|Kansas City||Rank||@||New Orleans||Rank|
|42.7%||19||Opp. Rush %||40.0%||10|
|57.3%||14||Opp. Pass %||60.0%||23|
- Kansas City is 0-5 against the point spread over their past five games, their longest such streak against the spread since the 2015 season.
- Under Taysom Hill the past four games, the Saints have scored on 34.1% of their possessions (22nd) after 53.3% prior (third).
- Opponents are scoring a touchdown on 75% (27-of-36) of their red zone possessions against the Chiefs, the highest rate in the league.
- The Saints have allowed just four passing touchdowns on throws over 15 yards downfield, tied for second in the league.
- The Chiefs are averaging a league-high 5.2 plays per game that gain 20 or more yards.
- Travis Kelce leads all players with 21 receptions of 20 or more yards. The next closest tight end (Robert Tonyan) has nine.
- Tyreek Hill has a league-high nine receiving touchdowns from outside of the red zone. The next closest player has five.
Patrick Mahomes: Mahomes has scored fewer than 20 fantasy points in back to back games for the first this season. That is how high he has set the bar. Despite not reaching his ceiling, Mahomes has been on a yardage tear, throwing for 416, 372, 348, 462, 318, and 393 yards over his past six games. This will be just the fourth career start for Mahomes in a dome, but his inside numbers are not a pinball machine like you would expect, throwing four touchdowns in those previous three games for 7.2 Y/A, but still averaging 321.7 passing yards per game.
The Saints are the third consecutive defense Mahomes will face that is in the top-10 in passing points allowed per game (13.9). The Saints have faced Teddy Bridgewater, Nick Foles, Tom Brady, Nick Mullens, Matt Ryan (x2), Kendall Hinton, and Jalen Hurts since their Week 6 bye, nobody even close to the weight class where Mahomes resides as a top-end QB option.
Drew Brees: Brees has been declared the starting quarterback for Sunday after missing the past four weeks due to fractured ribs and a punctured lung. Prior to injury, Brees had reeled off four consecutive QB1 scoring weeks. Only two of those games with Michael Thomas playing, but Brees also does not have a scoring week higher than QB8 on the season.
The Chiefs have been a positive matchup for passers of late. Over their past five games, the Chiefs have allowed top-six scoring weeks to Teddy Bridgewater (28.3 points), Derek Carr (21.6), Tom Brady (21.7), and Tua Tagovailoa (27.0) surrounding a dud from Drew Lock (10.9). Brees immediately slides back in as a mid-to-low QB1.
Alvin Kamara: After two weeks of panic, the fear has subsided as Kamara has looked more like himself the past two weeks for fantasy. Kamara has handled 17 touches for 97 yards and 18 touches for 94 yards with a touchdown in each game. Last week, Kamara caught 7-of-10 targets from Hill after just 3-of-6 targets for seven yards in his first three games after the Brees injury. This week, Kamara gets Brees back and Michael Thomas is inactive, which is huge for his ceiling.
The Chiefs are allowing 150.8 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing backs (27th), keeping Kamara as a high-end RB1 in a potential shootout.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Edwards-Helaire played 74% of the team snaps last week while receiving a touch or target on 47.8% of his snaps, both highs since the team acquired Le’Veon Bell. Edwards-Helaire turned that opportunity into 91 yards, his most in a game since Week 4.
That came against a Miami defense that is much worse defending the run than a Saints defense that is still second in YPC allowed (3.7) and third in rushing points allowed per game (9.6) to backfields despite the impressive game that Miles Sanders had a week ago. That was the first 100-yard rushing game allowed by the Saints since 2017 and came attached to an 82-yard run, so let’s not start assuming it is a trend about to take off.
In Week 12 when the Chiefs faced a similarly tough run defense in Tampa Bay, they skewed completely pass heavy with Edwards-Helaire turning 12 touches into 39 yards. Despite the increased workload, I would approach Edwards-Helaire as a lower-end RB2/FLEX.
Tyreek Hill: Hill’s three receptions and seven targets last week were his fewest in a game since Week 6, but he still hit for 111 total yards and two touchdowns, giving him a league-leading 16 touchdowns on the season. Hill has accounted for 36.4% of the Kansas City offensive touchdowns, the only wide receiver with over 30% of his team’s touchdowns. The Saints are third in the league in points allowed per game to opposing WR1 options (13.9), but Hill is locked into WR1 status.
Sammy Watkins: Watkins has games of 4-38-0, 4-35-0, and 2-52-0 since returning to the lineup on 12.9% of the team’s targets. Despite Mahomes throwing for all this yardage, the Chiefs have remained a concentrated passing game devoured by Hill and Kelce. Watkins has attachment to Mahomes, but that is the only thing keeping him with a pulse as a WR5.
Emmanuel Sanders: Sanders converted a 37-yard touchdown last week, his first score since Week 9. Sanders has been a WR3 or better twice this season without a touchdown while in three of his four games with a touchdown, he has gotten there. Brees gives him an added pulse and now with Thomas out, Sanders gets an added target bonus. In the past three games without Thomas on the field, Sanders has games of 4-56-1 (13.9% of the team targets), 6-93-0 (36%), and 12-122-0 (29.2%). Sanders slots in as a WR2 in a game where the Saints will need to score points.
Tre’Quan Smith: Smith is coming off back-to-back six target games on 16.0% of the team targets. Without Michael Thomas on the field Weeks 2-8, Smith caught 24-of-31 targets (13.8%) for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He was a top-30 scorer in just two of those games and cleared 54 yards just once, but did have at least four receptions in five of those six games. Smith is a bit lower as WR4/FLEX you need to find the end zone.
Travis Kelce: Kelce now leads the NFL in receiving yardage (1,250 yards), reeling off five 100-yard games over his past six games played. Kelce is the first tight end to have eight or more receptions in six straight games and the first Chiefs player of any position to have such a streak. You do not need a trust label here to know that Kelce is far and away the TE1.
Jared Cook: Cook has pulled in a touchdown in each of the past two games because that is what Jared Cook does when he does do something. Those scores have come with 28 and 37 receiving yards and just three catches in each game. Cook has just two games with more than three catches this season and in 2019, he more than three catches in just 5-of-15 games. In his six games without a touchdown, Cook has been the average TE38.
On a positive note, one of Cooks’ two highest target totals (seven targets Week 8 versus Chicago) did come with Thomas out, but Sanders was also out that week for extra target opportunity. The Chiefs have allowed some big games of late to tight ends, allowing Darren Waller (7-88-1), Rob Gronkowski (6-106-0), and Mike Gesicki (5-65-2) to have top-five scoring weeks over the past four games. In a good game environment and some added target availability, Cook is a touchdown-based TE1.
More Week 15 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet: