  • Aaron Jones had his second-best fantasy performance of the season last week with 15/59/1 rushing and 7/51 receiving as he lined up at receiver more with Green Bay’s issues at WR. With Jones lining up all over the formation a little more, A.J. Dillon saw a season-high 16 carries for 78 yards last week on a 40% snap share. These RBs could be a little more active once again with Love seeing his first NFL action. Devontae Booker found plenty of success with 15/60 rushing and 5/65 receiving.

Brolley’s Chiefs Stats and Trends

  • The Chiefs are 4-15 ATS in their last 19 games, and they’ve failed to cover in four straight home games.

  • Patrick Mahomes averaged an ugly 5.7 YPA last week and he’s finished under 6.0 YPA in three of his last four games. He posted just 24.7 FP in the last two games combined, which is a mark he topped in five of his first six games. Andy Reid tried to rein him in a bit last week with his aDOT dropping from 8.2 yards in Weeks 1-7 to 7.3 yards in Week 8. The Packers limited Kyler Murray to 274 scoreless yards and 11.1 FP with the Cardinals scoring just 21 points overall.

  • Travis Kelce couldn’t get going even with a shorter passing attack. He finished with fewer than seven FP and 30 receiving yards for the second time this year. Kelce hasn’t been quite right since suffering a stinger late against the Bills in Week 5, and his fantasy production has tailed off for three straight weeks (17.9>13.5>5.7). He’s averaging a career-low 11.4 YPR heading into the second half of the season. The Packers have allowed three straight TEs (Ertz, RSJ, Kmet) to post 4+ catches and 40+ yards.

  • Tyreek Hill saw a season-high 18 targets last week, which he turned into 12/94/1 receiving. He’s seen double-digit targets in four of his last five games and he has 6+ catches in each of his last five games, but he’s reached 100+ receiving yards just once in the last seven games. Terry McLaurin (7/122/1 receiving), Darnell Mooney (5/45/1), and Ja’Marr Chase (6/159/1) have gone off in this matchup over the last month.

  • The Chiefs are using a heavy rotation behind Hill with Mecole Hardman (31 routes), Josh Gordon (23), Byron Pringle (23), and Demarcus Robinson (21) all working into the mix. Hardman is still the best secondary option after posting 5/63 receiving on seven targets, which gives him 4+ catches in each of the last four games. Christian Kirk posted 4/46 receiving in this matchup last week.

  • Darrel Williams has a little more competition in the backfield with Derrick Gore coming out of nowhere to post 11/48/1 rushing on 20% of the snaps last week. Williams still played 64% of the snaps, which he turned into 6/61 receiving and 13/49 rushing for 17.0 FP. Green Bay allowed Chase Edmonds and James Conner to run for three TDs last week, and they’re giving up a solid 110.4 scrimmage yards per game to RBs.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies

Packers

Pace (seconds in between plays): 32.1 (32nd)

Plays per game: 64.3 (25th)

Pass: 59.6% (17th) | Run: 40.4% (16th)

Chiefs

Pace: 27 (8th)

Plays per game: 73.3 (1st)

Pass: 66.0% (6th) | Run: 34.0% (27th)

Pace Points

With Rodgers out, a lot of the steam has been taken out of this game. The markets have adjusted the total down a whopping eight points since open and the Chiefs are now 7.5-point favorites despite all of their struggles. We have two massive competing trends converging here. First and foremost, Kansas City has been absolutely terrible ATS dating back to last year (as Brolley noted above) and they now have a great chance to pick up a much-needed win against Jordan Love making his first start. On the flipside, this Chiefs defense is awful. Like, apocalyptically bad. Kansas City has allowed 27 or more points to 6-of-8 opponents with the lone teams failing to hit that mark being the NFC East’s Washington and Giants. Can Green Bay and Love take advantage on fairly short notice? I’m not sure. Love looked like a rookie quarterback in the preseason and made some egregious decision-making errors with the ball. The good news is that this matchup couldn’t be much better and the Packers have a fantastic run game that will help lighten Love’s load.

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

NOTE: Each week, Huber’s Key Matchup Notes in the Fantasy Points Game Hubs are little snippets from Wes Huber’s industry-best, comprehensive Advanced Matchups bible. A DFS-slanted article typically available to only our Premium Subscribers, we are making this week’s edition FREE to coincide with our midseason price drop, with rates reduced by 50%. There is still plenty of time to get on board!

The absence of Aaron Rodgers cuts the legs out underneath everything the Packers hope to accomplish. With Mr. Rodgers in play, my money would have been invested against the Chiefs. Without him, the upside of the entire Green Bay offense is cut in half… sans Jordan Love, of course.

For the Chiefs… I’m gonna bite. The last time I listed Mecole Hardman as a Target, he returned my trust with his second-lowest output of the season (5.8 FPs in Week 7). But the Packers’ secondary losing the luxury of hiding their deficiencies is just too compelling to ignore. The defender I’ve had my eye on for multiple weeks is Chandon Sullivan. Following Jaire Alexander’s placement on IR, Sullivan has stepped in with surprising results as GBs replacement nickelback. But those numbers highlighting his success are of little interest to me this week.

Patrick Mahomes II has easily played the worst ball of his NFL career this season. But he’s completely maintained his extremely aggressive approach. And Sullivan will not only be forced to deal with aggressive lazers inside his zone to Hardman, some random gents named Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will also traverse his territory. But Hardman offers some interesting numbers that drew me toward him here. When working against Cover 6 during his career, Hardman leads all wideouts with 0.63 FP/Rt. He ranks second-best with 3.04 YPRR, second with 19.1 YPT, and third with a 47% increase in air yards/target.

Dolan’s Vantage Points

Obviously, the news cycle has been dominated by the fact that Aaron Rodgers has COVID-19 and, because he is not vaccinated, is in danger of missing not just this week’s game — which he is out for — but next week’s game. Why? Because unvaccinated players cannot return until at least a 10-day period has passed, and Rodgers was placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday… meaning the earliest he can be cleared is next Saturday.

I won’t get into his Friday comments — you can find them elsewhere.

We’ve seen no meaningful in-game action from Love — just preseason — so I thought it’d be interesting to look at Greg Cosell’s scouting report from our 2020 NFL Draft Guide:

Indeed, Love was a high-level traits prospect with some red flags, which is why he fell to the end of the first round. While this is an intimidating spot for Love, it’s important to note that he’s gotten a full week of practice as the starter, and Kansas City’s defense has been abysmal.

The Ringer’s Kevin Clark has an idea of where Love should be throwing the ball:

Anyway, from a season-long standpoint, I’m going to struggle to put anyone besides Aaron Jones and Davante Adams — who is back from COVID — into my lineups, though Love does offer some intriguing upside as a QB streamer in this glorious matchup. It is interesting for those who want to take a flier of all fliers that Marquez Valdes-Scantling looks likely to return from his hamstring injury this week.

For sure, it also helps Love that LT David Bakhtiari (ACL recovery) could make his 2021 debut against a Chief defense that just acquired EDGE Melvin Ingram at the trade deadline.

The only thing people are asking about the Chiefs right now is “what’s wrong with them?” And though their sheer talent level has them at 4-4, I would think Chief fans aren’t exactly thrilled with how Patrick Mahomes has looked. Indeed, the tape does show a different Mahomes than we’ve gotten used to seeing.

Here’s what Cosell has to say:

  • Mahomes too much head movement on his drop and set on Love interception and that is almost always indicative of not getting a clear picture; Again unnecessary movement resulting in another trick shot throw that had too much velocity and was too high to wide open Gordon in the end zone

  • Hill 6 yard TD on 3rd and goal was another example of Mahomes not seeing things clearly within structure, Giants played same tight red zone coverage rushing 3 and dropping 8 in 3 deep-5 under look; Kelce wide open to the boundary within the designed timing and structure of the play but Mahomes did not allow it to develop coming off it almost instantly on his drop, He looked back side and the throw to Hardman was there but Mahomes did not take it breaking down and then finding Hill on the crosser at the back of the end zone – Random luck

  • Mahomes right now is just not processing things cleanly which is speeding him up in the pocket resulting in a bit of a frenetic feel, He is not playing with needed pocket patience

  • Kelce lack of targets versus Giants a function of Mahomes, Kelce would have had a 1st quarter TD plus a few other catches

  • What also stood out was Mahomes was not as precise with his ball placement as we have seen him over the last couple of years, He was not scatter-shot but he was forcing receivers to make tough catches

  • Mahomes is a sandlot player right now (much like he was at Texas Tech): His lower body mechanics are poor, he is playing with little sense of discipline both fundamentally and within structure, he is not seeing things clearly resulting in pocket breakdowns both mentally and physically with far too much unnecessary movement

So, yeah. Mahomes’ struggles are directly contributing to those of Travis Kelce, though Kelce might also be dinged. Kelce took a big hit back in Week 5 and had a stinger as a result. Over his last three games, Kelce’s average depth of target has shrunk to 7.1 yards. In his first five games before injury, Kelce’s aDOT was 9.6 yards.

Tyreek Hill is at least the apple of Mahomes’ eye, and Wes said up above that he actually likes Mecole Hardman this week. Good luck!

Anyway, the breakout “star” of last week for the Chiefs was journeyman RB Derrick Gore, who played just 16 snaps but posted 11/48/1 on those snaps, as the Chiefs ran it to potentially protect Mahomes (it didn’t stop Darrel Williams from dominating in the passing game, however).

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