NFL News & Analysis

Kansas City Chiefs activate DB Tyrann Mathieu from COVID-19 list

Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are activating star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu off of the COVID-19/reserve just in time for their Week 1 matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Mathieu is listed as questionable (non-injury related/illness) to play Sunday after he missed practice this week following a positive COVID test on Sept. 1.

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Mathieu's versatility boosts Chiefs defense: Mathieu is a versatile player, as he played 501 snaps at free safety, 803 in the box, 992 in the slot and 158 on the line in 2020, which unlocks defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's scheme. Click here to find PFF's NFL premium stats.

Tyrann Mathieu's Three-Year PFF Grades (Including Playoffs)
Season PFF Overall Grade PFF Run-Defense Grade PFF Coverage Grade
2020 67.0 75.9 63.1
2019 75.4 59.9 82.0
2018 75.3  84.8 70.6

Not your average safety: Mathieu ranks ninth among safety in PFF's WAR — .73 WAR in 2019 and 2020 — since joining the Chiefs. He also posted the fourth-most total pressures (24) over the last two seasons (including playoffs) among safeties. Click here to find PFF's safety rankings. 


Mathieu's presence hurts Odell Beckham Jr.: Getting the Chiefs starting safety back will make it tougher for Baker Mayfield and OBJ to connect on deep-balls downfield. Click here to find PFF's WR/CB matchup chart.

Tougher sledding for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt: Mathieu's presence should boost Kansas City's run defense against Cleveland's RB duo. In 2020, Mathieu boasted a 75.9 run-defense grade (including playoffs). Click here to find PFF's 2021 fantasy projections.

PFF's 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit includes links to every article, tool and chart to best prepare you for your fantasy football draft. This will be updated regularly between now and Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.


Chiefs spread on the move: Kansas City has slipped a point to a -5.5 favorite despite 68% of the cash and 67% of the tickets on the Chiefs.  The move down could reflect some hesitation due to Mathieu's status. Now that it's resolved, the Chiefs appear to be the preferred side on the spread. PFF Greenline also has a lean on the total. PFF's Betting Futures Tool reveals betting opportunities within season win total and future markets.

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