We close out Week 11 with a phenomenal Monday Night Football matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a rematch of Super Bowl LVII between these two teams. The best part is that both teams are coming off their bye week so they’re certainly well rested. The Kansas City Chiefs are 7-2 but coming off some lackluster offensive performances against the Denver Broncos and then against the Miami Dolphins in Germany. The Philadelphia Eagles are sitting at 8-1, in complete control of their own destiny in the NFC with their lone loss randomly coming against the New York Jets. But they are coming off their bye week and they’re about to engage in a brutal portion of their schedule that will see them face the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and Seattle Seahawks over the next month. This matchup has been circled on everyone’s calendar ever since the 2023 schedule was announced so let’s dig into the NFL DFS Showdown lineup strategies and top plays!
Spread: Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
Over/Under: 45.5 Points
Weather: It sucks, but there is rain in the forecast. There will be rain and showers throughout the game as of the early forecast Sunday night so this is one to monitor throughout the day. Temperatures will be in the low 40’s which both teams are likely used to with wind gusts ranging from 10-15mph.
I don’t believe Chiefs have any key players that are in danger of missing this game. Their injury report consists of nobody carrying an injury designation with a ton of players that logged full practice sessions on Saturday. Their inactives on Monday will mostly be healthy scratches.
NFL DFS MVP/Captain
Please try to keep in mind these two teams are the best in the league. There are at least eight players we could consider at Captain and that’s the minimum. So I’m going to list my preferred options at Captain but you are more than welcome to choose whoever you want.
Initially I only had three players listed in this section. Mahomes was not in it. But after assessing the player field and wanting to add a fourth, it just didn’t make sense to write in someone like Rashee Rice over Mahomes. So I’ll lean into the chalk and put both quarterbacks in this section for this game. Prior to the Eagles’ bye week, they had given up 771 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns to the likes of Sam Howell and Dak Prescott. Mahomes didn’t light it up in this matchup for the Super Bowl but he did finish with 182 passing yards, three touchdowns through the air, and 44 rushing yards. He hasn’t been as explosive of late, but keep in mind he had an illness in that loss to Denver and it may have lingered into the game against Miami. We know he can spread the ball around and still break the slate and this Eagles defense has been prone to giving up yardage to lesser quarterbacks. After long consideration, I realized I’d be an idiot leaving the best player in the world out of this section.
You all know I love quarterbacks that offer rushing upside. Hurts usually has passing volume and rushing upside in the form of the Tush Push aka Brotherly Shove. He has seven rushing touchdowns already on the season which certainly elevate his floor and ceiling in this matchup. Hurts has posted 25+ fantasy points on DraftKings in seven-of-nine games this year so he fits the profile of what we’re looking for at Captain. The Chiefs have been very tough on opposing quarterbacks this year as nobody has thrown for 300+ yards on this defense. Let’s not forget, in last year’s Super Bowl, Hurts did through for over 300 yards and rushed for three touchdowns against the Chiefs and he’s hungry to avenge that loss.
I can’t believe I actually looked into this, but I did lightly research whether Taylor Swift would be in attendance for this game. She had some weather issues in Brazil and according to Britt Flinn, Miss Swift had to re-schedule a show to Monday night so she won’t be in attendance for this game. And that’s a bummer because Travis Kelce tends to play better when she’s in the stadium for her boo.
Much like President Theodore Roosevelt in the River of Doubt, Taylor finds herself stuck in Brazil too longer than she probably wanted. To be honest, Schefty’s tweet is a bit outdated but it does emphasize how much better Travis plays when his girlfriend is in attendance. But that doesn’t take away from the importance of this game for Kansas City’s star tight end. He’s playing against his brother and the Eagles have been suspect against tight ends this year. In the two games leading up to their bye, the Eagles allowed 15 catches for 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns to the tight end position. Against the Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl, Kelce caught all six of his targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. We know Kelce is easily Mahomes’ first read and we should expect a solid performance Monday night sans the girlfriend.
Is A.J. Brown able to be plugged in at Captain? Obviously. However, he’s likely to be shadowed by L’Jarius Sneed who has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers lining up on the perimeter this year. Now I’ll elaborate on Brown when I write him up, but if Smith can avoid Sneed, that’s a bonus and should elevate his value. Smith likely draws Jaylen Watson and Smith has caught all 10 of his targets the last two games for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also turned 25 last Tuesday so maybe there’s an emphasis to get him into the end zone for the third straight week. Moreover, with Dallas Goedert sidelined, that has historically benefitted the usage and workload of Smith who already has the more favorable matchup than Brown.
Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays
I know I may face the wrath of some Eagles fans for putting, arguably the best wide receiver in the league, in this section. However, if he’s shadowed by L’Jarius Sneed then that might just cap Brown’s upside. Per Mike Clay of ESPN, Sneed shadowed Calvin Ridley, DJ Moore, Garrett Wilson, Justin Jefferson, Jerry Jeudy, Joshua Palmer, Courtland Sutton, and Tyreek Hill on 129 of 147 perimeter routes and that’s usually where we see the Eagles’ WR1 lines up. Brown has 18 receptions for 20+ yards this season. He had that amazing record of six straight games of 125+ receiving yards snapped prior to the team’s bye week. His strength is his size and physicality. He is an absolute bully and a handful for defenders. Even if Sneed is shadowing him, Brown has a size advantage and can win contested catches. So while I’m simply just offering the analysis, I know Brown still has a massive ceiling so he’s perfectly fine to play at Captain. He’s easily Jalen Hurts’ first read as a target and commands plenty of volume via targets and air yards.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Swift is awesome at getting tackled at the one-yard line and having Jalen Hurts run it in for a touchdown. Imagine the kind of season he’d be having if he wasn’t routinely being tackled short of the goal line? Swift still has four touchdowns on the year and since Week 2 he’s been the clear RB1 in this offense and should see 15+ touches in this matchup. The Chiefs have given up production to opposing running backs over their last few games but maybe they come out with a different mindset following the week off. I still trust the volume for Swift and he has involvement in the passing game with 25 receptions in his last six games. Jalen Hurts has been a bit hobbled with a knee injury which might limit his own mobility. With that said, we may see more dump offs and carries for Swift who has handled 70% of all the carries for Philadelphia in their last two games. Kenneth Gainwell ($4,400) is a respectable pay-down as he’s cheaper than the kickers in this matchup and just might get eight touches. And if this game has a similar game script to the Washington Commanders game, then that may play to Gainwell’s advantage as he had five catches in that matchup.
This is a tough matchup for any Chiefs running back. Opposing running backs have not topped 80 rushing yards in a single game against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Birds have allowed just two rushing touchdowns to running backs all season. So as “extra” as Pacheco may be with no wasted movements when he runs, he has a steep hill to climb in this game. It’s not much but opposing running backs did catch 19 passes against the Eagles in the four games leading up to their bye week. That’s probably going to be how either of these running backs hit value. It’ll likely take some screen passes and dump offs to hit value. Pacheco will likely still have at least a dozen carries with some work in the passing game. However, I do like McKinnon’s price for this matchup as a prolific pass catching running back. Both have some risk but the involvement in the passing game could propel one of them to the optimal lineup as a flex play.
I like Rashee Rice. I think there’s clear potential here, but he may be limited. I saw this tweet from Heath Cummings of CBS Sports on Thursday and had a good chuckle…
Rice is mostly running dig, slant, and curl routes according to the route report from Matt Harmon of Reception Perception. And Rice has primarily had success with those routes. But it’s clear he is a bit limited in what he can do. Rice isn’t seeing a ton of targets which is why I’m hesitant to commit to him as anything more than a flex play. He hasn’t had more than seven targets in a game this year and if his route tree his limited because of his lack of separation, then he’s not going to be on the field for a majority of snaps. He still has touchdown upside in this game but reading between the lines, I’m not convinced he’s a lock for this game. We’ll see how he fares in the biggest game of the year, but I may opt to save money and pay down elsewhere.
I’m having a slightly more difficult time gauging the kickers in this game than last night’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. Last night’s game had a similar three-point home favorite and the implied total only had a 4.5-point difference from this game. But I had more confidence in the kickers for Sunday’s game simply because I have less faith in their respective team’s red zone offense. For Monday night, these two teams are different in that kickers are a bit of a risk in this matchup. Kickers against the Chiefs have attempted just 11 field goal attempts in nine games. Only three kickers have put up more than six fantasy points. The Kansas City defense is allowing just 15.9 points per game which is second best in the league. Not to mention, the Eagles offense didn’t get off to the greatest of starts. Remember back in Week 1 when they almost lost to the New England Patriots? Knowing what we know about each team in Week 11, that’s a surprising game to look back on. But in those first five games, Jake Elliott ($5,200) attempted at least three field goals in each. With the Eagles offense finding their groove heading into their bye week, Elliott had attempted just three field goals across the last four games. In a game like this, neither kicker will get to the optimal lineup with just extra point attempts. They likely need about three or four field goals in addition to the extra points.
The Eagles aren’t that much better of a matchup for Harrison Butker ($5,000) of the Chiefs. Opposing kickers are perfect in field goal attempts this year against the Eagles. The downside to that statistic is that opposing kickers have only attempted nine field goals against this defense and only one kicker has returned double-digit fantasy points all year. Butker has been a solid source of fantasy production this year but he had only attempted five field goals in his last three games heading into the team’s bye week. I don’t feel great about either kicker at their price tag, but I do think the kickers have a better chance at cracking the optimal lineup than the defenses do.
You should probably take a firm stand on D/ST’s in this matchup. The Chiefs D/ST has been very strong in recent weeks positing double-digit fantasy points on DraftKings in four straight games with 19 sacks and seven takeaways in that span. The Chiefs don’t bleed a ton of points and they seem to be getting better with each passing week as long as they aren’t playing the Denver Broncos. But in this Super Bowl matchup last year, these two teams were responsible for 67 of the 73 points. So both can score at will and the Eagles secondary isn’t as strong as it was a year ago. Currently the Eagles offense is averaging 28 points per game (third in the NFL) while the Chiefs are at 23.1 points per game (11th in the league) but we know they can pop off in any matchup. They’re both top eight in yards per game and they both average over 64 offensive plays run per game. The Chiefs offensive line has been responsible for just eight sacks on 380 pass-blocking snaps, while the Eagles O-line is responsible for just 10. Both quarterbacks are mobile and while we may see turnovers, we should also expect plenty of offense in this game and for that reason I may avoid using both defenses across my lineups.
NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains
For those inquiring about Kadarius Toney ($4,200), there was this quote from Andy Reid from last week about wanting to keep him healthy since Toney’s coming off knee surgery. As that tweet references, Toney has only played more than 19 snaps on two occasions this year and he had just three targets in the Chiefs’ last three games leading up to the bye week. If I was making 150 lineups, Toney would get in. But I’m only doing three builds and will take the discount with Skyy Moore. Moore’s production might match Toney’s at the end of the night but at least Moore has at least three targets in four straight games. Dropped passes have been an issue for Moore this season but he hasn’t scored since Week 2 so perhaps he’s due.
Mecole Hardman Jr., WR, Kansas City Chiefs
I’ll mention Maquez Valdes-Scantling ($3,000), but similar to Moore he just drops so many passes. But he did have multiple receptions in each of the three games leading up to the bye week. There are a ton of cheap options in the Chiefs passing game so you’re hoping you nail on the one with the big play upside. Both MVS and Hardman are capable of that, but I’m at least encouraged the Chiefs felt compelled to go out and bring Hardman back to the team. But if you’re playing into the workload and snap count narrative, then MVS is the player you want in your lineups.
Now while I do like Moore, we have to acknowledge that Justin Watson might be emerging into… Something. In Week 9 Moore ran less than 30% of the routes while Watson ran about 70% with a 20% target share. We also know that Mahomes is good for at least one deep shot per game to Watson and this matchup kind of parallels the game the Chiefs were in against Miami prior to the bye week. He is a bit of a gamble because he’s yet to hit pay dirt, but he likely only faces single coverage and he’s been good at getting separation all year. If you need a cheaper pivot, then Noah Gray ($1,800) saves you $600 off Watson and could see a similar workload, but just won’t be targeted as deep.
Olamide Zacchaeus, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
DraftKings has definitely made it harder to find value with these last few Showdown slates. But Zacchaeus is about as cheap as I’d like to go for $1,200. For a bargain play he might go out and get a couple targets, but they’ll likely be at the line of scrimmage. If you need to seek out a $200 punt play you can look at Blake Bell or Richie James from the Chiefs.