Market timing is nearly impossible, which is why most people in my profession tend to recommend against it. Trends can reverse quickly and without warning. Success typically requires a long-term perspective, with steady gains and only temporary declines.
With this Chiefs team, it’s been a much more volatile season than we hoped. But if you take a step back, what becomes apparent is a team that has taken the temporary declines in stride and have emerged a stronger, more confident squad — a team that is in position for sustained success after steady gains on the defense all season.
Who knows where the top of the market really is? But this Chiefs team is in position to peak at the right time heading into the postseason, and their bull market run is just beginning.
One way to do that is to avoid a letdown after a big win against the Patriots, and take care of business against an inferior division rival this week.
This week’s Bulls
- Alex Okafor: Okafor might be an underrated reason why the defense struggled, and also why they are turning things around. He’s been active and strong on the edge since his return. The team desperately needs him, given their lack of depth at this point, and he is quietly delivering down the stretch.
- Mecole Hardman: Just.get.the.kid.the.ball. Good things happen when Hardman is targeted. He is also becoming a factor on special teams, as the team’s primary returner with some positive gains last week. Even given his limited use, he’s having a tremendous rookie season from a statistical standpoint, already at almost 500 yards and six touchdowns. As the team approaches the postseason, having options when teams try to take away Hill and Kelce might be among the most important factors in winning.
- Darwin Thompson: The other offensive rookie playmaker is also making a difference when his number is called. Yahoo! Sports’ Terez Paylor mentioned in his podcast the fact that rookies often start performing this time of year as they are fully used to the playbook. The bull market for Thompson is therefore, right on schedule.
- Bashaud Breeland: The first drive last week looked grim, as the Chiefs corners were called for pass interference twice, leading to a Patriots touchdown. But Breeland kept fighting and made two of the game’s biggest plays: an interception and the game-sealing pass defended in the end zone. He’s been quiet at times this year (which, again isn’t a bad thing for corners), but it’s nice to see No. 21 making plays when it matters.
This week’s Bears
- The interior offensive line: Yes, it’s still an issue, with the shuffling and injuries along the way. Austin Reiter and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are having huge letdown seasons based on expectations from 2018. Teams value continuity on the offensive line, but at some point, they have to be tempted to give Allegretti and Wisniewski a real shot.
- Special teams: This group has been very up-and-down all season, and last week was no exception. Butker continues to be very good, but the blocking on kicks and returns has been subpar. Against the Patriots, Tanoh Kpassagnon blocked a kick for the second straight week, but the Chiefs allowed a blocked punt on a missed fake call. The Chiefs need to put complete games together for playoff wins, so they can’t have any big mistakes on this unit.
- The players with the biggest differential between what they are paid and how we rank them lines up with how excited fans are about them:
Best values on the team: Juan Thornhill, Mike Pennel, Charvarius Ward
Worst values on the team: Chad Henne, Jordan Lucas, Cam Erving
- The top of the roster is really driving this defense forward — Tyrann Mathieu, Chris Jones and Frank Clark won’t appear on the bulls and bears list because they’re already among the NFL elite and don’t have much room to rise. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t making impacts and getting better as the season goes on.
Predictions for week 14:
- Mahomes gets the Chiefs a big lead: He’s due, as is the team, for a fast start. The reigning MVP has to be frustrated with his 2019 campaign, and here’s hoping he takes that out on the Broncos this week.
- Sammy Watkins finds the end zone again: Most of us have been frustrated with Watkins this season, but he’s not one you can count out, as long as he’s on the field. Perhaps this week, he’ll end a long streak of games without a score and give some hope that he’s back on track for the playoffs.
- The Chiefs defense will welcome Drew Lock to the NFL: The former Mizzou quarterback has enjoyed remarkable success since taking over the starting job in Denver. But he’s about to walk into a buzzsaw, facing a Chiefs defense playing with ever-increasing confidence and aggression. Expect a couple of turnovers and enough sacks to rattle the otherwise-promising kid this week.
If you’d like a complete look behind the curtain, here’s the full database. There’s a new tab for each week. And throughout the season, feel free to weigh in with your own analysis of the rankings — and the Market Movers you notice!