Friday Afternoon Musings
As each NFL week progresses, you gain more and more understanding of the slate in front of you. Not that you’ll nail every pick, but at least you get a feeling for what chalk builds may look like. This week it feels like focused high end spends will be at RB, WR could be mid-to-high end plays + Tyrell Williams, TE will either be all the way down or Travis Kelce, QB should be low-to-mid range + Lamar Jackson #patrick-mahomes)Patrick Mahomes”:/players/patrick-mahomes-37022 and Defense will be….. well, who cares about defense. And to top it all off, we are about to get Oakland Raiders chalk week! You know the Raiders. The Raiders of the constant losing seasons, no defense, terrible management and coaching, an owner with the worst haircut in professional sports and most recently of the AB debacle. Well, after Monday night’s beatdown of the Broncos, these are evidently the “new” Raiders. The Raiders that can air it out. The Raiders that will be able to keep up with the Chiefs. The Raiders who might comprise 2 or 3 spots on every DraftKings cash lineup given their cheap prices which did not adjust this week given they played on Monday night. How could anything ever go wrong? I absolutely agree that the Raiders find themselves in an awesome game environment this Sunday. A game at home. A game with a 52 total. A game against a team with a very shaky defense. Again, what could ever go wrong? Well, there are a couple problems. The Raiders are still a bad football team who will likely be very inconsistent throughout this season. Would it surprise anyone if they scored 13 points Sunday? And after all the talk about the Raiders this week (and correspondingly small amount of chatter around the Chiefs), would it surprise anyone if the Chiefs just come out blazing and lay 52 points themselves on the Raiders? I actually think this will happen, which could take Chalk Raider #1 Josh Jacobs out of the game a little bit as Jalen Richard cuts into his passing down work. Don’t get me wrong, I will sprinkle a few Raiders across a few of my lineups. My favorite is Tyrell Williams given the Chiefs propensity to give up the long ball. It only takes one, right? But, I will have zero David Carr (and yes, I’ve heard the stats from his last two games against the Chiefs about 700 times in the past three days) and zero Darren Waller as I think the opportunity costs are too high at these two positions in the event that these two players dud.
There are a couple additional nuggets that I’ve picked up late this week that I think will be helpful to discuss. Here they are.
1) There has been ZERO chatter around Damien Williams this week. Whether it is the arrival of LeSean McCoy or the shiny new toy syndrome with Mecole Hardman, Williams is being lost in the shuffle. Without TyFreak Hill, there are 8-12 targets to go around and Williams is an excellent pass catching RB. The Raiders were a bottom three defense against the run in 2018 and the Broncos RBs averaged over 4 yards per carry last week and caught 5 passes. The Chiefs are much better than the Broncos. While McCoy is a solid backup, Williams is the starter and likely to play 60-65% of the snaps and be much more productive than McCoy. At cheap prices on both DK and FD and with miniscule projected ownership, I like Williams this Sunday as part of a Chiefs onslaught.
2) The Arizona/Baltimore game may be highly owned. I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. A bad/mediocre Cardinals teams going West to East for a 1pm game against a Ravens team that feasts on subpar teams. I don’t care how fast the Cardinals play. This game could be over early which would stunt the upside of the Ravens offensive players and force Arizona to pass every down which could be good (more attempts and more yards for Kyler Murray) or very bad (Ravens pass rush overwhelms Murray and leads to many sacks and turnovers). Plus, would anyone even consider the Cardinals if the Lions hadn’t let them back into the game last weekend in the fourth quarter? Well, I remember how bad they were at home for 3 quarters and this is the Ravens in Baltimore, not the Lions in Phoenix.
3) Cheap TEs could make Travis Kelce way underowned. Right now, Kelce is projected to have between 15% and 20% ownership across the industry. However, I think this might be too high given how little people are talking about him. Maybe he is just so known to be a stud, that you don’t have to talk about it to play him in meaningful amounts. However, I think super cheap guys like TJ Hockensen and Darren Waller will peel off a bunch of ownership given their 3K type prices on DK and excellent performance in week one. Also in the 3K-4K range on DK are players like Mark Andrews, Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis (Jordan Reed out again). Plus, Evan Engram is less than $5.5K and should get about 29 targets against the Bills. While many of these players are solid options, I’ll take Travis Kelce at a way overweight position as he could go 10-140-2 this Sunday against a depleted Raiders secondary.
4) Any chance the Rams/Saints game disappoints? This game is rightfully getting a ton of attention from the industry. Hey, I like it in general as much as the next person. I am in complete agreement that Alvin Kamara is a top 2 play at the RB position. After that, I just don’t know. Will Jared Goff be good again or is something off here? And even if he is good, there are too many WR choices here for my limited lineup entries to be able to pinpoint the right WR in the right lineup. On the other side of this game, we all know Drew Brees is much better at home and this Rams defense is decent. What happens if the Rams somehow take away Michael Thomas? Brees could only throw for 220 yards and 1 TD, even with Kamara playing well. I do realize that this could be a fantasy bonanza on both sides, but I feel more comfortable with the Chiefs and a couple cheaper games (Chargers, Giants, Steelers) to invest in.
Good luck in all your contests tonight and on Sunday.