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NFL Daily Plug: Thursday Edition

The Thursday Daily Plug is an abbreviated version of the Sunday Daily Plug, intended to give you a quick rundown on Thursday’s NFL matchup for DFS and sports betting purposes. The highlights:

  • Players to target/avoid in the Thursday game
  • Recommended bankroll allocation for the Thursday Showdown slate
  • Optimal contest selection for the single game slate

For analysis on every player for this slate, check out the Occupy Model.

Let’s get to the game!

Betting Odds

Kansas City -3.5 (opened KC -3.5), 53.5 (opened 56.5)

Team Totals:

Chargers: 25 (ranked 10th for the week)
Chiefs: 28.5 (ranked 3rd for the week)

Spread Bet Percentages:

Chargers: 45%
Chiefs: 55%

Expensive Plays

Philip Rivers, LAC QB & Patrick Mahomes II, KC QB
The Chiefs and Chargers will meet for the second time this season on Thursday night, 13 weeks after Mahomes was introduced to the NFL public in a 38-28 win over L.A. in Week 1. The weather is decent for this game -- 35-40 degrees, 10-12 mph winds -- and shouldn’t be a factor for fantasy performances. Perhaps the betting markets are putting more stock into this repeat matchup? Regardless of the reason, the game total has dropped three points from 56.5 to 53.5, so we should at least take note for our single game lineups.

In the Week 1 matchup, Mahomes “threw” for four TDs on just 27 attempts (two were goal line jet sweep tosses), while Rivers had his best game of the season (424/3). Our model expects a similar fantasy outcome, as Rivers rates three points higher than Mahomes in the OF Index column.

In low-risk contests, play both QBs, as they have incredibly high floors. You’ll likely want to use Mahomes as your MVP there, since the Chiefs are playing at home and all. In high-risk contests, it’s worth exploring a fade, as you can use the expensive positions players below instead. Unless you’re making more than five lineups, we recommend not using a QB in your MVP spot in high-risk contests.

Keenan Allen, LAC WR
The top rated DraftKings WR in our model for the single game slate, Keenan Allen has drawn target counts of 10-9-12-7-19-9 in the six games since L.A.’s Week 8 bye. Given his target volume, he’s the preferred option if you use a WR in low-risk lineups. In high-risk contests, he’s an excellent MVP choice in a game that should feature multiple passing TDs on both sides.

Tyreek Hill, KC WR
Another perfect MVP candidate in high-risk contests, Tyreek Hill ranks higher on FanDuel than Allen because of the $1,000 in salary savings he offers. He carries the QUESTIONABLE tag on both sites, yet he’s fully expected to play and be effective -- hopefully this designation scares people away in DFS. In our Week 1 Daily Plug, we noted that the Chargers allowed a ton of cushion to opposing WRs in 2017 (per Next Gen Stats), giving Hill plenty of room to run free and torch them. They’ve seemed to have corrected this issue, now sitting in the league average range (5.9 yards) of cushion allowed to opposing WRs. Still, Hill has seen a dumb amount of targets when Watkins is sidelined, and combined with his game-breaking ability, it gives him the highest ceiling of any player on tonight’s slate.

Travis Kelce, KC TE
Travis Kelce had one catch for six yards in Week 1, his lowest output of the season. In fact, he hasn’t performed well at all versus the Chargers in his career:

Our model doesn’t take this into account, nor does the model think it’s an important fact. Hopefully, a ton of people read that tweet and fade Kelce tonight. Ranked as the highest TE on FanDuel for the week, we love Kelce in higher-risk contests.

Value Plays

Want to read the rest?

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