Try Mahomes-Kelce Stacks for DFS Delights

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce & QB Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce & QB Patrick Mahomes
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Divisional - As the games dwindle in numbers, we have fewer teams to choose from and the slates get trickier. The pricing in this article reflects the four-game DraftKings slate on offer this weekend, and while some prices may differ on other slates, the theory remains the same.

Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes $8000 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

There were times early on in the season when it looked like the Chiefs might not be the powerhouse they once were, but those thoughts were soon put to bed and the Chiefs secured themselves a first-round bye. Patrick Mahomes was the only quarterback to average over 300 passing yards per game this season, which matters greatly on DraftKings, where they award a three-point bonus for those games. The Jaguars passing defense ranks 30th in DVOA and will have its work cut out facing an MVP-worthy Mahomes who ranks first in effective yards, QBR, and DYAR.

Usage Suggestions: Mahomes can be stacked with Travis Kelce in a combination that looks slate-breaking, but some people may stay away from it due to its expensive nature. Both Travis Etienne and Christian Kirk have nice matchups for bring-back options.

Jalen Hurts $7600 vs. New York Giants

The Eagles have been taking advantage of a weak schedule and crushing inferior opponents all season, the Giants look set to be next. Jalen Hurts is off the injury report and we should have no qualms about playing him in a repeat of the Week 14 game where Hurts scored 30.3 points. The Giants defense ranks 29th in weighted DVOA, the worst defense left in the playoffs. Three times this season, the Giants met a dual-threat quarterback, and all three rushed for over 50 yards against them, and now the Giants must try to contain Hurts, who averages 55.5 rushing yards per game and scored 13 rushing touchdowns this season.

Usage Suggestions: Expensive stacks are the name of the game this week and Hurts is ripe for stacking with A.J. Brown, Dallas Goedert, or both players.

Trevor Lawrence $6000 @ Kansas City Chiefs

The wild-card round was full of great games, but none had the sheer entertainment value of the Jaguars' comeback win over the Chargers. Trevor Lawrence has washed away the stench of Urban Meyer and is playing at an incredible level, excusing the first-half hiccups last week. When these teams met in Week 10, Lawrence threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, and he then went on an incredible stretch where he scored over 28 points in three of the next four games. The Chiefs allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, and Lawrence can have another big week here.

Usage Suggestions: The Chiefs give up fantasy points to opponents, and stacking Lawrence with Christian Kirk and Travis Kelce makes for an interesting trio who all have good matchups.

Running Backs

Travis Etienne $6400 @ Kansas City Chiefs

When James Robinson was traded, many thought that Travis Etienne was set to explode, but it wasn't to be with the Jaguars facing a string of tough run defenses and Etienne averaged 5.6 points between Weeks 10 and 15. Since then, Etienne averages 15.6 points and has had one week below 14 points. The Chiefs allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs receiving the ball and rank 28th in DVOA in this area of defense, giving up the third-most passes per game to the position. If the Chiefs put the Jaguars into a negative game script, this is likely how Etienne returns fantasy value.

Usage Suggestions: Etienne can be stacked with Trevor Lawrence or used as a bring-back on Chiefs stacks. The more expensive running backs possess higher ceilings than Etienne, but none of them have as friendly a matchup as he.

Tony Pollard $6100 @ San Francisco 49ers

Regardless of what Jerry Jones has said about Ezekiel Elliott in the past, it's incredibly obvious that Tony Pollard is the best running back on the Dallas roster. In the wild-card win over Tampa Bay, Pollard saw 18 opportunities to Elliott's 14 and perhaps importantly out-touched Elliott eight to six in the first half when the game was not out of hand. The 49ers defense is a tough matchup, ranking second against the run in DVOA, but we saw Kenneth Walker score 13.6 points against them last week and Pollard could do better than that.

Usage Suggestions: Because of Pollard's tricky matchup, this is a play best kept for tournaments.

Jerick McKinnon $6000 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

This time of year seems to belong to Jerick McKinnon with the Chiefs having more faith in him than any of their other backs, including Clyde Edwards-Helaire who has now been activated off IR. Excluding the Week 18 blowout of the Raiders, when even Ronald Jones saw action, McKinnon had averaged 26.2 points over the previous four games and was a fantasy league winner. In those four games, McKinnon had 23 targets, and this is an area Jacksonville has struggled to defend, allowing a league-high 7.8 passes per game to opposing running backs.

Usage Suggestions: McKinnon looks like one of the best running back plays of the week and can be used in all formats. With McKinnon doing damage in the receiving game, don't be afraid to stack him with Mahomes.

Boston Scott $4300 vs. New York Giants

Around Philadelphia, they call Boston Scott "The Giant Killer" due to his habit of scoring touchdowns against New York. Scott has nine rushing touchdowns against the Giants in eight games, only failing to find the end zone on one occasion in 2020 when he scored a receiving touchdown. Chasing narratives doesn't always pay off, but at this price, in a game in which the Eagles are favored, we can afford to take shots. We have to get different somewhere on small slates, and this is one of the more intriguing options.

Usage Suggestions: This is a tournament-only play that can provide excellent leverage off the more popular Miles Sanders.

Wide Receivers

Ja'Marr Chase $7800 @ Buffalo Bills

Over the last two games against a tough Baltimore defense, Ja'Marr Chase scored 22 and 23 points, becoming only the second wide receiver since Week 3 to score over 20 points against the Ravens. Next up for Chase, he faces a Buffalo defense that ranks ninth against the pass in DVOA, but against WR1s they rank 29th and allow 7.8 passes per game to the position. Chase has caught at least seven receptions in every game he has played since Week 4, and he looks to be the best pay-up option at wide receiver on the slate.

Usage Suggestions: Joe Burrow's matchup isn't overly friendly with the Bills allowing the seventh-fewest points to the position, so this weekend I'd play Chase solo, or correlated with a Bills pass-catcher, with Gabe Davis looking like a great candidate.

CeeDee Lamb $7300 @ San Francisco 49ers

Since Week 12, CeeDee Lamb has been unstoppable, putting up an average of 20.7 points per week, and he now faces a 49ers defense whose main weakness is against slot receivers, allowing the fifth-most fantasy points throughout the season. Lamb averages 61% of his snaps from the slot and will likely exceed that this weekend in an effort to capitalize on the 49ers' weakness.

Usage Suggestions: The 49ers aren't an easy matchup for fantasy quarterbacks, who have allowed only five to surpass 15 points this season, and it feels like there are better options on this slate than Dak Prescott. Instead, we can correlate Lamb with Brandon Aiyuk, who has a positive matchup.

Christian Kirk $6000 @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs' defense has improved as the season has gone on and over the last five weeks of the season they ranked eighth against the pass after ranking 16th till that point. The Jaguars, though, shouldn't be afraid as the Chargers ranked third against the pass over those last five weeks and they weren't able to stop the barrage of passes Trevor Lawrence sent their way in the second half of the wild-card round. The Chiefs do struggle against slot receivers, though, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to them, which sets up Kirk for a nice matchup after he scored 21 points in back-to-back games.

Usage Suggestions: Kirk is an obvious but excellent stacking partner with Trevor Lawrence and can be mixed in with Chiefs stacks as the best bring-back of the matchup.

Brandon Aiyuk $5000 vs. Dallas Cowboys

Early on in the season, the Cowboys defense looked to be a truly special unit, but the passing defense has dropped off and since Week 14 ranks 26th in DVOA. In the five games before the destruction of Tampa Bay, the Cowboys had allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and will now face a 49ers offense that is full of confidence. Dallas rank 32nd against WR2s and has given up the third-most points to receivers playing on the outside, an area Aiyuk frequents.

Usage Suggestions: There were signs of the sheen coming off Brock Purdy in the wild-card round, and whilst he went on to score 37 points, the Dallas pass rush looks menacing and could give him problems. Instead, Aiyuk can be played individually or correlated with CeeDee Lamb or T.Y. Hilton.

Gabe Davis $4800 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

There is something about the playoffs that lights a fire for Gabe Davis, with him combining for 355 receiving yards and six touchdowns in his last three playoff games. The Bengals pass defense ranks 18th since Week 14 but struggles plenty against WR2s, ranking 31st in DVOA. Against the Dolphins, Josh Allen's average depth of target was 16.5 yards, which is a huge increase from his season average of 9.7 yards. If Allen maintains that downfield aggressiveness, Davis could be the main receiver to benefit.

Usage Suggestions: Davis is priced appealingly and will likely pick up plenty of attention; be mindful of how you're using him in tournaments. Correlating Davis with Ja'Marr Chase should help you access a large number of points from this matchup.

Kadarius Toney $4100 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Few head coaches are as dangerous coming off a bye week as Andy Reid, and Kadarius Toney is exactly the type of player whom Reid will scheme some kind of crazy play for. The Jaguars rank 30th in pass defense DVOA and have allowed 15 different receivers to score 14 or more points against them this year. Toney is an appealing way to get different this weekend.

Usage Suggestions: Toney is a tournament-only play but suitable for all types of lineups.

T.Y. Hilton $3200 @ San Francisco 49ers

Since T.Y. Hilton signed with the Cowboys, his role has steadily risen and against the Bucs he ran more routes than Noah Brown, who had flashed earlier in the season. San Francisco ranks 30th against "other" wide receivers in DVOA, and it feels fair to put Hilton in that category as he's clearly behind Michael Gallup. If you're after a very cheap option, this is as cheap as it gets this weekend.

Usage Suggestions: Strictly for tournaments only and best used as a way to get different with Cowboys stacks.

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce $7700 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars struggle defending tight ends at the best of times, ranking 32nd in DVOA on passes to that position, and now they face the toughest task possible with a fresh-legged Travis Kelce ahead of them. When these teams met in Week 10, Kelce had seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown, and now the Jaguars come into this game off the back of allowing Gerald Everett to score 25.9 points. All signs point to another big Kelce playoff performance.

Usage Suggestions: Kelce is an elite play week-in and week-out, anyone not wishing to pay up for him does so at their own risk.

Dallas Goedert $4500 vs. New York Giants

The Giants also struggle to face tight ends, ranking 31st in DVOA on passes to that position, and will likely have their work cut out against Dallas Goedert, who rarely leaves the field for the Eagles. Against the Lions, the Giants struggled to contain T.J. Hockenson, who scored 25.9 points, and with the Giants having to defend against the threat of Jalen Hurts rushing, plus A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, it's unlikely they can dedicate extra resources to Goedert.

Usage Suggestions: Goedert is an excellent addition to Jalen Hurts stacks, and while the Giants have been above expectations, no player has a standout matchup to warrant as a bring-back.

Evan Engram $4300 @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have occasionally struggled against opposing tight ends, allowing nine touchdowns to the position this season and giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends over the last five games of the season. Engram has been an up-and-down player this year, but his boom weeks are worth the occasional down week.

Usage Suggestions: This is a far thinner play than the top-tier tight ends above, but can be considered for Jacksonville stacks, or utilized in two-tight end builds with Travis Kelce in an effort to get different.

If you have any questions you can find me on Twitter or ask them in the Football Outsiders Discord. If anything key to the matchups happens this article will be updated to reflect that.

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