Projections sourced from Razzball’s own Rudy Gamble. Make sure to subscribe to Razzball suite of tools to help you dominate your leagues, best value on the inter-web.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) @ New England Patriots (10-2)
O/U 49 , NE -3 (favorites)
Implied Score: NE 26 – KC 23
Patrick Mahomes takes his offense into Foxborough searching for his first career win against the New England Patriots. Mahomes has thrown for 7 TDs / 2 INT / 647 yds in his two matchups against Belichick, last season. Pat posted 34.5 fantasy points during their regular season matchup (wk 6) and 27.9 points in an overtime loss during the conference championship. Andy Reid has faired well against New England in recent history, averaging 39.7 games over his previous 3 bouts against Bill (1 game with Alex Smith at QB). But Big Red and Mahomes have yet to face a New England defense playing at their current historic level. NE is allowing the fewest points per game, 2nd fewest total offensive yards per game, 2nd fewest passing yards/g, the worst completion percentage in the NFL (55.2%), the fewest passing TDs (8), most INTs (20), and the leagues worst passer rating (57.3). Since returning from his mid season injury, Patrick is averaging 21.5 fantasy points over his last three matchups. Mahomes is a bet on talent and trust-in-coaching play for season long, but is a cash game fade for DFS as the 2nd highest priced QB on the main slate. A contrarian option in tournament lineups as many will fade the matchup against NE. The Pats have only allowed 2 QB finishes in the top 20 this season, with both games coming on the road (QB3 wk 9 at BAL & QB1 wk 13 at HOU). Look for Belichick to have his troops ready to bounce back after getting embarrassed in prime time.
Lucky for us, we are not faced with a tough decision at the running back position in KC. Backup RB Darrel Williams has been placed on IR for the rest of the season (hamstring ), Damien Williams has yet to find the practice field again for a 3rd straight week and is trending towards another inactive. This leaves veteran LeSean McCoy and rookie running back Darwin Thompson to face-off against a Patriots defense allowing the fewest rushing TDs, and 5th fewest rushing yards per game (94.5). The Chiefs signed their ex-girlfriend Spencer Ware for depth, but don’t expect him to be much of a factor this week. Darwin Thompson outperformed LeSean versus Oakland in week 12. Darwin handled the majority of the carries (50%), taking his 11 carries for 44 yards and a tuddie. While McCoy handled only 6 carries (27%), but salvaged his day with a touchdown. Expect a true running back by committee. Paired that with a tough matchup and the only way your day is salvaged, with either back, is if one falls into the end zone. Darwin Thompson makes for an interesting contrarian build in DFS at basement level pricing on draftkings ($4,000). Vegas has the Chiefs scoring 3 touchdowns this weekend and there’s a good chance one is on the ground. The Chiefs have scored 3 rushing touchdowns over their previous three matchups against NE, and KC is 10th in the league this season in rushing touchdowns (averaging exactly 1.0 TDs/game). Both McCoy and Darwin are desperation plays in season long.
Bill Belichick is notorious for taking away the #1 offensive threat on opposing teams, and this week it will be Travis Kelce. Dating back to 2016 (4 games), Kelce has failed to exceed 61 receiving yards against Belichick. He is averaging 36.8 yards per game and only has 1 receiving TD. Travis has been the most consistent fantasy pass catcher for KC this season, averaging 17.5 ppr points per game. In season long, many are forced to start Kelce due to the wasteland at the TE position in fantasy. Rudy has Kelce projected high this week, as TE2 and 17.88 fantasy points. I’m going to take the under on that projection this week, and look for a pivot in DFS with Kelce as the #1 priced option on the main slate ($6,200). Give me the discount with Darren Waller ($5,600) AND Hunter Henry ($5,100), or upside punts with Jack Doyle ($4,600) and Mike Geisicki ($4,000).
With Travis Kelce the expected main focus of the Belichick defense, look for this to open up single coverage for the Chiefs wideouts. Tyreek Hill has exploited the Pats defense, with his speed in their previous two regular season matchups, erupting for 142 receiving yards in week 6 last season and 133 receiving yards in week one of the 2017 season. Hill comes in as Rudys WR8 this week in PPR formats and Watkins WR51. Sammy Watkins broke loose for 114 yards in last years conference championship game, and is operating as the clear cut #2 WR in KC this season (2nd highest snap count and targets over their previous 4 games). Watkins has disappeared since his hot start to the season, averaging a measly 4.8 fantasy points since Mahomes returned from injury. It’s difficult to trust Sammy in our lineups, the Patriots have yet to allow a WR finish in the top 25 dating back to week 8. Even with the domination from the Texans on Sunday Night Football, Hopkins finished as the WR25 in PPR scoring. Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, and Byron Pringle are not seeing enough consistent volume to be relied upon in our fantasy lineups. Hardman provides the most boom-bust upside of the three.
Tom Brady is 5-0 at home this year and his offense is averaging 27.6 points per game this season. TB12 comes in as Rudys projected QB10 this week, with 18.13 fantasy points. The Chiefs passing defense is the strength of this unit and have tightened down in recent weeks. Allowing only a QB29 (Rivers) and QB21 (Carr) finishes in their previous two matchups, but are allowing the 12th most fantasy points to the QB position this season. With a rushing game ranking towards the bottom of the league in efficiency (YPC and RuYd/G), Brady has had to throw the rock and ranks 2nd in the league in pass attempts per game (41). If KC is able to exploit the Patriots defense like Bill Belichick did last Sunday, then Brady will be forced to continue tossing the rock. History shows that Andy Reid has been able to put up points agains this coaching staff. Lock Brady in as a top 12, QB1, play this weekend in Vegas’ highest projected point total.
Belichick is notorious for finding and exploiting a teams weakness, and the Chiefs have a glaring weakness in the rushing defense. The Chiefs are allowing the 2nd best yards per carry (5.1), 3rd most rushing yards/game (141.3), 2nd most rushing 1st downs (91), and 7th most rushing TDs (12). They have allowed a top 18 RB fantasy finish in 9 out of their last 10 games, with 6 of them being top 10 fantasy finishes. The Chiefs DST has leaked the leagues most fantasy points to the running back position. Despite the lack of effeciency, 4 fewest yards per carry (3.5) and 12th fewest rushing yards/g, Belichick has not abandoned the run game this season. The Patriots ground attack is averaging the 8th most rushing attempts per game. James White leads this backfield in snaps (372 White – 330 Michel – 195 Burkhead), but trails Sony Michel in carries (184 Michel – 53 White – 41 Burkhead). After falling behind early last week against Houston, Belichick turned to James White on the ground. White finished with more carries than Michel and racked up a total of 8 catches on 11 targets, returning a RB1 finish in PPR scoring. The Patriots lack receiving threats at tight end and outside of Julian Edelman, look for White to remain a valuable fantasy asset this weekend. James is quietly the top 15 PPR scoring fantasy running back this season and should be viewed as a RB2 with RB1 upside, Rudy projects White as the RB19 in week 14. Sony Michel has lacked the efficiency (3.5 yards per carry) and red zone looks this season, making him a hard to trust asset in the first round of fantasy playoffs. Despite the lack of efficiency the Patriots still hand the ball to Michel, recording double digit carries in all 3 games since their week 10 bye (13.3 carries) and is averaging 15.3 carries per game on the season. Michels lack of touchdowns, receiving usage and efficiency make him a low-end RB3/Flex play, but with risky-RB2 upside in a plus matchup against the Chiefs.
Julian Edelman is the only receiving fantasy options that you can trust in New England. Edelman is 2nd in the NFL in targets, 3rd in receptions, and 6th in PPR fantasy scoring this season. Despite the tough matchup on paper, the Chiefs have only allowed one top 40 WR finish dating back to week 8, Edelman is a bet on volume WR1 this weekend in a game where the Patriots are projected to score 3 TDs. Jules comes in as Rudys WR3 in PPR formats. Jakobi Meyers is 2nd on the team in targets and receptions over the Patriots last two games, averaging 8 targets – 3.5 receptions – 9.5 fantasy points per game, but should be viewed as a desperation WR4 play with Sanu back in the fold. Mohammed Sanu makes his 2nd start since returning from his ankle sprain, and was 2nd on the team in receiving yards in his return last week against Houston. Sanu has only recorded 1 viable fantasy outing since joining the Patriots, week 9 at BAL, and has yet to exceed 5 fantasy points outside of that game. Stay away from any of the NE pass catchers outside of Edelman.
Leave your lineup questions below in the comments or @ me on twitter. Good luck in week 14!