Chargers-Chiefs DFS Showdown: Injury and Depth Analysis

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QUARTERBACK

We know Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert will rely on their arms to rack up DFS points tonight, but they can scramble when needed. Overall, the public expects a back-and-forth showdown as this game has the highest projected total of any Week 2 game. There will be a lot of lineup configurations to pair with these two horses there for the taking.

RUNNING BACK

There is no question that Austin Ekeler will be the lead back for the Chargers and brings strong receiving abilities with him. Without Keenan Allen, Herbert could look his way more in the passing game, offering a higher upside. Sony Michel will see a fair amount of touches out of the backfield as he came up with seven carries in Week 1. It is worth noting that although there weren’t too many opportunities, Ekeler did lead the LA backfield in red zone carries. Joshua Kelley will be the RB3 in terms of carries, but he offers more potential as a pass catcher than Michel.

Kansas City’s backfield is always up for debate, but we expect Clyde Edwards-Helaire to remain the RB1 for now. A close game will provide him with plenty of volumes in both aspects of the game. Jerick McKinnon will also see some action as the RB2, whose Week 1 numbers don’t tell the whole story. He’ll also be involved in both aspects of the game and could see additional volume if CEH goes cold. Isiah Pacheco, the fantasy darling, led the KC backfield in carries in Week 1, but most of those touches came in garbage time. He’ll see some work, but expecting double-digit carries again is stretching it. 

WIDE RECEIVER

Keenan Allen will be out tonight, elevating Mike Williams to WR1 status. Although he had an underwhelming Week 1, in all likelihood, he’ll be Herbert’s go-to guy tonight and offers double-digit target potential. Joshua Palmer will be a focal point of this offense and will be on the field a ton, so targets should find their way to him. DeAndre Carter benefited the most from Allen’s injury, and he’ll be in line for plenty of snaps again. The Chargers usually only have a single receiver take the field after their top three, so Jalen Guyton looks in line for a respectable snap share with deep threat ability. 

Travis Kelce will always be Kansas City’s number one receiving option, but JuJu Smith-Schuster looked to establish himself as the WR1 in the opener with eight targets. Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the receiving room in snaps last week with the ability to beat the defense over the top as the WR2. Mecole Hardman is also a deep threat option and led the wide receivers in targeted air yardage with 86, although he only hauled in three catches for 16 yards. Skyy Moore only saw a single target last week but will eventually see more volume, given the draft capital invested in him. Daurice Fountain should be the fifth wide receiver who could get some rotational volume sparingly.

TIGHT END

Gerald Everett will be Herbert’s top tight end target and will be a solid red-zone option for him. Overall, he should be his third or fourth read and could steal some of Allen’s work. Tre’ McKitty looks to step up tonight in Donald Parham’s absence and will be on the field a ton given his 60% snap share in the opener, where he saw four targets. He very well could see similar volume again.

Travis Kelce is the biggest threat in the Chiefs’ offense and could easily see double-digit targets come his way. In 2021, the Chargers gave up the most yardage and second most touchdowns in football to tight ends, so Kelce could be in a position to explode tonight. Noah Gray and Jody Fortson could also see minimal targets, with Gray getting the edge in snap share and targets in the opener.