Thursday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Chargers vs. Chiefs

Thursday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Chargers vs. Chiefs

This article is part of our Showdown/Single Game DFS Breakdown series.

Marquee matchups on Thursday nights have been few and far between but that's exactly what we have with Los Angeles playing host to Kansas City. The 9-4 Chiefs are winners of six straight while the 8-5 Chargers have won back-to-back games. Both teams have put up 40-plus points in two of their last four. The Chargers won 30-24 in the corresponding matchup in Kansas City in Week 3. Betting markets have the Chiefs as three-point road favorites in a game that features a 52-point total.

 From a DFS perspective, this game is filled with appealing players on both sides. Each team also has one or two cheap options worth targeting for tournaments. You can credibly script it in any direction you want. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to build lineups that have some correlation and fit specific outcomes. Avoid entering cash-game lineups in GPPs. Look for ways to differentiate from the field, whether it's leaving extra salary, rostering a less popular captain or using less obvious correlation and lineup construction. When you win one of these large-field tournaments, you don't want to split first place money with hundreds of people. Good Luck.

QUARTERBACKS

Patrick Mahomes ($12,000 DK, $17,000 FD) is the most expensive player on both sites. After putting up at least 21 fantasy points in the first six weeks of the season, he's done that only once in the last seven. From a fantasy perspective, it's concerning that he's topped 15 fantasy points just twice in his

Marquee matchups on Thursday nights have been few and far between but that's exactly what we have with Los Angeles playing host to Kansas City. The 9-4 Chiefs are winners of six straight while the 8-5 Chargers have won back-to-back games. Both teams have put up 40-plus points in two of their last four. The Chargers won 30-24 in the corresponding matchup in Kansas City in Week 3. Betting markets have the Chiefs as three-point road favorites in a game that features a 52-point total.

 From a DFS perspective, this game is filled with appealing players on both sides. Each team also has one or two cheap options worth targeting for tournaments. You can credibly script it in any direction you want. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to build lineups that have some correlation and fit specific outcomes. Avoid entering cash-game lineups in GPPs. Look for ways to differentiate from the field, whether it's leaving extra salary, rostering a less popular captain or using less obvious correlation and lineup construction. When you win one of these large-field tournaments, you don't want to split first place money with hundreds of people. Good Luck.

QUARTERBACKS

Patrick Mahomes ($12,000 DK, $17,000 FD) is the most expensive player on both sites. After putting up at least 21 fantasy points in the first six weeks of the season, he's done that only once in the last seven. From a fantasy perspective, it's concerning that he's topped 15 fantasy points just twice in his last seven games, considering the expensive salary. I think he'll be a bit too popular for how often he ends up on the optimal lineup. That doesn't make him a bad option, though. Mahomes can always hit a ceiling in this spot, especially if the game is competitive as expected. It's tough to afford both quarterbacks and their pass-catchers, though. I'll likely be underweight based on the high salary and I'll avoid him in the captain spot on DraftKings. Elite QBs always make for popular options in the MVP spot on FanDuel because of the ceiling potential.

Justin Herbert ($10,800 DK, $16,500 FD) has 11 TDs and four INTs his last four games and has scored at least 24 fantasy points in each. He looks healthy and confident after struggling a bit during the middle of the season. The Chargers are missing a couple starters on the offensive line and Kansas City's defense has been better lately, but that won't stop me from rostering Herbert at home in primetime. While it makes sense to roster both QBs on some lineups, most of my builds will contain only one. I prefer Herbert to Mahomes based on the $1,200 salary savings. I like the idea of rostering him in the captain spot with multiple pass-catchers, but most of my exposure will be in the flex.   

WIDE RECEIVERS + TIGHT ENDS

Tyreek Hill ($11,400 DK, $13,000 FD) has disappointed in back-to-back weeks as he's drawn only nine targets in that span. Negative game scripts had a lot to do with that as the Chiefs defense held the opponent to less than 10 points in both games. Nevertheless he's quite expensive for a player who's become increasingly inconsistent. He still has plenty of upside, however, and arguably the highest ceiling on the slate. The salary makes it tough to use him in the captain on DraftKings, where I prefer rostering him in the flex. Mecole Hardman ($5,000 DK, $7,000 FD) played 37 percent of the snaps Sunday, which is actually encouraging after he played just 17 percent in each of the two weeks prior. Byron Pringle ($2,600 DK, $6,500 FD) appears to have established himself as the No. 2 WR in terms of snap percentage. The uptick in playing time has yet to lead to more production though as he has just one catch in each of the last three games. Demarcus Robinson ($1,800 DK, $6,000 FD) has caught at least two passes in all but one game this season. It's worth noting that Josh Gordon (COVID-19) has been ruled out, which gives the slightest of bumps to Hardman, Pringle and Robinson. Based on the significant difference in salary, I'd prefer taking chances on Pringle and Robinson. 

Keenan Allen ($9,400 DK, $12,000 FD) was activated Tuesday after missing Sunday's game due to a positive test. He's averaging more than 10 targets per game this season and has scored at least 15 fantasy points in six consecutive games. It was also encouraging to see him catch two TDs in his last game. Based on the $2,000 salary savings, I plan on having more exposure to him than Tyreek Hill. Mike Williams ($7,400 DK, $11,500 FD) has drawn at least six targets five consecutive weeks. He's always appealing in these single-game contests based on his big-play ability as a deep threat. The cheaper salary makes him a worthy option for the captain spot on DraftKings. Jalen Guyton ($4,800 DK, $9,000 FD) and Joshua Palmer ($2,200 DK, $7,500 FD) stepped up in Allen's absence Sunday as both caught touchdown passes. Now they're a bit too expensive for what their respective roles are when Allen is active. Guyton is still viable based on his TD upside and role as the No. 3 WR. Palmer likely won't see many opportunities as the No. 4 WR. I'll have limited interest in Guyton and none in Palmer. I prefer Pringle and Robinson in that salary range. 

Travis Kelce ($8,600 DK, $12,500 FD) has just six catches for 54 yards his last two games. His salary has fallen considerably after back-to-back duds. We're used to seeing him priced at or above 10K in these single-game contests. We're also used to seeing him priced similarly to Tyreek Hill but now there is a $2,800 difference. The Chargers defense has allowed the league's third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. All of this makes Kelce an appealing option and the bargain salary makes him a good option for the captain spot as well.

Jared Cook ($5,400 DK, $7,500 FD) has a touchdown catch in two of his last three games. He's only topped 30 yards receiving once in his last nine, however. His salary seems a tad expensive for that type of production. I'd rather save the salary and take a chance on Donald Parham ($2,400 DK, $6,000 FD). He will only draw two or three targets but he's a goal-line threat and has already caught three touchdowns this season. 

RUNNING BACKS

Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($7,000 DK, $11,000 FD) ran for two touchdowns while catching three passes Sunday. His touchdown equity and receiving upside make him an appealing option for Thursday. Not to mention that the Chargers defense has given up the league's fourth-most fantasy points to running backs and are dealing with multiple injuries on the defensive line. The cheapish salary of Edwards-Helaire and a favorable matchup means he's also a good option for the captain spot. Darrel Williams ($3,200 DK, $9,500 FD) caught three passes, including a 23-yard TD on Sunday. I'd expect him to see around five touches in a competitive game and he'd likely have to find the end zone to be optimal. It could be worth a shot in the large-field tournaments.  

Austin Ekeler ($10,200 DK, $14,000 FD) rushed 12 times for 67 yards and a TD on Sunday before sitting out the second half with an injured ankle. Coach Brandon Staley said that the injury is nothing major and Ekeler could've returned if needed. He's topped 20 fantasy points seven times this season while putting up 30-plus on three occasions. His ability as a pass-catcher could come into play Thursday as the Chiefs defense has allowed the third-most receptions and second-most receiving yards to running backs. Justin Jackson ($2,000 DK, $10,000 FD) had 10 touches Sunday and eight the week before, but most of that work came in the second half of blowouts. If Ekeler is limited at all, Jackson is cheap enough where it would make sense to take a chance on him. Assuming Ekeler is fully healthy, I'd rather roster a pass-catcher in that salary range. 

KICKERS

I plan on having exposure to both of Harrison Butker ($4,000 DK, $9,000 FD) and Dustin Hopkins ($3,800 DK, $8,500 FD). The four players priced directly above them are Chiefs D/ST, Guyton, Hardman and Cook. It's not hard to imagine that none score double-digit fantasy points and kickers can do that quite easily, especially in games with high totals. I slightly prefer Butker based on the Chiefs having a higher implied total and the Chargers propensity to go for it on close fourth down decisions.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Games with higher totals that feature two good offenses don't usually make for good spots to roster D/ST. The Chiefs ($4,400) have been much improved after struggling early in the season, holding opponents to less than 10 points in four of their last five games. Keep in mind that they only faced one good team (Dallas) in that span. The Chargers ($3,000) are cheap, but that salary is appropriate for matchup against Mahomes and the usually potent Chiefs offense. If anything, I'd prefer taking a chance on the Chargers based on the $1,400 salary difference but I'll be underweight on both D/ST. 

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NFL Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NFL fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan has a background in accounting, finance and poker. He's been playing DFS full-time since 2018. A multiple-time King of the Pitch finalist, Ryan's been ranked inside the Top 5 on the RG Soccer Leaderboard for three years running. Originally from Wisconsin, he moved to London in 2019 for the futbol.
NFL: Rookies That Will Ruin Your Fantasy Team (Video)
NFL: Rookies That Will Ruin Your Fantasy Team (Video)
NFL Schedule Release: NFL Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 1
NFL Schedule Release: NFL Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 1
NFL Schedule Release: Best Matchups, Most Anticipated Games of 2022
NFL Schedule Release: Best Matchups, Most Anticipated Games of 2022
Polarizing Player: Courtland Sutton
Polarizing Player: Courtland Sutton