Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
Game Time: Sunday, January 19th at 3:05pm ET
Spread: Chiefs -7
Ryan Tannehill – Who knows what to do with Tannehill this week? He did have three total touchdowns last week, but he only threw the ball 14 times a week after throwing it 15 times! He hasn’t even topped 90 passing yards in either playoff game yet this season, as the game plan continues to be just hand the ball off to Derrick Henry and watch him bull through the defense. The Titans played two of the best pass defenses in the NFL this year so far in New England and Baltimore, and although the Chiefs aren’t on the level of those two teams, they are still pretty stout. As bad as the Kansas City defense is against the run, you still have to figure that Tannehill is going to throw it more than 15 times on Sunday. Back in Week 10 he did only throw 19 times against the Chiefs, but did have two passing touchdowns and 37 rushing yards. He certainly comes with some risk, but with less than stellar fantasy quarterbacks on the NFC Championship side, Tannehill remains in play as a much cheaper option if you don’t want to pay up for Mahomes.
Derrick Henry –These playoffs are Derrick Henry ’s world, and we are just living in them. He has over 400 total yards in the last two games alone with a touchdown. He has had 30 or more carries in three straight games. No one can stop this guy right now. It must be some mythical power in that ponytail he’s rocking. The Chiefs are atrocious against the run, and Henry bulldozed them for 188 yards and two touchdowns back in Week 10. He is so far and away the most attractive running back on the slate for fantasy purposes this weekend it isn’t even funny. Shoe horn him into any lineup you can.
A.J. Brown – While Brown was “The Man” down the stretch of the regular season, he has been incredibly quiet so far this postseason. It certainly isn’t helping that they have played amazing pass defenses with top notch corners, but the game plans have just been 95% about Derrick Henry . You certainly can’t blame the Titans, because it has been working! If you look back, Brown had just one catch for 17 yards the first time these two teams played. You would think that Brown would be a little more involved this week, but Bashaud Breeland is no slouch and should blanket him. His salary this week is far from out of control, but with how quiet he has been, it still may be too steep. You can’t say there is no way that he will have a strong game, but there is still a high probability of a bust week here.
Corey Davis – He has one catch in two playoff games, and it was a little jump pass from Derrick Henry from the three yard line. Davis has been pretty irrelevant from a fantasy perspective all season long, and with the Titans hyper focusing on the run, he has been a totally forgotten man. He should remain a forgotten man as far as DFS purposes go this week. The Titans are sure to run more than they pass again, and the Chiefs secondary is pretty strong and he would be a very ill-advised part of any lineup this weekend.
Jonnu Smith – Like every other Titan not named Derrick Henry , it has been a quiet postseason despite the two shocking wins for the team. Smith did have a touchdown last week, but he has just three catches for 21 yards in the two playoff games. He had a less than awe inspiring four catches for 30 yards back in Week 10 against the Chiefs, but the Kansas City defense did give up six touchdowns to tight ends during the regular season, and one to Houston’s Darren Fells last week in the Divisional Round. Smith will certainly be the cheapest of the four starting tight ends on this weekend’s slate, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t good. He might not be your first choice, but if you are looking to pay up for a couple studs and need to go cheap on a position, Smith isn’t the worst option out there.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes – He had what you might call a “big day” with 321 passing yards, five touchdowns, and 53 rushing yards as well. It could have been more if any of his receivers could have caught the ball in the first quarter. Mahomes and Travis Kelce took the game over and the Texans had no answer of how to stop him. There were few defenses this season that were worst against the pass than the Texans, but the Titans aren’t exactly a lot better. They are on a great tear this postseason though, allowing just 25 points total to the Patriots and Ravens. It seems almost too good to be true that they could stop Mahomes though, and he is far and away the best option at quarterback on the weekend slate. He is considerably more expensive than the other three starters, but he is probably going to be worth it with over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
Damien Williams – There is zero doubt left in who controls the Chiefs backfield work as Williams was on the field for nearly every snap. He did some major damage too with three touchdowns in last week’s dismantling of the Texans. Williams looked fresh, fast, and explosive in this one and is a huge threat for any game left that the Chiefs play. Tennessee allowed 14 rushing touchdowns this season, which was in the bottom half of the league. Williams had 109 total yards on 19 carries and five catches the first time these two teams played, and will be a dynamite option in the Conference Championship round.
Tyreek Hill – The Divisional Round game was clearly not Hill’s bright spot of the season. He muffed a punt which led to a Houston touchdown, and he also looked like he was going to be hurt when he took a pretty big hit. He did get up and get back in the game, but the Texans did a good job taking him out of the game plan and Hill had just three catches for 41 yards on four targets. That is a shocking stat line considering the Chiefs scored 51 points. While he was forgotten last week, it seems like this could be the smash spot for Hill. Unless the Titans have just transformed into an elite defense lately, their secondary just isn’t that great. Hill absolutely torched them for 11 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown on 19 targets back in Week 10. That is the Titans defense that we know, not this elite unit we’ve watched the past couple weeks. Hill is the second most expensive receiver on the slate this week, but that seems absolutely justified considering his talent and history against the opponent.
Sammy Watkins – After he was all but given up on, Watkins popped up and had a nice game against the Texans with 76 yards on just two catches. Sadly, that would rank as his best yardage since his opening week explosion. He has only been targeted twice in each of the last two games, and doesn’t have more than five targets since Week 14. Watkins is decent, but he is so far from anything exciting. He had just five catches for 39 yards back in Week 10 against the Titans, and that was on nine targets. He will be cheap, so he could be worth a flier, but he isn’t so cheap that you should be excited about using him. This would be a click submit and hold your breath type of situation.
Travis Kelce – He is by far the most expensive tight end on the slate, but it is hard to argue that right now. Kelce was completely unstoppable against the Texans, racking up ten catches for 134 yards and three big touchdowns. That is the second time in four games that he has had more than ten catches and more than 130 yards. He is an absolute beast. Couple that with the fact that the Titans were one of the worst defenses against the tight end all year, allowing ten touchdowns, and Kelce had seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown against them earlier this year. Add all of that together and he is certainly the best play you could ask for in the Conference Championship round, it is just a matter of roster construction and if you can afford him. Try to afford him if you can.
Summary: Everything is telling me that the Titans have no chance of pulling the third amazing upset on the road in this playoffs, but who thought they were going to destroy the Ravens? Despite the fact that the Titans held the Ravens to 12 points after they won 14 games in a row, their defense really wasn’t very good all season long. We saw last week what Patrick Mahomes can do to a subpar defense. The Titans will try to ride Derrick Henry and keep Mahomes off the field as much as possible, but in the end, the Chiefs don’t need a lot of time to score. I will be rooting for the Titans in this game, but again, I just can’t see a scenario where Kansas City loses at home.
Prediction: Chiefs 38, Titans 31