In this game, No. 3 Kansas City hosts No. 2 Tennessee. The Titans may be the quietest 5-2 team I have ever seen. But they’re also a 5-2 team with a damning secret: they have yet to beat a team with a winning record. Their schedule thus far: New York Giants (loss), at Buffalo Bills (loss), Las Vegas Raiders (win), at Indianapolis Colts (win), at Washington Commanders (win), Colts (win) and at Houston Texans (win). And the only reason they’re ranked above the Chiefs is that they’ve beaten Indianapolis.
There are two problems I could see Kansas City having in this game. The first is if quarterback Ryan Tannehill plays. I believe that if rookie Malik Willis takes his place, the Chiefs will have a fine time dealing with him. But Tannehill is a veteran. He’s played Kansas City before — and knows the team’s schemes. That will be difficult to overcome. The second issue is the obvious one: a man by the name of Derrick Henry, who already has 755 rushing yards. He’s one of the league’s best running backs — and he will be a threat to the Chiefs.
So here’s the lineup I have for the Chiefs’ Week 9 game.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
As the Kansas City’s second-leading receiver (in yardage), Valdes-Scantling has outplayed my expectations. And against DraftKings’ 27th-ranked fantasy defense, I expect him to have another big game — especially considering what quarterback Patrick Mahomes said earlier this season: “Every single game, it’s going to be somebody different.” This week, it’s Valdes-Scantling’s time to shine.
WR Mecole Hardman
Speaking of wide receivers who have shined this season, let’s talk about Hardman. With four receptions for 32 yards, two rushes for 28 yards and three total touchdowns, Hardman put up 28 fantasy points against the San Francisco 49ers. I don’t expect him to put up similar touchdown numbers, but I do expect a high-yardage game.
QB Patrick Mahomes
Here’s what I’ve learned this season: Mahomes eats defenses. He doesn’t care if you’re the top defense or the bottom. He will eat you alive. Give me a 400-yard passing game against Tennessee and we’ll see what people think of him. They’ll still somehow come up with excuses for him not to be the NFL’s best — even at 2,600 passing yards through eight games.
Travis Kelce, Tight End
Kelce is the best tight end in the league. With 553 receiving yards on the season, he’s currently on pace for 1,343 total yards. And against the 20th-ranked defense against fantasy tight ends, I expect Kelce to have yet another very big game.
RB Jerrick McKinnon
This was the throwaway pick for the lineup. With the other five picks, there was only $3,100 remaining, making McKinnon the best available pick. Against the seventh-ranked fantasy defense against running backs, I don’t expect a big game from him. This pick was literally just a filler.
RB Derrick Henry
All hail the king, right? Except that against the Chiefs, Henry hasn’t actually done as well as he usually does. Over three regular-season games against Kansas City, Henry has only recorded only 61 carries for 332 yards and four touchdowns. Especially if Malik Willis starts on Sunday, he should have a decent game with lots of carries — but I wouldn’t expect groundbreaking numbers.
On paper, Kansas City should absolutely wreck Tennessee. But as the Colts game showed us, the paper isn’t always right. That’s why these games must actually be played — and why betting is never easy. But it’s still really fun.
As always... bet responsibly.