As if Monday Night Football wasn’t already going to be a hot target for DFS Players with the Red Hot Packers taking on the Pass Pass and Pass again Falcons, now we have Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on this slate. Due to this, my article tonight will focus on the overall targets I see for DFS purposes and not specifically the showdowns.
The Key here with two games and extremely popular players in each will be finding leverage in your lineups where you aren’t missing the most optimal plays but also having enough difference to end in the green. Projected ownership on the “studs” you will find is highly concentrated, which I will reference during the article. Leverage can come not just on a single contrarian player, but also how you are stacking. If you are playing the two game slate it may not be as important to find a piece from each of the four teams, but finding the right pieces across both games and putting them together.
Game 1: New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs
*Both Cam Newton and Sony Michel will not play tonight for the Patriots. Back up Quarterback Brian Hoyer will be under center and the 4 man backfield we saw a week ago will be now a 3 man backfield*
I will never tell you to fade Patrick Mahomes but with Cam Newton not playing, I am less inclined to believe that this game has the shootout potential that it once did. While I see the Patriots trying to control a lot of the clock via keeping the ball on the ground, you can only contain Pat Mahomes for so long and with the speed in his receiving corp at his full command, he will put up points. The question becomes though, is this a game Mahomes needs to throw for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns? Even as a Patriot fan, without the same caliber of QB play Newton afforded us, I have my doubts. While anything can happen in the NFL, I am more inclined to find me shares of Patrick Mahomes in Showdown Slates than I am in the classic two game lineups. The second game offers too much of a shootout appeal for me to fade either Rogers or Ryan in the two game tournaments.
This doesn’t mean I’m ga-ga over Brian Hoyer on the other side of this game. To his credit he has been a fixture of the Patriots over 3 different stints during the Tom Brady era – so he knows this offense. Little known fact too that will shock you is that he does have 11 300+ passing yard games in his career too. Not too shabby for a journeyman #2. However I think tonight, there is more of a chance that Hoyer will be more of a game manager than a gunslinger. First there is the common thread of “the best way to beat Patrick Mahomes is to keep him on the sidelines” and the best way the Patriots can do that is to get their running backs involved. White, Burkhead and JJ Taylor will be busy tonight. The nice thing is that I think you will see the most of White & Burkhead both of whom offer dynamic passing options to Hoyer. I also see both Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry being involved in play action, if the Patriots can establish the run. So it isn’t that I don’t think Hoyer can have a good game, I just don’t know if it will be explosive enough to consider in the two game slates. Having some shares of Hoyer in Showdowns however I think is a must if you are multi-entering. Either way he will be the lowest owned of the four quarterbacks tonight.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire will enter tonights 2 Game Contest as the second highest owned player at over 70%, second only to Aaron Jones. There are a couple reasons for this. First the Patriots have notoriously had little answers for 3 down backs, especially those that are catching passes as soon as they are running between the tackles. The second is that as soon as the news of Cam Newton being added to the Covid list, the overwhelming narrative is that this will be a blowout by the World Champions and if that is the case, CEH will see a LOT of touches. For whichever reason you believe, I think CEH is a great player tonight – though I do prefer Jones in reference to the high priced RBs. The long standing narrative of the Patriots Defense is that they aim to take away their opposition’s best weapon. However ultimately the Chiefs best weapon is Patrick Mahomes and taking him away means keeping him and the offense off the field. So if I could throw caution to the CEH will crush” train, it would be this – if the Patriots can establish the run tonight and does indeed cut down on the pace of play as well as the Chief’s offensive opportunities, CEH could end with a decent score and not the smash score. If Mahomes is limited in how many times he is touching the ball in a quarter he will be airing the ball out as much as he can and if that happens, it could limit the upside on CEH. That being said, I will have plenty of shares of the rookie tonight in both the 2 game slate and the showdown slates.
I do have a theory however on why both Aaron Jones and CEH are the two most owned players on the slates tonight and I think it is because, with pricing across the board being soft due to a few injuries – there are many ways to build a lineup with both of them together. For that reason an excellent pivot may be to use a New England Running back, be it White or Burkhead and pair with Jones and/or an Atlanta Running back, be it Todd Gurley or Brian Hill and pair with CEH. While both Jones and Edwards-Helaire are in great positions, the probability that both will smash is actually fairly low. And by using a great deal of salary on both together – you really need both to SMASH. It could happen for sure…but if you are multi-entering the two game tournaments, for every lineup you have a double stack with CEH and Jones, I’d have another the way I recommend. Hedge it baby.
The New England backfield is one that nearly every fantasy analyst wants to throw their hands up and give up on. It is a mystery. However with James White out we did some clarity. JJ Taylor saw the most snaps, Sony Michel had the most yardage and Rex Burkhead had the most success – through the air. Tonight with James White active, I think there will be some thunder and lightning between White and Burkhead. I think Taylor will see even more snaps in place of Michel, but I could also see Burkhead starting the game as he is a capable runner and pass catcher. If I had to rank them tonight specifically I’d go Burkhead, White, Taylor – but White and Burkhead could easily flip there. My strategy here in the Two Game Tournaments is to use White & Burkhead as my RB2 with my Aaron Jones Lineups. I think JJ Taylor is an extremely interesting dart throw if you are multi-entering. All 3 are in play for Showdowns but I would lean more heavily on White & Burkhead as run back options if you are stacking Chiefs.
Tyreek Hill has had a long history of torching New England. It’s true. A quick google search on the matter will lead you to this. There isn’t too much more that I need to say other than, I actually prefer Hill to Kelce in regards to my favorite Chiefs offensive weapon tonight. The fun is trying to figure out who else gets targeted by Mahomes. I think Mecole Hardman took a big step forward last week and in one game may have usurped Demarcus Robinson on the pecking order. However I have noticed an interesting trend with Hardman. When he has a successful kick run back (not necessarily for a score, but past 20 yards) he usually is then targeted in the next offensive series. Now this isn’t always the case, but I have noticed this several times over the last two years. For the reasons that Tyreek Hill has had a lot of success against the Pats, you have to have some shares of Hardman tonight. In fact should you choose to stack Mahomes and Hill, adding Hardman in place of Kelce to that stack could immediately be a contrarian play with a lot of money to spare… While I don’t think Demarcus Robinson is completely phased out he is purely a mass multi-entry dart throw or Showdown Tournament play for me. I do want to touch on Sammy Watkins too who has had his own share of success against the Patriots as both a Chief and a Buffalo Bill. No one knows or trusts when it will be a “Sammy Watkins” week… so I will have shares of Watkins especially if I am multi-entering and in Showdown lineups. Both Hardman and Watkins offer a high value pivot from either Hill or Kelce in stacks with Mahomes.
Julian Edelman will be busy tonight. But when is Julian Edelman never busy? Look for Hoyer to look for Edelman early and often – but, I do have to say the Chief’s secondary has been playing second level football since late last season and without Newton on the field, the fear I have for Edelman is the high value targets we saw Cam giving him will not be there tonight with Hoyer. It breaks my heart to say this, but Edelman will largely be in my Showdown lineups tonight and not my main 2 game lineups. I think if Hoyer is taking the shots down the field he will be looking to N’Keal Harry who saw the equal amount of snaps and targets as Edelman in week 3. Harry has a knack for contested balls and I think he will have a chance a few of those tonight. It’s probably an unpopular call but I like Harry’s upside tonight more than I do Edelmans, who I see as a volume play. Damiere Byrd is interesting as the third man here but again without the report with Newton, I am not sure enough targets will come his way with likely both White, Burkhead, Edelman and Harry seeing most of the passing yardage. That is just my take. I will likely be fading all of the Patriots Wide Receivers in the Two Game Slates and using them mainly in the Showdowns.
Travis Kelce is AWESOME. There is no doubt. He is arguably the best tight end in football. However he hasn’t always been at his best against the New England Patriots. It is possibly a reason why Tyreek Hill has excelled in these games. I think the thing is with the Chiefs is that if a defense takes away one weapon, they just have another one ready to go. When I say what I am going to say, I don’t want anyone reading to think “Sean says don’t play Travis Kelce” – no that is absolutely NOT what I am going to say. However, Travis Kelce is far and away the most owned Tight End, the next closest one is 35% less owned. With that level of immense ownership, I just love the idea of pivoting to another Tight End and making a creative stack out of that pivot. I don’t know why but as much as there is a chance that Travis Kelce goes wild tonight to me there is an equal chance that he is just ok and it isn’t that I think any of the other guys will smash by the way, it is that the salary it saves me by not rostering Kelce on every lineup as a Tight End, does allow me to get valuable pieces of the other game very nicely. Kelce is a fine play, but you read my two game strategy just know you know how I am handling Tight End on my lineups…I never said anything about fading Kelce in the Flex Spot though. Two Tight End stacks have worked out for many, just sayin’. And Kelce is fully in play on the Showdown slates.
If I was the backup QB on the Patriots, a long time backup QB and I was not only making my first start for the team but my first start of my career on Monday Night Football, I would look for the biggest target I could find to throw that ball to and right now on the Patriots, that target is Ryan Izzo. I will have some shots on Izzo, though I like the Green Bay Tight Ends slightly more in the Two Game contests. Izzo is the only tight end that has seen any targets thus far in 2020 and I doubt that will change tonight. Izzo is a low volume dart throw but one with a potential for decent volume and even a red zone look. I would have some shares if I was multi-entering the two game tournament and I would have some shares in Showdown slates too. Let’s put it this way – did anyone see a 3 touchdown game from Rex Burkhead coming last week? No? Does anyone see a big game coming from Ryan Izzo this week? No? Worth a shot.
Regarding the defenses tonight and the kickers (Showdown Eligible Only) I think everything is in play. While I like the Chiefs Defense for turnovers especially interceptions, I also like the Patriots Defense for Sacks. In the Two Game slate, I’d lean more on the Chiefs Defense but in Showdowns I’d recommend having shares of both if multi-entering. Patriots Kicker Nick Folk should be in play on lineups you build favoring the Chiefs as you’d expect if the Patriots are struggling in the Red Zone they will lean on their kicker for points and Harrison Butker is in just in play in Showdowns every week. If Mahomes and company are looking to score points evert offensive possession you will see a lot of Harrison Butker tonight. Don’t sleep on him in Showdowns.
PART 2: Packers Falcons Coming Shortly!