Last updated: September 12th at 5:26pm ET.
Team Totals: Chiefs 30, Raiders 23
After pouring 40 and 35 points on Raiders DC Paul Guenther’s defense in last year’s two meetings, the Chiefs draw this year’s Silver & Black in a short-week letdown spot following last Monday night’s emotional post-Antonio Brown win over Denver. The Raiders’ Week 1 defensive display can be dismissed against thoroughly-inept Joe Flacco as it relates to Patrick Mahomes, who terrorized Guenther’s unit for 9.3 yards per attempt, a 6:1 TD-to-INT ratio, and 11/53/0 rushing in 2018. In the highest-totaled game on the slate, Mahomes is Week 2’s top quarterback play, and it’s not particularly close. The Raiders will definitely miss tone-setting first-round safety Johnathan Abram (shoulder, I.R.). … Although RBBC fears were immediately realized in LeSean McCoy’s Chiefs debut, the good news is Darwin Thompson (one touch, 3% snaps) was almost entirely uninvolved. Both Damien Williams (19 touches, 66%) and McCoy (11, 29%) can be every-week fantasy plays in the NFL’s most-potent offense so long as this backfield remains a two- rather than three-man ordeal. Still Kansas City’s go-to back in the passing game, Williams is RB2 playable with RB1 upside at Oakland. McCoy severely out-performed Williams in the running game in last week’s 40-26 drubbing of the Jaguars and is a worthwhile RB2/flex.
Mahomes’ Week 1 target distribution: Sammy Watkins 11; Travis Kelce 8; Williams 6; Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson 2; McCoy, Thompson, and Mecole Hardman 1. … Watkins’ week-winning explosion was great, but it’s even greater that he’s been launched into Kansas City’s No. 1 wideout role with Hill (collarbone) sidelined for “at least” a few weeks. Watkins has now played at least 15 snaps in 11 games as a Chief; his 16-game pace in them is 85/1,293/9 with room to grow in Tyreek’s absence. We’re talking about an every-week top-ten WR1 until Hill returns, and an obvious Week 2 stack pairing with Mahomes. … Even more obvious is Kelce after a slow (for him) Week 1 where he managed 88 scoreless yards on three catches, was just barely tackled on a near-75-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and drew three end-zone targets. Kelce is Week 2’s premier TE1 play. … Despite Robinson’s experience advantage in the offense, I prefer Hardman as a waiver pickup and Week 2 dart throw after the second-round rookie logged Week 1’s second-most snaps (78%) among Chiefs wideouts. A 4.33 blazer out of Georgia, Hardman was drafted specifically as insurance on Hill’s off-field woes. Hardman popped off the tape all preseason and is now likely Mahomes’ No. 2 receiver for the foreseeable future. … Although some midweek speculation indicated Hardman may share time with De’Anthony Thomas, it’s tough to buy considering Thomas hasn’t played more than 15 snaps in an NFL game since Week 11 of the 2017 season and didn’t even play a preseason down with Mahomes. “We feel comfortable that he can step in and play,” coach Andy Reid said of Hardman this week. “We don’t have to change things. If (rookies) can play, you exploit their talents, man. Get them in and cut them loose and let them go.”
Although the Raiders deserve credit for an inspired Monday night performance sans Antonio Brown, Derek Carr’s 22-for-26 outing translated only to Week 1’s QB21 result in a game where slow-paced Oakland ran just 54 plays despite dominating time of possession 33 to 27 over Denver. Never a vertical passer, Carr attempted just four throws traveling 20-plus yards in the air. Even against a Chiefs defense Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew combined to chew up for last week’s QB8 result, Carr’s lack of a rushing floor and overall timidity render him a potential fantasy trap play despite this game’s high-scoring potential. … Josh Jacobs is an obvious fantasy sell high after dominating in positive Week 1 game script on a bad team that will rarely experience such scenarios going forward. Jacobs was inefficient on the ground (3.7 YPC) and caught just one pass among Carr’s 22 completions. Even in an unimposing on-paper matchup, Jacobs’ floor is lower than it may seem based on the likelihood Oakland ends up chasing points against the Super Bowl-contending Chiefs. PPR running back stashers need to stay patient with Jalen Richard.
Carr’s Week 1 target distribution: Darren Waller 8; Tyrell Williams 7; Ryan Grant 4; Hunter Renfrow 3; Foster Moreau 2; Jacobs and Dwayne Harris 1. … Carr has long preferred throwing inside the numbers rather than aggressively challenging outside, and Waller was Week 1’s beneficiary with a dominant 31% target share against the Broncos. After playing 54-of-54 snaps, Waller should be teed up as a confident TE1 in a game where Carr is nearly a lock to dial up more attempts. … Williams catches the top Week 2 matchup of any Raiders pass catcher against the Chiefs, who were dusted by Jaguars perimeter receivers D.J. Chark (4/146/1) and Chris Conley (6/97/1) last week. As Williams destroyed Denver’s superior secondary for over 100 yards and a touchdown in Oakland’s opener – and Carr’s Week 2 pass attempts are virtually certain to rise – “The Gazelle” should be viewed as a WR2 with WR1 upside in this probable shootout. … Grant and Renfrow shared time as Oakland’s No. 3 receiver in Week 1, and the Raiders leaned heavily on two-tight end sets. Waller and Williams are the only clear-cut fantasy plays in Oakland’s passing attack.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 35, Raiders 23