Things change constantly in the NFL and if the 2021 season has taught us one thing, it's that the league is a week-to-week and sometimes even day-to-day business. Players and teams can look fantastic in one game, then promptly get blown out in the next contest. Health is never a guarantee, nor is a drama-free stretch. In the spirit of that, with the Kansas City Chiefs having a huge game against the Las Vegas Raiders approaching, let's take a look at some of the Chiefs who are trending up, down or somewhat flat.
Mahomes was far from his usual self in Week 9 against the Green Bay Packers, but he was better. His pocket presence was vastly improved from some moments thus far in the season, and his 166 passing yards and 74.8 passer rating simply don't do his performance justice. Multiple times against Green Bay, Mahomes' teammates let him down. If he can replicate that level of play against the Raiders — and possibly even turn things up a notch — then Kansas City has a legitimate shot to win. Last week's game may have led to just 13 points, but Mahomes was solid nonetheless.
Clark is quietly putting together one of his best stretches as a Chief, ranking in the top five among all edge rushers in overall grade and pass-rushing grade from PFF over his last three games. The Chiefs desperately need him to be good, especially given the struggles the defensive line had earlier in the season. The addition of Melvin Ingram helped a week ago and with Chris Jones back on the interior, the tides appear to be turning for the front four. It remains to be seen whether Clark can sustain this level of play but if he can even come close to it, the Chiefs' defense will be much better because of it.
Sneed had arguably his best game as a professional against the Packers, and it wasn't simply because Jordan Love didn't challenge him. Multiple times, Love threw Sneed's way and forced him to answer the call. He did so, coming away with a key stop in the end zone and also recording the most important interception of his career thus far. Sneed's blend of length, athleticism and instincts wasn't really put on full display until Week 9 but if 2020 Sneed is back, that's a major boost to the Chiefs' secondary. An honorable mention should go to fellow cornerback Charvarius Ward, who also had a plus performance against the Packers.
Sorensen has continued to see his snap counts cut after getting 57 reps against the Buffalo Bills over a month ago. Against Green Bay, the only play he stood out on was one where he missed a tackle and promptly surrendered a touchdown. The 2021 season has been as difficult for Sorensen as just about anyone in the NFL, and things don't seem to be getting any better. It will be interesting to see how often he's on the field against the Raiders' dangerous passing attack, but not many positive plays have come from the veteran safety this year for Kansas City.
Robinson is another player who hasn't seen the field a ton as of late. After getting a season-high six targets in Week 6 against the Washington Football Team, Robinson has just six total targets since then. Josh Gordon (more on that later) and Byron Pringle have cut into his opportunities and production, and it doesn't appear that there's a great deal of trust placed in him right now. Robinson is a fine option as a depth piece, but his 2021 season has been underwhelming — even by those standards. He doesn't have a direct path to getting more snaps, either.
After seeing 18 balls thrown his way against the New York Giants, Hill saw another 11 thrown at him against the Packers. His receptions saw a sharp decline, though, as he hauled in just four passes for 37 yards and no scores. Hill has experienced a bit of an up-and-down 2021, especially considering he hasn't been fully healthy for most of it. He should bounce back soon and have a big game but for now, his stock is trending lower than normal.
Stocks to Watch
After what may have been his worst outing of the year against New York (four receptions for 27 yards and a fumble), Kelce had a mini-renaissance last week. His five catches for 68 yards and a score were great developments for the Chiefs because he's had a rough go in recent weeks. Kelce's touchdown was his first one since Week 5. Defenses have gotten extremely up close and personal with the 32-year-old this year, and it's taken a toll on him both mentally and physically. He didn't do quite well enough against Green Bay to be trending up but if he has a good game in Vegas, he'll be in that category a week from now.
Gordon has just one catch this season, and it came in his debut with the Chiefs way back in Week 5. His snap counts remain inconsistent and Mahomes' play has been less than stellar, so it's hard to blame him for the lack of production. He does have to be better, though, and perhaps he simply doesn't have a ton left in the tank. It's truly hard to tell what the issue is regarding him not having a "breakout" game or anything remotely resembling one. Gordon's impact remains extremely limited and for that reason, his stock is worth watching moving forward. All it takes is one good outing to completely change the conversation surrounding him.