Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes answers questions during a news conference at the end of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. Kansas City won the game 28-10. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) yells before a play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, celebrates with head coach John Harbaugh after an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 23-17. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, rushes past Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs have been the talk of the NFL for months, their innovation and points-a-plenty style making them one of the league's most entertaining offenses.
They might not even be the best one on the field Sunday.
That's because for all the gaudy numbers the Chiefs hung on Jacksonville and Oakland in roaring to a 2-0 start, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have been even more prolific.
They lead the league in total offense and points; Kansas City is merely third and fourth. They also lead in time of possession and rushing, they're fourth in passing and third-down percentage rate, and like the Chiefs they have yet to turn over the ball this season.
So what is making it all click for Jackson and the Ravens?
''He's does a lot of things well,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ''Everyone kind of goes to his run game but he can throw the football. He's doing it with accuracy and he can do it all different levels, whether that's rolling out or in the pocket.
''He has talent around him for sure,'' Reid added, ''but the way it's slowed down for him, his reads are great and all those little things end up being big things.''
Just ask Mahomes, who mastered so many of those little things while rolling to league MVP in his first season as the Chiefs' starter. And all he's done for an encore is throw for 821 yards and seven TDs without an interception through the first two weeks of his season.
In other words, Mahomes vs Jackson should be a compelling game-within-a-game on Sunday.
Just like it was last year.
The Chiefs rallied downfield in the final minute of regulation, Mahomes converting a fourth down with an audacious throw to Tyreek Hill before finding Damien Williams for the tying touchdown. Harrison Butker added the winning field goal in overtime in a crucial December matchup.
''Of course we'll watch last year's game,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, ''but teams change so much, and they watch the game, too. So it's always a new game. ... You try to predict something and all of a sudden it gets blown up in your face. That, to me, is the beauty of this league.''
As two of the AFC's top teams prepare to meet at Arrowhead Stadium, here are things to know:
The Chiefs, already missing Hill to a broken collarbone, are without left tackle Eric Fisher after he underwent core muscle surgery earlier this week. They also could play without Williams (knee) and fellow running back LeSean McCoy (ankle), who have been hobbled by injuries.
Yet nobody on the Kansas City sideline sounds too concerned.
''We have depth everywhere,'' Mahomes said. ''We have guys that can come in and do the job.''
Ravens tight end Mark Andrews leads the team with 16 catches, has a pair of 100-yard games, has scored twice and has a knack for making a big play on third down.
''He knows how to get open,'' Harbaugh said. ''Mark has really showed up the last two weeks.''
There are times when Andrews will even alter the pattern to get open. If there was a lamppost and a car on the field, Andrews would find the seam between them - ''I tell Mark all the time, `We're going to play street ball,' and that's what the case is,'' Jackson said.
Punter Dustin Colquitt is accustomed to the old-man jokes as the 37-year-old elder-statesman in the locker room, and he's heard plenty of jokes about never having to work given the way Kansas City has piled up points the past couple seasons.
In fact, Colquitt didn't get to punt at all during a Week 1 win over the Jaguars, though the two-time Pro Bowl selection held for plenty of field goals and extra points.
You might think that would make for an easy life, but Colquitt said it's the total opposite.
''Any time you're not working so much, every kick, snap, hold is more under the microscope,'' he explained. ''It's fun watching that offense, but you can't get too caught up in it.''
After starting his NFL career with Baltimore, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee played 60 games over four seasons with the Ravens before spending three years in Chicago and another with the Redskins.
Now he's back where he started after signing as a free agent in May.
''It feels great. I'm back home in Baltimore,'' said McPhee, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in 2012, and who has five tackles the first two games this season. ''This is the team that raised me. I'm trying to get back to the playoffs and win it all, that's it.''
One week after Reid matched wits with good buddy Jon Gruden in Oakland, he must do the same with Harbaugh, who learned the craft while coaching under him in Philadelphia. The two have remained close friends during their years apart, and Reid was giddy when Harbaugh won a Super Bowl title.
''He's a phenomenal coach,'' Reid said. ''I love playing against him because I know they're well-coached and they have good players. We do this for the challenge, that experience on Sundays. I always look forward to playing those guys.''
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard will not be traded at the deadline, according to a source. The organization can also have him under control for two to three more years depending on franchise or transition tags, too.
Fantasy Spin: Howard is having a down year statistically, as head coach Bruce Arians has relied upon the tight end more for his blocking ability. At this point he has devolved into a TE2 in most fantasy formats, but at least it appears he won't be changing organizations anytime soon.
Green Bay Packers SS Ibraheim Campbell (knee) and TE Jace Sternberger (ankle) were able to practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. The team has 21 days to let them practice to decide upon activating them and having the players count against the 53-man roster.
Miami Dolphins DE Robert Nkemdiche (undisclosed) and CB Cordrea Tankersley (undisclosed) returned to practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. Both players started on the Physically Unable to Practice (PUP) list. The two players can practice up to 21 days before the team has to decide to activate them and count against the 53-man roster.
Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (knee) was able to practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, and he can practice up to 21 days without counting against the 53-man roster. The hope is that he can return as soon as Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars with CBs Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and William Jackson III (shoulder) out.
Coming out of a bye week, Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is in prime position to pick up where he left off after a dominating Week 5 performance. After trouncing the Bears Defense for 143 total yards and two rushing scores two weeks ago, the 21-year-old will be leaned on heavily once again versus a susceptible Packers run defense in Week 7. Green Bay has given up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, which includes six rushing touchdowns allowed over their past four games. Look for the Raiders to keep the ball on the ground and in the hands of Jacobs, who owns a dominant 72% carry share over his backups Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington. He's also improved as a pass-catcher over his last two games, putting him a step closer to becoming a true bell-cow back. The first-round rookie is a firm RB2 ahead of Sunday's game with the potential to finish as an RB1 if he continues to get more involved in the passing game.
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (quadriceps) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Fantasy Spin: Gurley was not able to play last week but appears to have a chance to be active for Week 7. He should be a starting option if he plays, but fantasy players should have other options available in case Gurley misses another game.
Los Angeles Rams LB Clay Matthews (jaw) and CB Jalen Ramsey (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said the goal is to have newly acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back) ready to play in Week 7 against the Falcons. Ramsey missed the last three games with the Jaguars before being dealt to the Rams this week to help shore up their secondary issues. If he makes his debut with LA this Sunday, he'd be tasked with shadowing and slowing down Falcons stud receiver Julio Jones. That'd be a downgrade to Jones' matchup, but he's still a must-start for fantasy purposes after going over 100 yards in a bounce-back game in Week 6. Against Atlanta's explosive offense, the Rams are off the streaming radar this weekend.
Free-agent WR Ryan Grant (Raiders) signed with the Green Bay Packers Wednesday, Oct. 16. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also released RB Tra Carson.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (knee) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Fantasy Spin: Rodgers is in no danger of missing the Week 7 game but may be without some of his pass catchers because of injuries. He can still be considered a starting option in all leagues.
Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones (shoulder) fully participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Fantasy Spin: Jones had his four-game touchdown streak snapped last week and received only 11 carries during the game. He is still the main option in the running game and can be a No. 2 running back or flex option because of his touchdown potential.
Green Bay Packers S Darnell Savage (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16. CB Tony M. Brown (hamstring) and TE Robert Tonyan (hip) were limited during practice. OT Bryan Bulaga (non-injury), LB Oren Burks (chest), DT Kenny Clark (calf), CB Kevin King (groin, knee), S Will Redmond (ankle, shoulder) and LB Za'Darius Smith (knee) fully participated in practice.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in fantasy football since last season. He's continuing his strong play this season and should put together another solid game in Week 7. Kelce has a matchup against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. Kelce has been heavily involved in the offense basically every single week. Fantasy owners can feel safe about Kelce being a top tier TE1 for Week 7 in Denver.
Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller will once again have a prominent role in the offense in Sunday's matchup versus the Green Bay Packers. He has far and away led the team through five games with 37 receptions and 359 yards, proving to be a reliable receiving option for quarterback Derek Carr who has largely favored his tight ends over the last two seasons. With Tyrell Williams questionable ahead of this weekend's contest, the air attack will funnel through Waller with the team likely playing from behind as seven-point underdogs. The 28-year-old has displayed a reliable floor and can be fired up as a TE1 for Week 7 as he's well past due to secure his first touchdown of the season.
Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Fantasy Spin: Allison will need to pass all of the concussion tests before he is cleared to play, so his status will not be known until later in the week. He has been more involved over the last few weeks but probably can be avoided in most leagues even if he plays.
Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to check later in the week to see if Valdes-Scantling is in any danger of missing the Week 7 game. He has been held to under 50 yards in each of the last three games but still be a flex option in some leagues if he plays.
Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Fantasy Spin: Graham was held to only 17 yards last week but could have a solid role in the passing game if he plays since the Packers have multiple injuries at receiver. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 tight end if he plays.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle had a huge Week 5 performance where he caught six passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. He saw eight targets during his huge Week 5 game, but then he was targeted just three times during the Week 6 loss to the Texans. It seems like that performance might have just been a fluke. Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson are all above Pringle on the depth chart. It's unlikely Pringle will get more than two or three targets with all those receivers healthy. He could be a desperation flex in deep leagues, but most fantasy owners should bench or drop Pringle. Most fantasy owners shouldn't bother with Pringle for the Week 7 matchup versus the Denver Broncos.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have his work cut out for him this Sunday when his team travels to Green Bay to face the Packers. The veteran has done a commendable job managing games so far this season, proving to be a better real-life quarterback than in the fantasy game. Carr has surprisingly led his team to a 3-2 record on the season, but has yet to surpass 17 fantasy points in a single contest. His task will be even tougher this weekend if Tyrell Williams foot injury doesn't heal in time to face a Packers Defense that's currently giving up the seventh-fewest FPPG to the QB position. Carr can be safely ignored in all formats for Week 7 and for the foreseeable future.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is coming off a very solid performance against the Green Back Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 6, but fantasy owners may want to temper expectations with the Minnesota Vikings coming to town in Week 7. The Vikings have allowed just one 100-yard receiver through the first six weeks of the season, and while fantasy owners will point to the 10 touchdowns allowed to wide receivers over that same time frame, a good chunk of those scores came in garbage time. The Lions haven't won in two weeks but have been playing very good football nonetheless, so extended garbage time looks may not be in store in this game. Slot Golladay in as a mid-range WR2 in this matchup.