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Chiefs Market Movers headed into Week 14 against Las Vegas

As Kansas City prepares to face the Raiders, which Chiefs are trending up — and which are trending down?

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Your Kansas City Chiefs continue their run through the AFC West this weekend against the Oakland Los Angeles Oakland Las Vegas Raiders.

Things seem to be breaking the Chiefs' way in the course of their current five-game winning streak, and that continues against the Raiders, who will be without their best offensive player, Darren Waller, in this one. The Chiefs have an emerging defense and an offense waiting for a breakout opportunity.

Here are a few of the Chiefs trending heading into Sunday's matchup:


NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Melvin Ingram: We thought adding Melvin Ingram to this defense would help the situational pass rush and allow Chris Jones to move back inside. Both have been true, but his play against the run has also been remarkable. Trading a sixth-round pick for a part-time pass rusher is worth it. Trading a sixth for a difference-making starter is a steal — and the type of move that can turn a season around. Watch the impact Ingram makes this week against the pass and the run, setting his teammates up for success and creating a big play or two of his own.

Willie Gay Jr.: When the Chiefs' defense was struggling, it looked slow on the second level. But, as Willie Gay Jr. has thrived in his more significant role, everything has changed. The improvements in the pass rush wouldn't be as impactful if quarterbacks could find quick success and big plays dumping the ball off to backs running past inept linebackers. Gay is making plays in the backfield, beating blockers and chasing from sideline to sideline. He's left a couple of interceptions on the field in recent weeks, though he showed great anticipation and instincts to be in a position to make a play. This week, expect Gay to close the deal against Derek Carr.

Orlando Brown Jr.: The cornerstone to the Chiefs' offensive line rebuild hasn't always received rave reviews on the field. But, as the season has gone on, Orlando Brown Jr. has really found his stride. Maybe it was Brown getting more comfortable with his pass-blocking technique or learning how to play with Mahomes. Whatever it was, the Chiefs appear to have found their left tackle, and now 80% of their offensive line is playing at a Pro Bowl level.

Others trending in the right direction this week: Charvarius Ward, Byron Pringle, Deandre Baker, Juan Thornhill, Creed Humphrey, Jarran Reed


NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mecole Hardman: Mecole Hardman's descent continues, as he saw his role dwindle to a new low last week. No longer a punt returner or a traditional wide receiver, Hardman's future in Kansas City could be in doubt if he doesn't find a way to make some big plays down the stretch. It's not that he's not capable. Hardman had seven total touchdowns and numerous 40-plus yard plays even as a rookie. The Chiefs offense has lacked the creativity and the home runs of previous versions. Their inability to get Hardman involved is part of the reason why. We'll see if things turn around against the Raiders, but the trend isn't promising at this point.

Mike Danna: The emergence of Ingram had to come at the expense of someone else's role, and it seems to be Danna that has taken a back seat. A promising rotational player with some early season hype now gets about 40% of the snaps and hasn't made a big play since mid-October. The Chiefs need depth at the EDGE positions, so there could come a time where Danna's number gets called again, but as for now, he's buried behind Ingram, Frank Clark and others who are making more of an impact.

Mike Hughes: The Chiefs cornerback room has been a real bright spot in the second half of the season, with L'Jarius Sneed, Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton playing the best football of their respective careers. Last week, when Fenton was injured, the Chiefs briefly turned to Hughes before he exited with a calf injury. Deandre Baker took full advantage of his opportunity, impressing on the boundary against outstanding Broncos receivers. There is a noticeable difference in coverage between Hughes and the other corners ahead of him on the depth chart. This week, Fenton will be back, and Hughes should be back — at returner only.

Others trending in the wrong direction this week: Tershawn Wharton, Andrew Wylie, Marcus Kemp, Demarcus Robinson

Value (sleeper) pick: Josh Gordon

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

He continues to get plenty of snaps, run lots of routes, block and encouraging words from coaches in the press. All are signs of a player who should be sticking around. But the question remains — when will Josh Gordon start making plays? He's got the talent, he's had the time to assimilate, and he's got the opportunity. Even with Byron Pringle playing better, the Chiefs still need someone to step up as a secondary receiving target, and Gordon remains the most intriguing option to eventually step up.

Will it be this week?

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