Tonight we have a 2 game double header with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs taking on the now 4-1 Buffalo Bills (5pm) and then the now Andy Dalton led Cowboys taking on Kyler Murray and his Cardinals. All of these teams have reason to win above and beyond record. The last time we saw the Chiefs they lost to the Las Vegas Raiders in what would be considered the biggest upset of the year, while the Bills were thoroughly trounced by the Tennessee Titans. Both teams will be playing to win and playing hard to win if anything else to help forget about last week. Meanwhile the Cowboys are coming into this game after losing Dak Prescott for the season and Andy Dalton and Big Zeke are looking to prove something to the nation. Unfortunately what waits for them is one of the most explosive offenses in the league with Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins on tap.
Whether you are playing the Showdowns for each game or the classic two game slate on DK or FD you will need to really create a perfect lineup to cash. Despite each team having a lot of key players, ownership will be super concentrated and so it will be tough to find a low owned piece in the mix. So it will be more important in my opinion to hit with an Optimal Lineup and not worry as much about ownership.
Yesterday my highest scoring and most profitable lineup contained a lot of chalk including Deshawn Watson, Derek Henry, AJ Brown, Chase Claypool and David Montgomery. The player that helped me win cash though was Darren Fells in the lineup, how himself was 25% owned. So in other words, it was the optimal lineup to cash and not one loaded with contrarian plays. I believe tonight’s tournaments will require you to do the same with your lineups.
Patrick Mahomes is always a great play in DFS. The reason isn’t just because of his passing volume or his pass catchers – it is his volatility. Any time he steps on the field he has the potential to break the slate and tonight against the Bill’s and coming off of a loss, I think we will see Mahome’s Game Face on early. Yes the Bill’s have a formidable defense but we just saw Ryan Tannehill carve them up – partially due to some key players being absent due to injury. The Bill’s Defense are coming in tonight largely healthy but if you look are recent Mahomes’ games against similarly stout defenses, I have little fear in his performance. 385 Yards and 4 Touchdowns against the Ravens in week 3. 302 yards and 2 Touchdowns against the Chargers in Week 2. 236 and 2 against the Patriots in week 4. Mahomes seems to strive on “tough matchups”. What has been really encouraging however is his rushing this season. He has rushed no less than 4 times per game so far and even has 2 rushing scores as well. I like that upside a lot tonight against the Bills. By far Mahomes will be the most expensive play on the slate – but I could actually see that keeping his ownership down. Great pick for Captain in Showdown slates too. Simply because he spreads the ball around so much, it is tough to roster another Chief in the same spot.
Josh Allen on the other side of the game literally had his worst showing of the season against the Titans last week. 263, 2 touchdowns and 2 picks. It was very much a strange game for Allen and really the entire team. The Titans walked all over them on both sides of the ball and honestly it even had the commentators questioning how ‘valid’ the Bills’ undefeated record has been. Allen will face a formidable Chiefs secondary tonight and so I am concerned. I think the most concerning thing however is his lack of rushing which over the previous two seasons was a primary reason he was so popular for fantasy and DFS. Since Week 1 Allen has not rushed more than 4 times per game (Week 1 he rushed 15 times) and he also has not gained more than 19 yards in any week (Week 1 he also had 56 yards and a score). I think for the Bill’s to have a chance against the Chiefs, he will need to get his running shoes on. The now age old secret to beating Mahomes is keeping him off the field. SO I could see more designed runs for Allen tonight to help slow the pace and extend drives. Allen will be the 3rd most expensive option at the position tonight and will be a risky choice for Captain in Showdowns. However coming off his big time loss, he could be the contrarian Captain choice tonight too.
Kyler Murray has been phenomenal this season. While I still think Russell Wilson is in the driver’s seat for MVP voting, if there was a player that could dispel DangerRuss – it could be Murray. In addition to his passing, his running has been AWESOME. He is averaging 8.2 rushes per game for an astounding 59.2 yards average and he has 5 rushing TD so far. When you couple that with 259.8 Average yards per game and 7 passing touchdowns on the season – he makes an excellent pick tonight as your QB in classic tournaments and as a Captain in your showdown lineups. Murray has thrown for 6 Interceptions so far including 3 in one game to the Detroit Lions, so it isn’t all wine and roses for the Reigning Offensive Rookie of the year – but still, I think if you want to have as much upside as possible – outside of maybe Mahomes – I don’t think you can find any other player on the slate that can offer more upside than Murray. I bring up the 3 interception game only because it was against what is considered a less than stellar Lions Defense. Tonight Murray plays the less than stellar Cowboy’s defense. I am not saying he will throw a pick – but could he? If you are multi-entering, hedging your Kyler Murray lineup with a Cowboys defense lineup is not a bad idea. You never know.
And finally we have Andy Dalton who with out question has the biggest Question Mark hanging over his head. I’ll be honest though, I think Dalton will be great for the pass catchers in Dallas. We have seen many years of Dalton “airing it out” and the nickname the Red Rocket isn’t just because of his hair color. Dalton can throw. However he offers little in the way of rushing the same way that the other 3 on this slate do. So in order for Dalton to hit a Ceiling tonight you will need to have him throwing, which he could potentially be doing especially if the Cardinals jump out to an early lead. But I am concerned for Dalton as a DFS play only because I think that the Cowboys will lean on Eziekiel Elliot even more so now that Dak is out of the year. I could easily see Zeke getting 30 or more touches in this game to help the Cowboys control the clock and keep the Cardinals offense on the sidelines and if that happens, Dalton’s ability to throw the long ball often will diminish. We don’t know what this Cowboy’s offense will look like now and that has me MOST intrigued. Dalton is the Cheapest of the 4 QBs and I think he will be a very popular play tonight in Classic Tournaments and in Showdowns – but I think he will not be as popular in the Captains seat as people will most likely want to use that for a pass catcher or the assumed safety of the points Mahomes or Murray will give you. We shall see if the Red Rocket can come through tonight, I will have some shares of him with a stack of his pass catchers.
I think outside of Zeke, running backs tonight will be the least owned skill position players. You have Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the Chiefs side, your second most expensive option behind Zeke who outside of Week 1 has not delivered that ceiling game that we have been hoping for. He gets a Bill’s defense that has been pretty good against the run and pretty much slowed Derek Henry down, until he got to the goal line. So I see CEH needing 2 or 3 goal line opportunities come his way and 2 scores at least that he will need to deliver solid points for you. The issue with that is goal line work in the Chiefs offense is opportunities that are hampered by the success the team has through the air with Field stretchers like Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. While I love CEH as a player, I think you can save some salary by fading him outside of Chiefs team stacks if you go that route.
Then you have the Cardinals Backfield which has been anything but stellar. Yes Kenyan Drake has been getting the snaps but he has looked quite frankly BAD with what he has been given. The high priority opportunities have gone to Chase Edmonds so you would think he is the natural play but his success has come at low volume and it is tough to trust unless he scores. Drake is averaging 18 attempts on the ground and 2 targets a game while Edmonds is only averaging 5 attempts on the ground and 5 targets per game. Unless Edmonds scores a touchdown, I can’t see him paying off his salary for you and Drake I just don’t think is fully in the game plan for the Cardinals outside of being a thumper between the tackles. Yes tonight both Drake and Edmonds get a kush matchup against a week Cowboys defense, but I will be underweight on Cardinals running backs tonight. I will have a share of each and I’d recommend having a share if you are multi-entering because I think both guys will be low owned, but I don’t see either being in the “optimal lineup”. There is good volatility and bad volatility and I think the Cardinals running backs are the latter.
Lastly we have the Bill’s backs Devin Singletary and the now active Zack Moss. If Moss wasn’t active I would be all over Singletary tonight as he has proven to be a solid source of production on the field, but with Moss active and grabbing goal line work as well as third down opportunities – much like the Cardinals backfield – I will be underweight on both of them. First, Singletary has had some flashes – but quite frankly TJ Yeldon last week looked like the most explosive back of the bunch! Yeldon is inactive this week clearing the way for Moss to return. The matchup with the Chiefs is OK for running backs but my reason for staying away from the Bill’s backfield is we just don’t know how much work either Singletary or Moss will get. Could a 100 yard game be coming form Singletary? IF Moss was inactive I think the odds are much better. But with the time share, I think both become too touchdown dependent for me. The plus side is the Bills will likely try to go run heavy to slow the game down and keep the Chiefs off the field. The down side is trying to figure out which Bill to roster. It is a stay away spot for me.
That brings us to Ezekiel Elliot who projects to be the highest owned player on the entire slate not just running backs. The thing is – he is locked in as my RB1 in Classic lineups and he is a stone cold lock for me in Showdowns as well. It has to do with the volume and the projected game plan. There is safety in Zeke that no other player can offer. He will be a major factor in the Cowboys offense and he has a pretty good matchup tonight to over deliver. I don’t see how you can get around having Zeke in your lineup tonight – there really doesn’t need to be much more said than that – except that it is also promising to see him targeted this year in the passing game too. It may burn me to lock one player in, but I think Zeke will be “good chalk” that you can eat.
Much like I wrote yesterday, I think it will be the wide receivers that make or break your lineups tonight. With so many options to choose from I am going to go in order of my favorite plays tonight and mention how I will be deploying them.
Deandre Hopkins – is the most expensive of the bunch and with good reason. The #1 weapon in Kyler Murray’s tool kit, the Murray – Hopkins stack will be the most popular and most likely stack to score points for you. I will have plenty of this stack, but I will also add in:
Christain Kirk – who is in the midst of a break out stretch of his season. I think Kirk will be largely over shadowed tonight with so many other choices that I think he is an excellent pick to pair with Murray and Hopkins. I also think he makes for a nice run back on Cowboys stacks.
Amari Cooper – your second most expensive WR but also very worth the price tonight. People have made a big deal of the targets Michael Gallup received from Dalton at the end of the game but are not realizing Dalton came into the game and was just trying to put the team in a position to win. With a full week of practice and preparation I fully believe Dalton will be looking for Cooper early and often and because Gallup has gotten so much attention this week, Coopers’ ownership could be suppressed just enough for him to be a real value tonight.
Michael Gallup – I put him above Lamb only because where there is smoke there could be fire and if the pundits are correct and Dalton has immediate chemistry with Gallup, you will want to have a piece.
Tyreek Hill – I only have the Cowboys receivers ahead of the Cheetah because I think the Cowboys will be throwing to stay in the game more so than I think the Chiefs will. Tyreek is the most expensive WR on the slate and I just don’t see any Bills being able to keep up with him on the field. Look for Hill to have a big game tonight – with Sammy Watkins out.
Mecole Hardman – with Sammy Watkins out, the opportunity for Hardman has presented itself and we have seen when he has more than 5 targets in a game he has delivered. He also is priced extremely low for the opportunity and I think he will be a very popular play. Don’t sleep on Mecole.
John Brown – Brown will be active tonight and much like Tyreek Hill, the speed that Smoke offers is going to be tough to cover for the Chiefs especially as the game wears on. We saw how much Brown meant for this offense when he wasn’t on the field last week. With Brown back I think we will see Josh Allen throwing early and often. I also think Brown will be overlooked as people will be worried about him coming back from injury – but I am not. Play John Brown.
Stefon Diggs – last but certainly not least we have Diggs who could have a MONSTER game. With Brown back on the field the coverage won’t be as concentrated on Diggs as it was last week and they will need Diggs to put on a performance to keep pace with the Chiefs. I love the Allen – Diggs stack and in this case I think including Brown in that stack will be a contrarian play.
I think that tonight Travis Kelce will see a lot of ownership. You do not need me to tell you why. Even in tough matchups, Kelce performs with only one game this season under 70 yards through the air. As much as Zeke is a lock for me, Kelce is too. The Mahomes Kelce Stack will be as popular as the Mahomes Hill Stack. However I wouldn’t Stack all three as I believe Hill and Kelce eat too much into each other as 1a and 1b targets. I think a contrarian approach will be to include Mecole Hardman in place of either Hill or Kelce in the 3 man stack.
After Kelce however you have Dalton Schultz of the Cowboys and Tyler Kroft of the Bill’s to consider. With Andy Dalton’s target share a wild card, I like Kroft a little better. There is no Dawson Knox tonight so Kroft should see all of the Tight End Volume from Josh Allen and while the targets aren’t there for either guy, Allen does like to look for his tight ends in the red zone. I think Kroft is worth a shot if you are playing a Bills stack. I think until I see Dalton in the drivers seat of the Cowboys offense I will be staying away from Schultz. We just don’t know if Dalton will be targeting him the same way Dak was. You can take a dart throw at Dan Arnold of the Cardinals but he is a real Dart Throw. Coming off a game he wasn’t targeted once, it is tough to trust he will be a key factor tonight with only seeing between 2 – 4 targets a game and No Touchdowns on the season. He will be cheap and no one will play him – but I’ll likely stay away.
For Defenses tonight I like in order:
Good Luck in your Contests!