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.