September 14, 2022, 12:50 pm
Chargers (+4.5) at Chiefs (-205) O/U 54.5 – Thu 9/15 @ 8:15pm ET
With both teams coming off big opening week victories, this high-powered AFC West showdown takes the spotlight on Thursday Night Football. Coming in hot from a six-TD dismantling of the Cardinals, the Chiefs offense takes on a much more daunting foe in a Chargers defense that was among the most upgraded over the offseason. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, one of those offseason additions — All-Pro CB J.C. Jackson — is iffy for Week 2 despite returning to practice on Tuesday from an ankle injury. The Chargers will also be missing a huge offensive weapon in wide receiver Keenan Allen, who is doubtful with a hamstring injury sustained in Week 1.
Justin Herbert didn’t have quite the barnburner of a season debut from a fantasy stats perspective, but he actually earned an overall PFF grade that was 5th-best at his position compared to Mahomes’ 9th-best. Herbert will have to find a way to lead this offense without his always-reliable slot receiver in Allen, but he should still have enough of a supporting cast. Jalen Guyton and DeAndre Carter are the next-up slot options, so it’s possible we see an offensive gameplan from OC Joe Lombardi that will dial up more downfield throws for Mike Williams and Josh Palmer. It’s certainly something that could work well as the Chiefs gave up the 9th-most yards per passing attempt last season.
After a relatively underwhelming first game, fantasy managers will have higher hopes for Austin Ekeler in the highest projected point total of the week that should mean he’ll easily surpass the four catches he had in his first game. Without Allen as an option over the middle, it’s possible the Chargers could get creative and line Ekeler up in the slot, something he did in 6% of his 2021 snaps. Either way, Ekeler should eat as the Chiefs allowed the fourth-most receptions per game to opposing running backs last season. The other members of this backfield are not startable in fantasy and remain handcuff stashes, with Joshua Kelley the early snap leader over Sony Michel, but it’s worth seeing how that may shift at all.
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