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.''
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram rushed 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against the Bengals. The Ravens play a Seahawks Defense that has allowed 557 rushing yards and given up six touchdowns to opposing backs in 2019. In Week 6 Seattle allowed the Browns to rush for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Ingram has rushed for at least 44 yards in every game this season, but is becoming a touchdown-dependent option. He hasn't even come close to his outlier performance against Kansas City when he rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Baltimore still hosts a run-first offense so expect Ingram to get his touches, but he's in RB2 territory for Week 7.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson posted 236 passing yards, 152 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown against the Bengals in Week 6. Baltimore plays a Seahawks Defense in Week 7 that's allowed the eighth-most passing yards in the league through six games (1,602). Seattle has allowed at least 15 fantasy points every week to opposing quarterbacks in 2019 and let Baker Mayfield run for a touchdown in Week 6. Receiver Marquise Brown is still questionable to play with an ankle injury. If Hollywood is unable to go on Sunday, expect tight end Mark Andrews to get the bulk of targets and for Jackson to use his legs to get the ball moving. Jackson has firmly placed himself as a top-three QB start for the rest of the way.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) was a limited participant in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is questionable for Monday Night Football.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas may not get to face his former team in the New England Patriots. He's coming off his best game of the season in Week 6, catching all four of his targets for 62 yards. He's a flex option at best as a bye-week replacement if active.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon (hamstring) didn't practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is considered doubtful for Monday, Oct. 21's game against the New England Patriots.
Fantasy Spin: Herndon is yet to play this season following suspension and now injury. WRs Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson will remain the target hogs in New York's passing game.
New York Jets LB Albert McClellan (concussion) didn't practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is out for Monday, Oct. 21's game against the New England Patriots. DE Henry Anderson (shoulder), OL Kelvin Beachum (ankle), RB Trenton Cannon (foot/ankle), LB Neville Hewitt (neck/knee) and G Kelechi Osemele (shoulder) also didn't practice and are considered doubtful. OL Alex Lewis (neck), CB Nate Hairston (knee), LB C.J. Mosley (groin), DT Steve McLendon (hamstring), CB Darryl Roberts (ankle) and Brian Winters (shoulder/knee) were limited participants and are questionable. C Ryan Kalil (shoulder) didn't practice and is also questionable.
New England Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) was limited in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is considered questionable for Monday, Oct. 21's games against the New York Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Dorsett is at risk of missing a second straight game after he left the Week 5 contest against the Washington Redskins with just four snaps played. WR Josh Gordon (ankle) has already been ruled out and WR Julian Edelman (chest) is also questionable. Expect plenty of work for RBs James White and Sony Michel in the passing game.
New England Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (foot) was a limited participant in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is considered questionable for Monday Night Football against the New York Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Burkhead hasn't been noteworthy this season outside of a surprise Week 3 start with RBs James White and Sony Michel inactive. Expect his two teammates to see plenty of work this week.
New England Patriots TE Ryan Izzo (concussion) didn't practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and has been ruled out for Monday night's game against the New York Jets. TE Matt LaCosse (knee) also didn't practice and has been ruled out. S Patrick Chung (heel/chest) and WR Gunner Olszewski (hamstring) were limited and are questionable for Monday.
New England Patriots WR Josh Gordon (ankle) was ruled out for Monday, Oct. 21's game against the New York Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Gordon made just one seven-yard catch against the New York Giants last Thursday night. His absence should open up playing time and targets for Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers. Both are desperation flex plays as bye-week replacements.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (chest) was a limited participant in practice Saturday, Oct. 19, and is considered questionable for Monday, Oct. 21's game against the New York Jets.
Fantasy Spin: Edelman had season highs with 15 targets, nine receptions and 113 yards last Thursday against the New York Giants. He should suit up Monday, but don't expect such high volume with added work for the running backs and WR Jakobi Meyers likely on the way.
Free-agent DT Mike Pennel was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Oct. 19. DT Terrell McClain was released in a corresponding move.
Despite being the starting tight end last week, Luke Willson was only able to scrape together three targets. Baltimore is a neutral-to-slightly bad matchup for TE's, but even in a plus matchup, Willson will only be relevant if he's able to break the plane. Until he builds a track record of decent usage, Willson isn't even worth a speculative add at this point.
Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson was added to the 53-man roster Saturday, Oct. 19, following his six-game suspension. OL Brett Toth (illness) was placed on the non-football injury list in a corresponding move.
No team in football has yielded more rushing yards per contest than the Cincinnati Bengals during 2019, who have allowed the opposition to storm down the field for over 184 yards per contest. What does all that mean? Leonard Fournette, the Jaguars unquestioned No. 1 option on the offensive side of the ball should be in line to feast. Not only has Fournette seen at least 20 carries in each of his last three contests, he has recorded at least four receptions in five of six games this year. While a lot of the talk surrounding Fournette has been focused on his aversion to finding the end zone through the first six weeks, the combination of one of the leagues top rushers facing the one of the leagues most permeable run defenses should equal big things for No. 27.
Jacksonville Jaguars second-year wide receiver D.J. Chark might wind up being the unlikeliest member of the Pro Bowl roster if he continues his dominant 2019 campaign. Through six games, Chark has totaled 528 yards and five touchdowns, bringing that hot stretch into a matchup against a Cincinnati Bengals Defense that has yielded the fewest points to opposing wide receivers entering this week. The 23-year-old has recorded four or fewer catches in two of his past three games, but the targets havent been an issue Chark has combined to see 26 balls thrown his way in that span. Hes a reasonably priced asset in DFS and should likely be roster in most traditional formats.
Houston Texas running back Duke Johnson is still drawing snaps and making the most of his time on the field, but has seen Carlos Hyde erupt over the past few weeks as a ball carrier. Johnson found the end zone as a receiver last week, his first receiving touchdown since Week 10 of last season. The former Miami (FL) standout is yet to record double-digit carries in a contest this season, limiting his fantasy value significantly. Despite averaging a gaudy 6.5 yards per carry through the first six weeks, owners will need to see Johnson consistently tip the scales as it pertains to a timeshare in the backfield before deploying him in lineups.
Houston Texans CB Bradley Roby (hamstring) on Saturday, Oct. 19, was downgraded to out for the Week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Roby did not travel with the team.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller erupted onto the scene as a legitimate fantasy weapon in Week 5 with his 15-reception, three-touchdown game. He followed it up by a pedestrian outing last week, but he did see nine targets, with finding the end zone on multiple occasions very nearly coming to fruition. The Colts pass defense is nothing to be scoffed at, but Fullers boom/bust potential seems to be at its apex with his recent output. With quarterback Deshaun Watson under center, Fuller presents a definite traditional fantasy option and a great upside DFS play.
He may have been acquired in the wake of the Lamar Miller injury, but Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde is making his impact felt with his new franchise. Houston is fifth in the league with nearly 140 yards gained on the ground per game, with Hyde now having established himself as the bell cow of the group. He carried the ball a season-high 26 times last week, resulting in his first performance that exceeded 100 yards since Week 2 of the 2017 year. In addition, he has found the end zone in three of his past four games, aiming to continue that trend against a middle of the pack Colts rush defense.
The primary concern surrounding Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook is a shoulder ailment that has kept his status for Sundays contest up in the air. While owners wouldnt be blamed for shying away with the injury lingering enough to keep the questionable tag on him, Westbrook has seen a combined 19 targets from quarterback Gardner Minshew over the past two weeks. The former Oklahoma standout has only pulled in one touchdown reception this season but has had numerous opportunities since then. A matchup against a thin Cincinnati secondary could lead to a high-volume passing afternoon for all those involved in the Jacksonville offense.