Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
We get the highest total game of the week on Sunday night, but it’s still not projected to be a shootout, with the Chiefs installed as massive 11 point favorites at home. The Chiefs have shown little inclination to slow things down when they’re up big, though, and they don’t exactly have a grinding bellcow running back to soak away the clock, so I don’t see game script being a concern unless the Colts just completely fall flat.
Let’s start with the Chiefs and the run game, since that’s one of the easier pieces to pick apart. Damien Williams practiced in full this week and is expected back, which means he and LeSean McCoy should split work, with Darrel Williams going back to the bench. Neither is priced as a bellcow, but neither is likely to flirt with 20 touches, either, so you’re basically paying for touchdown upside here. Williams is, by far, the better passing down back, so I’ll lean his way as the Colts are always vulnerable to RBs in the passing game.
Kansas City’s pass game is dominated by Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce, with Tyreek Hill missing another game. Kelce has the (much) better matchup against a Colts D that filters targets to the tight end but is priced up for it; of all the receivers in this game, however, he has the strongest combination of ceiling and floor. Watkins, after practicing in full on Wednesday and Thursday, was downgraded to a limited practice on Friday with a hamstring injury. Mid-week downgrades are always worrisome and it seems like there’s a possibility he could miss this game (note: Adam Schefter has since reported that the Chiefs expect Watkins to play). If he plays, he’s been discounted due to a couple of slow games despite playing almost every snap and seeing great market share of targets. Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman round out the KC passing attack, with Robinson playing significantly more snaps and averaging a few more targets while Hardman has the higher aDOT. They’re both in play (and obviously are even more so if Watkins misses), with Robinson the better floor play though you’re paying $1,000 more for the safety.
The Colts will, as always, try to lean on the run game, with Marlon Mack expected to play through his questionable tag. As long as the game stays reasonably close, Mack should get touches against a vulnerable Kansas City run defense. Mack also keeps running a decent number of pass routes but that hasn’t materialized into targets, so consider him a massive game script risk with the Colts huge road underdogs. Nyheim Hines would step in for passing work, but he’s priced up to $6,600 since Mack was thought to be likely to miss the game; if Mack plays, Hines is overpriced even if you believe he sees solid target volume with the Colts chasing, but if Mack unexpectedly misses then Hines (and Jordan Wilkins) become more appealing value plays.
The Colts’ pass game is bolstered by the expected return of T.Y. Hilton, who steps into what should be a high-volume spot in a solid matchup. Hilton is, by far, the Colts’ best weapon in this matchup and should get all the volume he can handle assuming his leg holds up. If active he’s a core play. If Hilton misses, Zach Pascal becomes a superb value play as Pascal stepped into Hilton’s role last week, catching four of seven targets for 72 yards. Chester Rogers is a high floor, medium ceiling value play with or without Hilton as he’ll keep his slot role either way. It’s worth noting here that both Rogers and Pascal are priced right around the kickers but have a solid chance at outscoring them (especially if Hilton is out), which diminishes the value of the kickers in this Showdown. Dion Cain is a Hail Mary play if Hilton misses — he’ll see a few targets, but whether or not he can catch them is anyone’s guess. Finally, Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron are splitting time at tight end, with Doyle dominating snaps and routes but targets almost equal between them and Ebron still commanding a strong red zone role. Both will need a touchdown to really smash.
The way this game is most likely to play out is the Colts try to keep the ball on the ground for as long as they can (they don’t want to put the game in the hands of Jacoby Brissett). The Chiefs are almost certain to force them away from this strategy at some point, however (likely by the end of the first half). At that point it’s just a matter of if the Colts can keep up enough to keep the Chiefs fully aggressive — though as I noted above, the Chiefs rarely fully take their foot off the gas; they just occasionally lighten up a little bit.
Some other ways the game could play out:
- The Colts actually manage to keep pace, at least for longer than expected. Running backs with locked-in goal line work are always valuable in Showdown because they can stumble their way to multi-score games. If the Colts can keep it close, Mack could hit 20 or more carries against a vulnerable run D.
- The Chiefs defense has a reputation for being awful, but at least last year, they played superbly at home, allowing over eight fewer points per game versus on the road. They’re also an aggressive defense and even if they give up points they can pressure the QB and generate turnovers. It would not surprise me at all to see the Colts completely fall flat in Arrowhead.
The premium captain choice in this game, to me, is Kelce, with Mahomes a bit behind him. I’ll also take some shots on Hilton and the Chiefs other skill players as in this high-octane offense it wouldn’t surprise me if any one of them had a big day.
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 defense
- At most 1 kicker
- Pair captain receivers with their QB
- Pair captain QBs with at least 2 receivers
- At most 1 of Rogers, Pascal, and Cain (if Hilton is active)
- At most 1 of Mack and Hines
- At least 1 of Kelce, Watkins, Robinson, and Damien Williams
Cash game thoughts: it’s hard for me to get away from using Mahomes in the captain spot as he is, by miles, the likely high scorer in the game. Brissett is awfully cheap given the expected pass volume that the Colts will need here, while the cheap running backs mean that you can use the preferred cash game formula as long as you’re willing to stomach a bit of split backfield risk. If you want to stay away from the split backfields, Kelce is the premium skill position player, followed by T.Y. Hilton. Alternately, if Hilton is out, Pascal and Rogers become core value plays.
— Xandamere’s Advanced Showdown Course is now available through OWS :: Marketplace! This is his tournament course for Showdowns; and given the tangible edge in this contest type, it should pay itself off pretty quickly(!).
(Note from JM :: Xandamere is currently in second place through THREE slates in the King of the Showdown tournament, so shoutout to him there! I also had my first big tournament night in my third ever Showdown slate on MNF using Xandamere’s approach. Let’s get it!!!!)
JM’s Original Notes for those playing Thursday-to-Monday Slates ::
- No need to overcomplicate things. The Colts have had a tough start to the season on defense, but you could even forget about that and just talk about the fact that this is a fairly vanilla zone defense that is good enough from a communication and technique standpoint to throw a wrench into average attacks, but that has no real chance to hang with an offense like the Chiefs as long as this team shows up to play.
- This matchup sets up best for Travis Kelce (well…and for the running backs; but with a split backfield, it’s tough to get excited on a 15-game slate beyond just “hoping to guess right”), and he joins a strong group of strong high-dollar options on the full slate this week.
- Sammy Watkins is the wide receiver likeliest to pick up production in this spot, and he’s in the Tier 3 conversation; though given that this is the Chiefs, the deep threats (whether that’s Hardman/Robinson or a potentially-set-to-return Tyreek Hill) are all very much in play as well. The matchup doesn’t tilt toward Hill, but who could blame you for taking a shot in tourneys.
- The Colts will try to lean on the ground game, though given game flow expectations and the way the Colts split roles, it’s tough to get excited on the full slate (especially with so much to like elsewhere).
- Zach Pascal took over as the featured weapon with Hilton out and would make for a fine salary saver if Hilton misses again.
- If Hilton plays, he’s in the tourney conversation in a game in which Indy should be chasing points.