Booms and Busts: Chiefs, Jets play New Jersey pinball

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Kansas City didn’t win Sunday, but <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/29399/" data-ylk="slk:Tyreek Hill">Tyreek Hill</a> had reason to celebrate (AP/Julie Jacobson)
Kansas City didn’t win Sunday, but Tyreek Hill had reason to celebrate (AP/Julie Jacobson)

Josh McCown and Robby Anderson have been fantasy saviors all year.

Maybe we’ll be adding Matt Nagy to that list in a week or two.

Nagy is the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, and he was given play-calling responsibility for Sunday’s game at the Jets. Kansas City wasn’t able to break its losing skein, but its offense rebounded emphatically in the 38-31 loss.

The main elements in the Chiefs passing game were gloriously unlocked. Travis Kelce caught two early touchdown passes en route to a 4-94-2 day, and Tyreek Hill (6-185-2) scored a couple of distance touchdowns. Alex Smith had his first smash game in six weeks, chucking for 366 yards and the four scores. He even added a stunning 70-yard scramble.

Kareem Hunt, you ask? One miracle at a time. Hunt finished with 63 yards on 12 touches (three receptions), and didn’t score a touchdown for the ninth straight week. The Raiders are an ordinary matchup in Week 14, but Hunt’s not someone we can trust at the moment. Stick with Smith and his pass-catchers.

Jets QB Josh McCown might be 38 on the birth certificate, but he doesn’t look it on the field (26-for-36, 331 yards, TD run and TD pass). McCown’s posted a rating over 100 in eight games this year.

The New York passing game is friendly for fantasy because the usage tree is narrow — McCown doesn’t throw it to that many guys. Anderson’s touchdown streak ended at five games, but he still gave us 8-107-0 on 12 targets, plus a seven-yard run. His worst game in the last two months was a reasonable 74-yard effort. Even with Denver and New Orleans approaching, Anderson is a set-and-forget player on my clipboard.

Jermaine Kearse looked like a spare part in his Seattle days, but he’s clicked nicely with McCown. Kearse exploded for 157 yards against the Chiefs, his second straight game over 100. He’s absorbed 29 targets in the last three weeks, and they’re McCown targets — certifiable gold in 2017.

• It’s bad enough that DeShone Kizer is getting a fuzzy picture and struggling to read defenses and make decisions; things really get ugly when he winds up and throws. Kizer completed just 15-of-32 passes in the 19-10 loss at San Diego, and on most of his misfires, one of his teammates was sprawled on the turf. Kizer has no idea where each ball is going.

Given the unfair setup — Kizer’s throws, Casey Hayward’s super coverage, a layoff of almost three years — Josh Gordon’s return game was miraculous (4-85-0). Okay, it doesn’t sound as impressive when you factor in 11 targets, but several of those Kizer tosses were dead on arrival. TE David Njoku (4-74-1) also flashed consistently; conversely, Corey Coleman was bagled on four targets. The Green Bay secondary presents a green light in Week 14.

• It took a while for Philip Rivers to get comfortable with the current lay of the land in Los Angeles, but he’s been locked in for over two months now. He’s won six of his last nine games, and check these numbers: 17 TDs, 3 INTs, 7.9 YPA, 101 rating. The AFC wants to see Oakland or Kansas City in the playoffs, not the surging Chargers. The division will likely be decided in Week 15, when the Bolts play at Arrowhead.

• I don’t buy any of this “the Vikings aren’t sure who their QB is” stuff. I think Mike Zimmer thinks he’s gaining an edge by being coy. Case Keenum is playing far too well to be benched.

Matt Ryan had toggled between one and two touchdowns a game before getting shut out in the loss to Minnesota. That’s criminal, given all the talent in Atlanta. There’s blood on Steve Sarkisian’s hands.

• I liked what I saw from Jimmy Garoppolo’s first San Francisco start (26-37-293-0-1). You hate to settle for only field goals, but he limited the negative plays and managed 7.9 YPA. And the Bears defense is a tricky draw, especially in Chicago. Marquise Goodwin is never a great bet for a touchdown, but he has 320 yards over his last four games.

• DeVante Parker might have the talent to be a quality pro, but he sure disappears in games. And I can’t think of anyone who contests an obvious interception less than Parker does. The switch back to Jay Cutler did nothing for Parker — one piddly catch (five yards) on four targets. He’s the fifth-best skill player in a lousy offense.

• I thought Trevor Siemian’s return would perk up some of the Broncos, especially Manny Sanders. Wrong answer. Sometimes, there are no right answers.

• The Packers skimmed eight targets to Jordy Nelson, but they still didn’t amount to anything (5-17-0). Davante Adams is the only Packers receiver on the same page with Brett Huntley. With Sunday’s overtime win, Green Bay is back to 6-6 — and maybe we’ll see Aaron Rodgers in the final two or three games.

• Even if the NFL narrowed the goal posts by 40 percent, I don’t think Justin Tucker’s accuracy would dip at all. That guy is dead, solid, percent.

• Alex Collins’s 15-75-2 day was better than you might realize — his longest run was merely 11 yards. That’s what you want from your back, a high percentage of successful carries. You’ll like him in Week 15 at Cleveland and Week 16 against Indianapolis.

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