If you missed last week’s opening edition of Market Movers, here’s what were doing:
Each week, we look for Kansas City Chiefs players that have improved their standing (Bulls) and those that have declined (Bears). Not every player will move up or down each week, of course. Players performing as expected will maintain their rankings. Others will be locked in and won’t have an opportunity to move.
We’re looking for trends — players who are making the most of their opportunities and making themselves more valuable to the team. In the meantime, it helps categorize the roster by breaking it up into tiers: Elite, Starter, Role Player, Special Teams, Depth and Roster Bubble.
When it comes to quantifying a player’s value to the team, it’s not just the on-field performance that matters. Contracts are important too, because there’s a salary cap and resources are limited. So our calculations include each player’s 2019 cap hit (via Spotrac) and the percentage of the cap allocated to that specific player.
This week’s Bulls
- Demarcus Robinson: The unexpected breakout player of the week was a big-play machine against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. But perhaps more impressive than his total yards and touchdowns, he caught all six of his targets — averaging 28.7 yards per catch. Robinson is the biggest mover this week — up four spots on our chart — and with another good game, he could break into Starter territory.
- Chris Jones: Number 95 had a tremendous game against Oakland, filling the box score and living in the backfield. He passed Frank Clark to take over the top defensive spot on the chart this week; perhaps he should have been there all along. He’s adding the most relative value on the team — which supports the idea that he will get paid. Let’s hope he cashes his checks in Kansas City.
- Bashaud Breeland: The sixth-year pro continues to prove he’s the top cornerback on the roster — and a tremendous value. Even if he’s not a shutdown number one corner, he’s opportunistic — not to mention aggressive and tough in run support. As the search for help at the position continues, Breeland is part of the solution.
- Mecole Hardman: The rookie wide receiver has the biggest opportunity to grow while Tyreek Hill is out — and he took some good steps in the right direction. He’s correcting route running issues while learning on the fly — and making plays, too. The experience is paying off — and when the team is at full strength down the stretch, it could make Hardman quite valuable.
- Tanoh Kpassagnon: The big defensive lineman looks much improved as part of the rotation, with a sack and some better awareness in Sunday’s game. At this point in his career, he’s not a starter — but we’re getting a glimpse of the potential contributions he could make.
- Ben Niemann: The former Hawkeye finally got on the field for some defensive snaps — including 11 passing plays where he helped in coverage. Niemann has now moved from Special Teams to the Role Player category. We’ll see if he can stay there.
This week’s Bears
- Cameron Erving: Given his backup, there was a significant level of concern when Eric Fisher became questionable to play. When Erving replaced Fisher early in Sunday’s first quarter, we were reminded why. Yes, I saw the PFF report that he was elite in pass protection and terrible in run support — but if you’re banking on that analysis to conclude that he is a good left tackle, you’re banking on Erving being a different player than he has been during his career. But hey... maybe I’m just being too negative. We’ll know soon. For the next few weeks, either Erving or Martinas Rankin will be holding down the blind side.
- Rashad Fenton: With the evolution of the NFL’s passing game, cornerbacks have become increasingly important — so you’d think that the Chiefs’ number four corner would actually be asked to play defense. Fenton played special teams on Sunday, but did not record a single defensive snap. That’s especially surprising considering how thin the team is at the position. It’s not clear whether Fenton can help or not — because we haven’t seen him yet.
- De’Anthony Thomas: In his 2019 debut, Thomas played only a few offensive snaps. He had one six-yard catch to show for it. Most will remember his special teams work — but maybe not for the right reasons. Thomas had a penalty and fielded a couple of punts that he might have been better off to let go. Going forward, he’ll likely move up — but his first game was uninspiring.
- Darron Lee: So far, Lee’s role has been confusing. In Week 1, he got snaps in the base defense — but not on passing downs. Against Oakland, Niemann took over some of those nickel and dime snaps. This is something to watch, since Lee was thought to be the Chiefs’ best coverage linebacker. Why isn’t he getting that role and excelling in it?
Other observations this week:
- Injuries are starting to hit this team. Fisher and Hill are both out. LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams are banged up. So there will be opportunities for others to make moves on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. We aren’t downgrading players for injuries — but if a backup player steps up, they could easily move themselves up.
- We’re starting to be a little concerned about the Chiefs’ interior offensive line. While they are doing enough to get by, we have guys like Austin Reiter and Andrew Wylie in the Role Player category until we see them elevate to Starter status. Given the struggles in the run game, it could be that the Chiefs are banking on Mahomes to overcome subpar offensive line play.
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!