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Today’s Thursday Night Football Article will be a quick read with picks. It isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot of intrigue about this game but on the surface this game being played in LA in a dome and not outside in Kansas City, is going to produce a high scoring thriller and I’d prefer to skip the hyperbole and get into the action. The Chiefs are fighting for the #1 Seed in the AFC while the Chargers are fighting just to get into the playoffs … so again I’d expect this game to have a lot of bells and whistles going off.
Tyreek Hill – $17,100 Captain. Hill is the second highest priced player on the slate but I expect his ownership at Captain to be slightly down compared to other weeks. The Chargers are walking into this game playing better defense overall, yes, that is true. Additionally all season long the Chargers have been labeled a run funnel defense, meaning you can run on them but not pass on them… however, largely due to his talent, Hill is actaully walking (or running) into tonight with the 4th highest rated CB/WR matchup of the weekend, per RotoGrinders. Plus, Hill has there really ever been a defense to slow Hill down? Remember it doesn’t take much – 2 big pass plays and a score or two – for Hill to be a tournament winner too. Hill has had 76 or more yards in 4 of his last 6 games and hasn’t had a touchdown since week 10. I’m willing to bet that drought ends tonight.
Justin Herbert – $16,200 Captain. I think a lot of people have faded playing Quarterback at Captain but Herbert is in too good of a position tonight to ignore. First the Chiefs have been playing better defense lately… against the Raiders (twice), Broncos most notably. However tonight Herbert gets his guy, Keenan Allen, back as well as his full compliment of weapons – Ekeler, Mike Williams, Jared Cook, Donald Parham, Jaylen Guyton… and the Chiefs are still also allowing over 250 passing yards per game … they also rank 27th against the QB Position. I think Herbert is in too strong of a spot, at home, to ignore tonight. He will be a popular play, but not nearly as popular as Mahomes or Hill.
Travis Kelce – $12,900 Captain. Of the big 3 of the Chiefs I expect Kelce to be the least owned and I think the reason why is twofold. First, Travis Kelce just plain hasn’t seemed like Travis Kelce this year. True. Second, despite the Chargers being ranked 27th against the position – when was the last time this season you heard of a Tight End having a dominant performance against the Chargers? Right, not lately… then again, few Tight Ends are so involved in the Offensive Game Plan like Kelce is and as much as I think names like Fant, Uzomah, Freiermuth, Henry, Conklin and Goedert are all solid tight ends, none boast the targets (6 or more in 12 of 13 games played) that Kelce sees. In fact, I’d prefer to look back to week 6 when Mark Andrews took 6 targets for 68 and a score as a closer comparison. 17.8 Fantasy Points. Now x that by 1.5 – 26.7. Not great, but that’s enough for me to believe Kelce could do even better.
Austin Ekeler – $15,300 Captain. Ek carries a Q tag as of right now and I think that will keep his ownership at Captain in check, but he is expected to play and if he does I would expect him to be a big piece of this offense – double digit touches between the tackles in every game except 2 this season. Additionally 5 or more targets in 10 of 13. Take that with the Cheifs giving it up to strong running games all season, with the 109 average yards being skewed only due to most teams they have played this season throwing to keep pace. I think Ekeler could be a sneaky play (if his ownership stays in check) that could be a tournament winner.
Keenan Allen – $9,400 Captain. Underpriced for the opportunity, Allen’s ownership at Captain will rival that of Mahomes or Hill. However, I think he is a tremendous value at his price tag and with his Covid restriction lifted I would hazard to guess he will see a regular workload. That workload including an average of 8.5 targets per game with a near 76.6% reception rate. Outstanding. Additionally, Allen has had 77 or more yards in 6 of his last 8 games, going over 100 twice in that span. The Chiefs come into this game allowing over 250 passing yards to opposing offenses as well. Play Keenan Allen.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – $10,500 Captain. More of a FanDuel MVP play here largely due to what I would expect to be a healthy amount of rush attempts and success that CEH will find, I wanted to mention that since his return in Week 11, CEH has scored double digit fantasy points in each of the last 3 games. This includes last week’s 19.2 fantasy points going 10 for 37 and 2 on the ground and 3 catches for 5 yards. I would liken CEH to James Connor in the sense that if the Chiefs get on the goal line he has every bit the chance to score as anyone else. Compared to the above list, CEH’s ownership also makes him appealing hovering around 7% at Captain… I’d take a shot here.
Dart Throw Captains
FLEX STRATEGY & DART THROWS
You are now saying – how in the hell did he not list Patrick Mahomes as a Captains pick above. Well let me share some numbers with you: 13.6, 9.5, 10.4, 15, 9.7. Those are Patrick Mahome’s fanatsy points in 5 of his last 7 games. In that span the Chiefs have won 6 of 7. So why did I not mention Mahomes above? First, he is the highest priced player on the slate by a mile and when I see that coupled with high ownership all I can think of is how many similiar lineups will be in tournaments tonight. Second, clearly – the Chiefs can win and cover even if Mahomes doesn’t Mahomes that game … evidence above in this paragraph. So yeah, I am fading Mahomes at Captain tonight. If it beats me, it beats me.
But if I am using Hill or Kelce at Captain – for sure, stack with Mahomes. Don’t be silly. If either goes off you will want to double up those fantasy points as much as possible. I will be honest too, if I am using Hill or Kelce at Captain, I am not looking to stack with any other Chiefs pass catchers. Instead I like the running backs CEH or Darrel Williams (had a TD reception last week) as a contrarian double stack approach. I’d also throw the kicker Harrison Butker on a squad like this and make a Chiefs 4 man. Butker has had 2 or more Field Goal attempts in all but 1 game this season and consistently has scored 8 or more fantasy points in every game of the 7 I mentioned above including 3 times that span with double digit fantasy points.
If I am using MeCole Hardman at Captain or going nuts with a Byron Pringle or Demarcus Robinson Captain, I am stacking with Mahomes and either Hill or Kelce. You are playing these guys to stack studs in your flex – so do it.
If I am using CEH or Darrel Williams at Captain, I like the stack with Mahomes since both backs are involved in the passing game and I also really like including the Cheifs Defense and Butker in those stacks. I don’t mind sticking a dart throw like Hardman, Pringle or Robinson in – my favorites being Hardman and Pringle – which tells the story that Hill and Kelce are double covered and Mahomes is forced to look elsewhere. But if you stick with CEH, Mahomes, Chiefs, Butker it is also a leverage play on evveryone building a lineup thinking this game will have off the charts scoring. That kind of stack means these defenses are doing their job and the offenses are being kept in check.
If I am using Herbert at Captain, I think Ekeler and Allen are must plays in a stack. And in fact I would use this 3 man with Allen at Captain too. This grouping is the most likely targets, fantasy scorers on the Chargers squad and capturing all of their Fantasy Points may be paramount.
I don’t mind taking a shot on Mike Williams at Captain or in the Flex but, I can’t say I’ll do either more than 1 time each if I am multi-entering. Sure if Williams goes off he can break the slate, but I just can’t trust it enough to think it is going to happen based off the last 10 weeks of football we have seen.
I think Jaylen Guyton will go way under the radar here as will Jared Cook and to a lesser extent, Donald Parham (who is more touchdown or bust) – but even with Allen, Ekeler and Williams on the field, all 3 of these guys are running routes and seeing targets, so my advice is to sprinkle these guys in with your Herbert or Allen led Chargers stacks.
If I am playing Ekeler at Captain I am taking a similiar approach as with CEH. Include Herbert in the stack since Ek is so involved in the passing game and then take a shot at the Chargers D and the kicker Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins has seen 2 or more Field Goal attempts in all but 2 games this season and in 5 games he has seen 3 or more attempts. I think Hopkins is a safer bet for production than Mike Williams from an overall standpoint – but again it doesn’t take Williams much to break the slate either.
My favorite Chiefs to run back a Chargers Stack are Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, CEH, Mahomes, Hardman and Butker. My favorite Chargers to run back a Cheifs stack are Herbert, Ekeler, Allen, Cook, and Hopkins.
And of course it is 2021 … anything can happen … and as I alluded to above, both defenses are “playing better”. Go ahead and fire up a team with a defense at Captain tonight, or a team for each Defense. What I’d suggest in doing so though is use the savings and stack up the studs on the matching team. One of these teams will win and you want to have a hedge stack for everything to make sure you are capturing the points you can.
Good Luck in your Contests!