Week 3 fantasy preview: How will Chiefs stars fare against Chargers?

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In advance of Sunday afternoon’s Chiefs-Chargers game, Chiefs Wire examines the matchup with fantasy football projections for Kansas City players courtesy of our colleagues at The Huddle.

Team notes

The Chiefs seemed to have the game in hand in Week 2 when they led 35-24 entering the fourth quarter, but the Ravens battled back to take the lead with three minutes left to play. Still, it was just the standard setup for another Mahomes “I’ll take-the-win” march downfield. And it would have been exactly that with a second-and-three from the Ravens 32-yard line with 1:26 left to play. Except — Clyde Edwards-Helaire lost a fumble. This week is the only divisional game until Week 10, and coming off a loss makes it feel like a must-win.

Quarterback

Patrick Mahomes produced two similar performances this year. Both games contained right at 340 passing yards, and Mahomes threw for three touchdowns in each. Plus, he ran in a score in the home win over the Browns. The player that was probably most shocked when they lost to the Ravens was Mahomes, who continues to post top-three stats each week.

Patrick Mahomes projection vs. Chargers
Fantasy points: 30
Passing: 300 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: 10 yds, 1 TD

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Running back

The hope was that Clyde Edwards-Helaire could take a mulligan on his rookie year and become a bigger part of the offense. And in fairness, he’s faced the solid rushing defenses of the Browns and Ravens. But Edwards-Helaire hasn’t rushed for more than 46 yards in either game, has not scored, and while he caught three passes for 29 yards in Week 1, he was never thrown a pass on Monday night. And then, of course, there is the “fumble thing” that will no doubt leave a mark on his psyche. Edwards-Helaire is still the best back on the roster by a considerable margin, but the wait for him to step up into an elite role continues unabated. Edwards-Helaire ran for 38 yards and caught six passes for 32 yards versus the Chargers.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire projection vs. Chargers
Fantasy points: 19
Rushing: 70 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: 3 rec, 30 yds, 0 TD

Wide receivers

The Patrick Mahomes difference is that when the defense doesn’t devote enough to slow down Tyreek Hill, he turns in 11 catches for 197 yards and a score like in Week 1. And when they can contain Hill, rare as that is, then both Byron Pringle (2-63, TD) and Demarcus Robinson (3-46, TD) take turns scoring. Mecole Hardman is the starting flanker but is the only wide receiver who has yet to score or gain more than 55 yards.
Last year, Hill caught five passes for 99 yards and a touchdown on the Chargers from his 11 targets.

Tyreek Hill projection vs. Chargers
Fantasy points: 13
Receiving: 6 rec, 70 yds, 0 TD

Demarcus Robinson projection vs. Chargers
Fantasy points: 11
Receiving: 2 rec, 30 yds, 1 TD

Mecole Hardman projection vs. Chargers
Fantasy points: 8
Receiving: 3 rec, 50 yds, 0 TD

Tight end

Travis Kelce is off to yet another ridiculous start to the season. He’s scored three touchdowns and averages 92 yards per game. Not surprisingly, he’s still the No. 1 fantasy tight end. Kelce ended with nine receptions for 90 yards and a score on the Bolts in 2020.

Travis Kelce projection vs. Chargers
Fantasy points: 21
Receiving: 7 rec, 80 yds, 1 TD

Match to defense

The Chargers defense already is ranked No. 2 against both quarterbacks and wide receivers, and that’s after facing the Cowboys. But this divisional matchup includes the Chargers still installing a new defensive scheme under defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill. The defense contains plenty of stars, but so does the Chiefs offense that is at home. There’s never any question about the fantasy startability of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. Their secondary may prevent Hill from posting obscene stats, but he’s always a safe start for moderate fantasy stats.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the most interesting in this matchup. He’s only managed moderate production for the first two weeks but faced very good defenses. After last week’s fumble, he could use a confidence-builder. The Chargers have allowed over 100 rushing yards in their previous games, and the Cowboys’ backfield finished with 180 yards and two scores. This will be one of the lighter matchups of the year for Edwards-Helaire.