Kansas City has ruled out Sammy Watkins (calf). He’s not going to play against Cleveland. Does that make Demarcus Robinson or Mecole Hardman a possible impact player for this weekend?
Kansas City should score plenty of points and gain plenty of yards, which is a selling point. I’m expecting Patrick Mahomes will throw 3 touchdown passes – at least.
But Robinson and Hardman have had ample opportunities to contribute this year, and with little production to show up for. They each played in all 16 regular season games, but this offense has tended to be dominated by Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Those are the guys Mahomes is usually looking for.
Robinson in the regular season caught 45 passes for 466 yards and 3 TDs. He tended to be on the field a little bit more.
Hardman caught 4 fewer passes but finished with 125 more total yards and 2 more touchdowns. That’s including 4 carries for 31 yards and a punt return touchdown at Miami. As a receiver, he caught 41 passes for 560 yards and 4 TDs – he averaged 13.7 yards per catch (3.3 more than Robinson).
Most notably, Watkins missed five games in the middle of the season. So we’ve had a chance to see this offense with these guys given the chance to do a bit more, and they were underwhelming in that run. In those five games, Hardman caught 13 passes for 217 yards and 1 TD. Robinson caught 19 passes for 214 yards and 2 TDs.
If we look at those 10 games, Hardman had the one good one (catching 7 for 96 and a touchdown against the Jets). But Robinson’s best four games were all better than any of Hardman’s other no-Watkins games (using PPR scoring).
Expectations should be modest. Hardman has more upside (he’s more likely to maybe hit on something big or return a punt for a touchdown). If you want to play for a single, Robinson probably more likely to catch more passes and finish with better numbers.
|KANSAS CITY WITHOUT SAMMY WATKINS|
|Robinson||at Buff.||W 26-17||6||5||69||0||11.9|
|Robinson||at L.V.||W 35-31||8||6||44||0||10.4|
|Hardman||at Den.||W 43-16||2||2||57||0||7.7|
|Hardman||at L.V.||W 35-31||1||1||16||0||2.6|
|Robinson||at Den.||W 43-16||1||1||4||0||1.4|
|Hardman||at Buff.||W 26-17||1||0||0||0||0.0|
On the chart above, I’m leaving out the Week 17 game against the Chargers. (Mahomes wasn’t playing and KC wasn’t trying, so who cares?)
Also on the injury front, Clyde Edwards-Helaire (hip/ankle) is listed as questionable. He hasn’t practiced at all the last two days. He was a limited participant on Wednesday. I’m not sure that he’ll be active. If he is, I think he’ll be just part of a rotation at the position. Realistically, CEH, LeVeon Bell, Darrel Williams or Mahomes could lead the team in rushing this weekend.