Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
Sunday night football has the Chiefs traveling to Chicago in what looks like a low scoring game (by Kansas City’s standards, at least), with a total of “just” 44.5 and the Chiefs favored by 6.0. This is kind of an ugly Showdown in that both of these teams have broad distributions of touches and targets (with Kansas City in particular ruining multiple Showdowns for me with a single catch by Mecole Hardman for a long touchdown, that jerk). While both have fairly narrow cores, in this Showdown it’s more likely than most to have a random cheap guy end up in the optimal lineup at very low ownership. Plan your MME exposures accordingly.
We’ll start with the Bears, since they’re a bit more straightforward. Kansas City is the biggest run funnel defense in the NFL, ranking 6th in DVOA against the pass and 30th against the run, but the problem is that David Montgomery has seen extremely inconsistent volume (and has also been pretty inconsistent with his performance, to boot). As long as the game stays close, it makes sense for the Bears to lean on the run here, but if the Chiefs get out in front, Montgomery is likely to disappear (he played fewer than 50% of the snaps and saw just 15 touches last week against the Packers). Tarik Cohen, by contrast, saw 10 targets last week as the Bears played from behind for most of the game. The workloads on these two are pretty predictable and tied closely to game flow, so you can plan your exposures to each of them based on the story that the rest of your roster is telling.
In the pass game, Anthony Miller finally looks healthy and has been crushing since Taylor Gabriel has been hurt. In his last five games he has target counts of 11, 9, 13, 4, and 15, good for just over 10 per game on average. The matchup isn’t great against an underrated Chiefs pass defense, but the volume and talent are there and the price is reasonable. Allen Robinson is still the WR1 in this offense, but in that five-game stretch he’s only seen one more target than Miller. Robinson is clearly the better receiver, but he’s also $1,600 more expensive and more likely to have coverage tilted his way, so to my mind they’re pretty equivalent plays. At tight end, Jesper Horsted is seeing more volume than JP Holtz, but both are pretty dart-throwy plays; I’d take them over the WR3 in the Bears’ offense, as that has been rotating between Riley Ridley, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Javon Wims. All are pretty thin plays, but Patterson at least possesses theoretical gamebreaking upside with the ball in his hands, while Wims seemed to have a lock on the role until getting hurt in Week 14 and barely playing in Week 15. It’s possible that this remains a rotation, but it’s also possible that Wims steps back into a nearly full-time role which, while not likely to result in massive volume as the WR3, would still leave him very underpriced at $400. (I told you this game was filled with a whole bunch of dart throws…)
The Chiefs’ run game has been pretty haphazard since Damien Williams went down. LeSean McCoy started last week but only saw six carries despite the Chiefs leading the entire game, while Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware both saw more snaps and more touches but not enough to really matter. Well, Damien is back now, but we don’t know if he’s going to resume his “lead” role (which was still pretty timesharey) or if this could remain a three or even four way split. As of this moment I’d guess that Damien gets the most touches with Darwin second, but that’s largely guesswork. I’d watch for any beat writer info on this, and of course it’s possible that one of these backs is inactive for Sunday night which would give us additional clarity. All in all it’s an ugly situation that’s hard to count on.
In the air, the Chiefs’ offense really begins and ends with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Kelce has a solid matchup against a Bears defense that has struggled against tight ends, while Hill is one of the most matchup-proof receivers in the NFL. Kelce has the edge on volume, while Hill doesn’t need as much volume since he can score from anywhere. Both are solid plays with massive ceilings, but I’ll give the edge to Kelce here for a more robust floor. Beyond them it gets sketchy. Sammy Watkins is the ostensible WR2, but he hasn’t scored a touchdown or put up over 13.3 DK points since Week 1. Demarcus Robinson is next in line in snaps and routes and is just $2,000, but that role has only resulted in more than three targets once since Week 8. Mecole Hardman seems to score a long touchdown almost every week but generally only gets one or two targets per game. The running backs are all used in the passing game. Beyond Kelce and Hill this is a tough group to pick apart. Personally I’ll take Watkins just because he’s on the field a ton, and if I have to bet on any of the other receivers it would be Hardman.
The way this game is most likely to play out is with the Chiefs’ offense being able to put up points, though not necessarily in the same at-will manner they do against most opponents. As long as the game stays close the Bears should be trying to focus on the ground game, but it’s unlikely that the game stays close deep into the second half.
Some other ways the game could play out:
- The Bears D shows up and puts the clamps down. I don’t think the Chiefs get wrecked here, but a strong showing from the Chicago defense could keep the Chiefs from getting out to a lead (or at least a multi-score lead), which would make Montgomery a very attractive play.
- Alternatively, we’ve seen “good Trubisky” show up lately, but this is a really tough pass game matchup. I’m pretty sure no Bears fans would be surprised to see Trubisky really struggle here.
My favorite overall captain in this one is Kelce, followed by Cohen, but man is this a tricky showdown. I don’t really go for the thin plays like Wims or Hardman as my captains, but if there was a matchup in which it made sense to take more shots on plays like that, it’s this one.
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB
- Pair captain QBs with at least 2 receivers
- At most 2 Chiefs running backs
- At most 1 of Patterson, Wims, and Ridley
- At most 1 of Horsted and Holtz
- At most 1 of Robinson and Hardman
- I’m not sure if I want a rule to have at most 1 of Montgomery and Cohen. They benefit from opposite game scripts, but Cohen still sees fairly solid volume regardless. I might do something like no Montgomery in Cohen-captained lineups.