When the Raiders visit the Chiefs on Sunday in a rematch of one of the more compelling games of the 2017 season — a 31-30 Oakland victory including eight lead changes and a riveting game-winning drive — AFC West and fantasy stakes will be high, and plenty of owners will find themselves conflicted.
Derek Carr, who that Thursday in Week 7 shredded Kansas City with 417 yards and three touchdowns in easily his best game in a disappointing fantasy Year No. 4, was expected to build on his QB10 overall finish in 2016, after a QB12 tally as a sophomore. Instead, Carr is QB21 overall with a measly 14.8-point average — more than three points below last season's.
13th-year veteran Alex Smith, never having finished higher than QB10 (2013), was also dynamite in the first meeting with three touchdowns, albeit "only" throwing for 342 yards. Although the Chiefs have nosedived following a 5-0 start, Smith remains QB3 overall, and had his best fantasy outing last week — a 436-yard, four-TD awakening under new play caller Matt Nagy.
Yet, it's the Chiefs' 'D,' ranked 28th vs. fantasy QBs, that just let Josh McCown pile up 38 points and a QB2 overall stat line Sunday. (Oakland, 23rd in fantasy points against QBs, is less bad but bad no less.) Carr has thrown for multiple touchdowns just once since the first meeting and is 0-3 at Arrowhead, where he's averaged just 177 yards and totaled 2 TDs and 1 INT.
The Chiefs are four-point favorites with an implied point total of 25.5, and we tend to think this one goes over. Carr could be without Amari Cooper, the first meeting's second-brightest star after his quarterback, but gets Michael Crabtree back from suspension. Plus, Jermaine Kearse just went scorched earth on the Chiefs secondary; ammunition, with or without Cooper, like motivation shouldn't be an issue for Oakland.
After many wrestled most of the season with whether to trust what they're seeing with both of these quarterbacks, Smith has earned the benefit of the doubt, but we're admittedly leery over Carr despite the setup.
1.Tom Brady, Patriots at Dolphins
2.Russell Wilson, Seahawks at Jaguars
3.Carson Wentz, Eagles at Rams
4.Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Washington
5.Kirk Cousins, Washington vs. Chargers
6.Cam Newton, Panthers vs. Vikings
7.Drew Brees, Saints at Falcons
8.Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Raiders
9.Jared Goff, Rams vs. Eagles
10. Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Saints
11.Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Ravens
12.Derek Carr, Raiders at Chiefs
13.Jameis Winston, Buccaneers vs. Lions
14.Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Bears
15.Case Keenum, Vikings at Panthers
16.Dak Prescott, Cowboys at Giants
17.Matthew Stafford*, Lions at Buccaneers
18.Josh McCown, Jets at Broncos
19.Marcus Mariota, Titans at Cardinals
20.Tyrod Taylor*, Bills vs. Colts