Here’s a breakdown of one-game DFS contests for the Week 11 Monday Night Football matchup featuring the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Cash Game Strategy
Fresh off a 446-yard, three-touchdown performance and set to sling the rock in Estadio Azteca’s high-altitude air, Patrick Mahomes has the top floor, median, ceiling and Projected Plus/Minus in our DraftKings Showdown Models and needs to be the priority in the 1.5x slot. Going with Mahomes in the Captain spot leaves enough room for Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Damien Williams (personal, questionable), and a punt play of $600 or less. The top choice for the punt is Andre Patton, who — despite nonexistent box-score production — has run at least 78% of the team’s pass routes each of the past two weeks.
On FanDuel, you have to fade one of Mahomes/Rivers/Gordon/Williams, and given Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s unpredictable backfield usage, Williams is the clear choice. With Mahomes-Rivers-Gordon, you can also get in Ekeler and Darrel Williams, who is tied for the team lead in carries inside the opponent’s 5-yard line (five).
Core GPP Plays
Note: These are in addition to the players already mentioned in the cash write-up and generally has a focus on pass-catchers, though sometimes players from the cash section will be re-highlighted as appropriate. On FanDuel, QBs generally make for the top plays in the 1.5x slot because the half PPR format creates a wider gap in scoring between QB and RB/WR/TE; on DraftKings, a RB/WR/TE who hits the 100-yard bonus is the ideal play.
RB Melvin Gordon, Chargers: On paper, the Chiefs set up as a run funnel, ranking 31st in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA but fifth against the pass.
RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers: The Chiefs are allowing the fourth-most receiving yards (57.1) and second-most receiving TDs (0.5) per game to opposing running backs.
WR Sammy Watkins, Chiefs: The Chargers are ranked sixth in DVOA vs. tight ends and 11th vs. No. 1 wide receivers, but 20th vs. No. 2 wide receivers, so Watkins is the perfect way to mix it up from all of the Tyreek Hill–Travis Kelce pairings. Watkins has seen eight or more targets in all but one game.
RB Damien Williams, Chiefs: The definition of high-risk, high-reward. Williams had cleared 65 total yards until the last two games, committed a key fumble last week and is now questionable with a personal issue. But he also handled 19 touches per game over the last two and the Chargers defense is ranked 26th in rushing DVOA and 30th in DVOA on passes to running backs.
Note: Individual player correlations can be found in the player cards in our NFL Player Models. Team positional correlations can be found in our NFL Correlations Dashboard. Unless otherwise noted, all player correlation data is from the past 12 months and team correlation data is from the start of 2019.
- Mahomes-Kelce +0.62
- Robinson-Hardman +0.55
- Mahomes-Hill +0.30
- Dam. Williams-Watkins +0.28
- Mahomes-Hardman +0.26
- Mahomes-Robinson +0.22
- Mahomes-Butker +0.22
- Hill-Kelce +0.17
- Dar. Williams-Watkins +0.15
- McCoy-Watkins +0.07
- Mahomes-Watkins -0.01
- Dam. Williams-McCoy -0.32
- Watkins-Kelce -0.39
- Mahomes-Chiefs DST -0.42
- Hill-Watkins -0.72
I mentioned why I like Watkins as a GPP play, and the correlations show he’s generally been the highest-leverage Chiefs regular. As he does most of his work in the short-to-intermediate area these days, Watkins also has a positive correlation with the Chiefs running game, so this slate sets up well to either go with chalky Hill-Kelce stacks or pivot with lineups built around Watkins and the run game.
- Gordon-Allen +0.48
- Rivers-Allen +0.43
- Gordon-Badgley +0.38
- Henry-Mi. Williams +0.20
- Rivers-Ekeler +0.17
- Rivers-Mi. Williams +0.11
- Gordon-Ekeler +0.06
- Rivers-Gordon +0.04
- Rivers-Henry -0.21
- Rivers-Badgley -0.30
- Allen-Mi. Williams -0.46
- Allen-Henry -0.58
- Rivers-Chargers DST -0.64
Note the slightly positive Gordon-Ekeler correlation, which could grow more positive in this game, as the Chiefs defense is one to attack with running backs. Also note Keenan Allen’s negative correlation to Hunter Henry and Mike Williams; for Allen to smash at his salary, there’s not always enough volume left to go around to those guys, especially since the backs are generally heavily involved in the pass game.
Players whose production would benefit owners more than expensive or highly-owned players. Kickers and D/STs generally make for strong leverage plays, but those who stand out will be highlighted below.
RB Darrel Williams, Chiefs: As mentioned, he’s tied for the team-lead in goal-line carries.
K Michael Badgley, Chargers: You don’t beat the Chiefs with field goals, but the altitude could result in longer distance kicks, and he is negatively correlation with Rivers, Allen and Mike Williams.
RB LeSean McCoy, Chiefs: If active, he could throw a wrench in the slate if he gets any type of significant playing time.
Dart Throw Rankings
Ranking the low-cost, complementary players not already discussed in the leverage section by likelihood of having a worthwhile fantasy stat line.
- WR Mecole Hardman, Chiefs: Has scored in three of the last four games despite not getting more than three touches in any of them.
- WR Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs: Ran 72% of the routes last week and no fewer than 45% since Watkins returned from injury.
- WR Andre Patton, Chargers: Has run at last 78% of routes each of the past two weeks.
- TE Deon Yelder, Chiefs: Inherits the backup tight end role from Blake Bell (ankle, out), who averaged a route on 24% of the team’s dropbacks this season.
- TE Virgil Green, Chargers: Running ~20% routes per game since Henry returned from injury.
- WR Jason Moore, Chargers: Six snaps and one target last week, but could overtake Patton if Patton continues to struggle.
- WR Byron Pringle, Chiefs: Three offensive snaps last week.
- FB Derek Watt, Chargers: Five carries and five targets in 10 games
- TE Lance Kendricks, Chargers: Running under 10% of the routes since Henry returned.
- RB Darwin Thompson, Chiefs: Five snaps last week with McCoy scratched.
- FB Anthony Sherman, Chiefs: Three carries and two targets in 10 games.
- RB Troymaine Pope, Chargers: Will be the No. 3 back with Justin Jackson (calf) doubtful, but has seen snaps in only one game all season.
Pictured above: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15)
Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports