Kickoff Sunday, Sep 11th 4:25pm Eastern

Chiefs (
30.25) at

Cards (
23.75)

Over/Under 54.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Chiefs Run D
19th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O
27th DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D
20th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O
29th DVOA/32nd Yards per pass
Cardinals Run D
23rd DVOA/19th Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O
18th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D
22nd DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86 >>
  • This is an exciting matchup of teams that play at a fast pace, but both teams have a lot of changes on offense to start the year.
  • The strengths of both offenses match up well with the “path of least resistance” provided by their opponents.
  • The Cardinals preference to blitz at a high rate could be attacked and exploited by Patrick Mahomes in this game.
  • This game not only deserves the highest total on the slate, it also has the greatest chance to drastically surpass those expectations due to a variety of matchup factors.

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How Kansas City Will Try To Win ::

The Chiefs enter the 2022 season on a run of four consecutive years making it to the AFC championship game or Super Bowl. Last year ended for them when they fell apart and gave a game away at home to the Bengals, losing in overtime one week shy of the Super Bowl. As they look to make a fifth consecutive deep run into the playoffs, their division has become arguably the most difficult in football and they lost a key piece of their historically good offense.

The biggest change for this year will be the offense’s loss of all-pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Hill was used in a dynamic role all over the field and targeted in the short, intermediate, and deep areas of the field as a moveable chess piece that defenses had to account for. The Chiefs will not try to replace the “Hill” role in their offense with just one player, rather Andy Reid will have a somewhat redesigned offense built around the strengths of the players they do have. By all camp accounts, newcomer Juju Smith-Schuster will operate as the de facto WR1 this season – meaning he will have the highest snap count and be the most targeted of the group. As stated earlier, it won’t be a straight one-for-one replacement for Hill as JuJu has a different skill set and doesn’t match Hill’s straight line speed. He will likely be used on a lot of the shorter and intermediate routes and used interchangeably with Travis Kelce as they take turns attacking the seams and in-breaking routes. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was also brought in and will be the “#2” while being used often as a vertical field stretcher on the perimeter. Finally, Mecole Hardman maintains his role as the third receiver of the group and will be used on gadget plays and manufactured touches, with some deep shots of his own mixed in.

As for how this game plays out on this side of the ball, it will be very interesting to see how Arizona approaches the game philosophically. In last year’s playoff loss to the Rams, the Cardinals blitzed on 50% of Stafford’s dropbacks – despite Stafford having the best season of all NFL QB’s against the blitz – and he tore them apart. Mahomes has similarly been much better against the blitz than when facing four or fewer rushers during his career, while Arizona ranked 4th in the league in blitz rate last season. Complicating matters even more for the Cardinals defense will be the fact that they lost Chandler Jones, who was second on the team with 10.5 sacks last year, and linebacker Jordan Hicks, who was second on the team in tackles. There was a portion of last season where the Chiefs offense struggled as defenses had supposedly “figured them out” and began dropping back into Cover 2 and Cover 3 shell coverages while bringing less pressure. Eventually, the Chiefs adjusted their approach and took the easier underneath openings that defenses were giving them and got back on track, but we can unequivocally say that this defensive approach has shown much greater promise against the Chiefs offense. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have continuity and talent on one of the top offensive lines in the league while the Cardinals may have one of the least talented defensive fronts at this point.

The Chiefs won’t completely abandon the run by any means, but they have an all-world QB playing behind an elite offensive line and have been one of the highest pass rate over expectation (PROE) teams in the league since Mahomes took over, so it is safe to say they should be relatively pass heavy. The Cardinals already have a philosophy of bringing pressure through the blitz and are at a heavy disadvantage up front, making it likely that they stay true to themselves here and are aggressive against a team that will have to “prove” that they are the same explosive team without Tyreek Hill. This could line up for a game of fireworks for the Chiefs offense as Mahomes will get single coverage and open spaces to throw his receivers open.

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JM >>
  • As Mike said, this is pretty obviously one of the better game environments of the week; and in a sense, we could copy/paste my notes from the Raiders/Chargers game and the Packers/Vikings game, to essentially say: it’s really not a question that there are good plays from this game; but especially with the fact that this game will likely be popular, it’s less about “whether or not there are good plays” and more about “playing those good plays better than the field is playing those good plays
    • A bit of a mindset/side-trail here :: if you’re considering fading this game, there can be a tendency to want to start defending that stance by searching for (and holding onto) the reasons why this game could fail, but by giving into that tendency, you’re really just wasting your time; this game can underperform expectations, because that’s true for every game/player/situation, etc.; if that’s the bet you want to place here, that’s completely fine, but you also need to realize that you should then place that bet by building your roster in such a way that it ideally benefits directly from the field getting this game wrong
    • Said differently: don’t waste time trying to prove to others that they’re wrong, or trying to prove to yourself that others are wrong; instead, realize that we should always look at games from a standpoint of their ranges of outcomes — and every game has “disappointment” in its range of outcomes; use your time, instead, to design rosters that intelligently take advantage of the space on the leaderboards that would open up if that scenario came our way
    • (If you’re in Inner Circle, of course, you understand the next several layers, regarding how to build that kind of roster; if you’re not in Inner Circle, you can check out the podcasts and content for free this week on the One Week Season podcast feed (search ‘one week season’ on your favorite podcast player) and in The Scroll)
  • If you are building around this game…well, you’re trying to win a tourney; and this means that you’re building for the scenarios that would produce tourney-winners
  • Said differently, I don’t care who you take from this game; if you’re taking multiple players from this game, or anchoring your roster with a QB from this game, you’re essentially betting on this game blowing away the others on this slate — in which case, we would be seeing plenty of touchdowns…in which case, pretty much any piece from this game could be part of the action, and the key is to build intelligently around a particular scenario
  • I’m currently undecided as to whether or not I’ll be building around this game myself on my limited Week 1 entries, but there are plenty of angles to attack this one from, and nearly all of them are in play

By Dwprix >>

Overview

  • Highest total on week (53)
  • KC favored by 4 (opened 3)
  • ARZ started 2021 with a 7-0 record & went 3-0 vs playoff teams (TEN // LAR // SF)
  • KC started 3-4 & went 1-2 vs playoff teams
  • Kingsbury + Murray avg 29.7 pts & are 2-0-1 in WK 1’s 
  • Reid + Mahomes avg 37.4 pts & are 5-0 in WK 1’s 

Patrick Mahomes

  • Finished 5th in pass yds/g (284.6)
  • KC took the 3rd least sacks on 2nd most pass attempts
  • ARZ allowed 17.8 DK pts/g to QBs (11th least)
  • Mahomes reached 3x+ DK salary 7 times in 17 games in 2021 (four came in 1st 4 WKs of the season)
  •  4.5x (36.3 pts) // 3.4x (28) // 3.0x (24.9) // 4.0x (32.7) // 3.4x (28.0) // 5.2x (39.2) // 4.4x (34.6) // 3.6x (26.2)
  • Also scored 5.6x (41.1 pts) & 5.8x (43.0 pts) in the first 2 playoff games
  • ARZ allowed 17.8 DK pts to QBs last season (11th least)

Travis Kelce

  • Kelce in games w/o Tyreek (all in 2019): (7:107:1TD-9 tgts) // (7:89:0TDs-8 tgts) // (7:85:0 TDs-8 tgts) // (4:70:0 TDs-10 tgts) 
  • He saw a 21.7% tgt share // had 131 targets on season (Tyreek, who’s been traded saw a 25.4% tgt share & had 155 tgts)
  • Kelce ran a route on 90.4% of passing snaps
  • 2nd highest priced TE on DK ($6.6k) & highest priced on FD ($8.0k)
  • ARZ allowed 8.0 DK pts/g to TEs last season (3rd least)

KC WRs

  • JuJu only played in 6 gms last season 
  • He averaged 8 tgts/g in 2021 (not incl 19 tgts in their playoff gm that season)
  • MVS played in 11 games & averaged 5 tgts/g 
  • Hardman ($4.6k) needs 13.3 DK pts to pay off 3x 
  • He only did that two times in 2021 (16.6 // 22.3)
  • Hardman played on 52% of KCs offensive snaps & averaged 4.5 tgts/g in ‘21 (incl playoffs)
  • ARZ allowed 38.7 DK pts/g to WRs (4th most)

KC RBs

  • CEH played in 12 total gms in 2021 
  • He had 1 game with 15+ rush attempts & 2 gms w/ 100+ rush yds
  • McKinnon avg 16 touches & 105 scrimmage yards in playoffs last season
  • He’s priced $1.2 below CEH & $1.0k below Jones
  • ARZ allowed 22.1 DK pts/g to RBs last season (11th least)

Kyler Murray

  • This will be Murray’s 1st time facing KC
  • He averaged 25.7 DK pts in 2021’s 7-0 start & 18.2 thereafter (incl playoffs)
  • QB1 in WKs 1-3 in fantasy ppg (29.7)
  • Murray’s cheapest DK price in 2021 was $7k 
  • He’s $7.2k in WK 1
  • Murray DK pts last season w/o Hopkins: (13.6 // 21.9 // 22.9 // 17.1 // 6.1)
  • ARZ was 17th in pass atts/g (33.7) but 5th in pass yds/att (7.6)

Marquise Brown

  • Brown had a 25% target share w/ BAL in ‘21
  • 146 tgts in 16 gms (10 shy of Andrews in 1 less game)
  • He had 7 gms w/ 10+ tgts (10 // 10 // 14 // 12 // 13 // 10 // 14)
  • Brown was $6.2k or higher on DK in only 4 of 16 games last season 
  • He’s $6.2k WK 1
  • KC allowed 36.7 DK pts/g to WRs last season (11th most)

James Conner

  • 16 total games played last season 
  • Conner had 19 TDs (16 rush // 3 rec) 
  • He only had 4 gms without a TD & scored 2 or more in 6 gms
  • Conner had 20+ DK pts in 5 games (20.6 // 40.3 // 20.9 // 33.5 // 27.3)
  • $7k on DK this WK (was never more than $6.4k last season)
  • From WK 9 on (incl playoffs): 4.5 tgts/gm // 43.3 rec yds/g
  • KC allowed 24.3 DK pts/g to RBs last season (middle of league)

Zach Ertz

  • Ertz had 10.5 tgts/g in final 4 games of reg season (11 // 13 // 9 // 10)
  • $4.4k on DK WK 1 ( he was only cheaper in his 1st gm with AZ at $3.9k)
  • Ertz w/o Hopkins: (3:27-5 tgts // 5.7 DK pts) // (4:46-6 tgts // 8.6) // (8:88:2TDs-9 tgts // 28.8) // (6:74-11 tgts // 13.4) // (8:54-13 tgts // 13.4) // (7:41-9 tgts // 11.1) // (7:84-10 tgts // 15.4)
  • KC allowed 12.5 DK pts/g to TEs last season (middle of league)