NFL Grind Down Week 10: Chiefs vs. Titans

Vegas Overview

KCC @ TEN Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
TEN 6.0 48.0 21.0 230
KCC -6.0 48.0 27.0 -270

Betting Quick Take: Based on early line movement and the fact that he practiced in full on Wednesday, Patrick Mahomes seems on track to play this week. This game will likely come down to the effectiveness of the Titans’ rushing attack. If they are able to keep Mahomes on the sidelines and take advantage of a suspect Chiefs’ run defense, this game should stay competitive throughout. If they fall behind early, I’ll take my chances with the Chiefs. Ryan Tannehill has played well thus far, but could have a tough time keeping up with Mahomes in this one. I don’t have a strong take on the spread and total, but would side with the Chiefs and the under.

Chiefs -6
Confidence Level: 6 out of 10

Under 48
Confidence Level: 6 out of 10

Injury Situations

Player Team Pos Status Part Impact
Delanie Walker TEN TE Q Ankle 8
Patrick Mahomes KCC QB Q Knee 10

Injuries to Monitor:

TennesseeDelanie Walker and Corey Davis both missed practice on Thursday. Given the fact that Walker has missed the last three games, he’s likely closer to doubtful. Davis might end up being a game-time decision. Malcolm Butler was placed on IR and will miss the rest of the season. Linebackers Jayon Brown and Harold Landry are both listed as questionable.

Kansas CityPatrick Mahomes practiced in full on Wednesday. It sounds like he is healthy enough to play, but he still needs to get cleared by team doctors. Cornerback Kendall Fuller is listed as questionable. Defensive ends Alex Okafor and Frank Clark are both listed as questionable.

Other News and Notes: The Titans are not dead in the AFC South just yet, but need a win to avoid falling to 4-6 on the season. The Chiefs currently sit atop the AFC West and will be there regardless of how this game turns out. As for the weather, it should be around 60 degrees with winds close to 10 MPH.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: The pace of this game will likely hinge on whether or not Patrick Mahomes is able to suit up. If he’s active, we can expect the Chiefs to play at a faster pace and potentially score more points. If playing from behind, the Titans will be forced to pick up their pace as well. In terms of their season-long pace, the Chiefs are ranked in the top nine in seconds per play and situation-neutral pace, while the Titans are ranked in the bottom nine in seconds per play and situation-neutral pace. As with many games in the NFL, the pace of this one will come down to game script.

Tennessee Titans Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Rank Proj ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Ryan Tannehill TEN 16.76 QB19 35.07 256.01 Rank 10 Rank 2 Rank 9 Rank 2
RB Team Rank Proj ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Derrick Henry TEN 14.63 RB14 71% 4% Rank 8 Rank 17 Rank 10 Rank 14
Dion Lewis TEN 7.43 RB35 16% 9% Rank 23 Rank 20 Rank 8 Rank 23
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Corey Davis TEN 11.55 WR40 19% 7.09 Rank 13 Rank 13 Rank 8 Rank 14
A.J. Brown TEN 11.79 WR39 20% 7.46 Rank 17 Rank 7 Rank 4 Rank 9
Adam Humphries TEN 9.35 WR52 16% 5.97 Rank 41 Rank 11 Rank 6 Rank 1
Delanie Walker TEN 9.91 TE8 16% 5.97 Rank 7 Rank 4 Rank 4 Rank 8

KCC Adj. Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 15/RB Rank 2/WR Rank 28/TE Rank 19

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Snap Share (L3 Games): Henry 64%, Lewis 36%
Rush Share (L3 Games): Henry 71%, Lewis 8%
Target Share (L3 Games): Henry 5%, Lewis 7%

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:
O-Line Adjusted Line Yards: TEN 24th
D-Line Adjusted Line Yards: KC 30th
DVOA against the run: KC 28th

The Titans’ main goal in this game should be to give Derrick Henry 30 carries. There are a lot of reasons for this. We’ll start with the most obvious — the way to beat the Chiefs is to keep Patrick Mahomes on the sidelines. Additionally, the matchup sets up a lot better for the running game than it does for the passing game. On the season, the Chiefs are ranked 28th in DVOA against the run and 30th in defensive adjusted line yards. The Titans’ offensive line hasn’t exactly created a ton of running room for Henry (24th in offensive adjusted line yards), but this is one of their best matchups to date.

When building tournament lineups, one strategy is to project the different ways a game could play out. Even though the spread continues to get bigger, the Titans could still realistically win this game. It’s not the most likely scenario, but it’s certainly possible. If the Titans win this game, it will be thanks to a big outing from Henry, who tends to come alive this time of year. Over the last three games, he has played on 64% of the snaps and has handled 71% of the rush share. He has 25-touch upside, but only in the right game script. If the Titans fall behind early, we will see a lot of Dion Lewis in the second half.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Snap Share (L3 Games): Davis 71%, Brown 64%, Humphries 53%, Smith 76%
Target Share (L3 Games): Davis 19%, Brown 19%, Humphries 14%, Smith 15%
Air Yards Share (L3 Games): Davis 26%, Brown 24%, Humphries 13%, Smith 13%

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:
DVOA against the pass: KC 4th
DYAR: Tannehill +231 (17th)
QBR: Tannehill 49.4 (20th)

The more likely scenario for this game (assuming Mahomes suits up) is that the Chiefs build a lead and force the Titans to air it out. Tannehill has provided a nice boost for this offense. He has seven total touchdowns over the last three games and has averaged 23.5 fantasy points during that stretch. His efficiency metrics have been solid (over 211 DYAR), but this is far from an ideal matchup. The Chiefs are ranked fourth in DVOA against the pass. Tannehill is a borderline top eight point-per-dollar option across the industry, but I wouldn’t get any exposure unless building 20 or more tournament lineups.

We have to take a wait and see approach with the receiving corps. Corey Davis and Delanie Walker both missed Thursday’s practice. If Walker can’t suit up, Jonnu Smith will become a full-time player for the fourth straight game. In his previous three outings, he has played on 76% of the snaps and has seen a 15% target share. That’s more than reasonable for a tight end at his price point. If Walker is out, Smith will be my favorite target from the Titans’ passing game. The Chiefs have been tough on receivers, but have allowed the sixth most schedule adjusted fantasy points to tight ends this season.

With Tannehill under center, it’s been a pretty even split in terms of target share and air yards share between Davis and A.J. Brown. If Davis is active, this is a situation that I would look to avoid. Yes, they are both cheap across the industry, but the Chiefs have been very tough on receivers, allowing the sixth fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points this season. If Davis is ruled out, Brown would step into a full-time role and could see north of a 25% target share. The volume alone would make him one of the better point-per-dollar options at receiver. Adam Humphries would have some appeal on DraftKings ($3,500) and Yahoo ($10) as a punt if Davis ends up being out.

Team Quick Summary: If you are only building one lineup this week, you won’t need any exposure to the Titans. Derrick Henry has a great matchup and could see 25+ touches in the right game script, but that’s not the most likely outcome. He’s best suited as a low-owned tournament play. As 6-point underdogs, the Titans might be forced to abandon the running game in the second half. Ryan Tannehill isn’t a terrible value at quarterback, but I have more interest in A.J. Brown (if Corey Davis is out) and Jonnu Smith (if Delanie Walker is out).

Kansas City Chiefs Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Patrick Mahomes KCC 21.76 QB2 37.72 297.52 Rank 3 Rank 5 Rank 16 Rank 3
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Damien Williams KCC 13.37 RB19 50% 9% Rank 7 Rank 4 Rank 6 Rank 7
LeSean McCoy KCC 6.62 RB38 29% 4% Rank 25 Rank 27 Rank 26 Rank 27
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Tyreek Hill KCC 17.72 WR7 24% 8.95 Rank 8 Rank 34 Rank 50 Rank 33
Sammy Watkins KCC 12.69 WR31 19% 7.24 Rank 27 Rank 24 Rank 29 Rank 25
Demarcus Robinson KCC 8.8 WR57 13% 4.95 Rank 35 Rank 33 Rank 14 Rank 43
Travis Kelce KCC 16.25 TE1 23% 8.76 Rank 1 Rank 7 Rank 8 Rank 5

TEN Adj. Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 17/RB Rank 16/WR Rank 22/TE Rank 10

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Snap Share (Week 9): Williams 72%, McCoy 10%
Rush Share (Week 9): Williams 67%, McCoy 17%
Target Share (Week 9): Williams 6%, McCoy 3%

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:
O-Line Adjusted Line Yards: KC 31st
D-Line Adjusted Line Yards: TEN 6th
DVOA against the run: TEN 3rd

There has been a turning of the tide in the Chiefs’ backfield. For a while, it was basically a three-way timeshare. After a few weeks of that, LeSean McCoy separated himself as the number one. He got most of the work in Week 8’s game against the Packers until he fumbled late in the second half and ultimately cost the Chiefs a chance at winning the game. Damien Williams played every snap after that fumble and backed it up by playing 72% of the snaps last week against the Vikings. He had the 91-yard touchdown run, which may have cemented his job as the lead back for the time being. The Titans have been tough against the run (third in DVOA), but have allowed the sixth most receiving yards (433) to enemy backs. Williams is clearly the best pass catcher in this backfield. Ultimately, his fantasy appeal hinges on what happens with the other potential values at running back.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Snap Share (L3 Games): Hill 92%, Watkins 88%, Robinson 61%, Kelce 96%
Target Share (L3 Games): Hill 22%, Watkins 26%, Robinson 10%, Kelce 26%
Air Yards Share (L3 Games): Hill 54%, Watkins 22%, Robinson 7%, Kelce 23%

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:
DVOA against the pass: TEN 20th
DYAR: Mahomes +779 (2nd)
QBR: Mahomes 77.0 (3rd)

I am writing this with the assumption that Patrick Mahomes is able to suit up this week. Andy Reid did a great job of game-planning with Matt Moore under center, but this offense is infinitely better with Mahomes at the helm. He is ranked second in the league in DYAR (+779) and third in total QBR (3rd). He has an ability to evade pressure and either make plays downfield or take off and gain big chunks of yards on the ground. I don’t really have to go into his skillset because anyone that has watched him play this season knows that he’s the best quarterback in football. DFS players tend to take wait and see approaches with players coming off injuries, so we have the opportunity to play Mahomes at middling ownership against a Titans’ defense that is ranked 20th in DVOA against the pass.

I touched on the 91-yard touchdown run from Damien Williams last week, but did anyone else notice Tyreek Hill catch up to him after Williams had a 20-yard head start? Hill’s speed is unmatched on the football field, so it really doesn’t matter if he’s facing a good secondary. The Titans have allowed the 12th fewest schedule adjusted fantasy points to receivers, but Hill is an outlier. If Mahomes is under center, Hill deserves to be considered one of the best tournament plays of the week. Sammy Watkins has reclaimed the number two receiver role over the last two games, playing on 88% of the snaps and seeing a 26% target share. Obviously, Moore was under center during that stretch, but it’s at least promising that Watkins is getting volume.

For now, we can avoid DeMarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman. We’ll save them for tournament fliers in single-game slates. The tight end position seems to get worse and worse every single week, which is strange because it was one of the deepest positions at the start of the season. If spending up at tight end, Travis Kelce is my favorite target. Even though the production hasn’t followed, he has racked up a 26% target share and a 23% air yards share over the last three games. Furthermore, he has 14 targets in the redzone, which is tied for the most of any tight end in the NFL this season. Positive touchdown regression could be in store the rest of the way and the Titans have been mediocre at defending tight ends (15th).

Team Quick Summary: When the Chiefs are at full strength, their entire offense is viable when it comes to DFS. The Titans will try to slow the pace of this game down, but that could be tough if Patrick Mahomes is able to build a lead. Assuming he suits up, he makes a strong tournament play at middling ownership. Depending on how the running back position shakes out, Damien Williams could be worth a look in tournaments. Tyreek Hill has slate-breaking upside, while Travis Kelce is primed for a breakout game.

DFS Recommendations

Optimal DFS Plays: Travis Kelce

Leverage Plays: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Jonnu Smith (if Walker is out), A.J. Brown (if Davis is out)

Secondary Plays: Damien Williams, Derrick Henry

About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

    Interview after $100,000 Win

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