Sunday Crunch is an Inner Circle feature that can be found late on Saturday nights and non-IC members can receive a chunk of the content each week. Mike also posts updated thoughts to Discord on Sunday mornings for Inner Circle members.
Reading Larejo’s Willing To Lose article in The Scroll really got me thinking more about this Chiefs // 49ers afternoon game. What this spot reminds me of is last year’s Week 14 Bills // Bucs game when the already pass-happy Bills faced one of the top run defenses in the league. The Bills already weren’t fans of running the ball so they said “forget it” altogether, handing the ball off to running backs on only 7 of 76 offensive plays, meaning they called a pass or run with their QB on 91% of their plays. Wild. While I don’t think the Chiefs necessarily get to that level, I do think we could see a similar “why run our weakness at their strength” approach in this spot, and if you can get around 50 pass attempts from Patrick Mahomes at the sub-5% ownership he is projected for on Draftkings, you probably should, especially on a slate that is missing Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen. In Mahomes lineups, I would use two of Travis Kelce (duh), JuJu Smith-Schuster (maybe he just had a rough start and will now become the alpha WR people thought he would be?), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (it’s coming, it has to be).
Remember when Travis Etienne was being drafted in the 3rd round of Best Ball drafts just six weeks ago? He is now the RB27 in Draftkings pricing, facing the Giants 30th ranked defense in Football Outsiders DVOA, which also ranks dead last in yards per carry allowed, and Etienne has averaged 111 yards from scrimmage over the previous two weeks. Etienne has yet to score a touchdown on 67 touches this season, something that is going to change sooner rather than later as he gets acclimated to the NFL in what amounts to his rookie season after missing all of 2021 with a foot injury. James Robinson dominated the backfield to start the season, but the two backs have split carries evenly over the last four weeks and Etienne is the primary pass catching RB. It takes a bit of a leap of faith, but players like this are ones you want to be ahead of, not behind.