Kansas City Chiefs: 2-0
It doesn’t seem like any regression to the mean is coming for Kansas City’s offense. They’ve put up 68 points already this season after a 40-26 win over Jacksonville and a 28-10 victory over the Raiders. The Chiefs to be improved defensively, as their D-Line combo of Frank Clark and Chris Jones appear to be menacing in new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. If KC can swing a trade to improve at cornerback (Jalen Ramsey?) they might overtake New England for the NFL’s most feared team.
Key Stat: 6,568
That’s how many yards Patrick Mahomes is on pace for after two games. He went for 5,097 yards last year, and the most-ever came from Peyton Manning in 2013 at 5,477.
Mahomes definitely won’t hit the 6,500 yard mark, but is 6,000 really unthinkable with the way this offense is humming?
Surprise Player(s): Non-Tyreek Hill receivers
Sammy Watkins’ insane 198 yard, 3-touchdown performance in week one was unexpected to say the least. He didn’t come close to replicating it in Week 2, but Demarcus Robinson (6 catches, 171 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Mecole Hardman (4 catches, 61 yards, 1 touchdown and another that was called back) wound up dominating.
The Chiefs could probably move on from the controversial Hill and not miss a beat offensively. This offense is that good.
Oakland Raiders: 1-1
The Raiders came out energized from the Antonio Brown drama and channeled it into a methodical, emotional, 24-16 win over Denver. They backed it up in the first quarter against Kansas City, claiming a 10-0 lead. But the wheels fell off in the second quarter as multiple blown coverages resulted in 28 points given up in a flurry.
Josh Jacobs has been a revelation for the Silver & Black through two games, staking an early lead for Rookie of the Year honors with 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has Jacobs at an elite 89.8 grade, the best mark in the NFL. He’s battling a groin injury suffered against the Chiefs, but it doesn’t look like he will miss Sunday’s game in Minnesota.
Key Stat: 278
Oakland gave up 278 passing yards during that awful second quarter. The rest of the game? Only 165. The Raiders got exposed in the secondary, and they need to bounce back against the struggling Kirk Cousins this week.
Lamarcus Joyner was expected to be the top man in the secondary, but through two weeks, PFF grades him at 35.2 overall, good for 178 out of 183 qualifying defensive backs. It’s way too early to make judgements, but thus far Joyner has underwhelmed.
Surprise Player(s): Benson Mayowa
Mayowa in this spot is no surprise (terrible joke, but it needed to be made). Despite playing less than a quarter of the defensive snaps on Sunday, he still notched 1.5 sacks, putting him third in the league at 3.5.
Though the Raiders defensive line still has a ways to go to become a top-tier unit, the addition of Clellin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby has paid dividends already. With a constantly-running motor, Mayowa will be there to clean up sacks on the pressures that Ferrell, Crosby, Mo Hurst and Arden Key create.
Los Angeles Chargers: 1-1
The Chargers have underwhelmed through two games, narrowly edging a reeling Colts team, 30-24, before dropping a sleepy 13-10 bought against the Lions.
Without Derwin James for most of the season, the Chargers secondary looked a lot less imposing than late last year on paper. Now that his replacement, Adrian Phillips, is out indefinitely with a broken forearm, the team will likely find his replacement off the street.
Couple that with ANOTHER Hunter Henry injury, and it looks like the injury-bug might be hitting the Chargers even harder than usual early this season.
Key Stat: 47.9 (PFF grade of LT Trent Scott)
Left Tackle Russell Okung is also on the shelf for the Chargers for at least a few more weeks. In his place? Undrafted second-year player Trent Scott, who toutes a lowly 47.9 PFF grade through two weeks, No. 67 out of 74 qualifying tackles.
If the Chargers can’t keep Phillip Rivers upright, they’ll suffer more disappointments like the one against Detroit.
Surprise Player(s): Brandon Facyson
Due to a mix of injuries and strong preseason play, undrafted second-year player Brandon Facyson has worked his way into the defensive back rotation and played admirably thus far.
Per Sports Info Solutions, Facyson has allowed four catches on 13 targets, allowing just 4.4 yards per target while putting up 19 tackles. Don’t expect him to become a world-beater, but Facyson has turned himself from specialteamer to contributor in his second season.
Denver Broncos: 0-2
Denver finds themselves in the divisional basement early after falling to Oakland and Chicago, with a tough trip to Lambeau Field on the horizon. The Broncos nearly escaped with a win in their home-opener against the Bears, but lost on a 53-yard field goal as time expired.
Regardless of how close they came to winning, the Broncos offense hasn’t looked good. Joe Flacco isn’t the man you want at the helm, unless you’re John Elway and obsessed with statuesque, big-armed quarterbacks.
Key Stat: Zero
The vaunted Broncos defense has zero sacks through the first two games. Oh where, oh where has that pass rushing gone? Oh where are Von and Chubb-y?
They are still apparently in preseason mode, after not bringing the intensity to Oakland to kick off the season and failing to rebound on Sunday. Vic Fangio was hired to coax out the Super Bowl magic that this defense one showcased. So far, it hasn’t translated.
Surprise Player(s): Royce Freeman
Royce Freeman, not Phillip Lindsay, has been the Broncos most productive runner. The former Oregon Duck has outpaced Lindsay with 31 more yards on three fewer attempts, garnering a 77.8 grade at PFF compared to Lindsay’s 63.2.
Freeman is a much sturdier pass protector as well, which could eventually allow him to fully take over the running back spot in Denver.
For fantasy owners, consider trading for Freeman or picking him up if he’s available. Owners of Lindsay, on the other hand, should either sell high on his reputation or hope that his 3.3 yard average regresses to the mean.