Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
- Spread: Chiefs -8.5
- Total: 43.5
- Chiefs implied points: 26
- Raiders implied points: 17.5
Patrick Mahomes: You don’t need me to tell you to feel good about plugging in Mahomes every single week — or at least you shouldn’t.
I understand that it’s been a rough month for those holding a Mahomes bag (no better than QB12 in all three of those games with a bye week factored in), and that’s no fun to deal with.
In those three games, he’s thrown four touchdown passes and 200.7 pass yards per game. In the three games prior, he had seven touchdown passes and 337.0 pass yards per game.
But worry not, I’ve got you covered with both predictive stats and storytelling. I feel I must cover you on all fronts!
With 20+ rushing yards in five straight and nine of 10 games, I’d argue that Mahomes has access to a different type of floor/ceiling combination than we’ve seen in years past. Combine the mobility with the fact that he has thrown at least 38 passes in five of his past six games, and you being worried is like a wealthy person filling up the yacht with gas; it’s annoying, but you have a yacht, stop complaining.
When it comes to a goofy stat, you know there’s always a string I’m willing to pull. This is his first meeting with the Raiders this season, and that has been gold of late. In his first meeting with Las Vegas in 2021, Mahomes passed for 406 pass yards and five touchdowns. In his first meeting with LV in 2022, he tallied 292 pass yards and four touchdowns.
Mahomes is good at football.
Isiah Pacheco: I’ve been underwhelmed with Pacheco’s role in the passing game of late. He’s recorded -1 yard on six targets over his past three games. Still, he continues to run as hard as anyone in the league, and if he’s getting his 16-19 carries as he has in each of Kansas City’s past two games, his value as a top-12 RB isn’t going anywhere.
The Raiders own the sixth-worst red zone defense this season, giving Pacheco the potential to snap his five-game streak without a rushing score.
Josh Jacobs: After seemingly getting on track with three straight productive weeks, Jacobs let his fantasy managers down with 5.6 fantasy points in the loss to the Miami Dolphins. From a skill-set standpoint, I’m not worried that the Space Jam aliens stole Jacobs’ talent or anything like that, but I do worry about the game script.
In the Raiders’ five wins, he’s averaged 81.6 rush yards per game. In their six losses, though, he’s averaged just 42.2 rushing yards per game.
I still have Jacobs ranked as a starter, but he’s more of a middling RB2 in this spot as a big underdog against the third-best defense in terms of fewest missed tackles than he is a surefire RB1. I’m looking elsewhere in DFS. In season-long leagues, it’s unlikely that you have two RBs I prefer over the Raiders’ back.
Rashee Rice: On the bright side, Rice has scored in every other game since the beginning of October, so not scoring in the Super Bowl rematch of Week 11 puts pattern believers in a good spot this week.
I still can’t believe that this team isn’t treating Rice like a WR1, but fantasy is a game of projecting how a team will use their players – not how I would. Shame. If it was the latter, Rice would be locked into fantasy lineups as a strong WR2 by now.
As it is, we are looking at a five-to-six target expectation with limited downfield routes. In this offense with an implied total like this, flexing Rice remains viable, but there is no denying the risk that remains with him. He’s only had one game this season with over 60 receiving yards.
Are they saving him for a playoff run? I still can’t figure out the capped usage, and it’s going to bother me until it changes. Please keep him rostered. Bench him if you’d like, but I’m not moving on from him in any capacity. He is tantalizingly close to mattering in a significant way when it matters most.
Justin Watson: After having a touchdown called back in Germany, Watson earned 11 targets and scored against the Eagles Monday night. Most people will remember the play he didn’t make on fourth down with the game on the line, but the fact that he was in position to see that target is just as noteworthy.
Due to Kansas City’s lack of commitment to Rice, Watson has a path to significant targets, and that puts him on the radar when it comes to ranking my top 50 receivers for the week. Of course, the fact that he had 25 targets for the games before last week hints that his usage could drop in short order.
I’m sitting on Watson right now. If we get a second consecutive high-usage game, we can have the conversation about him cracking the top 40, but not yet – not the way this offense functions.
Davante Adams: Did I love to see him being responsible for five of rookie QB Aidan O’Connell’s first nine completions for 56 yards and a touchdown? Of course. His 46-yard touchdown catch was worth more half-PPR points than he had in five of his six games prior and served as a reminder of the elite talent that resides within the star receiver.
That said, does one good week erase all of the concerns we had entering the week? It doesn’t. Not for me, at least. We still have a situation with very questionable quarterback play, and now Adams will likely be dealing with shadow coverage from L’Jarius Sneed.
I’m still ranking Adams as a starter (WR20), but why would I rank him over someone like Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley? The former Atlanta Falcons target has had some similar struggles and impressed in Week 11, but he just has a more stable QB situation in an offense with a much higher point expectancy.
Adams is more likely to fall a handful of spots in my ranks than he is to gain as we approach kickoff due to injury situations impacting the WRs I currently have in this tier.
Jakobi Meyers: Easy come, easy go. Meyers posted back-to-back-to-back top-15 finishes at the position in Weeks 5-7, but he hasn’t been better than WR40 in three of the four weeks since that run, and it’s difficult to see that changing.
In his past four games, Meyers’ lone touchdown came on a rush, and he’s seen a total of just 13 targets. Meanwhile, Adams has seen 13 targets in consecutive weeks.
Meyers is easily outside of Flex territory for me — even in leagues that require you to start three receivers.
Travis Kelce: The GOAT managed to find the end zone against the Eagles, but his 22 targets over his past three games have netted just 116 yards. That’s a 40.8% drop in per-target yardage production. And while there’s nothing actionable to do with this, it’s worth watching as we come down the stretch.
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Kelce’s fantasy production has dipped toward the end of regular seasons in consecutive seasons. I’m not saying it’s happening again, but it is something I’m paying attention to.
Michael Mayer: For the first time this season, Mayer has seen a handful of targets in consecutive weeks, but until those looks come with any level of upside, he can remain on waiver wires.
It’s been over a month since the rookie had a 20-yard catch, and with limited touchdown equity in an offense that struggles to move the ball, there’s more risk than reward in going his direction in the TE streaming game.
Should You Start Davante Adams or Puka Nacua?
I have Adams ranked two spots higher, something that could change if Cooper Kupp were to suffer any sort of setback pregame and thus open up a greater target share for Puka Nacua.
The concerns for Adams remain, but him being the focal point of this offense over the past two weeks (26 targets) is a role I’ll gamble on, even if the quality of those looks is a concern.
Should You Start Rashee Rice or Marquise Brown?
I’m hanging in there on Rice. He hasn’t flashed much upside in the way of target count, but Marquise Brown has totaled just nine targets over Kyler Murray’s two starts. If we are assigning similar target expectancies for these two, I’m happy to bet on Mahomes’ weapon.
Rice’s role near the red zone is also a big plus for him in this specific head-to-head – the best is yet to come from this rookie, while I think Brown’s profile will continue to be up-and-down.
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