Colts at Chiefs (-5.5) 57
S Eric Berry
- Only played 91 snaps, and the defense has been worse with him on the field.
WR Sammy Watkins
- Chiefs average 10.03 YPA with Watkins on the field, 8.68 with him off of it.
- Travis Kelce Gets a three percent target share boost.
- Tyreek Hill gets a two percent target share boost without Watkins.
RB Spencer Ware
- Chiefs run the ball eight percent more when Spencer Ware has been off the field.
- Run Success rate drops 12 percent with Ware on the field.
S Malik Hooker
- Yards per carry jump from 3.91 to 4.92 with Hooker off the field.
WR Ryan Grant
- Colts have been better across the Board with Grant off the field.
- Colts pass 72.4 percent of the time Ryan Grant is on the field, just 50 percent of the time he is off the field.
- Dontrelle Inman gets an eight percent target share bump.
DT Tyquan Lewis
- Colts have a 5.7 percent explosive run percentage against with Lewis off the Field, 1.5 percent with him on the field.
- Sack percentage is 8.1 percent with him on the field, 5.8 percent with him off the field
DT Denico Autry
- Pass success rate against drops five percent with him on the field
- Explosive run rate jumps 2.7 percent with him off the field.
This is the highest total game on the slate and the Colts run more zone defense than any other team in the NFL.
The future MVP of the league currently is the highest price quarterback on the slate, as he has been all year, but he deserves to be. Averaging 28.94 DK points per game, throwing for 318.5 yards and 3.12 touchdowns per game, Mahomes has been a fantasy god this season. He takes on a Colts team that likes to push the pace and isn’t scared to get into shootouts, as the Colts run the third most plays in the NFL. While the Colts zone is designed to keep things in front of them, Mahomes has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL versus zone coverage and will be able to take the top off, something the Texans were unable to do. Also, his underneath playmakers such as Hill and Williams have the speed to punish the Colts on easy completions with run-after-catch opportunities. With soft pricing, I am making it a point to get Mahomes in my lineups.
A shootout is likely in Arrowhead, and Luck’s offensive line has been one of the best and should give him time to pick apart the weak Chiefs secondary. The Chiefs are sacking the quarterback 3.31 times per game, the most in the NFL, but Luck has only been sacked three or more times twice the entire season. No team allows more pass attempts or passing yards per game against than the Chiefs, while Luck is 95th percentile in pass attempts and 90th percentile in passing yards. Luck should rack up the volume and yards in this one. Luck is a good salary saving option from Mahomes, as both quarterbacks should sling the rock and put up points in this one.
He is simply too cheap, and if Spencer Ware is out, he becomes a lock button play. He has been dynamic in the passing game and a major part of the offense. In the last three games of the season (not including blowout versus Oakland), Williams saw 15 percent of the targets, catching 17 of 18 passes for 127 total yards and two touchdowns. When Spencer Ware was out of for the Chiefs, he played 73 percent and 64 percent of the snaps. If Ware remains out, Williams is a lock button, if Ware plays, Williams is still a strong option as the pass catching, explosive back. The Colts funnel targets to running backs, allowing 8.75 targets per game to backs a ninth percentile score, and Williams getting increased passing volume could mean a ceiling game for the speedy back.
Simply put, he is too expensive, for too small of a role and likely is second on the depth chart. If you’re playing him, it’s for touchdown upside, but there are better options, as Williams is cheaper on FanDuel and just 600 more on DraftKings.
A minimum price punt play if Ware is out. In Eeek 16 without Ware, he saw 31 percent of the snaps and three targets. He, historically, has seen most of his production in the passing game and with the Colts funneling targets to running backs, is a deep sleeper punt play, though likely best reserved for a Saturday only or showdown slate.
Marlon Mack has 24-or-more carries in three of his last four games, the one game he didn’t was versus the New York Giants, as the Colts were in catchup mode in that one. He takes on a Chiefs team allowing the highest success rate against in the NFL at 58 percent and is in the fourth percentile in points allowed to the position. They have also been decimated through the air, giving up 55.94 receiving yards per game, but Mack hasn’t seen more than four targets in a single game this season. While the matchup is good, Mack has been game script dependent. If you think the Colts are going to win, and Mahomes is going to struggle, as many do in their first playoff game, Mack makes for a good contrarian play. If you think the right team is favored and the Chiefs control the game, Mack is likely a solid fade.
If you don’t like Mack, you should like Hines. Going up 21-0 completely took the pass catching back out of the game. I mentioned with Mack above how the Chiefs give up over 55 yards per game to backs in the air as well as 7.31 targets. The last three games that were close, back-and-forth affairs, Hines finished scored 14.3, 10.5, and 14.5 DK points, never seeing less than five targets. After busting a lot of lineups last week, Hines makes for a strong bounce-back GPP play at a near minimum price.
Sixty-six of Hill’s 133 targets on the season have come against zone coverage, his next closest has been man coverage, seeing 31 of his targets. The Colts play more zone coverage than any team in the NFL, and Mahomes has looked Hills frequently in zone coverage. Hill has an aDot of 18.4 yards against zone, catching 43 passes for five touchdowns and 602 yards, though Mahomes has thrown four interceptions when targeting Hill in zone. Hill has a tough matchup on paper versus a Colts team that has allowed fewer fantasy points than any other to opponents’ top wide receivers. Even though Hill will kick inside to the slot 45 percent of the time, he will face off against Kenny Moore, who has only allowed one completion on a go route this entire season. Hill is the kind of guy who has the kind of speed where matchups don’t matter but look for the Colts to gameplan to take him away. He is much more of a GPP than cash play for me this week.
Watkins has big numbers across the board this year, though 22 of his 40 receptions have come against zone coverage and his aDot climbs by two yards against zone coverage finishing the regular season with a 115.6 WR rating. In 2017 with the Rams Watkins had a 147.1 WR rating versus zone coverage, compared to just 74.1 vs man coverage. Taking it back even further in 2016, versus the Bills Sammy Watkins had a 133.1 WR rating versus zone coverage compared to a 58.9 rating versus man coverage. In short, Watkins has destroyed zone coverage his entire career and faces the most zone heavy team in the NFL. If Watkins is able to go, he is one of my favorite GPP targets on the slate as he will come with no ownership and has historically crushed the Colts defensive scheme.
If Watkins is out, Conley should play 95 plus percent of the snaps. If Watkins is good to go, that number drops to about 50 percent of the snaps. Conley’s target share jumps from 5.9 percent to 11.5 percent when Watkins is off the field. He is a punt play if Watkins is out only as exposure to the highest total game.
Hilton was well on his way to smashing last week before the Colts got up 21-0 and took their foot off the gas. The last four weeks of the season, Hilton saw 36 percent of the air yards and 23 percent of the targets, leading the team with a 13.8 aDot. So far this season, the Chiefs have allowed 40.7 percent of the yards against them on passes 14+ yards down the field. Fire up TY Hilton with confidence this week.
Ryan Grant is likely out, and after winning our very own Matt Dickason a lot of money last weekend, Inman is in play again this week. The Chiefs are the worst team in the NFL against WR2s in target share and yards allowed, so Inman could see a volume boost to match his price increase. This game makes a ton of sense to stack and Inman is great for lineups with those builds.
Kelce has 20 more targets against zone coverage than the next closet Chief, finishing the season with 86 targets versus zone coverage. On the season, the Colts have been a funnel versus the tight end, with 19 percent of the targets against them going to the tight end, surrendering 83 yards per game to the position. Kelce is going to be fed the ball versus a team that hasn’t been able to stop tight ends. The last four weeks of the season Kelce saw 24 percent of the targets and 30 percent of the air yards. Kelce already gets as much volume as any tight end in the league, is arguably the best tight end in the league, and the opposing defense won’t be able to stop him. You have to pay up to get him but doing so makes a lot of sense.
The Chiefs have allowed 98.4 yards per game to tight ends this season and are dead last in fantasy points allowed to the position this year. Ebron has a ridiculous 15 total touchdowns in 17 games this season, and despite only eclipsing 100 yards once this season, faces the defense that could bump that up to twice. Ebron’s biggest detractor is his price, where I much prefer him on FanDuel due to his touchdown upside, but the juicy matchup puts him in play in all formats.
The Chiefs average 11.9 fantasy points per game at home compared to 4.6 on the road. They have done so on the back of generating pressure with Chris Jones, Justin Houston, and Dee Ford. The Colts offensive line has the strength to match them up front and if they can prevail the Chiefs defense will be in major trouble. Outside of a contrarian GPP play, I would leave them alone.
I don’t believe that Mahomes is going to struggle in his first playoff game and I cannot get on board with playing the defense against him.
Eliot Crist is the Sports Product Manager for The Quant Edge.He is a fantasy analyst with a background in scouting, analytics, and fantasy research. Formerly he has contributed at PFF, 4for4, Bleacher Report, Powerhour, and NDT Scouting. Eliot combines watching tape with analytics to try and take angles that other analysts aren’t to gain an edge for you.