Finishing Sunday’s Conference games for the 2022 season- the DraftKings showdown, Cincinnati @Kansas City. A lot of talk coming into this one has been on the ankle of Patrick Mahomes, which makes sense. The way the Chiefs offense had to run after his injury was apparent, and against a stronger roster they could have easily lost that game. He does look alot better this week from the clips I’ve seen in the week, but it has to be considered here. The O/U here is 48 points, with the Chiefs currently around a 2 point favorite.
DraftKings Conference Showdown 2022 – Cincinnati @Kansas City Captain Picks
Travis Kelce ($16,500 Capt/ $11,000 Flex)
Kelce is nearly bulletproof. Even last week, with a hobbled Mahomes throwing the ball, a simplified playbook (run it, or give it to Kelce) the Jaguars couldn’t do much to stop him. Obviously, the Bengals defense is a stronger unit than the Jaguars, but the way that Kelce is schemed open (especially in the redzone) he has a safe floor and a high ceiling here. **NOTE: Kelce is a game-time decision with a back injury, but reports I have seen indicate he should be a full go**
Joe Burrow ($15,900 Capt/ $10,600 Flex)
Burrow had a fantastic performance against the Bills, especially considering the conditions. Has the receiving talent to really put up a big score here, and has also been fine to tuck and run if a play breaks down. The strength of the Bengals receivers, going with Burrow as CPT you don’t need to worry about ‘getting the right one’ that has a big game. The Chiefs’ defensive line brings pressure, but their secondary isn’t a strong unit- Burrow should be able to pick it apart.
Ja’Marr Chase ($15,600 Capt/ $10,400 Flex)
Chase pretty much always gets his in the Bengals passing game, with his ability to run himself into space- regardless of the coverage that he gets. His chemistry with Burrow is undeniable, and he has the floor and ceiling to be considered as CPT. Among the safest players on the slate against this Chiefs secondary.
DraftKings Conference Showdown 2022 – Cincinnati @Kansas City Flex Picks
Patrick Mahomes ($11,400 Flex)
Mahomes clearly was suffering against Buffalo last week after suffering an ankle injury, but he is off the injury report for this game. With the way that the Bengals managed to find success on their defensive line, Mahomes will need to be back to being mobile here. With the impact of his injury, I’m not looking to add him as a CPT play here, but I’m fine with him as a flex play.
Joe Mixon ($9,800 Flex)
Last week against Buffalo I had Mixon as a volume play. I was worried about him behind his banged-up offensive line and the Buffalo defensive line, but he had a great game. The Chiefs defensive line are, on paper at least, a weaker unit. With the receiving ability of the Bengals offense, Mixon is often overlooked, but he has genuine upside and value on the slate.
Tee Higgins ($8,400 Flex)
Higgins is an effective receiver, but has really shown his floor in recent weeks. Despite having 17 targets in his last 3 games, he has only caught 8 passes for 72 yards. The result of that is going to be Higgins being underowned on the slate. Chase and Higgins should both be able to be productive in this one against a struggling Chiefs secondary.
Jerick McKinnon ($6,600 Flex)
At the start of the week, I was worried about McKinnon as I expected Clyde Edwards-Helaire to be back in the fold, which would mean splitting passing work. But, with CEH still on the IR, McKinnon should again have PPR value on the slate. With Mahomes (hopefully) not needing as much protection either, McKinnon has scoring potential. But, with how Pacheco ran last week, I prefer him here.
Isiah Pacheco ($6,400 Flex)
When the Chiefs were struggling with Mahomes’ injury, they handed the ball off to Pacheco who was running fantastically. With McKinnon priced nearly the same on the slate, and after his recent scoring run, I could see alot of the field leaning towards him instead. As a result, I’m happy to pivot to Pacheco here. If the Chiefs are forced to move the chains on the ground, Pacheco will be the play out of the backfield.
Juju Smith-Schuster ($5,400 Flex)
This season just hasn’t been it for Smith-Schuster. Hasn’t really done too much outside of a few games. Has 10 games with less than 50 receiving yards, including his last four. With his low floor, it’s hard to really decide to pay up here ahead of Toney who has alot more upside.
Hayden Hurst ($5,200 Flex)
Hurst has put together some solid performances recently. The Bengals have brought in some additional (blocking) TEs, which frees up Hurst as a receiver. The Chiefs defense have struggled to limit TE production, and Hurst has had a consistent 6 targets per game. With that workload he has been getting around 40ish yards- not good, but not bad. If he manages to fall into the endzone though he will be a nice mid-price option on the slate.
Tyler Boyd ($5,000 Flex)
Boyd has been struggling with some minor injuries, which combined with being the WR3 in the offense has robbed him of his floor and ceiling. The pricing makes him a tough play here. It’s going to need him to get into the endzone to be effective, only going to play him in stacks with Burrow here.
Kadarius Toney ($4,800 Flex)
Toney is a livewire in the Chiefs offense, had a season-high 7 targets last week, but didn’t manage to break off any big gains. If Mahomes is limited, it’s going to mean the Chiefs lean on their playmakers to do something with a short pass- perfect for Toney. Toney is my preferred Chiefs receiver with the upside he has in this offense.
Samaje Perine ($4,600 Flex)
Perine doesn’t get a full workload, but he does still get carries and (more importantly with DK’s PPR scoring) targets in the offense. During the regular season, Perine was often cycled into the offense around the endzone, which gives him some appeal on the slate. If Mixon were to go down or struggle, Perine would be the next man up. At the price, worth throwing into some lineups.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling/ Mecole Hardman ($3,600/ $3,200 Flex)
MVS has been the same as most of the Chiefs receivers this season- inconsistent. He has punt potential on the slate, but it’s hard to get too excited with his floor being near zero. With Hardman back too, that is likely to cut into his snap count. Hardman himself is set to play in his first game since the start of November. Has the ability to score on any snap he is on the field, but can see his opportunities being limited in his first game back. Both are just GPP plays for me.
Justin Watson/ Noah Gray ($2,200/ $1,400 Flex)
Weird to group these two as they don’t play in the same position but these are two REAL punts on the slate. Watson has seen the field a decent amount, but that hasn’t translated to targets and production. Has the ability to break off a long reception, but the floor is even lower than MVS/ Hardman (and that’s really saying something).
Gray could end up being a chalky pivot for the field if Kelce were forced out of the game (last I saw he was a game-time decision with his back issue). In a situation where Kelce is out or limited, Gray has shown that he can step up in the offense. Even if Kelce is fine, Gray has been on the field in the redzone and could pop up for a score here.
DraftKings Conference Showdown 2022 – Cincinnati @Kansas City Kickers and DSTs
The kickers here are both very much in play, with both able to convert from deep and accurate. At the price, you can’t find a better floor. Not really much more needs to be said. Of the two I’d rather Harrison Butker ($4,200) over Evan McPherson ($4,000), but it’s a small margin.
The defenses feel out of consideration for me on the slate. The Chiefs DST ($3,800) have managed to bring pressure on the QB (primarily through Chris Jones) but they haven’t managed to consistently turn that into sacks and turnovers. The Bengals offensive line has obviously been hit through injury, but Burrow should be able to move around enough to avoid the Chiefs pass-rush. The Bengals DST ($3,400) are a little bit more tempting here, with a cheaper price point. The thing is, despite the price point, the Bengals haven’t really managed to do too much for fantasy this season. If Mahomes is hobbled, they could make some plays, but I’d prefer to take a punt elsewhere.
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Image Credit: Katie Stratman – USA TODAY Sports