XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 5 wraps up with the Raiders visiting the Chiefs in Week 5’s highest total game at 51.5, with Kansas City favored by a touchdown. This should be an exciting one. When these teams played last year the Chiefs put up 41 and 48 points (the Raiders just 14 and 9, eek) though in the 2020 season we had a 40-32 Raiders win and a 35-31 Chiefs win. So, yeah, that means the Chiefs haven’t scored under 32 points against the Raiders since September 15th, 2019, which clearly tells us it will be happening this week, because football!
Let’s look at the Raiders and Josh Jacobs. We’re now four weeks into the season so we should be starting to look for trends – what’s actually different from last season vs. just a small sample size variance. For Jacobs, things . . . might be different. He’s played at least 60% of the snaps in every game, peaking at 89% last week (last year he was generally in the 60% range and only got over 80% once all season). He’s seen 20 running back opportunities twice already this year after doing so just three times all last year. He’s seeing something like 90% of the total rushing work for Las Vegas, and importantly (especially on DK), after seeing two targets in the first two weeks, he has 11 targets in the last two games. Now, the targets might be due to Hunter Renfrow being out, and Renfrow is returning, so I’m going to withhold judgment for another week before anointing Jacobs as a bell-cow back but he’s certainly trending in that direction. He’s also more expensive than we normally see him after a huge performance last week, but I think what’s clear is that he has more upside than he has generally been given credit for. Of course, the Raiders need to keep the game close for him to be likely to reach that upside, so I’d only really want to use him on builds that are based around the Raiders keeping up, but the ceiling looks real. Behind Jacobs has been Brandon Bolden, who can be included in MME player pools but whose role has not looked especially robust.
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In the passing game, we should expect to see the Raiders go back to using Davante Adams, Mack Hollins, and Hunter Renfrow for just about every wide receiver snap. In Weeks 1 and 2, the only other wide receiver to see the field was Tyron Johnson (for 3 snaps), and when Renfrow was out, Keelan Cole filled in for him with Mr. Johnson seeing a whopping one additional snap in those two games. This is a narrow group. We know Davante is a massive target hog and an elite play – you don’t need me to tell you that – but just keep in mind that Hollins and Renfrow have upside on their own if the Chiefs manage to shut Davante down (as the Cardinals did in Week 2). I love Adams (though I love Kelce slightly more in this one) but Hollins and Renfrow stand out for their prices. I’d favor Renfrow for his longer history with the team, but Hollins showed in Week 3 that he does have some upside if left in single-man coverage and is more than just a punt option. At tight end, Darren Waller is off to a bit of a slow start to the season, which was foreseeable with the Raiders adding Adams and creating a whirling vortex of target-sucking in their offense. Waller at $7,200 is a bit of a tough sell for me since he’s maxed out at eight targets in a game and averaged just six (even with Renfrow missing two games). He’s fine as a tournament option – we know his ceiling is elite – but I’m likely to end up with fairly modest exposure to him. Foster Moreau is questionable but can be included in tournament player pools if he suits up. If Moreau misses, that’s a bump to Waller (who played 80% of the snaps last week with no Moreau), and Jesper Horsted can be included as a very thin MME punt option if you wish (Horsted only played three snaps last week sans Moreau).