What should fantasy football players be looking for as in the season-opening matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars?
The Kansas City Chiefs open their season against the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon looking for a very real win. For our interests, however, we’re looking for a win of a different kind—one in fantasy football.
With weather interference being a possibility, it is likely that both teams will focus on a ground attack for Sunday’s game.
With that being said, let’s take a look at each position and the impact skill players will have in both daily fantasy and your fantasy football needs. For daily fantasy, Draft Kings will be the platform used this week. At the end of this article, sample lineups will be included for DFS, based on Draft Kings.
The two starting quarterbacks for Sunday’s game will be the Jaguars’ Nick Foles and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes. The impact these two quarterbacks will have largely depends on the weather. With just a 10% precipitation chance in Jacksonville on Sunday, the game seems to be primed to be hot and humid. However, predicting the weather is a task even some meteorologists struggle with.
Mahomes, based off of last season, is a quarterback you never want to sit. Keep in mind that rain could impact the throwing game in a major way — however, if there is any sort of lightning, the game will be have a weather delay. For daily fantasy, Mahomes is a tough sell on Draft Kings at a whopping $7,200, leaving around $5,300 per position to fill 8 spots. The reigning MVP will undoubtedly have a high asking price, so one should be wary when starting him—especially in a week where weather may have an impact. Again, nothing is for certain, but erring on the side of caution would be the best bet.
Mahomes is projected to throw for 277 yards, 2-3 touchdowns and one interception, according to NumberFire. He is not projected to make a major impact on the ground — as the gun-slinging quarterback only runs when he needs to. NumberFire projects him to run 3 times, for 13 yards.
Foles on the other hand has a very generous salary of $5,300. This leaves just shy of $5,600 to fill out the rest of your positions, and is a much cheaper option in comparison to Mahomes. With the uncertainty of the Chiefs’ defense, Foles is projected to throw for 239 yards, and 1-2 touchdowns according to NumberFire. This is in addition to roughly one interception. While those numbers do not necessarily jump off of the screen, Foles is among the cheapest fantasy options at quarterback, on DraftKings.
If it rains in Jacksonville on Sunday, the best option among both quarterbacks in your daily fantasy lineups would be Foles — purely due to the low-cost and subsequently low risk. On the main slate, there are definitely more viable quarterbacks, so it is not recommended to roll with Foles as Philip Rivers, Dak Prescott, and Baker Mayfield — for example, are all relatively cheap and should produce good fantasy points for rosters.
For the Jaguars, the clear starting running back who will see most of the touches is Leonard Fournette, who is always a top fantasy option when he is healthy. As one of the pricier options on the slate, rolling with him and Mahomes is not a good idea. Rather, coupling him with a cheap quarterback such as Kirk Cousins would be beneficial. Cousins is expected to have decent numbers against the Atlanta Falcons, and is among the cheaper starting quarterbacks on Sunday’s slate.
Fournette is projected to rush for 70 yards, about 1 touchdown, 3 receptions and 24 receiving yards, according to NumberFire. He is not expected to have a major game, thus there are better (safer) options at running back for around the same price like Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry, Kerryon Johnson, and Dalvin Cook. Chubb has one of the more favorable matchups against a Tennessee Titans defense who has struggled against the run, and Johnson has a favorable matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Both are not projected to have major impacts, but are decent value options.
Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy will likely share touches, as head coach Andy Reid considers both of them to be starters. In light of this, it is not recommended to start either one. However, McCoy makes for a low risk, high reward flex option. Williams is projected for three carries, 39 yards and 3 receptions, 24 receiving yards. He is not expected to have any touchdowns on the ground nor passing game, according to NumberFire.
McCoy on the other hand is expected to have 8-9 carries for 34 yards, 2 receptions for 18 yards. These numbers do not pop off of the screen, but he is one of the cheapest running backs on Draft Kings. At $4,600, he leaves plenty of room for a solid roster if he is put in as a flex option. He is not a viable option in cash games, however remains a decent flex in GPP. Serves as a low-risk, high reward.
The wide receivers in this game are all relatively cheap, with the exception of Tyreek Hill ($7,600). Hill is projected to catch 5 passes for 76 yards, and 0-1 touchdowns. With the high asking price, fantasy players need to account for the weather. At this price, there are safer options such as Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, and Adam Thielen. If it does not rain on Sunday, Hill is definitely a top option—one to build a team around.
There is a considerable drop off in talent and price after Hill. Sammy Watkins and Dede Westbrook come in at $5,000 and $4,800 respectively. Westbrook is the safer bet out of the two for a cheap fantasy option. However, this again is all largely due to how the weather looks. It is advised to be cautious of the Chiefs’ receivers against a vaunted Jaguars defense.
While Foles may struggle, receivers like Marqise Lee and Westbrook could see decent numbers. Both of these receivers are cheap options, so possibly a flex or filling out a WR3 spot. Mecole Hardman is not expected to have a major impact, and it is not recommended to include him in rosters for Week 1.
Regardless of the weather, the top tight end on the slate is Travis Kelce. Kelce is projected to catch 5 passes for 69 receiving yards, and 1-2 touchdowns. As the most expensive tight end, he is a high risk, high reward option. Fantasy players would need to build their team around him, but he could see considerable targets as Mahomes will likely look to dump it off to his huge target in Kelce when facing pressure or if he needs to get the ball out. In Week 5 of the 2018 season, Kelce had 5 receptions for 100 yards against the Jaguars.
Geoff Swaim is not a viable tight end option, but is very cheap at $2,900 ($4,200 cheaper than Kelce). He could be used as a flex, but there are better cheap options to fill out a roster.
Harrison Butker is one of the top kickers in the league and will likely show it on Sunday. Standard DFS contests do not have kickers, so this section is mostly for players in fantasy leagues. Josh Lambo and Butker are both viable options, but more than likely already owned.
Perhaps the most interesting question is that of how the Chiefs’ defense will perform. Going up against Foles and an offense that had over 1,700 rushing yards last season, the Chiefs’ defense has a favorable matchup as the front seven looks to be one of the most dominant in the league in terms of run defense. The passing defense is still to be determined, however, the Chiefs DST is a cheap and solid option going against Jacksonville. For around the same price, a safer option would be the Detroit Lions or the New York Jets.
The Jaguars are among the top defenses in the league, and have an intriguing $2,300 price tag on Draft Kings. However, Mahomes has shown that he will not let turnovers shake his confidence. The Jaguars are projected to allow 372 total yards, 28 points, sack Mahomes twice, and possibly have an interception. As a low risk, moderate reward option, they could be a decent defense to stream depending on, once again, the weather. It is not recommended to go with the Jaguars DST in daily fantasy lineups this week, as the matchup is less-than-favorable.
An example Draft Kings lineup consisting of only players from the Chiefs vs. Jaguars game:
- QB Mahomes ($7200)
- RB McCoy ($4600)
- RB Fournette ($6100)
- WR Lee ($4400)
- WR Watkins ($5000)
- WR Hill ($7600)
- TE Kelce ($7100)
- FLEX Westbrook ($4800)
- DST Chiefs ($2800)
An example lineup consisting of players from the entire main slate: