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FFL: Playoff Week 2 | NFL: Week 15

Chiefs, Chargers set for key AFC West matchup in Mexico City

Thu Nov 14 6:49pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer

Players: Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Patrick Mahomes

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)


Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers waits to take part in a drill during an NFL football practice Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at Air Force Academy, Colo. The Chargers are training at Air Force, which is at an elevation of 7,200 feet, to prepare for Monday night's game against Kansas City in Mexico City. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passes against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)


Everyone hopes the playing surface at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca will not be the main story of Monday night’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers.

Both coaches said they have received favorable updates about the turf going into the game. Last year’s game between the Chiefs and Rams was moved back to Los Angeles less than a week before the game when the field was deemed unplayable because of rain and the stadium hosting concerts less than a month before the game.

"Everything that I've been told has been positive," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.

The teams have taken different approaches to preparing. The Chargers have spent the week at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to get acclimated to the altitude. The Chiefs have kept their same routine with the only adjustment being to hydrate more according to quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

It is an important AFC West matchup for both teams. Kansas City (6-4) won its first four games but has dropped four of its past six, allowing Oakland to get within a half-game of the division lead. Los Angeles (4-6) has struggled for most of the season but remains only two games out.

This is the first of two straight crucial division games for the Chiefs. After their bye week they will host the Raiders on Dec. 1.

“To say you are in control of your own destiny at 4-6 is pretty rare,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said.

Here are other things to watch as the Chargers play an international home game for the second straight season:

CHOPPY RIVERS

Rivers leads the league in passing yards (2,816) but is also third in interceptions (10). He had three last week against Oakland, including a pick-6 that loomed large in what turned out to be a 26-24 loss to the Raiders.

The Chargers were among the league’s better teams in not committing turnovers the past two seasons, but their 16 giveaways this season are tied for seventh in the league. Five have occurred in goal-to-go situations.

“We’ve made some critical mistakes and not being able to overcome them,” Rivers said.

HEALTHIER MAHOMES

Mahomes returned to the lineup last week after missing two games because of a knee injury. He threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s loss to Tennessee but said on Thursday that this is the best he has felt since early September.

“I would say going into the Jacksonville game,” he said. “Just not having to worry about the ankle or not have to worry about the knee and just being able to go out there and play football the way that I have been able to play it my whole career so far.”

GETTING PRESSURE

Los Angeles defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa have been a handful for opposing offensive lines lately. They have combined for nine sacks over the past four games.

Bosa is third in the AFC with 8½ sacks on the season while Ingram has added 4½. Ingram had 1½ sacks against Mahomes in Week 15 last season.

ON THE MEND

Kansas City is beginning to get some of the pieces back on its offensive and defensive lines. Offensive tackles Eric Fisher (groin), Cam Erving (ankle) and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle) have been full participants this week while Mitchell Schartz (knee) is limited. Defensive end Frank Clark (neck) has also been a full participant.

The Chiefs though are likely to be without defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah (pectoral) and Alex Okafor (ankle).

KEEP AN EYE ON

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon. He rushed for a season-high 108 yards last week and seems to be regaining his stride after missing the first four games because of a contract dispute. He had 166 scrimmage yards (102 receiving, 64 rushing) the previous time he faced Chiefs, who are ranked 31st in the league in run defense.

Player Notes
Albert Wilson Dec 15 6:40pm ET

Cleared from concussion protocol, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson didn't do much for those owners who took a chance on the speedy wide receiver ahead of a prime matchup with a bad Giants Defense. Wilson's eight targets led all Dolphins wide receivers and he managed to convert five of them for a total of 59 yards, finishing his day with just five points in standard leagues. Even with a matchup in Week 16 against the hapless Bengals, Wilson is only a desperation play for those fighting for a fantasy championship.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Dec 15 6:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught seven of 13 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. Adams hesitated on his route, then left Bears corner Buster Skrine in the dust for a 29-yard score. A great day could have been even better for Adams, if not for a few uncharacteristic drops. Still, Adams saw double-digit targets for the sixth time this year and remains Aaron Rodgers' most trustworthy receiver. He'll get a good matchup for fantasy receivers in Week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Fitzpatrick Dec 15 6:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick turned in another solid performance in a losing effort on Sunday, throwing for 279 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-20 loss to the New York Giants. Fitzpatrick didnt throw an interception for the first time in more than a month but still managed to contribute a brutal turnover, fumbling on Miamis first drive of the second half after New York had just taken the lead with a touchdown. Fitzpatrick finished with 19 points on the day, rewarding the many who took a chance on the veteran even with as their playoff hopes were on the line. He'll have another solid matchup in Week 16, as the Cincinnati Bengals come to town in a battle of two of the NFL's worst teams.

From RotoBaller

Sammy Watkins Dec 15 6:30pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins was overshadowed by teammates Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce during the Week 15 win. Watkins caught three of four targets for 49 yards in the win over the Broncos. Hill and Kelce are going to continue to be the favorite targets in KC. Watkins should be considered a boom-or-bust WR3 for his Week 16 matchup with the Bears. Watkins has some fantasy value, but hasn't caught a touchdown since Week 1.

From RotoBaller

Mecole Hardman Dec 15 6:30pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman has shown the ability to make big plays, but has been lost in the shuffle lately. Having both Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins back healthy has basically killed Hardman's fantasy value. He saw two targets and caught one of them for 10 yards in the Week 15 win over the Broncos. Hardman has seen three total targets over the last three games. He belongs on the bench or waiver wire in most formats at this point. He'll be a boom-or-bust WR5 for his matchup with the Bears in Week 16.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Laird Dec 15 6:20pm ET

The last man standing in the backfield, Miami Dolphins running back Patrick Laird was a non-factor in fantasy on Sunday, rushing for 46 yards and scoring just four points in standard leagues. Laird was even more ineffective in the passing game, catching two of his five targets for eight yards. In theory, Laird will have a better matchup in Week 16, facing a Cincinnati defense thats allowing the seventh-most points to running backs this season but its not as if the Giants were that much better, having had allowed the 15th-most prior to the matchup with Miami. Even facing the one-win Bengals, Laird is only a desperate play with fantasy championships on the line.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Dec 15 6:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in the NFL this season. He absolutely destroyed the Broncos Defense during the Week 15 matchup Kelce caught 11 of 13 targets for 142 yards in the 23-3 win over Denver. Kelce surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the season during that contest. Kelce is going to continue to be an elite PPR TE1 for his matchup with the Bears next week.

From RotoBaller

Christian McCaffrey Dec 15 6:10pm ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had a day despite his team falling to the Seahawks on Sunday, finishing with 87 yards on 19 carries, while also adding eight catches for 88 yards. After failing to score a touchdown in either of his previous two outings, the 23-year-old also racked up his 15th and 16th score of the season in this one. Though the team has nothing left to play for this year, McCaffrey should remain active over the next two games as he attempts to hit 1,000 yards on both the ground and through the air.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Dec 15 6:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had no issues in the 23-3 victory over the Broncos in Week 15. Hill caught five of his seven targets for 67 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown came on a 41-yard play where Hill completely destroyed Broncos' Chris Harris. The snowy conditions can't even hold back Hill. Fantasy owners should feel comfortable with Hill as a WR1 for their matchup with the Bears next week.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Dec 15 6:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams was held to 26 rushing yards on eight totes and one catch for seven yards in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. Williams, like Aaron Jones, couldn't find much room to operate between the 20s against Akiem Hicks and the Bears Defense. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, Jones out-touched him 13-nine and scored twice in the red zone. It's also worth noting that Williams has seen only two targets the last two weeks after seeing 12 in Weeks 11 and 12. He'll look to bounce back in a tough matchup next week against the Minnesota Vikings.

From RotoBaller

Spencer Ware Dec 15 6:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware was signed by the team roughly two weeks ago and is already making an impact on the field. Ware rushed seven times for 26 yards in the victory over the Denver Broncos. However, the Chiefs have a running back committee, so Ware has handcuffed fantasy value. Both LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson are going to see carries each week. He's not someone worth owning in basically any format. He'll have a tough matchup against the Bears Defense in Week 16.

From RotoBaller

Dalvin Cook Dec 15 6:00pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) has left the game and will not return after being tackled on a third-quarter run. He landed hard on the shoulder/chest area that has been giving him trouble in the last few weeks and will be held out for the remainder of the contest. With Alexander Mattison (ankle) also out, the backfield duties will now be split between Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone in the second half. Cook had nine carries for 27 yards and three catches for 16 yards before exiting.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Dec 15 5:50pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu caught two passes for only 13 yards in the Patriots 34-13 win over the Bengals. Sanu has been battling an ankle injury over the past few weeks and does not look 100%. Add to that the fact that Sanu is acclimating himself into a new offense and his fantasy value has fallen off the map. The veteran has very little value at present with only two games remaining in the season.

From RotoBaller

Darwin Thompson Dec 15 5:50pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson surprisingly led the team in carries during the Week 15 win over the Denver Broncos. He rushed eight times for 38 yards and caught one pass for one yard through the air. It appears the Chiefs are beginning to feel more comfortable with Thompson. However, LeSean McCoy and Spencer Ware will continue to be worked into the backfield. Thompson will have shaky RB3 or most likely RB4 value against the Bears next week.

From RotoBaller

New England Patriots Dec 15 5:50pm ET

The New England Patriots Defense picked off Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times in the team's 34-13 win in Week 15. The Patriots gave up an early touchdown but stiffened up from there as they dominated the rest of the game. Stephen Gilmore and J.C. Jackson recorded two interceptions each as the Patriots got a much-need win against a poor Bengals team. The defense now prepares for a huge game against a division rival, the Bills, next Saturday to kick off Week 16.

From RotoBaller

John Ross Dec 15 5:50pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross had just two catches for 24 yards during the loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Ross was only targeted three times on a day where Andy Dalton threw four interceptions. Since returning to the lineup after suffering a chest injury earlier in the season, the 24-year-old has only four receptions for 52 yards. He still has a shot to get things going over the team's final two games, but that chance could diminish if A.J. Green (ankle) returns at some point during that span.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Dec 15 5:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones carried the ball 13 times for 51 rushing yards with two touchdowns and wasn't targeted in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. The Bears are a much better run defense with Akiem Hicks in the lineup, as they stifled Jones between the 20s. Jones broke free in the red zone twice, including a 21-yard run in the third quarter, complete with broken tackles. It wasn't the most productive day on the ground or through the air for Jones, but his nose for the end zone, 17 touchdowns this year, has made up for many sub-par days- and turned good outings into great ones. Up next is a Week 15 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, who Jones gashed for 150 scrimmage yards and a touchdown back in Week 2.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Dec 15 5:40pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was able to bounce back after three straight mediocre performances. Mahomes completed 27 of 34 passing attempts for 340 yards and two touchdowns and one interception in the Week 15 victory. It wasn't a perfect game for Mahomes, but it was in snowy conditions. He was able to play very well despite the frustrating field conditions. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Mahomes will be a top tier option against the Bears in Week 16.

From RotoBaller

James White Dec 15 5:40pm ET

New England Patriots running back James White totaled only 62 yards from scrimmage but caught and ran for a 23-yard touchdown in the Patriots win over the Bengals in Week 15. The Patriots coasted to victory after a tight first half and explosive plays simply were not on the menu in this contest. White has been a disappointment in fantasy this season but his impact on the offense over the last month continues to increase. Of all the runners in the Patriots backfield, White is the one to deploy in fantasy lineups over the final few weeks.

From RotoBaller

N'Keal Harry Dec 15 5:40pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry caught two passes for 15 yards with one touchdown in the Patriots 34-13 win over the Bengals. The rookie saw only four targets in the game and continues to be a raw talent in an experienced offense. But Harry has proved to be a threat in the red zone and capitalized on his size for a seven-yard touchdown reception. Harry's fantasy value should be reserved for dynasty and keeper leagues the rest of this season.

From RotoBaller