The first Amazon Thursday Night Football game of 2022 between the Chiefs and the Chargers had it all: Jerick McKinnon touchdowns, Justin Herbert gritty performances, and puckering Josh Palmer starters getting relief in the last 90 seconds of the game! It was a fun game between two of the favorites to come out of the AFC this year. But, there were a lot of fantasy-relevant outcomes to the game, and we are here to help them sort through them all with the Thursday Night Football Absurdity Check!
Should We Panic About Justin Herbert?
If you watched the game, you saw that Herbert struggled at the end of the game, running on pure adrenaline from what is surely a broken rib (or two, or three) thanks to back-to-back hard shots from the Chiefs’ defense. He pulled up to not get hit on an easy gain and was doing everything he could to not crumple into a heap at the end of the game. Charissa Thompson noted he received X-rays immediately after the game, which is the second-best thing the Chargers could do, behind not letting him continue to play, obviously hurt, in what was pretty much a lost cause of a game. Luckily, he will have ten days until his next game, so if it’s minor and something he can just flak jacket up and get an injection for, we can breathe a sigh of relief.
If he misses a few weeks, we don’t look at Chase Daniel, so if you have room and you want to be proactive, then cut a guy on your bench and snag an upside quarterback for the next few weeks. Luckily, broken ribs seem to be a short-term injury, so we shouldn’t be without Herbert for long, if at all.
Can we trust any Chiefs’ Wide Receiver?
I felt really good about JuJu Smith-Schuster after week one, as he finished with 6 receptions for 79 yards on 8 targets. Then, things went sideways this week, as JuJu finished with 3 targets, three catches, and 10 yards. Not great, but I’m not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater, here. James Koh pointed this out on Twitter, and I am going to click back into trusting JuJu this week:
As for the other guys… who knows? Marquez Valdes-Scantling continues to lead the league in blowing opportunities (7 targets, 2 catches, 13 yards), Skyy Moore is completely MIA (two targets through two weeks), and Mecole Hardman exists, and technically is the best option of the three. But, what good is ten targets in two games if you come away with 65 yards in those two games, combined? You can move on from the ancillary Chiefs receivers if there’s something better on the waiver wire, but I would continue to trot JuJu out there, especially in a 3WR PPR league, as I doubt you have 36 better options.
Is Gerald Everett a Must-Start?
Well, yes and no. Everett finished with his second-straight PPR game over 13 fantasy points, which, if this week plays out like last week, should put him around TE6 on the week. That’s really good, and what those of us who believed in Gerald Everett expected out of him when he took over for Jared Cook in Los Angeles. But, this isn’t about the raw fantasy points that make me want to regard him in the same tier as guys like Dallas Goedert and T.J. Hockenson, it’s his targets.
Everett had ten targets today, to go with four last week. Seven targets per game would put him at 119 targets for the season, which would have ranked third last year among tight ends. While I don’t expect that out of Everett, he should get around five targets per game. But, given that he has great hands (top-three in true tight end catch rate in 2021, per PlayerProfiler.com) and is one of the better YAC tight ends in the NFL, he should do just fine. Unfortunately, no tight ends in this range are must-start, but he’s reached the “start more often than not” range. And with Jacksonville, Houston, and Cleveland on the docket, he should get plenty of opportunities to produce.
Should We Drop Isiah Pacheco?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that Pacheco had four snaps in the first half of week one (and got the rest when the game was well out of hand) and had five snaps in all of week two. This whammy comes alongside another whammy, which is that Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon split first-half snaps 18-18 in week one, and all of week two snaps 27-25 (with McKinnon out-snapping CEH). There’s just nothing left for Pacheco to have any real fantasy football value. That’s a classic two-part whammy. Whammy, times two. Something like that.
Pacheco had a nice run at the end of week one, and I’m sure he’ll always remember the touchdown. But, at this point, it’s hard to see a path forward for Pacheco when he’s clearly the third back on this roster. In fact, if your platform allows it, drop him now, and pick up a lottery ticket for Sunday.
Can We Trust Joshua Palmer Going Forward?
Joshua Palmer ended the game with 4 catches for 30 yards, and a touchdown, on 8 targets. That last catch, a handful of yards, and the touchdown all came inside the two-minute warning, but they still count all the same. This marks the fourth time in four opportunities across the last seven games that Josh Palmer scored a touchdown without Keenan Allen or Mike Williams in the lineup (the others came in weeks 14, 16, and 18 of the 2021 season). But, whenever both are in the lineup, he does basically nothing (36 yards combined in weeks 13, 15, 17, and 2022 week 1).
Palmer seems to be the direct backup to both Williams and Allen, and he gets more opportunities when one or both are out of the lineup. Should Keenan Allen miss week three, then you can roll with Palmer. But, if Allen is back next week, then you should definitely keep him away from your starting lineup. That’s doubly true if Justin Herbert misses any time with his ribs issues.
What Should We Do With Clyde Edwards-Helaire?
Through two games, CEH has 192 total yards, with seven catches and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, there’s a major problem looming: snaps. Through two games, Clyde Edwards-Helaire (as seen above) has two fewer snaps than McKinnon when the game matters. That’s not a trend that’s likely to continue, but it’s also a trend that has a far way to go before I can feel good about CEH. Sure, he has a ton of yards, but he plays half the snaps and he also has 22 touches through two games. So, he’s due to regress, and regress in a hurry, unless he gets a ton more touches.
So, you hang onto Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but let anyone who will listen know that you will move him as if he was a top-fifteen running back. After all, he’s averaging over 90 yards and a touchdown per game! But he won’t average that much longer unless Andy Reid switches things up. If you can snag a top-fifteen wide receiver or a top-six tight end for him, smash that Accept Trade button so hard your thumb goes through your phone.