It was just a few short weeks ago that the Las Vegas Raiders shocked the world and beat the Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City Chiefs. I am sure that Coach Andy Reid and Pattie Mahomes have been thinking about that game ever since and I’m sure that they will be damned to see the same results again. Will lightning strike twice? We shall see … but no matter the results, there are fantasy points to be had and cold hard cash to win… so let’s get into this epic rematch!
My Captain/MVP Picks
The most likely optimal choice for Captain/MVP is Patrick Mahomes of course. As always, Mahomes has been lights out this season. Mahomes is attempting a whopping average of 35 throws per game and the last time these two teams met he threw for 340 Yards, 2 Touchdowns and an Interception. In fact the Raiders hold the only interception over Mahomes head of the season – which I am sure Patrick will do his very best to make them pay for. The Raiders by and large aren’t slowing anyone down through the air averaging over 270 passing yards per game. Additionally they are ranked 21st (bottom half of the league) against Quarterbacks allowing just over 26 fantasy points per game to the position. The issues however on Mahomes in this spot are a). Cost – he is the highest priced player on the slate and b). ownership – at a projected 75% he is the undisputed highest owned player on the slate. So what to do. I will never tell you to fade Patrick Mahomes in any matchup no matter the cost or ownership – but if you do roster him in this spot, I think you will have a difficult time loading the rest of your lineups with studs that you want as for instance on DK, by putting him in that spot you are left with an average player cost of $5,920. On FanDuel where prices matter a little less, I think he is a lock at MVP. But on DK, I will likely only have Mahomes in a Flex spot where your average player price rises to $7,320.
The one thing you can count on is there will be many, many players who will have Mahomes in the Captains seat on DK. So that means you will have a many, many players that will have lineups that may look something like this: Mahomes (Captain) Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, Zay Jones for $1,000 and Brian Edwards for $1,200. So by simply moving Mahomes to a Flex Spot, you will have a contrarian approach despite his massive ownership as by doing that you can immediately be different from many in the field with duplicate lineups.
As of right now your projected top 5 owned players on the slate are Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Each of these players have a lot of merit to deserve not only the ownership but looks even at Captain. Kelce is the leagues #1 Tight End and the last time these teams met took 12 targets for 109 and a score. He has 7 Touchdowns on the season. Hill took 3 catches for 78 the last time these teams locked up however he is coming of back to back two touchdown games. Josh Jacobs of course was the Las Vegas hero in week with 2 touchdowns and 85 total yards. Darren Waller is of course the Derek Carr security blanket seeing less than 5 targets per game only once this season. He also had a touchdown in Week 5. The guy that has me most interested in for Captain of this group is CEH who has had a less than what was expected kind of season and really wasn’t much of a factor in week 5. With the Raiders ranking 25th against running backs and giving up over 110 on the ground to opposing offenses, I wonder if Andy Reid dials up more for CEH tonight to give the defense a different look than what they are likely expecting from the Chiefs offense.
While each of the top 5 have ownership that is less 25% or more of Mahomes, I still think that ownership on them is a little high and if you want to plug as many as you can in your lineup you will need to be different from the field somewhere. Coming in at around 35% owned is Derek Carr and I kinda like Carr in the top spot. In that week 5 game Carr had himself a day. Over 28 Fantasy Points off of 347 Yards and 3 touchdowns. Had he not thrown an interception he may have cracked 32 points. It was easily Carr’s best game of the season and while you can’t expect the same level of production, you have to assume Carr will be ready to play tonight and try and get another win.
I also don’t mind paying down at Captain and looking at Mecole Hardman of the Chiefs and Henry Ruggs of the Raiders. I prefer Ruggs only because I think his role in this offense has been slightly more defined and it only took 2 catches in week 5 to get Ruggs to 116 yards and a score. He is a matchup nightmare if he can get in open space and we could see more bombs going his way tonight. Mecole Hardman is projected to be at sub 20% ownership and with Sammy Watkins again sidelined he could be in line for extra looks, many in the same vein as Ruggs – down the field.
And if you really want to take a Contrarian Shot, my choice to roll the dice with is Nelson Agholor who had 67 Yards and a score in the first meeting here. He has been a red zone threat for the Raiders this season with 5 touchdowns on the year thus far. Agholor is hovering in the 15% ownership space right now and I would be surprised if he wasn’t involved tonight.
I don’t want you to think that I am saying Hill, Kelce, Jacobs, Waller or CEH or Mahomes are bad choices at Captain. I think each has their merits as to why they could be the top choice in the spot. I just like to look at a). saving money where I can in the spot and b). being as different as I can without sacrificing the best plays possible in doing so. If you feel strongly about any of those players than go for it. You just need to be mindful that many, many others will be thinking the same way and your potential for a duplicate lineups to yours in your tournaments is likely. Just try and to think differently with your builds.
Flex, Flex, Flex it up
Just a couple general rules of thumb I want to mention. I don’t like stacking Mahomes with both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. It is in very rare occasions where both go nuclear in a game. However most players will want to do that. For me if I am stacking Chiefs, I am looking at Mahomes with either Hill or Kelce along with a secondary pass catcher (Mecole Hardman or Demarcus Robinson) and Kicker Harrison Butker. You could throw Clyde Edwards-Helaire in that mix but if you do I would replace the secondary receiver with him and not the kicker. Additionally if I am using Kelce in that stack and not Hill, I likely will not include CEH as the types of targets CEH sees from Mahomes are similar to those Kelce sees most often, so you will have two players largely vulturing each other in your lineup. Whereas Hill sees targets down the field and I like the idea that Hill could catch two deep touchdowns and then the running back grinds the game out on the back end. Hopefully that makes sense.
For the Raiders I think you need to have Josh Jacobs in any Raiders stack. More and more this offense is running through Jacobs and no matter the pass catchers around him in the stack, I don’t think he loses his opportunities even in a negative game script. However if you want to be contrarian and may believe that the Chiefs will sell out to slow Jacobs down and make Derek Carr beat them – I don’t hate that kind of Raiders stack either. Using Carr with Waller, Ruggs and Agholor or Hunter Renfrow in a stack perhaps with Kicker Daniel Carlson could be a contrarian approach and one that would allow you to also include a Kelce or Hill and another Chief in that lineup.
I should also mention that I do like Renfrow tonight. He was relatively quiet in week 5 with 2 targets and on catch for 42 yards. He may be in line for more targets tonight especially if the Chiefs work the box on Jacobs and Carr needs to use a lot of play action to move the ball. I also don’t mind if you are multi-entering taking a shot or two on Brian Edwards who had a lot of potential coming out of training camp and could get involved tonight. He missed week 5 as well as most of the season with injury but he will be active tonight. He is cheap and no one is playing him. While I don’t expect him to be a slate breaker, he certainly could see some targets and catches and could be a nice contrarian piece to an otherwise chalky lineup.
There are a lot of dart throw value plays in this game that you can take your shots on but both of these teams have relatively narrow target trees – so these are really, really dart throws. Demarcus Robinson who we have mentioned should see additional snaps with Sammy Watkins out and he has been a solid source of possession type receptions for Mahomes this season. You also have the Raiders Zay Jones and journeyman Jason Witten who both likely will see a target here or there and could that target be in the end zone – you never know. I also don’t mind taking shots on Darrell Williams and Lev Bell too – if you are multi-entering. I wouldn’t include them in any CEH lineups but both guys will be used as a change of pace as they have all season and with Mahomes under center, you never know who he will target when he needs a first down or a score.
Lastly, defenses tonight are going virtually unowned and for good reason – last time these two teams played 72 points were scored. But if you think the Chiefs just dominate this game totally, it may not be a bad idea to include the Defense in your stack. Or vice versa with the Raiders. No one will have the guts to do it… just think DIFFERENTLY when you are building your lineups tonight – ok?
Good Luck in your Contests!