Here’s the weekend’s obvious offensive centerpiece.
When Kansas City visited Tennessee back in Week 10, the teams combined for 67 points and 901 yards. Patrick Mahomes returned from his knee injury just in time to blow up. Tyreek Hill and Derrick Henry exploded as well. Damien Williams garnered 24 touches. Mecole Hardman, Adam Humphries and Anthony Firkser scored TDs.
The rematch finds both offenses still performing near the top of the league. Football Outsiders’ “weighted” DVOA (favoring recent games over early-season contests) finds the Titans 3rd-best in the league, tops among the 4 teams still playing. The Chiefs follow close behind, though (5th), and sport a larger advantage in “weighted” defensive DVOA: #13 vs. Tennessee’s #20 ranking.
Both teams come off impressive offensive showings in the Divisional Round and huge fantasy numbers among their offensive leaders. So where should we look for value as we try to widdle the options down to reveal our showdown lineups?
You’re gonna want to fit at least 3 players with 5-digit salaries into your lineup here. That means you’re gonna need an extreme-savings option. Titans TE Anthony Firkser leads that category pretty easily.
Firkser has posted 3-catch games on 3 occasions this season. Just 2 weeks ago, he caught 2 of 3 targets for 23 yards against the Patriots, including Tennessee’s lone TD reception. Firkser has consistently run routes on about one-third of Titans pass plays since Ryan Tannehill took over, and that role hasn’t really differed in wins vs. losses (36.2% vs. 33.9%). What has differed is the volume of Tannehill dropbacks.
The QB has averaged 26.8 dropbacks across 9 victories as the starter, according to Pro Football Focus. In 3 losses, Tannehill has averaged 43 dropbacks.
Tennessee has defied anticipated game flow in its first 2 games this postseason. But the 7.5-point underdog still heads into Sunday more likely to chase the Chiefs on the scoreboard than it is to play from ahead. Chasing would mean more passing and increase the opportunities for Firkser to help. Obviously, more opportunities would also raise the ceilings for Tannehill and his top WR, A.J. Brown, as well.
Even without accounting for ceiling, Tannehill checks in ahead of Patrick Mahomes in our value chart. Brown brings a less-sturdy floor with him. But the high fantasy ceiling he has already displayed -- 5 games of 100+ yards, 9 total TDs -- makes Brown intriguing for several thousand less in salary than the top Chiefs.
Brown sits much closer to his Chiefs counterparts in salary on FanDuel. So building your lineup becomes less about what you can fit and more about simply making the right picks. Mecole Hardman, Corey Davis and even Demarcus Robinson replace Firkser here as salary-saving options.
With no multiplier of salary in the FD showdowns (as opposed to DK), it’s tough to get away from locking in Mahomes or Derrick Henry for 1.5-times the fantasy points. Of course, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams offer plenty of ceiling as well, if you’re looking to differentiate a bit.
Hill stands out on that front, given that he’s the only one of these options not coming off a big game. When he faced the Titans back in Week 10, Hill enjoyed season highs in targets (19), receptions (11) and receiving yards (157). He has only found the end zone in 1 of 7 games since that matchup.