XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
We have our first game of the year in Germany and the second in NFL history! Sadly for the main slate, it involves two of the NFL’s best offenses, but that means this should be a fun Showdown if you’re up early enough for it. This game boasts a strong 50.5 total with the Chiefs favored by 2.5. High total, close spread . . . sounds like a shootout! We don’t have a single meaningful questionable tag on the offenses outside of Hilow’s boy Durham Smythe, so we can feel well-prepared for this one ahead of Sunday.
On the Chiefs side of things, Isiah Pacheco keeps being chalk on main slates but has only delivered a GPP-worthy score once this season because the Chiefs just don’t pound the ball on the ground all that aggressively and they pass a ton when they get in close to the end zone (total of 12 running back rush attempts inside the 10 yard line against 24 pass attempts). But, Showdown is a different beast, where it’s at least possible that a mid-teens score (which Pacheco has reached in five of eight games) at least has a chance of being optimal. My general perception of the Chiefs is that people don’t know who to play outside of Mahomes and Kelce, and so they just plop in Pacheco because he’s on an elite offense and the rest of the pass catchers aren’t really clear. In Showdown, that approach works better than on main slates. Pacheco’s a fine play whose risk is baked into his $8,600 price, lower than we normally see for an RB1 in Showdown. He’s not someone I’m particularly excited to play so he isn’t a core “lock it in” option for me but he’s not an avoid, either. I’ll probably end up a bit underweight of what I expect to be around 35-40% ownership. Behind him is Jerick McKinnon, whose role has collapsed this year. McKinnon is on the field a fair bit but is averaging roughly 2.5 carries and 2.5 targets per game. His designed red zone role from late last season has also vanished with just two targets inside the 10. He’s a hard sell unless you think he lucks into a touchdown (but note that with Mecole Hardman back on the Chiefs, McKinnon’s designed red zone role is unlikely to re-emerge – Hardman had it last year until he got hurt, and now Kadarius Toney also gets some of that kind of usage). RB3 Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a thin MME punt option who could see some extra work if the Chiefs win in a blowout (he had 16 opportunities in Week 3 against the Bears in a 41-10 victory, but otherwise has had just 17 carries in six targets in the Chiefs other seven games).
Ownership updates automatically
In the passing game, we’ll start with tight end because that’s where the Chiefs offense starts. Travis Kelce is a monster. Even at 34 years old he just isn’t slowing down, averaging 10 targets per game with no fewer than eight in any contest. Kelce is averaging 83 receiving yards per game and has four touchdowns in seven games. The dude’s awesome. The trick is that there are a lot of studs on this slate, and they’re all awesome in a vacuum but we can’t play all of them (we’ll get to how to think about them as a group a little later). Week 8 marks an interesting occasion for the Chiefs as it’s the first week that talented rookie Rashee Rice led the wide receivers in snaps played and he’s already leading them in targets. In fact, let’s take a quick moment to break out all of the Chiefs wide receiver targets on the year:
- Rashee Rice: 39 for a 30/361/3 line
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 21 for a 12/227/1 line
- Skyy Moore: 27 for a 14/168/1 line
- Justin Watson: 20 for a 12/261/0 line
- Kadarius Toney: 27 for a 19/109/1 line
- Mecole Hardman: 5 for a 4/19/0 line (in two games with the Chiefs)
- Justyn Ross: on the exempt list after being arrested
The Chiefs have been tough the last couple of years because they haven’t really had a WR1 since Tyreek Hill left town, and while Rice’s usage is still clearly below what we really want to see from a WR1, he clearly looks like an ascending player. On the one hand, $6,800 is a lot to pay for a guy averaging about five targets per game. On the other hand, they’re high quality targets from one of the league’s best quarterbacks, and I’d expect that by the end of the season, he’s averaging more like 6-8 targets per game. It’s possible the field views him as overpriced, and also that the mid-range of salary gets overlooked a bit because people want to jam in guys like Kelce, Hill, Mahomes, and Tua, and then use value plays to make it fit, which means we could see Rice come in underowned (I’d say anything under 30% is a nice ownership discount). The rest of this group is a mishmash – it’s hard to ever X out a receiver on the Chiefs, but I think we can smartly rank how to distribute exposure amongst them. MVS at $4,800 is the easiest avoid to me as he’s averaging under three targets per game and yet is the second most expensive WR on the team. He’s highly reliant on catching a touchdown bomb to hit, and while that’s possible, he doesn’t get a lot of targets and he also isn’t very good, which means pretty long odds. Toney’s price is being propped up by his brand name but with about three targets per game for a minuscule 5.7 yards per catch, yikes; he’s also one of the weaker options. Moore and Watson are stronger plays as they have similar volume and output to MVS and Toney, but come at much cheaper prices (Moore has the same targets but about 60 more receiving yards than Toney and is just $1,800, while Watson has more receiving yards than MVS on one fewer target but is just $1,400 because he hasn’t caught a touchdown). Hardman is a wild card – he hasn’t been used much yet, but I expect him to grow towards the role he had on the Chiefs last year, where he played roughly half the offensive snaps and had heavy red zone involvement which led to six touchdowns scored in his eight games played. Will he get to that point this week? I don’t know, but that’s where I think he’s going to end up, making him a viable tournament play. There’s also another tight end on the roster named Noah Gray who also has 21 targets on the year for a 15/180/1 line. At $600, he’s very viable as well. Good lord, I hate the Chiefs in Showdown.