Chiefs-Buccaneers DFS Showdown: Injury and Depth Analysis
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In a rematch of SuperBowl 55, we see Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes face off on Sunday Night Football. Neither quarterback has a pass-rushing upside we can rely on, with Brady being essentially immobile and Mahomes staying safe in the pocket for the most part, even though he has the potential for a few scrambles. Both quarterbacks are putting up heavy passing numbers, which will be the outcome we’ll be hoping for as football fans.
Leonard Fournette will be the workhorse back for the Buccaneers tonight with a dual threat upside. We saw him eclipse 20 carries in the first two games of the season but last week was an odd game where the team only combined for 14 carries. Still, he was directed six targets, so we know the Buccaneers’ will make a concerted effort to get the ball in his hands. Rachaad White has been the only other running back active for the Bucs this season, and he won’t see much volume as he has just eight carries and four targets through three games.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is projected to be tonight’s lead back, but that might not last much longer. Jerick McKinnon has out-snapped CEH in each of the past two weeks, but CEH still has been an essential factor in the passing game. Isiah Pacheco will be the third back in the rotation, and he’ll see about five carries out of the backfield. Regardless, this isn’t a run-first offense as the only time any of these three backs eclipsed double-digit carries was Pacheco in the Week 1 blowout.
The Buccaneers’ receiving room is where we run into our first injury situation, which is messy. Mike Evans returns from suspension and slots in as the WR1, but Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Russell Gage are all questionable. Sunday morning reports make it appear that all three are likely to go tonight, with Godwin being the one with the highest likelihood of being ruled out. Godwin, Jones, and Gage will rank in that order for target share, assuming all are able to go. Breshad Perriman usually would be the fifth receiver, but with him listed as doubtful, that role will be filled by Scotty Miller or Cole Beasley, depending on who is active.
Given Travis Kelce’s presence, we do not project for any Chiefs receiver to eclipse a 20% target share, but JuJu Smith-Schuster looks to be the WR1. He has seen eight targets in two of the three games this year which is a good sign going forward. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is listed as questionable tonight but is expected to play after practicing Friday. He has seen at least seven targets in each of the last two games, so look for Mecole Harman to step up in his potential absence. Justin Watson has been the primary rotational receiver, although he has only combined for four targets through three games. Skyy Moore also should be activated as the fifth receiver, but he has been a massive disappointment as he has not seen more than a 20% snap share in a game and has only seen one target this year.
Travis Kelce has the highest upside of any non-quarterback on this slate, given Mahomes’ dependency on him. He has averaged eight targets per game and has the ability to easily surpass double-digits with a few endzone trips. Blake Bell and Jody Fortson will both be activated, with Bell offering decent upside for a backup tight end as he has been targeted seven times through three games. Cameron Brate will be the lead tight end for Brady, but with all of the receivers expected to be back on the field, he won’t see a significant role as he only was targeted five times through the first two games.