This week is a RB-heavy Top-10. The next 2-4 weeks is that time of year where the RB market still has some viable options that may still be available as free agents or roster depth that fantasy owners are agreeable dealing away. Don't be disturbed by the focus on two defensive options; both sections have implications for popular fantasy options in most leagues.
1. A KC Masterpiece: The Chiefs offense is maximizing its talent, minimizing its limitations
I spent the past 24 hours watching all but two games (Cleveland-Baltimore and Indianapolis-Arizona). My favorite was the tightly contested Chiefs-Eagles game.
I get why Eagles fans love Carson Wentz. Despite the fact that he led NFL quarterbacks in fumbles last year, and his vertical accuracy requires enough work that it may never become a strength of his game, Wentz is a tough, resourceful, and athletic quarterback who can keep hope alive.
I'm also thankful that Philadelphia returned to a 4-3 defense last year. It's a joy to see Brandon Graham free to do what he does so well (My IDP dynasty squads with Graham and former Chargers 3-4 prisoner, Melvin Ingram, are mighty thankful). This Eagles duo were two of many reasons I enjoyed this game, but the primary reason was the Chiefs offense and the intelligence of the coaching staff to build a strategy that maximizes the strengths of Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, and Alex Smith while minimizing their weaknesses.
It means that Hunt will remain a for-real fantasy threat for as long as the Chiefs can maintain this scheme without defenses foiling it and forcing conventional looks that require a running back to pass protect. It also means that Smith has a strong shot of remaining a viable boom-bust fantasy starter with a relatively high floor.
It begins with Smith, who has never been an aggressive passer but has been taking successful shots early on. While there's a fun narrative that Patrick Mahomes' presence is motivating Smith to take more chances because the rookie is pushing for playing time if Smith falters, I don't think it's a valid storyline.
Chiefs writers have been detailing Smith's progress with the vertical game for the past 3-4 years and concluded that he was quietly improving in this area before 2016. If Smith's work during the past two weeks is more notable, take a look at the Chiefs' scheme.
Andy Reid and his staff have learned that Smith is a hesitant down-field thrower. From my observation, Smith has been less likely to take vertical shots if the route is not his first read and it's a timing route in a progression. He likes to make absolutely sure the player is open.
Unfortunately, the time Smith takes between seeing the necessary information to release the ball and actually begin his release is the equivalent of a cautious kid at pool's edge saying to his friends, "Are you sure the water's warm?... Are you really sure?...Really really sure?"