In the weekly Fantasy Trends, we leverage the Trends tool to find quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs with notable data points for the upcoming DFS slate. For more of our weekly football content, visit our NFL homepage.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams are gearing up for a highly-anticipated matchup on Monday Night Football. Both teams lead their respective conference at 9-1, have top-three odds to win Super Bowl 53 and rank among the top three teams in our NFL Betting Power Ratings.
A win would go a long way in expelling either team’s 2017 playoff demons as both were bounced in the Wild Card Round.
The over/under originally opened at 64 at Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, then reopened at 63.5 once the game was moved from Mexico City to Los Angeles. At 63.5, it could very well be the highest over/under in NFL history. The Rams are 3.5-point favorites as of writing (see live odds here).
Let’s break this historic matchup of two high-powered offenses down from a fantasy and DFS perspective.
Unparalleled Fantasy Potential
The Rams and Chiefs boast two of the most prolific offenses in recent memory. Los Angeles ranks first in total yards (4,480) and third in points per game (33.5) through Week 10. Kansas City, spear-headed by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, ranks second in total yards (4,231) and second in points per game (35.3).
Those offenses have produced some of the premier fantasy football players in 2018, including eight players who rank inside the top 10 in PPR points at their position:
Finding A Fantasy Edge
With the highest Vegas total in recorded history, this game should offer ample stacking opportunities. But which side of this matchup should you stack? Do you lock in Todd Gurley and figure it out after that? Or should you fade Gurley and opt for a high-upside correlation between Mahomes and Tyreek Hill instead?
We can use our Trends tool to identify historical fantasy trends to aid in roster construction and general strategy for the upcoming DFS slate. By examining previous games with high Vegas totals, we can determine whether there’s a historical edge between the two teams at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
To be clear: This is not a comprehensive breakdown for Monday night’s Showdown slate. Rather, this article offers a trends-based perspective, with a seasoning of alternate analysis to either support or temper our historical findings.
Be sure to always use multiple research methods when making your betting or DFS decisions, including our NFL Player Models powered by Sean Koerner. Also check out our Correlations page, Matchups Tool and NFL DFS Ownership Dashboard for all your daily fantasy needs.
Jared Goff ($6,400 DraftKings) vs. Patrick Mahomes ($7,100 DraftKings)
This over/under is so high that there are limited comparable historical matchups in our database. In order to capture a sample large enough to be statistically meaningful, I’ve expanded our trend to include all games featuring an over/under that opened at 54 or more points.
This is a historic game total for which there are no pure comparisons. That alone should inspire confidence in both of these offenses. I’ve also expanded our search to teams with an implied team score of 30 or more points, which applies to both the Rams and Chiefs in this matchup.
So, how have quarterbacks historically performed in these extremely high-total games?
Results: High Game Totals
Favorites boast higher actual points on average and a modestly-higher Plus/Minus scores. However, they also feature much higher ownership, which could be problematic in large tournaments. Underdogs boast a slight bump in their consistency and offer comparable value overall.
I question whether Mahomes will actually experience depressed ownership to support this historical trend. He’s performed as proficiently and as consistently as any quarterback in the league. I can’t imagine the public suddenly fading him, especially in a juicy matchup like this one. If indeed he does not offer depressed ownership, his edge in this comparison would all but dissipate. Nonetheless, because he’s on the right side of our splits for this trend, Mahomes gets the edge here.
EDGE: Patrick Mahomes (KC)
Todd Gurley ($9,600 DraftKings) vs. Kareem Hunt ($8,100 DraftKings)
It would take pretty overwhelming statistical evidence for me to advise fading Gurley in this spot. The Chiefs rank dead-last in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA and 29th in pass defense DVOA vs. running backs. Both of those metrics suggest Gurley could be poised for another huge fantasy performance. But what does the historical data have to say?
Results: High Game Totals
Favorites boast better results across the board but are handicapped by a very high ownership percentage (16.3%) on average. Still, if any running back deserves ownership in that range, it’s definitely Gurley. His red-zone usage grants him one of the highest floor projections among running backs, and his elite receiving volume helps insulate him from negative game script. On top of that, he finds himself on the favorable side of this trend, so he gets the edge over Hunt here.
Rams WRs vs. Chiefs WRs
The Rams boast two top-10 fantasy wide receivers in Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, but lost Cooper Kupp for the season due to an ACL injury. Expect Josh Reynolds to replace Kupp in three-wide sets.
On the other sideline, Kansas City features the DFS tournament archetype for wide receivers in Tyreek Hill. He’s flanked by Sammy Watkins (foot), who is questionable for Week 11 (monitor his status with our Injury Report).
So, the question is: Do you roll the dice with Rams receivers, or pay up for Hill?
Results: High Game Totals
The clear advantage goes to the Chiefs for this trend. Underdogs in high-total games boast improved scores across all metrics, including ownership percentage.
Wide receivers on favored teams have not returned value based on their expected points. To make matters worse, DFS players have rostered favorites at a staggering 16.7% clip. This data set is about as unequivocal as it gets: The Chiefs have the edge in this one.
EDGE: Chiefs WRs
Best of luck in this week’s DFS action, and check out Chris Raybon’s Monday Night Showdown DFS Breakdown later this week.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players mentioned here. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NFL news feed.
Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Pictured Above: Todd Gurley