Fantasy Football Start/Sit for Chargers vs Chiefs: Start Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Sit DeAndre Carter

Fantasy Football Start/Sit for Chargers vs Chiefs: Start Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Sit DeAndre Carter article feature image

Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

For the second week in a row, NFL fans and fantasy managers alike get a mouthwatering Thursday night matchup between the Chiefs (1-0) and Chargers (1-0).

I, for one, am excited when any AFC West showdowns are on the docket. Multiple teams made major upgrades and every divisional game should have shootout potential.

Many lineup decisions — like starting Justin Herbert or Travis Kelce — are easy. Below are some fringe players at each position you may be on the fence about starting in the Chargers vs. Chiefs Thursday Night Football game based on matchups, injuries and trends.

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Chiefs Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

Smith-Schuster had an unremarkable debut for the Chiefs in Week 1, which was surprising given they tacked on 44 points, six touchdowns and 488 offensive yards against the Cardinals. It was the Travis Kelce show, but Smith-Schuster still reeled in six of eight targets for 79 yards and finished as the WR42 in half PPR. His 20.5 percent target share was impressive and ranked second behind Kelce. The next closest were Mecole Hardman (15%), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (10%) and Jerick McKinnon (10%); rookie Skyy Moore was a non-factor and caught his only target of the day for 30 yards.

I expect Smith-Schuster to have a strong Week 2 in a game with the highest point total on the slate (54) and as the clear No. 2 in this high-powered offense.

Verdict: Start as a low-end WR2.

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Edwards-Helaire had a fantastic Week 1 against the Cardinals. He rushed seven times for 42 yards and caught all three of his targets for 32 yards and two touchdowns, finishing as the RB6. I'm not sure how many two-score games the Year 3 rusher has in him, but I believe he will be a must-start for the rest of the season, especially in PPR formats, which is good news considering you probably drafted him for cheaper than that.

Verdict: Start with confidence. The Chargers run defense looked solid against Las Vegas and held the team to 64 total rushing yards which downgrades Edwards-Helaire a bit. However, his role, especially in the passing game, and abilities are solid and he should be a mid-tier RB2 in Week 2.

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RB Isiah Pacheco

Pacheco was a popular preseason name who actually lived up to the hype. He actually out-touched lead back Edwards-Helaire (who was more involved in the passing game) 12 to 10 and tallied 12 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown, finishing as the RB21.

Pacheco's role in Week 1 was largely game script-dependent. The 2022 seventh-round pick did not see a touch until the second quarter — when the Chiefs were already up 20-7 — and was utilized heavily in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand.

Verdict: Sit. I wrote about adding Pacheco in this week's waiver wire column as a bench stash as Edwards-Helaire's backup. His role lends itself more to games that could be blowouts (of which there could be plenty for the Chiefs) — not divisional matchups where Kansas City is only a field-goal favorite.

Chargers Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

TE Gerald Everett

Everett had a rock-solid debut for the Bolts. He caught three of four targets for 54 yards and a touchdown, which was good enough for a TE4 finish in half PPR with one game left to play. As a result, he went from 29 to 48 percent rostered on Yahoo.

Everett has season-long appeal, as well as immediate appeal with star wideout Keenan Allen already ruled out for Thursday night. 

Verdict: Start unless you have a premium tight end like Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts or Darren Waller rostered. He is a solid TE1 this week who would be a great fill-in for George Kittle (groin) managers if he misses another week. I would even consider starting Everett in a flex spot in a pinch.

WR Josh Palmer

Palmer was an interesting sleeper heading into the 2022 season as a potential breakout candidate in an elite offense. He had a disappointing Week 1 and caught three of four targets for five yards and tacked on one rush attempt for four yards. Palmer's inability to capitalize on Allen's departure is a bit concerning (in fairness, the same can be said for Mike Williams), but he would be the preferred start between him and DeAndre Carter.

Verdict: If you're going to ever start Palmer, it would probably be now (or any game when the receiving corps is shorthanded). Week 1 aside, he is a dart-throw with upside. He isn't the worst start this week, but I would hope there are better options available.

WR DeAndre Carter

Carter was a deep league Week 2 waiver option after a stellar Week 1 performance against the Raiders . It was the 29-year-old journeyman return specialist — not Palmer or Mike Williams — who stepped up with Allen going down with a hamstring injury early. He caught three of four targets for 64 yards and a touchdown — good enough to finish as the WR22.

Carter tied Allen, Williams, Palmer, Gerald Everett, Austin Ekeler and Tre’ McKitty with four targets, so no single player dominated target share. I suspect that Williams will benefit most from Allen's absence, followed by Ekeler, Palmer, Everett and Carter.

Verdict: Sit. Carter is a wild-card, and Week 1 feels more like a fluke than an indication of future production. He has some lottery ticket-type appeal in super deep leagues, or DFS formats, but should be treated as a boom-or-bust play with a nonexistent floor.

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