The Kansas City Chiefs started the season with a defense that prevented points at a historic pace, but they have allowed 68 points in their last two games. The Denver Broncos hadn't scored fewer than 33 points through Week 9, but hasn't topped 31 since. Both teams have slowed off their record paces, and could be meeting in the middle as the teams face off at 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday in Kansas City. Still, there are all sorts of fantasy performers to watch:
Start in every league: Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Matt Prater
Start if you're desperate: Eric Decker, Julius Thomas
Bench: Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball, C.J. Anderson, Defense/special teams
No matter the opponent, Manning is an obvious must-start. Really no analysis necessary. ... Even with the passing game basically shut down last Sunday, Thomas managed double-digit fantasy points by virtue of his touchdown, bringing him to 10 on the season. ... Welker only has 12 total fantasy points since Week 8, and is still looking for his first hundred-yard game, but still, he's got nine touchdowns and is the No. 11 wide receiver. ... Prater hasn't scored more than 10 points since Week 5. Regardless, he's the No. 3 kicker in the game right now.
Decker has somewhat become the forgotten man in the Denver offense, with only three scores on the season, and only one catch for five yards a week ago. He still has big upside, and he has 19-plus fantasy points twice this season, but his downside is a goose egg. ... It looks like Thomas will return from injury Sunday, but there are no guarantees he's at 100 percent, and no team allows fewer points to tight ends than the Chiefs. Fantasy owners might be wise to wait a week.
If Moreno plays, he's hobbled enough that he's tough to trust. If he's out, Ball and Anderson will split carries, and likely will get their share of time even if Moreno is out there. But still, no single running back appears likely to have a huge game for Denver. ... The Chiefs still haven't allowed more than seven or fewer than three fantasy points all season; the Broncos' defense isn't likely to break that trend.
Start in every league: Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles
Start if you're desperate: Dwayne Bowe, Ryan Succop
Bench: Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster, Sean McGrath, Defense/special teams
Smith has to be the most surprising player in the NFL to rank in the top 10 at his position; he is the No. 10 quarterback, and has scored 21 or more points in three of his last four. In a game that could be high-scoring, Smith's hot performance could continue. ... Charles is fantasy's top running back. Start him all the time.
After awful performance through much of the season, Bowe has scored 11 fantasy points in consecutive games. He still hasn't topped 67 yards in a game, but his targets have shot up of late, and it's possible he's going to start returning value. ... Succop's production has fallen off in recent weeks, and he's only the No. 15 fantasy kicker. Still, he's scored 12 or more fantasy points four times, and there's decent upside.
Behind Bowe and Charles, Avery, McCluster, and McGrath just haven't had enough looks to be fantasy relevant in any but the deepest leagues. ... The Chiefs' defense has scored negative-8 total fantasy points since Week 9, will be without its best players, and goes against the game's best offense Sunday. They're wholly unusable in Week 13.