Kansas City backfield looks like a headache that won’t go away


Patrick Mahomes finished as a top-three fantasy QB this week despite not rushing for any yards, as his 423 passing yards were the most against a 49ers defense in the Kyle Shanahan era. Mahomes got 12.4 YPA and shredded a San Francisco defense that entered much healthier while allowing easily the fewest yards per play in the NFL.

Mahomes is somehow leading the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns despite losing Tyreek Hill, and he improved to 13-2 when facing a top-five defense throughout his career. Unreal.

Isiah Pacheco started and played more than Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but Jerick McKinnon led Kanas City’s backfield in snaps. Touchdowns will be there in a potent Chiefs offense, but this is a three-headed committee without an RB worth starting in most fantasy matchups right now. KC’s wide receiver situation isn’t much better either, as the team spreads it out far more than fantasy managers would prefer.

On most fantasy benches (if not waiver wires), Mecole Hardman became the first WR in the Super Bowl era to score two rushing touchdowns and a receiving TD in the same game on Sunday.

Christian McCaffrey immediately led San Francisco in carries despite not logging a single practice with his new team. While there’s mild concern the 49ers don’t typically target their running backs, McCaffrey should still benefit greatly from his new offense. He’s an easy top-three fantasy back moving forward. And given CMC’s injury history and the upside of SF’s system, Jeff Wilson should remain rostered in all fantasy leagues as SF’s clear backup.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 300+ yards (8.2 YPA) and two scores while finishing as a top-10 fantasy QB this week, but he was bad for the 49ers (Sunday’s safety might’ve been as awful as when he stepped out of bounds that one time). Jimmy G struggles mightily under pressure, and San Francisco was beat in the trenches on both sides during Sunday’s loss … Deebo Samuel finished third on his team in targets and will see fewer carries with CMC now in San Francisco … George Kittle scored his first touchdown of the season and otherwise finished with the same stat line as Travis Kelce — fittingly on National Tight End Day.

Gus Edwards immediately led Baltimore’s backfield during his season debut, but realize this remains a three-way splitLamar Jackson attempted just 16 passes, finished with an ugly -10.0 completion percentage over expectation and has now totaled just three scores over the last four games after recording 12 touchdowns over the first three games of the year. Jackson is still running — and getting Rashod Bateman back will help (the WR was tackled at the one-inch line Sunday) — but he now gets road games in Tampa Bay and New Orleans before Baltimore’s bye … Mark Andrews was somehow held without a catch on just two targets, while David Njoku left in a walking boot.

Mike Evans set the tone early by committing the worst drop of the season, and Tom Brady was held to three points or fewer for just the third time in 323 regular season starts against a Carolina team that entered 1-13 against the spread over their last 14 games. The 13.5-point favored Bucs were shut out at halftime. You can’t fault the GOAT, but it appears Brady’s competitiveness has resulted in him staying in the league one year too long … While Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White disappointed combining for 58 scoreless yards out of Tampa Bay’s backfield, D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard totaled 218 yards from scrimmage and a score; apparently the 49ers traded for a system back!

In all seriousness, Foreman looks like the leader in a committee with Chuba Hubbard, who had the far higher success rate Sunday but also suffered a mild ankle sprain. Ultimately this looks like a timeshare in the league’s worst offense, so don’t overreact too much to Sunday’s results against a checked-out Bucs team … DJ Moore saw a 48 percent (!) target share and gets a real nice fantasy boost as expected with Christian McCaffrey gone.

The Falcons are incredibly intriguing if you can still get plus odds on them to win this division, as the Buccaneers are in real trouble.

This matchup became much lower scoring than expected thanks to Amon-Ra St. Brown suffering an early concussion (leaving an offense already missing D’Andre Swift) and Dak Prescott rusty during his return. It was more of the same in Dallas’ backfield, where Tony Pollard was once again far more efficient than Ezekiel Elliott, who still scored more fantasy points thanks to two goal-line touchdowns. Elliott is averaging just 1.1 target this season; trade him if you can … Noah Brown committed a bad drop on the game’s first play, yet Michael Gallup was mysteriously absent from the game anyway. CeeDee Lamb’s dramatic splits with Cooper Rush remained … The final score was a bit misleading, as the Lions scored a go-ahead touchdown with 12 minutes left that was incorrectly ruled just short, but Detroit didn’t challenge and then lost a fumble on first-and-goal the very next play.

Joe Burrow posted a perfect Passer Rating in the first half and had 425 passing yards and four touchdowns with more than five minutes left in the third quarter. He approached 40 fantasy points during a week in which no other QB scored 30. After a slow start, Burrow has put up a mere 825 yards with eight touchdowns and no turnovers over the last two weeks. The new shotgun-heavy Cincinnati offense looks unstoppable, and the team’s inability to run the ball is a perfect recipe for fantasy success for their passing attack … Ja’Marr Chase finished as the No. 1 fantasy WR for the second week in a row, while Tyler Boyd was remarkably the No. 2 WR this week.

Joe Burrow was the fantasy QB king of Week 7. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Down 10+ points for the final 50 minutes of Sunday’s game, Marcus Mariota still managed just 13 pass attempts (Drake London and Kyle Pitts combined for 18 yards). It’s bad news for fantasy managers that Atlanta refused to throw even during this type of game script. What a disaster … The previously undefeated Falcons finally lost their first game against the spread.

Despite combining for just one TD pass (and one passer barely reaching 200 passing yards), Daniel Jones and Trevor Lawrence both finished as top-five fantasy QBs in a week with a couple of stars on bye. Both quarterbacks continue to add value with their legs, with Jones running for a career-high 107 yards Sunday. Dimes is underratedJames Robinson barely saw the field and might not be 100%, while Travis Etienne saw easily his highest snap% ever and scored the first touchdown of his career. Etienne also lost a costly fumble inside the five-yard line but had an impressive run and should be treated as a top-15 fantasy back moving forward … Wan’Dale Robinson remains available in more than 70% of Yahoo leagues and looks like the clear favorite to lead the Giants in receiving over the rest of the seasonSaquon Barkley is the only player with at least 85 yards from scrimmage in every outing this season, while Christian Kirk was stopped at the one-yard line to end Sunday’s game.

Matt Ryan threw a pick-six and is up to a whopping 20 interceptions/fumbles on the season. A healthier Jonathan Taylor should see more work moving forward (the RB saw a career-high eight targets Sunday), but Indy’s offensive line and shakier-than-expected game scripts could continue leading to Ryan passing more than the Colts would prefer … Don’t look now, but Parris Campbell has 23 targets (and a 25% target share) over the last two games. He was the No. 5 fantasy receiver this week and is available in more than 95% of Yahoo leagues … Mike Vrabel improved to 5-0 after byes … Ryan Tannehill was shaken up at one point, giving a good reminder that Malik Willis should be rostered in all Superflex formats right now.

Aaron Rodgers struggled badly while missing LT David Bakhtiari (and with Allen Lazard leaving) against a Washington defense that’s among the league leaders in pressure rate. Two short TD passes to Aaron Jones saved his fantasy day, but Rodgers had just 38 passing yards at the two-minute warning before halftime. Green Bay lost as favorites despite its defense returning a pick-six. AJ Dillon needs to stay parked on fantasy benches until further notice …

Terry McLaurin immediately benefitted from the QB switch to Taylor Heinicke and produced his best fantasy game of the season, while Washington’s backfield was more split than Brian Robinson’s carry lead may suggest … The Rams, Bucs and Packers all have strong arguments as the NFC’s most disappointing team so far.

Breece Hall looked like the league’s next star running back before getting carted off with what’s feared to be a torn ACL, as football remains a cruel sport. Michael Carter was the week’s biggest fantasy winner and should be a top-15 RB moving forward on a Jets team that is loaded with talent but also wants to hide its quarterback … New York has already recorded more interceptions than all of last season and is one of only three teams that remain undefeated on the road this season after going 2-14 away from home over the last two years … Elijah Moore will return to more targets after Corey Davis suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday … Zach Wilson’s numbers under pressure this season have been scary, but New York keeps winning anyway.

Breece Hall #20 of the New York Jets

Breece Hall’s injury is a particularly painful one for fantasy managers. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Denver’s offense remained awful (4.3 yards per play) with Brett Rypien starting at QB, and the Broncos’ running back situation looks rough for fantasy managers. One bright spot was rookie Greg Dulcich, who saw nine targets and has quickly become a fantasy option at a weak tight end position.

Houston Texans @ Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr appeared to suffer a serious injury early but missed just one snap and got 8.9 YPA in an efficient win led by Josh Jacobsthree touchdowns. A brutal Texans run defense helped Sunday, but Jacobs has totaled 523 yards while getting 6.4 YPC and scoring six touchdowns over the last three games. Quite simply, Jacobs was one of the very best picks in fantasy drafts this year.

Davis Mills threw a pick-six late but had the best fantasy game of his career while on the road. However, his life may soon get harder with Brandin Cooks a trade candidate and Nico Collins leaving Sunday’s game injured … Dameon Pierce totaled 117 yards against a Raiders defense that entered allowing the fewest EPA/rush. He’s quickly become one of the most valuable fantasy backs in dynasty leagues.

Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Chargers

Despite Tyler Lockett playing at far less than full strength and losing DK Metcalf to a potentially serious knee injury, Geno Smith bounced back and outplayed Justin Herbert during Seattle’s upset win Sunday. Kenneth Walker continued to impress and finished as fantasy’s No. 3 RB this week. K9 worked in Seattle’s two-minute offense Sunday and looks like a legit top-five RB moving forwardMarquise Goodwin put up an out-of-nowhere top-10 WR week and is on the fantasy radar given the Seahawks’ injuries at receiver … Mike Williams put up a nice game with Keenan Allen extremely limited but had to be helped off the field late with a possibly serious leg injury. The Chargers could really use their upcoming bye … Austin Ekeler is on pace to catch 129 passes this season, which is helpful in PPR formats.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins

Kenny Pickett was picked off three times, while Pittsburgh’s defense dropped at least four interceptions in an ugly game that saw zero points in the second half. Miami’s offense managed just one field goal after the first quarter with Tua Tagovailoa back at QB (he didn’t take a sack but ironically matched his season rush attempt total during his return from a couple of nasty concussions) … Tyreek Hill saw 12 targets Sunday night for the fifth time already this season, but he’s still scored in just one game. Diontae Johnson says hold my beer, as he recorded his fifth double-digit target game but has yet to score a TD all season.

For what it’s worth, Tagovailoa’s CPOE (-6.2) was in the 25th percentile Sunday night, while Pickett’s (8.5) was in the 82nd … It’s possible Najee Harris’ foot injury limits his production all season long, but he continues to dominate Pittsburgh’s backfield usage, had a tough matchup this week and will eventually benefit from Pickett looking so competent right away. That said, the Steelers get a matchup in Philadelphia and then a bye over the next two weeks, so even more patience will be required.

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