Last updated: December 10th at 8:58pm ET.
Team Totals: Chiefs 28, Broncos 18
Following consecutive unlikely wins highlighted by Week 14’s stunning upset of the Texans, this sets up as a major letdown spot for Denver against one of the NFL’s best teams at one of pro football’s toughest places to play. Each of the past three quarterbacks to face Kansas City managed fantasy scores of QB18 or worse with point totals allowed of 16 (Patriots), 9 (Raiders), and 17 (Chargers) during that span. Drew Lock’s athleticism and vertical aggressiveness have impressed through two starts, but I would rather bet on the Chiefs’ D/ST here. … The Broncos’ biggest Week 15 offensive edge is still on the ground, where enemy backs have burned Kansas City for 4.98 yards per carry, 14 all-purpose touchdowns in 13 games, and the league’s second-most receiving yards per game (60.8). Phillip Lindsay’s touches advantage over Royce Freeman is up to 70 to 32 over the last four weeks. While matchup, workload, and the Broncos’ Lock-improved play are working in Lindsay’s favor, projected game script is a worrisome obstacle as a ten-point road dog. The Chiefs boat raced the Broncos 30-6 in Denver when these clubs met in Week 7.
Lock’s 2019 target distribution: Courtland Sutton 12; Noah Fant and DaeSean Hamilton 7; Freeman and Jeff Heuerman 6; Lindsay and Tim Patrick 5. … Lock is 9-of-12 for 108 yards and two touchdowns when targeting Sutton, who tallied 6/87/0 receiving when Denver and Kansas City met in Week 7. Sutton never feels like a comfortable WR2 play, but he’s produced like one all season and should be treated as such here. Sutton also popped as Week 15’s No. 3 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Fant will try to gut out a bruised foot and hip irritation after lasting only 28 snaps in last week’s win over Houston. Fant is always a boom-bust streamer with fewer than 40 yards in 10-of-13 games but over 100 in two of his last five. His matchup is certainly favorable; Kansas City has yielded a league-high 85 catches to tight ends. Heuerman will be worth a long-shot streamer look if Fant sits. … Hamilton is scoreless on the year and hasn’t topped 36 yards since Week 4. If Hamilton had enough playing time to qualify, he would rank dead last in the league in yards per route run (0.50) among 88 wide receivers. … A part-time player, Patrick’s target counts are 3 > 2 > 3 over the past three weeks.
Among fantasy’s most disappointing stretch-run passers with QB16 > QB13 > QB20 scores over his last three starts, Patrick Mahomes can only be described as a fade-matchup play against the Broncos, who have held 10-of-13 quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB14 or worse. Mahomes has one top-12 score since Week 6. With all of that said, Mahomes’ DFS-tournament stock remains intact because his ceiling is always one of the highest on each slate. … Although K.C. should run efficiently on Denver’s Derek Wolfe-less defensive front, the Chiefs continue to lack reliable individual fantasy plays in what remains a thinly-spread RBBC. LeSean McCoy hasn’t topped 14 touches all year. Darwin Thompson flashed open-field burst in last week’s win over the Patriots but played only 27% of the snaps and still isn’t trusted in blitz pickup. Street free agent add Spencer Ware “gained” two yards on six touches last week. And Damien Williams (ribs) should return versus the Broncos. Good luck figuring this one out.
Mahomes’ Weeks 10-14 target distribution: Tyreek Hill 37; Travis Kelce 35; Sammy Watkins 23; McCoy 12; Demarcus Robinson 8; Damien, Thompson, and Mecole Hardman 6; Ware and Byron Pringle 2. … Over their last five games, the Broncos have been clocked by Stefon Diggs (5/121/1), DeAndre Hopkins (7/120/1), Mike Williams (5/117/0), Odell Beckham (5/87/0), Cole Beasley (6/76/1), Keenan Allen (6/68/1), Keke Coutee (5/68/0), Jarvis Landry (6/51/1), and John Brown (2/39/1). With top CB Chris Harris no longer playing at an elite level and the rest of Denver’s cornerback corps quite burnable, this is a much better spot for Tyreek than it may initially appear. Hill is also promisingly popping as Week 15’s No. 2 buy-low player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … Like Mahomes, Kelce is a bet-on-talent, fade-matchup play against a Denver defense that contained Kelce (6/44/0) in Week 7 and is yielding the NFL’s ninth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. … Watkins’ theoretical matchup stands out, but he hasn’t scored or cleared 65 yards since Week 1, devolving into a low-floor WR4 option in a slumping passing game. … Once again evidenced on last week’s 48-yard touchdown sprint, Hardman is always a threat for a big play. Unfortunately, Hardman played just 18% of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps against New England and has drawn miniscule target counts of 0 > 1 > 4 > 0 > 1 over Kansas City’s last five games.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 27, Broncos 16