By Sean Weymouth
I met WWE’s Ricochet today and what a humble guy. He reminds me a bit of Patrick Mahomes in that way, humble yet destructive to an opponent’s defense. But tonight as the Chiefs get ready to do battle with the Chargers we find two teams that at the beginning of the season were odds on favorites to repeat playoff berths … now, maybe, not so much. This will be a big game for both teams and I expect both teams to plant their feet firmly on the gas. Which only means more likelihood of a slate breaking performance on the field from a stud. Let’s see if we can find that play for you shall we?
Melvin Gordon $8,600
Phillip Rivers $8,800
Keenan Allen $8,400
Hunter Hayes $8,200
Austin Ekeler $6,600
Mike Williams $5,800
Mike Badgley $3,800
Chargers Defense $2,600
Let me just start by saying kudos to Draft King’s for pricing the Chargers so nicely. Even at 1.5 Captains pricing none of these guys are going to prevent you from a viable balanced lineup.
However, I think there is a real scenario where the Chiefs come out of the gate firing and hitting their shots, both on Offense and Defense (believe it or not) in an effort to continue the separation between themselves and those pesky Raiders. Let me explain my reasoning here. The Chargers Offensive Line looks like the Swiss cheese that my wife likes on her turkey sandwich. The Chiefs have a pass rush and have been looking better in recent weeks against the run. Phillip Rivers Hood and his merry men of receivers haven’t been lighting the world on fire and Friar Gordon is only two weeks removed from being border line benchable on season long teams. Now I’m not saying this game can’t be competitive, please don’t mistake me – it certainly can. In fact we hope that it can. Just don’t be surprised if it isn’t and therefore those Chargers prices aren’t as friendly. However, you didn’t read this for my opinion you read it for my advice so here is what I’d say for a competitive/Chargers positive game script:
Melvin Gordon should have a nice game tonight providing the Chargers keep the game close of take a lead. He is priced really well and a great choice for Captain. With the offensive line woes at hand, I would not be shocked to see Gordon get 25 or more touches. The Chiefs are allowing 5+ yards on average per rush this season, though those figures are slightly skewed due to their early season issues stopping the run. However take a look at the Chiefs Defensive stats against the Vikings where they made a concerted effort to stop Dalvin Cook, holding one of the NFLs top backs to only 71 yards and a very middle of the road 3.4 yards per carry. If the Chiefs take this same approach tonight against Gordon, it could be a long long night for Chargers Nation.
That is why I am going against the grain of nearly every other DFS Picks analyst out there and saying I like Austin Ekeler a whole lot tonight. Despite his very sharp decline in rushing since Gordon has come back to life, the Chargers have been deploying Ekeler in the slot and split out wide. With the offensive line woes the Chargers have right now due to injury, I could see Ekeler having a great game as a receiver tonight and you have to love his price at $6,600 as well.
If the game script goes that the Chiefs are out ahead than you need to also roster Phillip Rivers. Yes I have been talking about his offensive line issues but still Rivers is dropping back in the pocket more than any other quarterback and I think that will continue tonight. He does have the weapons too. Keenan Allen has been seeing 25% of his targets and with a big game ahead this could be a real breakout of the funk for Allen. Then there is Hunter Henry who is my only MUST START Charger tonight. Since his return, he has clearly become Phil’s Phavorite target and the TE position has been a plague to the Kansas City secondary all season. If there is a slate breaker on the Chargers tonight my money is on Hunter Henry. Mike Williams is always able to have a big play and big score but with the offensive line issues I am concerned for his viability as I think Rivers will be having to get the ball out too quickly for a big route to develop. He is a salary saver but I think I will be avoiding it as I don’t see his target share being enough to put up 20+ points in a showdown.
The Chargers Defense has talent of course. We all know the names Joey Bosa and Casey Heyward for example. However I am going to pass on the Chargers D tonight despite their price. I will however have some shares of Badgley though because I feel like if and when the Chargers are in the red zone they will take every opportunity to put points on the board, including Field Goals.
Patrick Mahomes $12,000
Tyreek Hill $10,600
Travis Kelce $9,000
Damien Williams $7,400
Sammy Watkins $6,000
Mecole Hardman $4,800
Demarcus Robinson $4,400
LeSean McCoy $5,200
Harrison Butker $4,000
Chiefs Defense $3,600
If my gut call on this game goes the way of the scenario I laid out at the top of this article, Mahomes should be your Captain. Yes he and his top two pass catchers (Hill, Kelce) are the three most pricey plays on the slate – but again thank you Draft King’s for pricing the Chargers so nicely to create some balance. However the game script goes, there is no doubt under the bright lights of Monday Night Football a full Mahomes classic performance is coming and I will not have a lineup without him – Captain or not – but I’d prefer in the Captains Chair.
The same could be said for Tyreek Hill who is virtually matchup proof no matter who is slinging the rock (see Matt Moore for details). Hill is in a great spot to exploit a good, but beatable, Chargers secondary and unlike the woes of the Chargers front 7 – the Chiefs offensive line has been holding up. Oh also – Mahomes. Play Tyreek Hill with confidence.
Travis Kelce is interesting however. The Chargers have been quietly performing lights out against opposing Tight Ends and Kelce has not been having a Kelce type year thus far either. If you are playing Mahomes and Hill it is tough to fit Kelce in too and pair with anyone else remotely capable of Showdown winning points. He will not be an easy fade for me tonight but I will have less Kelce in my lineups than I assume the rest of the field. Which could doom me or make my lineup just different enough – let’s hope for the latter.
Now the KC backfield is interesting. For all intensive purposes this should be the Damien Williams show and if it is he makes a fine choice for Captain likely receiving the work of a true bell cow back. However keep an eye on the actives and inactives and what comes out from the KC coaching staff in advance of g. With this being a very important game, I could see Andy Reid trotting Shady McCoy out more than we may think. If so I think he is worth a look in your lineups too. Despite the cheapness of Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson if Shady is in the game I wouldn’t use a Flex spot on either. If he is not, or if he is listed or spoken of as an emergency play – Darrel Williams does become a little more viable as a change of pace back.
Also I think the Chiefs defense is a very sneaky play tonight. As mentioned the Chargers Offensive line has issues and I could see the Chiefs racking up sacks and hurries, which can lead to turnovers. I even wouldn’t be surprised if there is a blocked kick of some sort. I don’t think people will be on defenses tonight and if you have the space on a lineup take a. Shot on the Chiefs. They may just be a difference maker.
Don’t sleep on Butker either. A good kicker on this offense is tantamount to a free square and he is priced nicely. There also could be a scenario where the Chargers Defense puts on a show and you’ll want Butker on your team in the event that happens.
Lastly the cast of characters largely known in KC as the other guys. Namely Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman. Of the three I like Hardman the best as over the last three weeks the Chiefs have deployed him in special designed plays to focus on his speed. Next I do like Demarcus Robinson as despite his lack of target share, it does seem like Mahomes looks for him in the red zone (when they get there at least). Sammy Watkins has the ability to be a big play guy and get even on this team it just doesn’t happen. I don’t see that changing tonight. I see the Chiefs pounding the run with Damien Williams, Mahomes creating magic with Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs pass rush causing 4 and outs regularly keeping the Chargers defense on the field and tired. I just don’t see Watkins being more than 50 yards on 5 targets.
Good Luck in your Contests!!