NFL Grind Down Week 1: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Vegas Overview

KCC @ JAC Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
JAC 3.5 52.5 24.5 164
KCC -3.5 52.5 28 -190

Spread Quick Take: Reports out of camp regarding Leonard Fournette have been glowing and ultimately this game comes down to his, and newly acquired Nick Foles’, ability to keep the ball out of the hands of Kansas City’s well-oiled offensive machine. The Chiefs ranked dead last in rush-defense DVOA last season and I do think Jacksonville will be able to find enough success on the ground to keep this game close. Jacksonville +3.5 is my preferred bet of this game and my confidence level drops if you’re unable to get the hook.

JAC +3.5
Confidence Level: 6/10

Over/Under: Total points scored in this game is going to be dictated almost entirely by which team is able to establish their preferred pace of play. Kansas City ran plays at the sixth-fastest situation-neutral pace in the league last season while Jacksonville ranked 25th. As mentioned above, I’m of the belief that Jacksonville will be able to have enough success on the ground to keep the chains moving and the ball out of the hands of Patrick Mahomes.

Under 52.5
Confidence Level: 4/10

Injury Situations

Player Team Pos Status Part Impact
Marqise Lee JAC WR Q Knee 5
Josh Oliver JAC TE Q Hamstring 3
D.J. Chark JAC WR Q Head 5

Injuries to Monitor: Marqise Lee (knee) and D.J. Chark (concussion) are both listed as questionable but are expected to play. Despite being listed as a starter on Jacksonville’s unofficial Week 1 depth chart, Lee is likely to be on some sort of pitch count. Chark and Chris Conley are both likely to rack up more snaps at outside WR than Lee.

Other News and Notes: Andy Reid said that LeSean McCoy will be available for Week 1 in “some form.” McCoy’s availability really throws a wrench into touch projections for the Chiefs. Damien Williams is still the best fantasy target in Kansas City’s backfield but his workload is way too unpredictable for cash games.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: Despite the addition of pass-friendly offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, Jacksonville’s route to success is on the ground. The Jaguars offense ranked 25th in situation neutral pace of play last season and that pace would be an ideal outcome for Week 1’s clash against the Chiefs. Conversely, Kansas City ranked sixth in situation neutral pace of play and would like to push the pace of this game. Overall pace will ultimately be dictated by whichever team jumps out to the lead.

Jacksonville Jaguars Offense vs. Kansas City Chiefs Defense: As already referenced numerous times, Jacksonville’s path to success is on the ground. Kansas City ranked dead last in rush-defense DVOA last season and didn’t make any significant offseason improvements to shore up their weaknesses. It’s fair to expect pass-friendly offensive coordinator John DeFillipo to lean more pass heavy as the season progresses (ranked 17th in Pass Rate last season) but I’m not entirely sold that we’ll see that play out in Week 1 unless his hand is forced with the Jaguars playing from behind. If forced to throw, Dede Westbrook is the likeliest candidate for success as he’ll run most of his routes in the slot against Kendall Fuller. Short, quick throws are Jacksonville’s best chance for success as they attempt to neutralize pressure – they ranked 26th in QB Pressure Rate (39.05%) last season while Kansas City ranked 8th in Sack Rate (7.60%).

Kansas City Chiefs Offense vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Defense: Week 5 against Jacksonville was the only game in which Patrick Mahomes didn’t throw a touchdown pass last season but don’t expect the Chiefs to change their approach for 2019’s opener. Kansas City threw the ball at the eighth-highest rate in the league last season (62.32%) and were wildly successful ranking second in Pass Success (54.19%) and first in PassingEPA (177.31). Jacksonville did a good job bottling up Tyreek Hill in Week 5’s contest which was par for the course in 2018 as they allowed the fourth lowest Explosive Pass Rate (6.88%) in the league. Conversely, Kansas City ranked first in Explosive Pass Rate (12.46%) and weren’t shy in targeting Hill downfield – I fully expect a few downfield shots to Hill in Week 1.

Jacksonville Jaguars Projections Breakdown

Quarterback Projections

Player Team Rank Proj ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ FD Pts/$ Y
Nick Foles JAC QB25 16.44 36.08 261.25 Rank 9 Rank 14 Rank 21 Rank 30

KCC Schedule Adjusted QB DVP (‘18): Rank #3

2018 Opportunity Metrics:
Att/Gm: 39 (Rank 4)
RuAtt/Gm: 1.8 (Rank #43)
DeepBall/Gm: 4 (Rank #19)

2018 Efficiency Metrics:
Accuracy Rating: 2.7 (Rank #32)
Air Yards/Att: 7 (Rank #34)
Adjusted YPA: 6.7 (Rank #21)

Projecting Jacksonville’s 2019 passing game is an undesirable task due to a new coaching staff and new personnel. John DeFilippo is known as a pass-first offensive coordinator that essentially was relieved of his duties in Minnesota because he didn’t run the ball enough. Nick Foles could see sufficient opportunity to pay off his price tag, especially if the Jaguars fall behind early. Jacksonville ranked fourth in pass attempts per game (39) last season but notably didn’t have Leonard Fournette for half of the season. Foles was efficient for the Eagles last season completing 72.3% of his passes to go with a middling 7.2 yards per attempt. As mentioned above, I expect DeFillipo to scheme short, quick passes for Foles which caps his fantasy upside but is good for efficiency.

Quick Summary: Foles has a path for success but it’s narrow and dependent on game flow and YAC. There are worse quarterbacks/offenses to target but Foles is merely a tournament dart throw if looking for low-owned stacks.

Running Back Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Leonard Fournette JAC 15.57 RB9 62% 9% Rank 6 Rank 6 Rank 2 Rank 6
Ryquell Armstead JAC 3.99 RB73 13% 4% Rank 66 Rank 62 Rank 55 Rank 66
Devine Ozigbo JAC 2.68 RB78 14% 1% Rank 73 Rank 72 Rank 71 Rank 73

KCC Schedule Adjusted RB DVP (‘18): Rank #5

2018 Leonard Fournette Opportunity Metrics:
Opportunity Share: 57% (Rank #18)
RZ Opportunity Share: 37.3% (Rank #39)

2018 Leonard Fournette Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Created: 153 (Rank #41)
YPC: 3.3 (Rank #60)
Yards Per Route: 2.8 (DNQ)

Opportunity abounds for Leonard Fournette, who is poised for an every down role with T.J. Yeldon out of town. Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo are the only other true RBs on Jacksonville’s depth chart and neither are likely to have a significant role in the Jaguars offense when Fournette is healthy. Yeldon caught 55 balls for the Jaguars last season and his absence should result in an increased receiving role for Fournette. Fournette should also dominate Red Zone touches – he ranked just 39th in Red Zone Opportunity Share (37.3%) last season. Our current 15.57 touch projection for Fournette is likely a bit low as I don’t expect him to concede meaningful rushing attempts to Armstead or Ozigbo. Fournette has legitimate 20+ touch upside.

Kansas City ranked dead last in rush-defense DVOA last season which bodes well for Fournette, who was underwhelming in efficiency metrics last season, averaging just 3.3 yards per attempt with a long run of just 25-yards. Kansas City also allowed the fifth-most receiving yards per game to running backs last season which is notable with Fournette’s expected expanded role as a pass-catcher.

Fournette is hardly flying under-the-radar as he’s currently projected to see double-digit ownership on both FanDuel and DraftKings. However, Fournette isn’t expected to be chalky enough to make a strong tournament fade – he’s currently projected to be just the seventh-highest owned RB on FD and the sixth-highest owned RB on DK. Fournette is a strong play in all tournament formats (single-entry, multi-entry, etc) and can be played as part of a game stack or individually.

Quick Summary: Due to an expected heavy workload, and a favorable on-paper matchup, Leonard Fournette is one of the top RB plays of the week in all formats.

Wide Receiver Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Dede Westbrook JAC 12.15 WR29 20% 7.22 Rank 21 Rank 18 Rank 70 Rank 26
Chris Conley JAC 8.28 WR71 15% 5.41 Rank 49 Rank 8 Rank 108 Rank 22
D.J. Chark JAC 7.73 WR78 14% 5.05 Rank 73 Rank 30 Rank 112 Rank 35
Keelan Cole JAC 6.66 WR94 12% 4.33 Rank 86 Rank 82 Rank 72 Rank 65
Marqise Lee JAC 5.32 WR111 9% 3.25 Rank 106 Rank 117 Rank 91 Rank 103

KCC Schedule Adjusted WR DVP (‘18): Rank #6

2018 Dede Westbrook Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 19.2% (Rank #38)
RZ Target Share: 26.5% (Rank #14)
Route Participation: 79.7% (Rank #43)

2018 Dede Westbrook Efficiency Metrics: Yards Per Route:
1.68 (Rank #62)
ADOT: 8.7 (Rank #89)
YAC per Reception: 3.3 (Rank #25)

Jacksonville’s unofficial depth chart lists Dede Westbrook and Marqise Lee as the teams’ starters in two-receiver sets…emphasis on the word unofficial. Lee is recovering from a knee injury and missed valuable time in the preseason – even if he “starts” he’s likely to be on some sort of pitch count. Westbrook ran 89% of his snaps in the slot last season and will likely find himself on the field with Chris Conley and D.J. Chark on most three-receiver sets.

Dede is Jacksonville’s best wide receiver and the only Jaguars pass-catching option to even remotely consider in DFS. DeFilippo hyped Westbrook’s route running ability in the preseason and is the best candidate for Foles’ expected quick targets. We currently have Westbrook projected for a 20% target share which is in line with his 19.2% target share he saw last season. I think it’s a fair projection but wouldn’t be surprised if his opportunity increased this year. Westbrook did own a very respectable 26.5% Red Zone Target Share last season which gives him decent touchdown equity in a potential high possession game. Westbrooks’ efficiency metrics were uninspiring last season but better quarterback play and scheming should help in that area.

Westbrook is the only Jacksonville receiver expected to garner any sort of ownership and he may not even crack 5%. Once you factor in Westbrook’s price tag and potential double-digit targets, he makes for a strong point-per-dollar tournament option with 100-yard + touchdown upside.

Quick Summary: Dede Westbrook is the only Jaguars receiver worth rostering and he’s best left four tournaments.

Tight End Projections

Player Team Proj ProjTar Rank ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Geoff Swaim JAC 4.04 TE38 7% 2.53 Rank 39 Rank 38 Rank 43 Rank 43
James O’Shaughnessy JAC 3.78 TE40 7% 2.53 Rank 37 Rank 36 Rank 42 Rank 37

KCC Schedule Adjusted TE DVP (‘18): Rank #2

2018 Geoff Swaim Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 11.9% (Rank #24)
RZ Target Share: 10.5% (DNQ)
Route Participation: 57.7% (DNQ)

2018 Geoff Swaim Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 1.53 (Rank #77)
ADOT: 4.7 (DNQ)
YAC per Reception: 4.9 (Rank #23)

Time is money and I’m not going to waste any money writing about the Jaguars TE situation. Geoff Swaim and James O’Shaugnessy are listed as the starters on Jacksonville’s unofficial depth chart but neither guy projects for any sort of consistent workload.

Quick Summary: It’s conceivable a Jaguars TE scores a touchdown but it’s unlikely. Use your salary elsewhere.

Defense Projections

Player Team Proj Rank Sack INT PtsAllow Home? Favorite?
Jacksonville Jaguars JAC 5.80 DST28 2.22 0.72 26.78 Y N

Jacksonville ranked sixth in defense DVOA last season but have an undesirable Week 1 matchup. Despite a strong Pressure Rate (38.1%) Jacksonville had just a middling Sack Rate (6.9%) and didn’t force many turnovers – they ranked 24th in interceptions (11) and 11th in forced fumbles (6). Kansas City’s offensive line did allow a below average Pressure Rate (38.52%) last season but Mahomes’ mobility kept them in the top half of the league in Sack Rate (4.43%).

Jacksonville’s DST will be virtually unowned and DST fantasy production is so random (heavily inflated if your team is lucky enough to score a TD) that grabbing some exposure (<5%) in tournaments makes sense despite a poor matchup.

Quick Summary: There will be weeks where it makes sense to roster Jacksonville’s defense in cash games but this is not one of them. Very minimal exposure in tournaments is fine from a game theory perspective.

Kansas City Chiefs Projections Breakdown

Quarterback Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ FD Pts/$ Y
Patrick Mahomes KCC 19.89 QB1 37.86 295.33 Rank 28 Rank 30 Rank 29 Rank 23

JAC Schedule Adjusted QB DVP (‘18): Rank #22

2018 Opportunity Metrics:
Att/Gm: 36.2 (Rank 10)
RuAtt/Gm: 3.8 (Rank #15)
DeepBall/Gm: 5.7 (Rank #1)

2018 Efficiency Metrics:
Accuracy Rating: 2.9 (Rank #14)
Air Yards/Att: 9.2 (Rank #8)
Adjusted YPA: 9.2 (Rank #1)

The opportunity metrics of Patrick Mahomes are a bit underwhelming for NFL’s top fantasy QB, but that’s because his efficiency metrics are so darn good. Kansas City ranked second in the league in Pass Success last season, first in Passing EPA (177.31), first in Offensive DVOA (34.2%), and first in Points/Drive (3.69). In other words, Mahomes’ opportunity metrics don’t look great simply because he doesn’t need many plays to score points.

Last season’s matchup between the Chiefs and Jaguars was the only time all season that Mahomes failed to throw a touchdown pass – he also threw two interceptions and was sacked once. Despite his lack of success against the Jaguars last season, I’m not overly concerned with the matchup as I simply think the Chiefs offense is too good to consistently stop. If Jacksonville does have success stopping Mahomes it will likely be by applying pressure. Jacksonville’s defense does have the ability to put some pressure on the QB (38.81% Pressure Rate) and Kansas City ranked 24th in Pressure Rate allowed last season.

Quick Summary: In terms of raw projection, Patrick Mahomes is the top quarterback play this week. His high price tag makes him an awkward fit in cash games but make sure you have plenty of tournament exposure.

Running Back Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Damien Williams KCC 13.62 RB16 45% 10% Rank 18 Rank 28 Rank 11 Rank 51
LeSean McCoy KCC 5.76 RB59 28% 2% Rank 58 Rank 65 Rank 45 Rank 58
Darwin Thompson KCC 3.60 RB75 8% 4% Rank 70 Rank 68 Rank 78 Rank 69

JAC Schedule Adjusted RB DVP (‘18): Rank #25

2018 Damien Williams Opportunity Metrics:
Opportunity Share: 29.7% (Rank #63)
RZ Opportunity Share: 44.7% (Rank #27)

2018 Damien Williams Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Created: 122 (Rank #55)
YPC: 5.1 (DNQ)
Yards Per Route: 1.86 (DNQ)

Projecting touches for the Kansas City backfield was one of the more hot-button topics this off-season as Damien Williams was at the center of the debate. Andy Reid went ahead and ended that debate by throwing another RB into the mix when the Chiefs signed LeSean McCoy to a $4M contract.

Theoretically, a RB on the top offense in the league should be valuable from a fantasy standpoint but the problem is we’re not entirely sure how the workload is going to be split. Currently, we have Damien Williams projected for 45% of KC’s carries, LeSean McCoy for 28%, and Darwin Thompson for 8%. That seems like a fairly safe projection but also a projection that could swing wildly in any direction. Damien Williams has the most upside in this backfield and there is a path to him getting 80% of the work if Reid takes a more cautious approach with working McCoy into the offense.

At one point it seemed likely that Damien Williams would be Week 1 chalk and now he’s being projected to be 4% owned on FanDuel and 3% owned on DraftKings. As I mentioned above, Williams is the KC back with the most upside and there is a legitimate chance he gets the lion’s share of RB work this week – he’s worth having some exposure to in tournaments.

Quick Summary: Why did you have to make this confusing, Andy? Damien Williams is a no go for cash games but a candidate to go overweight on in tournaments.

Wide Receiver Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Tyreek Hill KCC 17.12 WR5 24% 9.09 Rank 3 Rank 47 Rank 34 Rank 44
Sammy Watkins KCC 10.41 WR45 16% 6.06 Rank 63 Rank 71 Rank 65 Rank 24
Demarcus Robinson KCC 3.27 WR134 5% 1.89 Rank 128 Rank 129 Rank 119 Rank 124
Mecole Hardman KCC 4.50 WR120 7% 2.65 Rank 116 Rank 123 Rank 95 Rank 111
Byron Pringle KCC 1.22 WR167 2% 0.76 Rank 159 Rank 158 Rank 155 Rank 159

JAC Schedule Adjusted WR DVP (‘18): Rank #30

2018 Tyreek Hill Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 24.3% (Rank #15)
RZ Target Share: 16.3% (Rank #52)
Route Participation: 85.1% (Rank #28)

2018 Tyreek Hill Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 2.98 (Rank #4)
ADOT: 15.3 (Rank #13)
YAC per Reception: 3.8 (Rank #2)

Kansas City owned the top Explosive Pass Rate (12.46%) in the league last season and they have Tyreek Hill to thank for that. Aside from being the league’s most potent downfield threat, Hill saw plenty of targets from Mahomes with a 24.3% target share. Hill had an unimpressive four catch, seven target performance against the Jaguars for 61 yards last season but did lead the team with 131 air yards. Jacksonville’s defense ranked fourth in Explosive Pass Rating (6.88%) allowed last season and represent a tough matchup for Hill.

Sammy Watkins tied Travis Kelce for the lead in targets (8) in last season’s matchup and caught six balls for 78 yards. In the 12 games Watkins played last season he ranked third on the team with a 17.6% market share.

After Hill and Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle will fight it out for the remaining receiver snaps with the unexciting Robinson likely seeing the field most often.

Tyreek Hill is an always exciting stack candidate with Mahomes in tournaments. Hill’s price tag is enticing on FanDuel but I’m likely to leave him out of cash game rosters even though I think he’s a fine play. Sammy Watkins is one of my favorite low-priced tournament options of the week. A near 20% target share on the league’s top offense is nothing to scoff at and Watkins has an accessible price tag across the industry. He also has some touchdown upside.

Quick Summary: Neither Tyreek Hill or Sammy Watkins are primary cash game targets for me this week, but both are strong tournament targets. Watkins is currently projected to be just 1% owned on DraftKings which makes him a tremendous tournament option and an under-owned stack candidate with Patrick Mahomes.

Tight End Projections

Player Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Travis Kelce KCC 16.39 TE1 24% 9.09 Rank 1 Rank 10 Rank 1 Rank 13
Blake Bell KCC 2.56 TE51 4% 1.51 Rank 48 Rank 46 Rank 45 Rank 49

JAC Schedule Adjusted TE DVP (‘18): Rank #22

2018 Travis Kelce Opportunity Metrics:
Target Share: 26.6% (Rank #1)
RZ Target Share: 26.5% (Rank #3)
Route Participation: 77.2% (Rank #2)

2018 Travis Kelce Efficiency Metrics:
Yards Per Route: 2.97 (Rank #16)
ADOT: 9.2 (Rank #11)
YAC per Reception: 4 (Rank #2)

Travis Kelce is a freaking beast. Last season at the TE position Kelce ranked first in Target Share (26.6%) and third in Red Zone Target Share (26.5%). On top of ample opportunity, Kelce was efficient, ranking second in yards after catch per reception (4) and 11th in aDOT (9.2). Kelce currently projects as our TE1 for the week and you’ll get no argument against that from me.

Kelce shredded the Jaguars defense in Week 5 last season, catching five of eight targets for 100 yards. Tashaun Gibson was the only Jaguar who had success defending Kelce (no catches on two targets) but is no longer with the team.

Due to cheap price tags on Hunter Henry, O.J. Howard (FD), and Evan Engram (DK), Kelce is currently projected to be just the third-highest TE on the slate despite owning the slate’s top raw projection by a wide margin. Kelce is someone I want to be overweight on and is essential for me in Kansas City stacks.

Quick Summary: Travis Kelce is the top TE play of the slate and can be used confidently in all formats.

Defense Projections

Player Team Proj Rank Sack INT PtsAllow Home? Favorite?
Kansas City Chiefs KCC 7.66 DST4 2.94 1.08 23.59 N Y

There’s a reason this game has the highest total on the slate and it’s not entirely due to the Chiefs potent offense – their porous defense has something to do with it as well. Kansas City ranked 26th in defensive DVOA last season and dead last in rush DVOA.

I don’t expect the Chiefs DST to be a strong play this week but you can make a solid argument for using them in tournaments. While Kansas City was brutal against the run, they held their own in the passing game ranking 12th in pass DVOA. Most importantly, Kansas City ranked 8th in Sack Rate (7.6%) and Jacksonville allowed the seventh-highest Sack Rate (9%) in the league. If Kansas City jumps out to an early two-score game we could see a high number of Foles’ dropbacks which provides more opportunities for sacks and interceptions.

Quick Summary: There’s no reason to roster a defense from the highest total game in cash games but Chiefs DST has plenty of merit in tournaments.

DFS Recommendations

Optimal DFS Plays: Travis Kelce, Leonard Fournette

Leverage Plays: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Dede Westbrook

Secondary Plays: Nick Foles

About the Author

  • Dan Gaspar (MrTuttle05)

  • Since his addition to the RotoGrinders community, MrTuttle has been continually climbing the Grinders leaderboards and is currently ranked in Top 150 overall. He has qualified for countless live finals as well and has proven himself to be one of the best high-stakes DFS players in the industry. You can find him on Twitter @MrTuttle05.

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