Matchup Analysis: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Chiefs 24, Steelers 29

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Kansas City Chiefs Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Chiefs Offense38.0 (+14.1) (5)106 (-7) (20)256 (+18) (11)
Steelers Defense21.0 (-2.9) (14)177 (+63) (31)150 (-87) (6)

Pittsburgh Steelers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Steelers Offense21.0 (-2.9) (18)159 (+45) (5)313 (+75) (5)
Chiefs Defense28.0 (+4.1) (25)123 (+9) (22)418 (+180) (31)

Chiefs Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Steelers defense.

Kareem Hunt was inefficient in Week 1. Hunt managed just 49 yards on 16 attempts against a generally beatable Chargers defense. It reminded many of Hunt’s tough rookie-wall stretch when he averaged just 3.3 yards per rush from Weeks 6-13. But it would be lazy and irresponsible to write him off after one game as he averaged an eye-popping 5.6 in his other 10. Hunt wasn’t given the ball with much rhythm Sunday as the Chiefs scorched through the air and didn’t have the need for long, sustained drives. The good news is that Hunt remains the unquestioned workhorse and that Patrick Mahomes’ arm looks plenty dynamic to keep defenses honest. The front line looks a bit shaky, but Hunt is a solid creator, even in crowded backfields. He’s especially strong when worked outside on stretch runs, a strategy Andy Reid will probably look to keep pushing more and more. He’ll also want to keep Mahomes involved as the youngster played a notable Week 1 role on read-option plays that netted 21 yards on 5 attempts.

The Pittsburgh run defense, which tends to flash both suffocating dominance and laughable lapses, held tightly in Week 1. Carlos Hyde was held to just 2.8 yards per carry, and Duke Johnson was mostly corralled behind him. It’s hard to know what to take from that: they were facing a Browns line that no longer boasts future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas. (An undrafted rookie won musical chairs in the preseason and now starts in his place.) Last year’s Steelers held 10 of their 17 opponents under 100 total ground yards, but let the other 7 average a stunning 168. In general, though, this is a stout unit that shouldn’t be tested much in fantasy. Down lineman Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt are occasional dominators up front, and inside linebacker, Vince Williams is a dependable plugger and tackler. With spark plug T.J. Watt in pursuit and safety/linebacker hybrid rookie Terrell Edmunds working his way onto the field, the arrow is pointing up for this inconsistent unit.

Chiefs Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Steelers defense.

It’s clear by now that Patrick Mahomes has plenty of arm for the NFL. He also has an unbreakable downfield mentality, a desire to relentlessly pump the ball downfield to Tyreek Hill. That connection looks set to be one of the more dynamic – and forced – in the league this year. It won’t always be that effective (7 of 8 for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns), especially if Sammy Watkins can’t get his downfield game together. But between Mahomes’ playmaking mindset and Hill’s electrifying speed, that Week 1 line wasn’t necessarily a crazy one. It’ll happen a few more times this season. Once Travis Kelce is up to speed with Mahomes – the pair connected just once on six attempts Sunday – there should be more diversity here, and more openings for everyone on the shorter routes. Anything Watkins can provide as the third option will be gravy. It’s worth noting that Kareem Hunt went without a catch for the first time in his young career. That could be a trend, as Mahomes prefers to take chances down the field than dump off, but Hunt is dynamic enough to create yet another dimension on any given week.

The Watt factory is becoming a wrecking ball for the rest of this league. J.J.’s second-year brother T.J. was the toast of the NFL in Week 1, registering four sacks and blocking the Browns’ final field goal attempt. Like his brother, T.J. is a relentless force off the edge, one who disrupts plenty of throws and will continue to draw more and more blocking attention as his mega-impressive young career rolls on. Still, even with a dynamic pass rush, the Steelers pass defense is not a dominant unit. Cornerbacks Joe Haden and Cameron Sutton were beaten several times by Browns receivers. Both have the tendency to gamble on throws with house money and give up splash plays. Haden allowed Browns slot man Jarvis Landry to thrive in his new role on the outside, while Sutton traded blows with Josh Gordon and ultimately gave up the tying touchdown. Haden may not go this weekend, so the pool could be even shallower against the Chiefs’ explosive playmakers. Despite the ferocious pass rush, this isn’t a group to run away from in fantasy.

Steelers Rushing offense

Great matchup vs. the Chiefs defense.

Of course, the LeVeon Bell situation is fluid and unpredictable, and anything could happen late this week. But under no circumstances would he start meaning James Conner will drive this running game no matter what. And Conner’s Week 1 was nothing but positive, featuring 135 yards and 2 touchdowns on a massive, 31-carry workload. The fact that he did it against a Browns defense that thoroughly suffocated lead backs throughout 2017 made it even more impressive. Conner will continue to run behind a dominant front line, one that utilizes both power and quickness to create massive lanes. The whole group is healthy, which isn’t often, and spent Week 1 blowing the Browns’ talented young line off the ball. Cleveland allowed just 3.4 yards per carry in 2017, second-best in football, but Conner produced 4.4 on Sunday.

In Week 1, the Kansas City defense looked strikingly similar to its poor 2017 version. They didn’t necessarily break – Melvin Gordon managed just 64 yards on 15 rushes – but they consistently allowed chunk gains on all types of runs. The Chiefs are gradually building a front line of powerful disruptors, but the linebacking corps still looks like a disaster and they’d probably welcome back over-the-hill Derrick Johnson at this point. Inside men Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland can tackle, but make for a relatively stiff, lumbering duo, one that can be beaten on the second level. They struggle especially with quick-footed backs – change-of-pace spark plug Austin Ekeler ran 5 times Sunday for 6, 9, 7, 10, and 7 yards.

Steelers Passing offense

Great matchup vs. the Chiefs defense.

Ben Roethlisberger, in not-unheard-of fashion, spoiled a great Week 1 performance with ill-timed, head-scratching interceptions. The numbers were good: 23 of 41 for 335 yards. But he also coughed up five turnovers and absorbed four sacks, with two late fumbles effectively dooming opportunities to pull out a win. There was a ton of good from this unit: Antonio Brown caught a 22-yard score (and 9 passes overall), while JuJu Smith-Schuster dominated from the slot. And James Conner proved that, while he’s no LeVeon Bell, there will always be a dynamic pass-catching element present in the backfield. But as long as Roethlisberger abandons defensive allowances and wings ill-advised throws into coverage, he’ll always be at risk for these days. His top two receivers, both explosive and gifted, are always unimpeachable fantasy plays, both with the ability to erupt alone or together any week. But Roethlisberger needs to keep control of this unit to really maximize that. Aside from Brown and Smith-Schuster, there was virtually nothing going on down the field Sunday.

The Kansas City pass defense has been pointed to all offseason as a potential punching bag, and Week 1 only furthered that take. Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards – 4 of his receivers recorded 81 or more – and 4 touchdowns in the opener. And he could’ve even more, if not for a handful of Chargers drops and misfires. Some of that production was flow-related, of course, with Rivers slicing up a prevent defense for much of the second half. But there’s still no reason to assume Kansas City’s patchwork secondary will be a deterrent anytime soon. Rivers had no problem finding his slot, outside, or running backs as there’s little coverage talent on this defense. Without Eric Berry in the lineup, the team has to rely on retreads throughout the secondary, and few are playing in-position. Most of the cornerbacks are situational slot guys at best, yet forced to track big, playmaking wideouts down the field. It makes for an extremely exploitable unit for Ben Roethlisberger and his studly receivers.

Steelers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+6.6)26 (+6.5)27 (+7.4)25 (+6.5)
1Tyrod Taylor89154019711877126.626.624.624.6

Patrick Mahomes II (FanDuel: $7500, DraftKings: $6100)

1@ LAC56152725640521030.930.928.328.3
2PROJ-Dodds24362681.615180.221.821.821.8 (H=55)21.8 (H=68)
2PROJ-Tremblay21342521.714140.2212121.0 (H=52)21.0 (H=63)
2PROJ-Bloom183324520.85220.222.922.922.9 (H=60)22.9 (H=74)

Steelers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)13 (-2.6)8 (-6.2)12 (-4.1)9 (-6.7)
1Carlos Hyde4722621213012.513.513.013.5
1Duke Johnson41517061802.

Kareem Hunt (FanDuel: $7800, DraftKings: $6200)

1@ LAC401649010004.
2PROJ-Dodds14690.43210.1121513.5 (H=23)15.0 (H=35)
2PROJ-Tremblay14690.42170.111.613.612.6 (H=20)13.6 (H=29)
2PROJ-Bloom15620.52180.111.613.612.6 (H=20)13.6 (H=29)

Spencer Ware (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $4100)

1@ LAC933201180454.55.0
2PROJ-Dodds3150.11802.93.93.4 (H=3)3.9 (H=5)
2PROJ-Tremblay3120.111002.83.83.3 (H=3)3.8 (H=4)
2PROJ-Bloom4180.11703.14.13.6 (H=3)4.1 (H=5)

Anthony Sherman (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1@ LAC17000113619.610.610.110.6
2PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Tremblay0001800.81.81.3 (H=0)1.8 (H=1)
2PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Steelers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17 (-0.2)15 (-3.3)15 (-2.3)17 (-2.3)
1Jarvis Landry81157106000010.617.614.120.6
1Josh Gordon69311710007.

Tyreek Hill (FanDuel: $8100, DraftKings: $7600)

1@ LAC4087169224029.336.338.845.3
2PROJ-Dodds7820.529012.119.115.7 (H=29)19.2 (H=43)
2PROJ-Tremblay6850.5211012.618.615.7 (H=29)18.7 (H=41)
2PROJ-Bloom6910.9150152118.1 (H=37)21.1 (H=51)

Sammy Watkins (FanDuel: $5800, DraftKings: $4600)

1@ LAC51532100002.
2PROJ-Dodds4490.30006.710.78.7 (H=14)10.7 (H=26)
2PROJ-Tremblay3450.40006.99.98.4 (H=13)9.9 (H=23)
2PROJ-Bloom4540.40007.811.89.8 (H=17)11.8 (H=31)

DeAnthony Thomas (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3300)

1@ LAC721110006.
2PROJ-Dodds2160.10002.24.23.3 (H=3)4.3 (H=7)
2PROJ-Tremblay1140.1000232.6 (H=2)3.1 (H=4)
2PROJ-Bloom000000000.1 (H=0)0.1 (H=0)

Chris Conley (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3300)

1@ LAC35111500001.
2PROJ-Dodds11100001.12.11.6 (H=1)2.1 (H=2)
2PROJ-Tremblay1800000.81.81.3 (H=0)1.8 (H=1)
2PROJ-Bloom1120.10001.82.82.3 (H=1)2.8 (H=3)

Demarcus Robinson (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3100)

1@ LAC50000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Tremblay000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Steelers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10T (-3.7)12 (-3.9)11 (-3.7)12 (-4.1)
1David Njoku78731301.

Travis Kelce (FanDuel: $6800, DraftKings: $5900)

1@ LAC5661600.
2PROJ-Dodds5640.59.414.411.9 (H=21)14.4 (H=34)
2PROJ-Tremblay6660.59.615.612.6 (H=23)15.6 (H=39)
2PROJ-Bloom4630.59.313.311.3 (H=19)13.3 (H=29)

Demetrius Harris (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Steelers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)3T (-4.2)3T (-4.2)3T (-4.9) (+0.0)
1Zane Gonzalez0133333.00.0

Harrison Butker (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1@ LAC1155889.00.0

Steelers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)28T (+7.3)28T (+7.3)28 (+6.7)28 (+6.7)
1Cleveland Browns2147243300161616.016.0

Kansas City Chiefs (FanDuel: $3700, DraftKings: $2200)

1@ LAC28.00541111015510.010.0
2PROJ-Dodds28.404081.910.500. (H=14)6.7 (H=24)
2PROJ-Tremblay28.754042.51.10.500. (H=14)6.7 (H=24)

Chiefs vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+12.2)30 (+12.2)30 (+12.7)30 (+14.8)
1Philip Rivers8234514243100032.

Ben Roethlisberger (FanDuel: $7600, DraftKings: $6900)

1@ CLE84234133513316019.419.412.017.0
2PROJ-Dodds263830021.114022.322.322.3 (H=56)22.3 (H=62)
2PROJ-Tremblay243828721.1250.122.322.322.3 (H=56)22.3 (H=62)
2PROJ-Bloom21322652.11110.121.321.321.3 (H=52)21.3 (H=57)

Chiefs vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+15.6)31 (+24.0)32 (+22.1)32 (+28.5)
1Austin Ekeler2253905587118.623.621.123.6
1Melvin Gordon6215640139102016.625.623.130.6

James Conner (FanDuel: $7000, DraftKings: $6700)

1@ CLE773113526557031.236.231.738.2
2PROJ-Dodds22930.83260.117.320.318.8 (H=46)20.3 (H=54)
2PROJ-Tremblay241000.83250.117.920.919.4 (H=48)20.9 (H=57)
2PROJ-Bloom239513230.118.421.419.9 (H=50)21.4 (H=60)

Jaylen Samuels (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1@ CLE00000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds390.11602.13.12.6 (H=2)3.1 (H=4)
2PROJ-Tremblay000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Stevan Ridley (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3500)

1@ CLE00000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds280.10001.41.41.4 (H=0)1.4 (H=1)
2PROJ-Tremblay260.11401.62.62.1 (H=1)2.6 (H=2)
2PROJ-Bloom2600000.60.60.6 (H=0)0.6 (H=0)

Chiefs vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+11.4)26 (+15.3)26 (+12.8)25 (+16.3)
1Keenan Allen72118108100016.824.820.827.8
1Mike Williams44658100008.113.110.613.1

Antonio Brown (FanDuel: $8900, DraftKings: $8800)

1@ CLE8316993100015.324.319.824.3
2PROJ-Dodds81100.800015.823.819.8 (H=39)23.8 (H=55)
2PROJ-Tremblay81180.800016.624.620.6 (H=42)24.6 (H=58)
2PROJ-Bloom81100.900016.424.420.4 (H=41)24.4 (H=57)

JuJu Smith-Schuster (FanDuel: $7200, DraftKings: $6400)

1@ CLE6385119000011.916.914.419.9
2PROJ-Dodds5680.50009.814.812.3 (H=21)14.8 (H=33)
2PROJ-Tremblay5720.500010.215.212.7 (H=22)15.2 (H=34)
2PROJ-Bloom5740.6000111613.5 (H=25)16.0 (H=38)

Justin Hunter (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1@ CLE5151600000.
2PROJ-Dodds2290.20004.16.15.1 (H=7)6.1 (H=15)
2PROJ-Tremblay3340.20004.67.66.1 (H=10)7.6 (H=22)
2PROJ-Bloom170.10001.32.31.8 (H=1)2.3 (H=2)

James Washington (FanDuel: $5100, DraftKings: $3800)

1@ CLE110000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1120.10001.82.82.3 (H=1)2.8 (H=3)
2PROJ-Tremblay000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom1150.10002.13.12.6 (H=2)3.1 (H=3)

Chiefs vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14T (-2.5)18T (-2.7)20 (-0.5)20 (-0.9)
1Virgil Green44222102.

Jesse James (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $2800)

1@ CLE6953600697.59.0
2PROJ-Dodds4310. (H=10)8.3 (H=27)
2PROJ-Tremblay3220. (H=6)6.4 (H=17)
2PROJ-Bloom3360. (H=12)8.4 (H=28)

Xavier Grimble (FanDuel: $4200, DraftKings: $2500)

1@ CLE220000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1110. (H=1)2.7 (H=4)
2PROJ-Tremblay000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Chiefs vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)9T (-1.2)9T (-1.2)12T (-0.9) (+0.0)
1Caleb Sturgis2300667.00.0

Chris Boswell (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1@ CLE0133333.00.0

Chiefs vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2T (-7.7)2T (-7.7)2 (-12.3)2 (-12.3)
1Los Angeles Chargers383621000011-3.0-3.0

Pittsburgh Steelers (FanDuel: $3900, DraftKings: $2700)

1@ CLE21.00327710009911.011.0
2PROJ-Dodds24.203752.310.500.4888.0 (H=18)8.0 (H=27)
2PROJ-Tremblay23.753682.310.600. (H=19)8.2 (H=28)