Now with a 7-2 file — and the lead within the race for the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed — all the pieces is trying good for the Kansas City Chiefs. But on Sunday, they face a troublesome check in opposition to the Los Angeles Chargers — a well-recognized foe that at all times performs them shut. Still, the chance is thrilling. With a victory, Kansas City can put the AFC West virtually utterly out of attain for any of its rivals — one thing that no person thought can be attainable at this level within the season.
Here are a couple of Chiefs who is perhaps trending up (or down) going into Week 11’s recreation.
Right guard Trey Smith: After struggling in a giant method in opposition to the Tennessee Titans in Week 9, he was incredible throughout Sunday’s 27-17 win in opposition to the Jacksonville Jaguars — and it is no coincidence that the operating recreation was again to being efficient. In brief yardage (and when he is the pulling guard), the Chiefs like to run the ball behind Smith. When he is serving up pancakes, it does not matter which operating again is within the recreation; they’re prone to rack up yardage. Watch to see if he is in a position to dominate in opposition to the Chargers. It may very well be the distinction between Kansas City fielding a balanced, efficient offense — or one that may wrestle.
Tight finish Noah Gray: The Chiefs might need discovered not solely their No. 2 tight finish, but in addition a secret weapon within the passing recreation. Gray hasn’t been placing up large numbers, however he is made some key performs over the previous couple of weeks. He additionally seems a lot improved as a blocker — and is a crucial special-teams contributor. Can he proceed to be an under-the-radar a part of this offense? If so, the Chiefs will probably be going through an actual dilemma when Blake Bell returns from harm. For now, be careful for No. 83 when quarterback Patrick Mahomes completely has to have a primary down. Gray would possibly as soon as once more discover a technique to get it carried out.
Defensive sort out Khalen Saunders: By practically each statistical measure, this fourth-year participant is outperforming starter Derrick Nnadi. Saunders has arguably been higher as a run defender — and positively more practical whereas speeding the passer. In the final three video games, he is logged three sacks to go together with his 9 pressures on the season. He’s in a contract yr and has a brand new defensive position coach — each of which appear to be motivating him to a brand new degree of play. Let’s see if the massive man can preserve his streak alive in opposition to the Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert — as a result of on Sunday, stress from the four-man cross rush will probably be one of many keys to successful the sport.
Others trending in the correct route: huge receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Kadarius Toney, cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and Joshua Williams, linebacker Leo Chenal, defensive sort out Chris Jones and operating again Isiah Pacheco.
Right sort out Andrew Wylie: It’s not that the fifth-year professional performed poorly in opposition to the Jaguars. While he was within the recreation, the cross safety was significantly better than it had been in Week 9. Here’s the issue: there was no drop-off when Prince Tega Wanogho — with solely 19 earlier offensive snaps in his profession — got here in after Wylie was injured. With the exception of fullback Michael Burton’s run — the place he was overwhelmed rapidly — Wanogho performed above the usual we have seen at proper sort out this season. If Wylie will be changed with out the offense lacking a beat, might that open the door for some actual competitors on the spot? Wylie is working towards this week, so he might have a shot to play — however it will likely be attention-grabbing to see if he can maintain onto his beginning job for much longer.
Linebacker Darius Harris: Lately, Kansas City’s linebackers have been asserting themselves — and the rotation is turning into extra clear. Nick Bolton and Willie Gay, Jr. stay on the high; each are enjoying at a excessive degree. That has pushed Harris down the depth chart a bit — however rookie Leo Chenal’s emergence is perhaps what relegates Harris to solely a special-teams position. On Sunday, Chenal appeared a lot improved. If that pattern continues, we’d quickly see Harris on Kansas City’s gameday inactive record.
Wide receiver Skyy Moore: We’ve talked about him so much, however the pattern continues for the second-round rookie. Moore’s season has not but gotten off the bottom — and it is not clear when that may occur. With Mecole Hardman out in opposition to Jacksonville, Kadarius Toney was a revelation — and his position is prone to develop on Sunday night time. Mahomes is having an outstanding season whereas spreading the ball round to so many gamers — however when he targets Moore, dangerous issues appear to occur. Hopefully, that turns round in Week 11 — however I’m not holding my breath.
Others trending within the incorrect route: placekicker Harrison Butker, fullback Michael Burton, defensive finish Malik Herring and defensive sort out Derrick Nnadi.
Value (sleeper) choose: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
The running-back-by-committee factor will be irritating. Whether it is costing a few of us fantasy matchups or inflicting the crew to be wildly inconsistent operating the soccer, Kansas City simply does not appear to have its operating recreation fairly discovered. After he and the remainder of the backs have been stymied in opposition to the Titans, Edwards-Helaire did not get a single carry in opposition to Jacksonville. Still, he is put collectively 4 fairly good video games this season — together with the sport in opposition to the Chargers in Week 2. He’s discovered the tip zone six occasions whereas averaging 4.2 yards per carry and eight.9 yards per catch. But after his spectacular efficiency in opposition to Jacksonville, Isiah Pacheco additionally has 4 good video games — and a 4.7 yards per carry common. Recency bias apart, these two backs have been equally efficient this season. The distinction is that after they truly use him, Edwards-Helaire provides rather more within the passing recreation. It’s far too quickly to depend him out of this rotation. In truth, I feel there’s an opportunity he is again to being the lead again on Sunday night time. The pendulum will swing again in his route. The solely query is when it is going to occur.