Last updated: September 19th at 3:15pm ET.
Team Totals: Chiefs 31, Ravens 24
Ravens-Chiefs is a game to aggressively lean toward in lineup decisions with Week 3’s highest total (55) featuring the NFL’s Nos. 1- and 4-scoring offenses. Although Kansas City has allowed the league’s tenth-fewest points (36), DC Steve Spagnuolo’s unit has yet to be truly tested after facing Nick Foles/Gardner Minshew and Derek Carr. Now 8-1 as an NFL starter, Lamar Jackson also hasn’t faced a competent defense in 2019, although the diversity and multiplicity of OC Greg Roman’s personnel and scheme should keep Baltimore’s offense near-matchup proof. After throwing for a career-high five touchdowns in Week 1, Jackson rushed for a career-high 120 yards in Week 2. … Kansas City’s run defense is annually soft – it yielded 31/184/0 (5.94 YPC) rushing to Jaguars and Raiders backs in Weeks 1-2 – and Mark Ingram promisingly took over as Baltimore’s clear lead back in last Sunday’s one-score win over Arizona, dominating touches (15) and snaps (58%) over Gus Edwards (3, 21%) and Justice Hill (2, 19%) after the Ravens deployed a three-man RBBC in their Week 1 blowout of Miami. As Baltimore is a seven-point road dog at Arrowhead, Ingram should again handle featured duties as a locked-in RB2. Edwards is an RB4 hold with potential flex-play usefulness in better game-script scenarios. Hill is just an RB5/6 stash.
Jackson’s Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Marquise Brown 18; Mark Andrews 16; Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, and Miles Boykin 4; Willie Snead 3; Ingram, Hill, and Patrick Ricard 2. … Brown took a massive Week 2 step forward following his light-usage opener, spiking his snaps from 18% to 65% and targets from 5 to 13. Top ten in the NFL in Air Yards (243), Brown has already graduated to WR2 value facing a Chiefs secondary that’s been creamed by D.J. Chark (4/146/1), Chris Conley (6/97/0), Tyrell Williams (5/46/1), and Dede Westbrook (5/30/1). … My biggest pre-season regret is foolishly souring on Andrews in the two weeks leading up to the heart of draft season after loving him all spring and early summer. Andrews leads all tight ends in target share (28%), topped 100 yards and hit pay dirt in consecutive games to begin the season, and should be viewed as a top-five TE1 every week. Only two tight ends (Zach Ertz, Greg Olsen) have more Air Yards than Andrews’ 169, while tight ends facing Kansas City have so far caught 17-of-21 targets (81%) for 145 yards. … Although Hurst, Boykin, and Snead make sporadic contributions, Baltimore’s lopsided target allotment renders only Brown and Andrews fantasy viable.
Particularly after Kyler Murray flamed Baltimore for 349 yards at 8.7 yards per attempt in his second NFL start, Patrick Mahomes is a no-fear Week 3 play against the Ravens’ injury-depleted secondary. Already without slot CB Tavon Young (neck, I.R.) and badly missing RCB Jimmy Smith (MCL), Baltimore has been torched for chunk-yardage catches by Larry Fitzgerald (40, 54), DeVante Parker (49), Christian Kirk (34), KeeSean Johnson (31), Mike Gesicki (26), Allen Hurns (22), and Maxx Williams (21). Only two teams have allowed more 20-plus-yard completions than the Ravens (10). Chunk-yardage passes just so happen to be Mahomes’ thing. … Baltimore is an extreme pass-funnel team, eliminating Cardinals and Dolphins running backs to the tune of 18/28/1 (1.6 YPC) rushing in Weeks 1-2. Making matters worse, Kansas City’s backfield may lack clarity until just before game time. Damien Williams (knee) missed Wednesday and Thursday’s practices, while LeSean McCoy looks poised to play through an ankle sprain suffered late in last week’s fourth quarter. Exciting rookie Darwin Thompson and fourth-string thumper Darrel Williams round out the depth chart. Thompson should be added in any season-long leagues where he was dropped, but Chiefs Week 3 running back usage figures to be murky in a rough matchup.
Mahomes’ Weeks 1-2 target distribution: Sammy Watkins 24; Travis Kelce 17; Williams 11; Demarcus Robinson 8; Mecole Hardman 7; McCoy 4; Thompson 1. … Although Watkins’ Week 2 didn’t meet expectations (6/49/0), he now ranks third in the NFL in targets and top 12 in Air Yards (238), and remains locked in as Mahomes’ No. 1 wideout facing a Ravens defense that is hemorrhaging big pass plays. Watkins runs roughly 75% of his routes in the slot, where Kirk (6/114/0) and Fitz (5/104/0) did almost all of their Week 2 damage at Baltimore. … Fresh off predictably shredding the Raiders (7/107/1), Kelce is once again this week’s top TE1 play against a Ravens defense upon which he dropped 7/77/1 receiving last Week 14. … Usually a block-first role player and possession receiver, Robinson capitalized on Tyreek Hill’s Week 2 absence most by playing 91% of Kansas City’s snaps, recording a career-best 6/172/2 receiving line, and leading the Chiefs in Air Yards (152) against Oakland. Robinson would have sailed over 200 yards had he not lost another long catch to penalty. Betting on any Chiefs pass catcher is good process, especially against a pass-funnel defense like Baltimore’s. Robinson is Week 3’s top waiver add and warrants an immediate upgrade to WR3 value. … Hardman operated as Kansas City’s No. 3 wideout against the Raiders, logging a 73% playing-time clip and paying fantasy dividends (4/61/1) despite losing a 72-yard TD on a third-quarter holding penalty. Jimmy Smith fill-in Anthony Averett has been clocked for 13 completions on 20 targets (65%), 187 yards (9.4 YPA), and Dolphins UDFA rookie Preston Williams’ Week 1 score. As both drew the same number of Week 2 targets (6), Hardman is neck and neck with Robinson as WR3s versus the Ravens. De’Anthony Thomas played four Week 2 snaps.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 28, Ravens 24