The Matchup ::
:: Powered by Lex Miraglia
- Andy Reid’s Chiefs vs O’Brien & Crennel’s Texans have gone 3-2, scoring 27, 30, 12, 42, and 24 points in the five games (4 with Smith, 1 with Mahomes)
- In the 2 losses, KC turned the ball over a combined 5 times, including a Mahomes INT while up 17-9 that was hotly debated due to a picked-up penalty flag
- In those five games, Smith & Mahomes combined for three games of 3 TDs, and KC RBs scored 4 times through the air
- In 2019, HOU has allowed seven QBs to throw for 3+ TDs and is tied for the most receiving touchdowns allowed to RBs with 8
- Damien Williams has the most rushing and receiving production of all KC RBs this year, and in his last four full games he has touch totals of 14 // 26 // 19 // 19
- HOU ranks 26th in pass efficiency defense
- In 6 games vs bottom-12 pass efficiency defenses, KC’s offense has scored 40, 28, 27, 24, 32, and 33 points
- Travis Kelce has received under 8 targets in just three games all year
- Texans starting safety Tashaun Gipson has been placed on IR
- WRs to clear 100yds vs HOU: Thomas, Ginn, Allen, Pascal, Edelman, Perriman, AJ Brown (x2)
- Tyreek Hill has only topped 13 DK points once in his last six games, but he did score 25 DK points vs HOU in a game he only played half the snaps
- KC is ranked 6th in pass efficiency defense
- Watson’s DK point totals vs 2019 top-12 pass efficiency defenses: 12.6 // 31.4 // 6.0 // 28.9 // 10.1 // 29.4
- In those 6 games, Watson has a 5:5 TD:INT ratio, and has thrown for under 200 yards in half of them, been sacked 27 times, rushed 41 times for 157 yards & 4 TDs, and caught a TD
- Watson has been at 6+ rush attempts in his last 4 games with at least 30 yards in all 4
- KC is one of only 2 teams all year to not sack Deshaun Watson
- After having just 1 sack and 3 QB hits in the first 6 games, Frank Clark has 7 sacks and 11 QB hits in his last 8 games
- Only the Patriots allowed fewer DK points to WRs in 2019 than the Chiefs, and both ranked ahead of the next lowest team by over 43 DK points
- In the last month, KC allowed notable slot-usage WRs Edelman & Allen to both top 8 receptions, 80 yards, and a TD
- Hopkins spent more time in the slot vs BUF last week than he had all season (although, all of his production in the game did come when lined up on the outside)
- DeAndre Hopkins has between 8 and 13 targets in every game but one, in which he still had 7 targets
- KC allowed the 3rd most RB receptions and 87 more receiving yards to RBs than any other team
- Duke Johnson has topped 30 yards receiving in 7 games this year
- Hyde and Johnson have topped just 18 DK points a combined 5 times this year
The Game ::
Texans at Chiefs could end up as anything from a Chiefs blowout win to a close, back-and-forth affair (with only “a Texans blowout win” far outside the range of likely outcomes), as the Chiefs should have no trouble moving up and down the field against the Texans defense, while the Texans will look to attack the soft run defense of the Chiefs for as long as they can before (likely) eventually handing the ball to Deshaun Watson and asking him to create more magic against this stout Kansas City secondary. In spite of the Chiefs leaning pass-heavy on offense (with a number two DVOA ranking in passing offense compared to number 14 on the ground), they were still able to control games this year — allowing the sixth fewest opponent drives per game. Houston ranked 30th in opponent drive success rate, while the Chiefs ranked second in drive success rate on offense. Kansas City ranked sixth in plays per drive, while the Texans allowed the fifth most opponent plays per drive. “Big plays” is a better bet to make on the Houston offense than “volume.”
Similar to Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes has been able to produce elite DFS scores without necessarily carrying individual pass catchers up with him, as this offense will focus on Travis Kelce (recent target counts of 8 // 9 // 7 // 10 // 9 // 9 // 13 // 9 // 5), Tyreek Hill (2 // 8 // 8 // 7 // 5 // 5), and Damien Williams (recent healthy touch counts of 14 // 24 // 19 // 16), though they will also bleed out valuable touches to Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, LeSean McCoy, and Darwin Thompson. The Chiefs’ offense is built around speed and spacing — with these speed/spacing pieces occasionally schemed looks to keep the defense focused on all areas of the field, and with further opportunities given to these background players when plays break down and Mahomes is forced to freelance outside the pocket. Kelce has a solid matchup against a Houston defense missing stalwart Tashaun Gipson, while Hill has both “slate-breaking upside” and “a low price-considered floor” to his name (there is nothing in the matchup that should scare us off Hill, so the only real question is “does he break off a couple big plays, or doesn’t he?”). Williams is also a standout option with the Texans struggling to handle pass-catching backs all season (McCoy should be active, and should finally see some more work, but Williams has performed well enough lately that he should remain a featured piece, with a chunk of his value coming through the air) — leaving us with three players who are “likeliest” to take advantage in this spot (Williams, Kelce, and Hill — in that order, though with Williams/Kelce close), and with a number of other pieces on the Chiefs that could either A) do enough to limit the ceiling on the core pieces for this team, without quite doing enough to matter themselves, or B) less likely, but still possible: do enough to matter themselves.
When these teams last met, Carlos Hyde carried the ball 26 times and rushed for 116 yards — one of only three games this year with 100+ yards on the ground for Hyde (and one of only six games with more than 73 yards on the ground). Across his last 13 games combined, Hyde has six receptions for 39 yards, making him the absolute definition of a yardage-and-touchdown back, so the big question here — in a game that sets up well for production on the ground — is how game flow will ultimately set up for the Texans’ run game. If the Chiefs jump out to a lead, it will be difficult for Hyde to produce, but Hyde has a shot at turning into a useful piece on this slate if the Texans are able to control this contest.
Through the air — as we know — the Texans will take on a Chiefs defense that ranked sixth in DVOA and allowed the eighth fewest pass plays of 20+ yards, while allowing the fifth fewest yards per pass attempt, the fewest wide receiver catches, and the fewest wide receiver yards. DeAndre Hopkins — as explored throughout the last half of the season — has been operating as a target hog (with more of a downfield role) when Will Fuller misses, while operating as more of a “1A” than a true alpha when Fuller plays (with his aDOT shortened up as well). Hopkins will be a bet-on-talent-and-volume piece if Fuller misses, while he will be a bet-on-talent piece if Fuller plays. If we played out this slate a hundred times, Hopkins would disappoint at his price tag far more often than not, but he would still sneak a few big games in there as things break down and the Texans send prayers his way in the hopes he can make something happen.
Fuller, of course, dropped multiple long touchdowns against the Chiefs when these teams last met, which speaks to his upside if he plays. He’s also a fairly one-dimensional player with a low floor when he misses, and the Chiefs are excellent at defending what Fuller does well, making him a classic boom/bust piece if he is out there. (If you want to take a shot on Fuller: potentially working in his favor is the Chiefs’ loss of stud rookie free safety Juan Thornhill, who has been one of the key pieces in the turnaround for this defense on the back end. It only takes one mistake for Fuller to post a big game.) Behind Fuller and Hopkins, it will be Kenny Stills as a “close your eyes and hope a downfield shot turns into a touchdown” option, alongside Darren Fells and Jordan Akins as short-area, “hope for a touchdown” options against a Chiefs defense that has struggled against tight ends on the year.
Xandamere’s Showdown Notes ::
- This is the game with the highest total on the week, though that’s largely because of the Chiefs, as the Texans are only projected for around 20 points (remember, as always, that the Chiefs pass defense is quietly elite).
- The Texans will want to run the ball here. Have fun playing Carlos Hyde (but seriously, while I wouldn’t want to go all in here, I’ll remember that running backs with goal-line roles always carry value in showdown as it just takes one PI call in the end zone to get them a score and make them relevant).
- Duke Johnson’s role has, maddeningly, not really expanded when the Texans are behind (or at least not much; he generally gets his 3-6 targets per game no matter what). Maybe that changes in the playoffs with the season on the line, which is much more likely if Fuller misses, but it’s a risky play.
- Speaking of risky plays: every receiver on the Texans except Hopkins is at risk of a truly disappointing score, while even Hopkins is likely to bust more often than not in this matchup. If Fuller plays, Hopkins sees less volume but more attractive targets, as Fuller stretches the field, while if Fuller misses, Hopkins sees more volume but more defensive attention. Fuller, of course, has massive ceiling at a very reasonable price, but also a barren floor and a very real in-game reinjury risk.
- Travis Kelce is my favorite Chiefs receiver in this game. Tyreek Hill is, of course, also great, but with a more volatile range of outcomes. Sammy Watkins is “averaging” 10.2 DK points per game but has only exceeded 13.3 points once in the entire season, all the way back in Week 1. The rest of the Chiefs’ rotational receivers are pure dart throws (I hate Mecole Hardman with the fire of a thousand suns).
- Damien Williams is, hands down, my favorite skill position player in this game. He’ll come with massive ownership as an $8k home favorite running back with pass game work in a positive matchup, so you can always lean on touchdowns going the other way; Damien could be as high as 70% owned in the showdown tourney for this one, which creates an awful lot of leverage on the field should he stumble into a poor game.
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB (you could consider breaking this rule for Hopkins, especially if Fuller is out, and bet that he gets there via volume while the Chiefs smash but in a more spread out fashion)
- Pair captain Watson with at least 1 receiver and captain Mahomes with at least 2 receivers
- At most 2 Chiefs running backs
- At most 1 of the Chiefs rotational receivers
- At least 1 of Tyreek, Kelce, and Damien Williams