September 17, 2022, 12:52 pm
Chiefs 27, Chargers 24 (Chargers covered +4, U 52.5)
It wasn’t quite the wild AFC West shootout we predicted for much of the game, but a 20-point final frame got things pretty close to the O/U and helped fantasy managers pad some stats that were looking pretty bare through three quarters. Both quarterbacks had solid games, although a backbreaking goal-line mistake from Justin Herbert (and frankly, the Chargers coaching staff) led to a 99-yard pick six that was ultimately the difference in the game. This was also a rare instance where the winning team pretty much had inferior fantasy stat lines all the way down the lineup.
The Los Angeles offensive line had a rough night, leading to hurries and hit after hit on their starting quarterback including a shot to the ribs that even required Justin Herbert (334-3-1 passing, 2-1-0 rushing, 24.4 total fan pts) to sub out a snap for journeyman backup Chase Daniel. All-Pro center Corey Linsley departed early with a knee injury and never returned, so protection could continue to be an issue for Herbert moving forward. A game-deciding error at the goal line also was the only blemish on an otherwise great fantasy line from the QB. The Chargers coaches decided to run the hurry-up offense despite a gassed Gerald Everett begging to be subbed out and was the intended target on the frontside throw that was cut off and returned by rookie CB Jaylen Watson for the second-longest interception touchdown return in franchise history. If Herbert had thrown it over Everett’s shoulder or tried a corner fade, they may have had a chance.
Perhaps fantasy managers should have seen this coming after Austin Ekeler (14-39-0 rushing, 9-55-0 receiving, 13.9 total fan pts half-PPR) pleaded all offseason to have a lighter workload. He was a ghost in short yardage and goal line situations in this game, while Joshua Kelley (4-22-0 rushing, 1-3-0 receiving, 3.0 fan pts half-PPR) looked better than Sony Michel (4-13-0 rushing, 1-6-0 receiving, 2.4 fan pts half-PPR) in scavenging that work. The bottom line is that while managers want to see the goal line work after a 20-TD season, he still got four red zone touches, played a much larger 62% of snaps after seeing just under half in Week 1 and ran more than double the routes. Yes, managers haven’t gotten the output yet through two games to match the ADP, but the 41 touches are encouraging, especially the 14 carries in each of them (he only had that many in 43% of games in 2021).
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