Hopefully you are having a good day on the NFL Main Slate of games as you are reading this or coming off of a big win with some great lineups. Tonight’s showdown with the Chiefs and Broncos should be a fun game to watch and certainly the Broncos are at least coming into the game with a starting quarterback, so – YAY!
If you read my article on Wednesday for the Steelers and heavily depleted Ravens, I made the argument that despite a unbelievable opportunity for the Steelers Defense to put up serious points, the defense still carried a 70% chance of busting if rostered as Captain versus a stellar Wide Receiver performance. Well, that came true and as much as I’d like to humble brag I really can’t because there was a 70% chance I’d be correct. Players that had rostered Marquise Brown at Captain sailed past nearly 60% of the field as he caught his longest pass and run and score of the season.
The reason that I bring this up again is not to humble brag. It is to point out that with DFS, you need to be able to take educated guesses and the best way to educate yourself on who is a great play or how is a winning play, can be as simple as the math. I’ll skip ahead and talk about the Chiefs Defense here instead of later to show you what I mean. The last time these two teams met (Week 7) the game was in Denver and the Chiefs Defense put on a show. 24 Fantasy Points, 2 Interceptions, 3 Sacks and 2 Defensive Scores. Wow. In fact it was the second game this season that the Chiefs Defense scored 20 or more fantasy points. BUT the other nine games that the Chiefs have played the Defense has scored 9 or less points including the last 3 games where they have allowed 31 Points to the Panthers, 31 Points to the Raiders and 24 Points to the Bucs. Doing the quick math, in 82% of the Chiefs’ games this year the Chiefs Defense has failed to score double digit points. It still will be easy to look at the Game Log and see that Week 7 performance and click the Chiefs D tonight, perhaps even as a contrarian pick for Captain. However the math isn’t there…
My Captain/MVP Picks:
Unlike this math … last 4 games 25.8 FPTS, 36.1 FPTS, 30 FPTS, 60.9 FPTS. That is Tyreek Hill. On the season Hill has only failed to score 15 or more Fantasy points only once. Hill has scored 20 or more Fantasy Points in 6 Games this season including the last 4. If we go by the game log in Week 7 Hill 6 Catches for 55 yards and a score for a pedestrian (for him) 17 FPTS. But what a roll he has been on since then. I’ll be riding the hot hand here. Only two issues. First ownership – Hill is projected at nearly 60% ownership. Second price. Hill is $12,200 on DK (Flex) and $14,500 on FD. With prices not as much of a issue on FanDuel, he is as close to a lock for me on FD as there can be. DK, I actually think that a lot of Hill’s ownership is with him as a Flex Play as I believe many players will be scared off from using $18,300 for a Captain Pick. So I will have my share of lineups with Hill in the Captain.
You think 60% ownership is scary? How about 85% Ownership for Patrick Mahomes? That is what he is projecting for right now, but the thing is – I don’t know if you will be able to get around Mahomes in tournaments tonight if you fade him. I think if you look at Week 7, you will see that statically it was Mahomes’ worst game of the season fantasy wise. But real life needs to remind that the Defense took over that game and frankly Mahomes and the offense didn’t necessarily need to put up a massive performance. Plus that game was in Denver and maybe I’m alone on this but I think that elevation can do wonky things to players. Now tonight the Chiefs are at home and are close to closing out their playoff berth. I think the gas pedal will be down. Normally I would say 85% ownership is a stay away spot for me, but I just don’t know if I can do that here. Since that Week 7 game, Mahomes has been stellar with 14 Touchdown Passes, 1,598 Yards Passing and only 1 interception. Just stop. Again due to the pricing and if I want to try and stack Tyreek Hill, I think both Mahomes is a lock for me on FanDuel. On DK, I think having either Mahomes or Hill at Captain are strong plays.
But you can get a slight ownership discount with Travis Kelce – only projected at 54% owned (Haha) but seriously, Kelce should also be considered at Captain. Since the Denver anomaly Kelce has had no less than 8 Catches in every game with 3 of the last 4 games going over 100 yards. He also has 2 Touchdowns in that span. Kelce is also very pricey $10,800 on DK and $13,500 on FD so stacking Mahomes-Hill-Kelce will leave you searching for a lot of cheap Broncos most likely to fill the gaps, if you even are able. I rarely stack Mahomes with both of these guys usually because of that reason, but I will tell you the triple stack has paid off more recently than it has in the past. In 3 of the last 4 games both Hill and Kelce have scored over 25 Fantasy Points each, with Hill having the overall edge. In Fact it took Tyreek Hill going nuclear last week to keep Kelce under 20 Fantasy Points. So there is certainly merit to the triple stack.
Honestly with so much ownership on Mahomes, Hill and Kelce – the ultimate leverage play is the Denver Defense. Week 7 they held all three of the Chiefs big names to their worst games of the season, it was their offense that let the team down after all. Denver’s Defense ranks in the top 10 against Wide Receivers, Quarterbacks and Tight Ends AND after last week’s total disaster, they will be coming to play. So of course I already said I don’t play defenses against Mahomes – but that is me. I don’t know if I could stomach the Denver Defense at Captain, but if you can – you will be on an island and if they can stop the Mahomes Juggernaut and force sacks and turnovers, your island could be Winning Island!
For me the only Contrarian Chiefs Captain Play that I can suggest is Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Much has been said about this guy’s season and it is being labeled as disappointing – but he has had his moments and games and in Denver in Week 7 he had 8 carries for 46 yards and a score, plus 17 yards through the air. If CEH can get 10+ touches and 50 or 60 yards and a score, maybe two, he makes for a great pick Captain. If there is a hole in Denver it is against the run, ranking 19th against the running back and it could be something that their Chiefs try to exploit. Interestingly on DK, CEH projects as coming in less owned than Le’Veon Bell (CEH 35%, Bell 40%). So that for me is something to note. If that holds, I think CEH becomes one of my favorite Captain Picks.
On the Denver side of things, I think the natural move will be to use Drew Lock in the Captain/MVP spot but I have my worries. It isn’t just the total dominance the Cheifs Defense showed over him in Week 7. It is also that Lock hasn’t been particularly good this season. Against two “bad” defenses in Week 8 and 9 (Chargers, Falcons), Lock looked great. Then in week 10 he faced the rather beatable Raiders and put up a dud including 4 interceptions. He then followed that up in Week 11 against Miami where again, interception. Moreover Lock has thrown for over 300 yards only 1 time this season. So for me, I am going to pass on Drew Lock at Captain on DK but he is an ok Dart Throw at MVP on FanDuel.
So who could be a Denver Captain Pick. Well I already mentioned the Denver Defense which I will have in at least one lineup tonight just due to the ownership of the Chiefs. My first pick would be Jerry Jeudy who before last week’s disaster had become the #1 Wide Receiver in this offense with no less than 8 targets per game in the 4 weeks before the no quarterback game, including a break out against the Falcons of 125 yards and a score. The Broncos will need to score points tonight and I like Lock targeting Jeudy early and often. Jeudy does project 30% ownership tonight but surprisingly that isn’t a ‘chalk play’ by any stretch. I do think Noah Fant will be a popular pick but for me the bloom is off the rose there. After a red hot start in weeks 1 & 2, Fant has failed to gone over 55 yards once (and that was the no quarterback game). He also has not scored a touchdown since Week 2 either. While I don’t mind a stack with Fant and Lock, it’s just not for me. I’d prefer to go deeper and cheaper and look at Tim Patrick or a running back, Melvin Gordon or Phillip Lindsey. I prefer Lindsey only because he is a little cheaper than Gordon and he is projecting for under 20% ownership, which in this game is contrarian.
Flex, Flex, Flex it Up!
As I mentioned above I don’t like to stack Mahomes, Hill and Kelce together and I am not sure if I will deviate from that rule in this game. The Broncos are a good defense and while Mahomes can make any good defense look bad, I just don’t know if the Broncos will be able to keep up enough to get this game in any sort of shootout where both Hill and Kelce go off. I really don’t mind a four man with Mahomes – Hill or Kelce – CEH and Harrison Butker. I do think the Broncos hold the Chiefs to a few field goals tonight. I also don’t mind going back to the well with the Chiefs Defense in the Flex and if you think the Chiefs just dominate this game, I don’t mind even including Lev Bell in an onslaught stack with CEH.
The issue with everyone else on the Chiefs is that you never know which way Mahomes is going to go with the ball. So everyone should be at least in your player pool – be it Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson. I do not mind using any of these three in a stack tonight as contrarian pieces and particularly if for example Hardman catches the two deep tosses from Mahomes and you have him in a stack with Mahomes and Kelce and not Hill, it could be a massive leverage play against the chalky cheetah. So I will have all 3 in my player pool.
Tonight, I could easily see a 2 – 4 Chiefs – Broncos lineup build coming out as optimal. With pricing where it is, you could easily build a team of 4 Broncos starters and run it back with Mahomes and Hill or Kelce and that could be the winner. The worry for me though is honestly, Drew Lock. Outside of Gordon and Lindsey whether it is Fant, Jeudy, Patrick – they are all dependent on Lock’s arm. So it is a gamble to say I like a Lock-Jeudy-Patrick or Fant – Lindsey stack. I do think, using Kicker Brandon McManus is in play – if the Broncos can get to the redzone on the Chiefs, they will want to come away with points one way or another.
The more I think about this game the more I think I will be using more Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsey and even a share of Royce Freeman. Like every other team, the Broncos will want to keep Mahomes on the sideline as much as they can which will mean a lot of running plays, at least early on. Gordon, like Lock, hasn’t been great – but he is a capable runner and adept at catching out of the backfield. Phillip Lindsey is questionable. If he can go, I always try and roster Lindsey where I can. I love the explosiveness. Royce Freeman is seeing a minimal amount of snaps but should Lindsey be out I think Freeman is another contrarian flex play you should consider.
The other two Broncos I want to mention are Rookie KJ Hamler and DaeSean Hamilton. Neither of these guys are focal points or even true 3rd or 4th options but they will be on the field and both have field stretching ability. I don’t mind taking a dart throw on either of these two in a couple lineups. Even if they only get a few looks, if any of them are valuable targets it doesn’t need to be much to pay off their cheap salary and be enough to make your lineup unique.
For me this is the Chiefs Game to lose, if you know what I mean.
Here is a Chiefs Favored Lineup I built on DK:
Lev Bell (Captain)
Patrick Mahomes (Flex)
Travis Kelce (Flex)
Cyde Edwards-Helaire (Flex)
Drew Lock (Flex)
Brandon McManus (Flex)
Remaining Salary $1,200
Here is a Broncos 2 – 4 type stack (Chiefs – Broncos)
Phillip Lindsey (Captain)
Drew Lock (Flex)
Jerry Jeudy (Flex)
Brandon McManus (Flex)
Patrick Mahomes (Flex)
Tyreek Hill (Flex)
Remaining Salary: $100
Good Luck in your Contests!!