The Kansas City Chiefs will be in Maryland on Sunday night to face another AFC contender: the Baltimore Ravens. In the Week 2 edition of Market Movers, we’ll examine some Chiefs who are trending up after their Week 1 victory over the Cleveland Browns — and some for whom we need some additional information.
Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, Joe Thuney: Sometimes when you watch a game live, there are elements that are more obvious than others. Against the Browns, we saw a Chiefs team keep Mahomes pretty clean — aside from the two sacks they gave up. But at times, they struggled in the running game. Upon further review, the interior of the offensive line was probably better than we thought. The two rookies (and the cagey veteran) were a wall, creating a really steady pocket for Mahomes to work into. The running game will likely improve as their chemistry develops — but these three executed enough nasty blocks to make you feel like they’re on the right track. The entire offensive line should be going into Baltimore with a ton of confidence. Their arrow is pointing up.
Tyrann Mathieu: The Landlord is back — and the rent is past due. Surprisingly, Mathieu missed the season opener — and is probably anxiously awaiting his chance to make an impact in a game. Against both the run and the pass, the defense missed him against Cleveland. On this week’s Arrowhead Pride Out of Structure podcast, we argued that the Chiefs didn’t really need to see that in order to recognize Mathieu’s value — but they likely got a loud reminder about why his contract needs to be extended. Look for Mathieu to make a couple of game-changing plays against Baltimore — and for the entire defense to be elevated when No. 32 steps back on the field.
Frank Clark: The Chiefs defense was missing something else in Week 1. It showed in the lack of pass rush — and sometimes in soft edges. There’s one guy who can help in both areas — and heading into the Baltimore game, he’s healthy. Meanwhile, the Ravens are down a starting left tackle — and to cover for him, will be moving an underwhelming right tackle to the other side. This bodes well for Clark to make an impact — and he’s due.
Others trending in the right direction this week: Chris Lammons, Mike Hughes, Khalen Saunders, Chris Jones, Nick Bolton
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: While the starting running back wasn’t bad in the Chiefs’ opener, he left some opportunities on GEHA Field. Now he faces a Ravens defense that held the Las Vegas Raiders to only 82 yards rushing on Monday Night Football. Expectations are very high for Edwards-Helaire in 2021 — but so far, he’s been pretty average. We might have to hold for another week before we see him break out.
Mecole Hardman: We keep waiting for Hardman to come around — simply because he’s got all the ability in the world. And after Week 1, we’re still waiting. Hardman will have some big games this season, but it’s getting more difficult to make the case for him being a consistent factor. The Ravens have been a good matchup for him in the past, so we may see Hardman get loose for a big play or two. But that might not mean he’s taken the next step forward. Instead, he may just be a guy who has a couple of good games each season.
Jody Fortson: We previously mentioned that when the regular season starts, preseason all-stars often fade into the background — and it appears that’s happening with Fortson. He played only seven snaps offensive snaps against Cleveland. The Chiefs used Blake Bell as their second tight end — and they didn’t use the four tight end set we saw in the preseason. Fortson will have to wait for his next opportunity. It might not come until later in the season.
Value (sleeper) picks
Blake Bell: The Belldozer returned to the Chiefs this season, immediately getting really involved in the offense. While he didn’t put up substantial stats in the Browns game, he was effective in pass blocking, run blocking and doing the dirty work for the offense to keep moving. Perhaps his most interesting moment came when he converted a third-and-1 play during the third quarter, when he stepped in front of Patrick Mahomes for a direct snap in what was essentially a quarterback sneak. If Blake Bell keeps moving the chains and protecting Mahomes, his job as the second tight end is safe — even from the exciting young players behind him. Watch for No. 81 against Baltimore. He might just be a part of more plays than you might expect.
Jerick McKinnon: In the preseason, McKinnon drew rave reviews for his work on offense and special teams. With his explosive ability, it’s only a matter of time before the Chiefs get him involved on the offense. Given how much the Ravens blitz, he might get some opportunities on Sunday. The veteran playmaker could take some quick passes — and make some noise.