The Kansas City Chiefs feature the NFL's highest-scoring offense, are tied for the best record in football and sport a perfect record at home.
Up next for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs is a home date with the struggling Arizona Cardinals, the lowest-scoring team in the NFC whose only two victories have come at the expense of the two-win San Francisco 49ers.
On paper, it shapes up as one of the biggest mismatches in recent years, with oddsmakers in Las Vegas installing Kansas City as a prohibitive favorite as high as 16 points.
Amid such chatter, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is wary of a letdown by his team, which has rebounded from its only loss -- a 43-40 setback at New England -- by ripping off three straight victories and averaging a robust 37.3 points during that run.
"Guys are going to be asked that question a lot," Reid told reporters this week. "That's just part of this game. You always hear that. You can let spreads, you can let all these things, trap game, all these terms that pop up and things that happen come into it."
The temptation to overlook the punchless Cardinals is one obstacle for Reid and his staff. Just as worrisome is to keep his players from looking ahead to one of the most anticipated games of the season -- a prime-time Monday night matchup in Mexico City against the one-loss Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 19.
"If you can honestly focus on the process and discipline yourself enough to do that, that normally takes care of things," Reid said. "It at least makes it an even game in that area where you're not going to let distractions get in the way."
Mahomes leads the league in touchdowns (29) and passing yards (2,901) and will be bidding to tie Drew Brees' NFL record of nine consecutive 300-yard games. Mahomes also can join Hall of Famer Steve Young as the only players in history with five straight games of at least 300 yards and three scoring passes.
With a bevy of offensive game-breakers that include running back Kareem Hunt, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, even first-year Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks understands there is only so much a defense can do to contain Mahomes and Co.
"I don't think you can stop those guys completely," Wilks said. "You've just got to hope you can slow them down."
The Cardinals average a league-worst 233.3 yards and rank 31st in scoring at 13.8 points per game, so attempting to match a Kansas City offense that is churning out an average of 433.4 yards and 36.3 points appears futile. However, Mahomes noted that Arizona is a stingy seventh in pass defense (224.6 yards).
"They have Patrick Peterson at corner," Mahomes said. "They got dudes everywhere on that defense. For me it's going to be a great test to get to go up against these guys. We're going to try to be ourselves and keep what we have going, going."
The Cardinals' best chance of hanging with the Chiefs is to play keep-away from Mahomes. Kansas City's defense certainly is vulnerable, ranking 31st (427.4 yards) overall and 25th against the run (124.8).
"I think their defense is pretty good. I know the numbers don't show it," Wilks said. "The great thing about what they have, they have a very explosive offense to be able to compensate and score points. So, we feel like there's an opportunity in the run game. Hopefully, we can run the football against these guys, and hopefully, there's going to be an opportunity in the pass game as well."
Arizona needs to lean on running back David Johnson, who has scored five touchdowns but has rushed for more than 59 yards just once in eight games. Production from the ground game would lessen the burden on rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who echoed his coach's sentiment that Kansas City's inflated defensive stats are misleading.
"I think a lot of those numbers are a little bit deceiving because they're up by 30 in half their games," Rosen said. "So, a lot of times they're just playing back. They let the offense do what they want to do, try to bend not break, hold them to field goals.
"I think they're like 32nd in pass defense, but I don't think you should read into that at all. They're a very good football team with a very good defense. A lot of that is just because their offense is scoring so many points."
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams is poised for a stellar season in his debut year with the Silver and Black. Lining up across the field from Antonio Brown, Williams will serve as the deep threat for the offense and will undoubtedly get his share of targets with Brown drawing most of the attention from opposing defenses. The 6-foot-4 wideout is a boom or bust player on a weekly basis but has the potential to surpass his value on his current 156 ADP. Williams caught 41 balls for 653 yards and five touchdowns with the Chargers last season despite being nearly non-existent in the second half of the year. He does own a 1,000-yard season under his belt, so he has sneaky potential on a team lacking a depth of weapons. As the bonafide number two receiving option for quarterback Derek Carr, Williams is a good late-round target, but the week-to-week consistency is a question mark.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (ACL) is expected to be ready to go for the start of the 2019 season. Fuller's played just 17 games over the past two seasons, but when he's on the field he's one of the NFL's best downfield weapons and has developed great chemistry with quarterback Deshaun Watson. Even with serious injury concerns, the upside is too great with Fuller to pass up on him in the middle rounds of the draft. He has 11 touchdown catches over the past two seasons and with DeAndre Hopkins playing across the field from him, defenses aren't able to double Fuller, allowing him to get open deep on a routine basis.
Houston Texans running back D'Onta Foreman had a disastrous 2018 season, rushing for negative yardage on seven carries while adding two catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. Recovering from an Achilles tear, Foreman appeared in just one regular season game, playing 31 snaps in a loss to the Eagles. Foreman is expected to play a much bigger role this year now that Houston's long time backup, Alfred Blue, is gone, and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle expects 2019 to be an audition of sorts for Foreman in preparation for Lamar Miller's impending free agency, with Foreman seeing a decent amount of work this season. Foreman makes sense as a late round pick for this reason, though questions about how he'll play after the Achilles injury loom large.
The Denver Broncos have signed running back David Williams, who the team originally drafted in 2018 before letting go. Williams was a Jaguar last season, but carried the ball just eight times for 36 yards with Jacksonville. It's hard to imagine a situation where Williams has fantasy value in a Broncos backfield that already has Royce Freeman and Phillip, but stranger things have happened. He's not draftable in any format, but a good training camp could put him in the mix for some of Devontae Booker's snaps as the number-three back.
The NFL will not suspend Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill for violating the league's player-conduct policy. Hill was under investigation for an incident in which his son's arm was broken. With Hill cleared to be on the field, the Chiefs wideout is once again on track to be one of the league's top receivers thanks to his speed and the prolific passing of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Hill's a second-round fantasy pick at worst now, and will be a huge value for fantasy owners who drafted early and took him at his lower offseason ADP.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill is unlikely to resume contract talks for several weeks or months with the team.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill will not be suspended by the NFL as the league found that he did not violate the personal conduct policy. He will be able to attend training camp and participate in all team activities.
Fantasy Spin: The news has a big impact on the fantasy landscape as Hill immediately returns to WR1 status with the cloud clearing over him. Hill had an 87-1,479-12 breakout last season, and talks on a long-term deal could also rekindle.
Rival teams believe the Buffalo Bills could release someone from the group of RBs LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon, according to MMQB's Albert Breer, who notes that McCoy is set to earn far more money than Gore or Yeldon.
Fantasy Spin: Barring injury, Devin Singletary is going to make the 53-man roster. Beyond that, training camp will sort things out, though Yeldon seems the most like casualty at this stage.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is now the top receiver on his team but still has to prove to some that he belongs among the league's elite. After finishing top six in the NFL last year in both receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,426), the third-year pass catcher is in a position to repeat his breakout season. Without Antonio Brown in town, Smith-Schuster will be Ben Roethlisberger's first look. In half-PPR mocks, he's been going in the early-to-middle of the second round. The talent and opportunity are certainly there for the 22-year-old to be considered a top eight receiver in fantasy drafts.
Denver Broncos TE Troy Fumagalli spent time with the first-team offense during training camp Thursday, July 18.
Oakland Raiders RB Jalen Richard could lose a 'good chunk' of his snaps on receiving downs to RB Josh Jacobs, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
Fantasy Spin: Richard's value was already limited to PPR formats, and now that Jacobs is in the mix and potentially headed for an every-down role, Richard is slipping into handcuff territory. Meanwhile, Jacobs looks like a RB2 candidate as a rookie.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones remains unsigned with one week remaining before training camp opens. He is one of five first-round picks yet to agree to terms with his organization. Jones is still scheduled to arrive to training camp on Monday when all rookies and select veterans report. He is expected to sign a four-year, $25.5 million contract, with a $16.6 million guarantee, when he arrives, or even shortly before. That is the financial slot for the No. 6 overall pick in the draft. Last season RB Saquon Barkley signed a day before he arrived at camp, so there isn't cause for alarm with Big Blue.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson will be expected to take over the role that Jacksonville Jaguars WR Chris Conley filled for the offense last season.
Fantasy Spin: Conley finished last season with 32 catches for 334 yards and five scores while Robinson logged 22 grabs for 288 yards and four scores. Combine those numbers on top of a potential suspension for Tyreek Hill, and Robinson could be worth a late-round flier as a WR5.
Denver Broncos WR River Cracraft's chances of earning a spot on the 53-man roster have improved following the retirement of WR Aaron Burbridge, according to Benjamin Allbright of 104.7 FM Denver.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley rolled up 261 carries, 1,307 rushing yards while adding 91 receptions last season. Beat writer John Schmeelk expects the number of receptions for Barkley to drop by as many as 15-20. Early in the season Barkley had many non-consequential dump-off receptions, posting 58 grabs in the first half and 33 in the second half. Barkley likely will have more impactful plays that gain more yardage, even if his catch total declines. Running backs coach Craig Johnson expects the improvement in Year 2 for Barkley to be in his attention to detail, including pass protection, more precise route running, technique and perfect execution of the playbook. Barkley remains a sure-fire Round 1 selection in all fantasy formats, and is a consideration for No. 1 overall pick in PPR formats.
New York Giants placekicker Aldrick Rosas booted 32 field goals in 2018, the fifth-most in franchise history. He connected for a 97.0 field-goal percentage, setting a franchise record. His only missed field-goal attempt was a 52-yard try with 28 seconds remaining in the first half in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also hit a 57-yarder against the Chicago Bears, setting a new franchise record. Rosas has emerged as a fantasy option after a rough first season for Big Blue. And the team should struggle at times on offense, settling for more field-goal attempts than point-after tries, which is always good for fantasy.
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins expects to be used in various spots on the field in 2019. While the battle for playing time at the tight end position will be tough between Akins, Jordan Thomas, and rookie Kahale Warring, Akins being able to be used in the backfield and in the slot can help him carve out a role. Still, with wide receiver Keke Coutee expected to see most of the slot minutes, Akins' versatility isn't enough to make him a trustworthy fantasy player in 2019 unless injuries hit in Houston.
New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers was the main kick and punt returner man for the Cleveland Browns, and beat writer Lance Medow expects him to reprise that role with the Giants in 2019. However, since he is the team's starting safety, too, his usage will likely be managed at times. "It's a lot of different scenarios, and it's good to have options," special teams coach Thomas McGaughey said last month. Peppers is considered the front runner for the job, however, and others like wide receivers Corey Coleman, Bennie Fowler, Golden Tate, Cody Latimer and Brittan Golden have also see time in the return game in the past. Rookie Darius Slayton could also factor in.
New York Giants undrafted rookie tight end C.J. Conrad turned heads during organized team activities, making a lot of plays and rarely dropping passes, according to beat writer Dan Salomone. He has plenty of size at 6-foot-4 and 248 pounds and he could emerge as an option in the red zone, and Conrad could be used in two tight end sets with fellow TE Evan Engram as more of a hybrid wideout-tight end, running fly patterns and working out of the slot. At this point he doesn't warrant fantasy consideration, but he is a name to watch as he head into camp.