Elijah Mitchell’s status looms large here. If he plays and gets his normal role, that dings CMC somewhat (though CMC is still a great play!), and Mitchell is a viable value option. If Mitchell sits (or plays but is limited and doesn’t see his normal role), CMC’s role would be enormous, and we would be left guessing between Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price as the backup (I think Mason is the more likely option). Mason and/or TDP would be viable tourney punt plays.
I wouldn’t be fooled by Boston Scott’s touchdown last week. His role is minuscule except in blowouts (and, apparently, whenever the Eagles play the Giants).
We have four high-end pass catchers priced pretty closely together in AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle. Kittle’s role as a pass catcher when the 49ers are fully healthy has been pretty modest this year, so while he’s in play, he’s my least favorite of these options. AJB is my clear favorite as he matches up well against the weakest part of the 49ers defense, with Deebo second, then Smith.
Brandon Aiyuk all the way down at $5,800 sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s clearly mispriced and is a fantastic value option. He’s also likely to be very, very highly owned as a result, so consider how you build rosters around him, or, consider if you’re willing to avoid him and take the risk that he flops and drags down a large percentage of the field with him.
As is common in the playoffs, we don’t have great sub-kicker value options (which is part of what will drive ownership to Aiyuk). We get guys like Jauan Jennings (2 targets last week, one game of double-digit DK points all year), Quez Watkins (0 targets last week, but 4 games of double-digit DK points on the year), and then super thin options like Zach Pascal, Kyle Juszczyk, and Ray-Ray McCloud. Watkins is my favorite, then Yuus, then Jennings, but these guys are all super thin.
Some group options (outside the normal stuff):
I would actually NOT group out 2 kickers because of the lack of value on this one. I would do max 2 of all kickers/DSTs.
Max 1 of Watkins and Pascal (they compete for WR3 snaps)
Max 1 of McCloud and Jennings (same)
Max 1 of Davis-Price and Mason (if Mitchell misses)
Max 2 of Aiyuk, Kittle, and Deebo
CIN @ KC
McKinnon is in a lead back role (65% of the snaps last week, should see something similar this week) but is just $6,600.
It’s tough to pick between two absolute studs but I have a slight lean toward Ja’Marr Chase over Travis Kelce here.
JuJu Smith-Schuster at $5,400 is a nice value option, and similarly to Aiyuk in the other game, he sticks out a bit in the pricing. But unlike Aiyuk, he has other good options priced around him, so his ownership isn’t as likely to get out of control.
Kadarius Toney isn’t playing a lot of snaps, but as we talked about last week, the Chiefs are aggressively scheming him the ball when he’s on the field.
I am personally not chasing Samaje Perine’s big game from last week. Perine only has 1 other game of double-digit DK points all year in games in which Joe Mixon also played. He’s fine – RB2s in Showdown are always fine – but if main slate ownership projections are any indication, he’s likely to be quite popular here and I will aim to come in under the field (generally speaking, I want about 10% to 20% or so of any RB2 in Showdown, depending on the offense’s splits of workload between their RB1 and RB2).
We actually get some value options in this one! Marquez Valdes-Scantling is $3,600, Mecole Hardman (if he plays) is $3,200, Justin Watson is $2,200, Noah Gray is $1,400. There are also thinner options available in Trenton Irwin, Skyy Moore, and Mitchell Wilcox. MVS and Watson should be on the field a ton, though their roles could clearly be impacted if Hardman returns. Hardman would be a solid option if active, Gray is a reasonable punt with a questionable ceiling.
Hardman is worth some discussion because his return could impact a wide range of things. Early in the season, the Chiefs were using Hardman a lot close to the red zone, which resulted in 4 receiving touchdowns on just 34 targets and an additional 2 touchdowns on 4 carries (lol). Jerick McKinnon’s role while Hardman was active was also very small. McKinnon took over that “schemed red zone touches” role when Hardman got hurt, and then to a lesser extent, Kadarius Toney has also seen similar schemed usage. So, if Hardman returns, that throws some question marks on not just MVS and Watson, but on McKinnon and Toney as well. Given that it’s his first game back, my instinct is that McKinnon and Toney are largely safe but just don’t be surprised if things play out a different way.
Some group options (outside of the normal stuff):
Max 2 of Hardman, Toney, McKinnon, MVS, Watson, and Gray
Max 1 of Irwin and Wilcox
Given their prices, I am seriously considering a max 1 rule of Mixon and Perine – but be aware this is a risk of grouping yourself out of the nuts (it would have been last week)