A great week 1 has finally come to a close. I hope you all were profitable. As we get into week 2, I think it is important to preach about bankroll management. After a long best ball season with a lot of money tied up for multiple months, please only play what you can afford to LOSE.
With that, let’s get our focus on Thursday night. We get an present in an island game with two of the best offenses in the league. The Los Angeles Chargers go on the road to play division rival, Kansas City Chiefs, with an over/under of 54. Points should be scored early and often. Underdog Fantasy released the Thursday Night Knockout tournament with a $5 entry point with a $10,000 Top Prize.
Let’s get into it.
Draft Strategy for Week 2 Thursday Night Football – Chargers @ Chiefs
The top two players in drafts are almost exclusively Travis Kelce and Austin Ekeler. Both were top 6 picks in season long and best ball drafts and are reliable with the highest ceilings in the game. There is a bit of concern with Ekeler if his usage from last week continues (49% snap rate), but as long as he is catching passes and getting the high value touches (goal-line work), you can’t go wrong.
After the first two picks, it typically goes Mike Williams (2 catches – 10 yards week 1), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (CEH), and JuJu Smith-Schuster. CEH was the primary running back we had been projecting him to be the last two years. He was used in the passing game and around the goal-line and found the endzone twice. It is important to note that although he scored, he split work evenly with Jerick McKinnon (who can also catch passes) until the game was out of hand (37-7). For JuJu, it was nice to see him finally healthy. He is one of the most dynamic players when healthy and used correctly (all over the formation). Expect Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy to get creative and put JuJu in favorable positions.
I would not be surprised to see this next tier break the slate. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has breakaway speed and has shown in the past to be an effective deep threat. With touchdowns being so important, a long touchdown would nearly guarantee he is in the winning lineup. The same can be said for Mecole Hardman, who played ~65% of snaps and is one of the fastest players in the NFL. On the Chargers side, Gerald Everett and Josh Palmer will be competing to be the #2 option for Justin Herbert with Keenan Allen ruled out. Last year when Keenan missed a game, Josh Palmer became a full-time player and it resulted in a team-high 7 targets. Gerald Everett on the other hand was used all around the formation in his Chargers’ debut and even got a red-zone target. If they continue to get him in mismatch opportunities, his TD-upside is immense.
At the end of drafts, players are typically drafting DeAndre Carter, Skyy Moore, Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon, and Sony Michel. Jerick, Sony and DeAndre are an entire tier above Skyy and Pacheco for me due solely to playing time. DeAndre was a target hog last week and should be on the field mixing in during WR2 sets and playing in WR3 sets., Sony and Jerick both rotated in and have TD-upside if they play around the goal-line. Both Skyy and Isiah are more contingency bets in case the usages change this week (as both are another week in their NFL careers). Both are being drafted more regularly than McKinnon and Sony, though.
Other potential low-owned plays include Jalen Guyton (deep play threat), Jody Fortson (end-zone threat), Joshua Kelley (3rd string RB, injury-contingency play), Tre’ McKitty (Parham is out, back-up TE, red-zone threat)
As stated in the Thursday article, it is most important, since only 12 players are selected in total (4 per team), you want your roster to tell a story. Think about how each individual player hits their ceiling outcome and what that means for players on their team vs. the other team. In this particular game with the high over/under, I would get different by mixing in RBs from both teams where the pace of play is lower than projected. This would lead to a lower-scoring lineup winning the contest. This will also be lower owned as the pass-catchers are being prioritized.
Top Plays for Drafts
- Travis Kelce – #1 receiver for Patrick Mahomes with a significant size/skill advantage. Constant mismatch for defenses
- Austin Ekeler – 3-down back used in all phases of the game with both passing upside and goal-line touches.
- Mike Williams – Size and speed advantage. Projected #1 WR for Justin Herbert.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – Should be used all over the formation and get favorable matchups. Succeeds at getting separation where Mahomes will target him.
Players That Could Differentiate Your Lineup
- Jerick McKinnon – People are not drafting him enough as they are only looking at the box score from last week. He should be drafted in every draft and isn’t since he was in a 50/50 split with CEH
- Jalen Guyton – We know he isn’t very good. But with DeAndre Carter command targets once Keenan left the game, everyone is banking on him getting the playing time. If Guyton is playing, his deep-threat ability could break the slate.
- Sony Michel – Similar to Jerick. He should be involved in the game and if he steals goal-line work from Ekeler, he will be in the winning lineup as the last pick of drafts.
- Tre’ McKitty – He will be virtually unowned and has TD-upside around the goal-line
- Jody Fortson – He will be more owned than Tre’ but will be in on goal-line packages (heavy-sets)