Dolphins-Chiefs DFS Picks: Old Friends Patrick Mahomes & Tyreek Hill Meet Again! (January 13)

Saturday Night Football brings what will be one of the five coldest NFL playoff games of all time, which seems apropos as the frigid offenses of Miami and Kansas City face off in Arrowhead Stadium tonight. In this issue of Stokastic’s NFL DFS picks series, we’ll be providing our Dolphins-Chiefs DFS picks for the Saturday Night Football Showdown slate.

Stokastic is bringing plenty of NFL DFS tools and information for all the different slates, game formats and sites. This column will provide a free analysis of the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. It includes team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown analysis to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Saturday Night slate, so check out these Dolphins-Chiefs DFS picks.

NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Dolphins-Chiefs DFS Picks

Miami Dolphins: 20.25 Points


The Stokastic NFL DFS projections have Tua Tagovailoa ranked 11th among the 12 staring quarterbacks this weekend at both DraftKings and FanDuel. That is quite the slide for the lefty, who was the NFL MVP frontrunner at +300 back in Week 4. The last two games for the Dolphins have been less of a slide and more of a skid as they attempt to avoid a fiery crash with a third consecutive loss.

Kansas City has the fifth-ranked passing DVOA. They’re allowing just 289.8 total yards per game, which is the second-fewest in the league, while the 176.5 net passing yards is the fourth-lowest average. Since playing in Kansas City during a 21-14 Week 8 loss, Tagovailoa has only a trio of multi-touchdown performances, along with three-plus combined sacks and turnovers in four of the eight games. Even more telling is that he has failed to surpass the 250-passing-yard threshold five times in this stretch.

Tagovailoa has not scored a rushing touchdown in 37 games and is averaging a career-low 4.4 yards per appearance.

Running Back

Word is percolating around Twitter from the usual suspects that Raheem Mostert should be available after missing the last two games with a knee injury. He was a limited practice participant this week, but with everything on the line, it is not a surprise he is playing. Health, effectiveness and risk of aggravating the issue are all concerns in the frigid weather.

Between their various maladies this season, Mostert and rookie De’Von Achane have played just six games together where they were both healthy. That does include the four-game stretch between Weeks 13 and 16, but with Mostert missing the last two games, it is hard to predict outcomes with any degree of confidence.

Starting with what we know, Mostert was outstanding with 18 rushing and three receiving touchdowns. This had him tied with Christian McCaffrey (14 and 7), who played in one extra game. Mostert was most effective inside the 25, but he did have eight carries and one reception for more than 20 yards. Achane had eight carries and two receptions of more than 20 yards, including a 76-yard run. He also matched Mostert’s three receiving scores. Achane is the slightly preferred option on DraftKings where he has a $600 premium and he is an easy click if choosing between this duo on FanDuel where he is $1,000 cheaper.

Jeff Wilson Jr. slides down the list now that Mostert is slated to suit up, but he should still be on the field for around a dozen snaps with a handful of touches in what could be a more rotational situation with the brutal weather.

Wide Receivers 

Tyreek Hill led the league with 1,799 yards, 112.4 yards per game, 13 receiving touchdowns, 83 first downs and 29 receptions of at least 20 yards. He was also top-four in targets, receptions and yards after the catch. The return of Mostert and fellow wideout Jaylen Waddle should divide the attention of the Kansas City defense, but they are certainly not going to forget about their former teammate.

Since last week, Waddle has only been a limited participant in practice, while rehabilitating from an ankle issue that cost him the final two tilts of the season. He was second on the team with 104 targets, which was more than the rest of the wideouts combined (97), which goes to show how concentrated this passing game really is for Miami. Assuming he is relatively healthy, he is a fine secondary option tonight.

Cedrick Wilson Jr. had five targets in the last game that both Waddle and Hill played, with Robbie Chosen getting one. In the preceding week, Wilson had three targets, Chase Claypool had two and Braxton Berrios had one. Wilson should be in line for a couple tonight, and Berrios will likely be on the field for a few dozen snaps since he is also active as the main kick returner. Two of Claypool, Chosen and former Washington State Cougar River Cracraft are likely to be inactive tonight, with the other unlikely to get a target, but they could still be on the field for half a dozen offense plays.

Tight Ends

Durham Smythe has 43 of the 52 targets to this position for the Dolphins. He has tallied at least three looks in each of the last five games. Julian Hill has the other nine opportunities, with three coming in the last two weeks, but none in the preceding three games when the key receivers were healthy. This duo has seen all but eight snaps over the last five games, save from Week 15 when Tyler Kroft had eight offensive plays but no targets.

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Defense/Special Teams

Xavien Howard is out and safeties DeShon Elliott (calf) and Jevon Holland (knees) are questionable after failing to practice all week. It does sound like cornerback Jalen Ramsey will give it a go, but he is no longer a dominant force. Kansas City has been solid with 4.3% sack and 2.3% interception rates, but those are a five-year low. The Dolphins have eight sacks in their last three games, each against playoff participants, which is something. The weather is probably harsh enough to cause each team an extra turnover.

Kansas City Chiefs: 23.75 Points


Patrick Mahomes, despite coming off one of his best seasons last year, has authored his worst campaign to date this year. The team and offense have been out of sorts all season, and while some of that can be attributed to a Super Bowl “hangover,” it is still disconcerting that there is only one “top pass-catcher” with veteran Travis Kelce and rookie Rashee Rice taking turns at various points this season.

Mahomes had almost a career-low with his 62.9 QBR after his 79 led the league last year. He also had the most interceptions, second fewest touchdowns and yards and his 10 wins are also a bottom-of-the-barrel outcome. Think about that for a moment though: even in this “horrible” year, he still won 10 games. Any time he is under center, his teams have a chance to win the game, even with a mostly mediocre, inexperienced or aging cast of supporting characters.

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Running Back

Isiah Pacheco was dealing with injuries, but he seems to be healthy and in two of his last three games he logged 130 and 110 yards, each coming on 18 carry efforts. Jerick McKinnon remains out, so former first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be the backup, with La’Mical Perine likely being the emergency third back. Before his Week 18 outburst, Perine had one carry and just two targets this season, seeing action in four different games for a dozen offensive snaps. While a tote or a target is not out of the question, it’s hard to envision the former Florida Gator in the optimal lineup at a similar salary to CEH on DraftKings.

Expect around 20 opportunities for Pacheco, with most of the high-leverage looks earmarked for the backfield. Edwards-Helaire should see 8-to-10 with the inclement weather improving his workload and he could pop up for a touchdown, though it is unlikely — but head coach Andy Reid does love to tinker.

Wide Receiver

Rashee Rice has nine or more targets in five of his last six games, which had the rookie ending the regular season on a high note. The second-rounder out of SMU had 102 targets, which was more than the next two wideouts, Justin Watson (53) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (42).

Kadarious Toney (hip/ankle) is questionable, having last seen the field in Week 15, which was also when Skyy Moore hurt his knee and landed on the injured reserve. Deep backup Justyn Ross (hamstring) is also questionable and while he is irrelevant, it is still worth noting since that would leave Kansas City with just five healthy receivers if he and Toney are out.

Watson is likely the best option, since Mahomes does like to give his buddy opportunities, plus Richie James Jr. is lurking as well. Even with this motley crew likely limited, there are still enough options to drive DFS gamers to the brink of the edge when crafting lineups.

Tight End

Travis Kelce’s streak of seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards ended at seven. He fell just 16 yards shy and could have gotten it last week, but it was likely safer just having the 34-year-old not take any extra risks before the playoffs. He averaged eight targets per game, though his 8.1 yards per look was a career low. He still made the Pro Bowl and will make the Hall of Fame, but he could struggle in this “Forever Winter” like climate tonight.

Hopefully, Noah Gray turns to Kelce at some point tonight and tells him, “I’m as cold as you…” without any irony. Even taking out Week 18, where Gray had three targets while most of the starters sat, he averaged three in the preceding trio of tilts, so he is in play tonight. We could see a short-controlled passing game, which does bode well for Gray who set career highs across the board in his third season.

Defense/Special Teams

Kansas City allowed just 17.3 points per game, which trailed only the 16.5 ceded by the Baltimore Ravens. While the team did have the 27th rushing DVOA, the Chiefs were fifth against the pass. The home-field advantage plus the wicked weather should have them closing in on half a dozen combined sacks and takeaways.

Saturday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy

The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value. However, those taking the MME approach should remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. That also works conversely, pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with his quarterback.

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Dolphins-Chiefs NFL DFS Rankings 

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks for Dolphins-Chiefs

  1. Patrick Mahomes: Mahomies Unite! While also staying warm!
  2. Isiah Pacheco: We won’t be alone in looking to him as a top option.
  3. Tyreek Hill: In his Week 8 return to KC, he had 10 targets for eight receptions and 62 yards, with a three-yard carry — which was not the “Remember Me?!” game his backers were hoping for.
  4. Rashee Rice: The kid looks like he is going to have a nice career.
  5. Travis Kelce: Once more unto the breach!
  6. De’Von Achane: Speed should not be impacted by cold, as long as his legs are warmed up.
  7. Tua Tagovailoa: Hard to see him with more than 250 yards, which means he needs multiple touchdowns just to break even.
  8. Raheem Mostert and Jaylen Waddle: Fingers-crossed that they are healthy.
  9. Kansas City D/ST: Home field and they have at least had to deal with colder weather than the Dolphins, but nothing compares to tonight.
  10. Durham Smythe: Gut feeling he gets his first touchdown of the season.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks for Dolphins-Chiefs

  1. Harrison Butker: More experience outdoors, but field goals will be like kicking a rock.
  2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Should at least get some low-value opportunities between the 20s.
  3. Cedrick Wilson Jr.: The veteran always seems to be in the mix on prime time, though production is another story.
  4. Miami D/ST: Defenses are crazy and crazy people do not care about the weather.
  5. Jason Sanders: Begrudgingly listing him here so this section has five options.

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks for Dolphins-Chiefs

  1. Justin Watson: Should at least get three fantasy points. His ceiling is around 10 however.
  2. Braxton Berrios: If something befalls one of the other wideouts, he is the next man up. Returns punts and kickoffs.
  3. Mecole Hardman: Feels safer if Toney remains out. If both play then Hardman gets a slight edge. Keep in mind all of his production last week came with anyone of importance out of the game.
  4. Noah Gray: Adequate salary saver on DraftKings.
  5. Kadarius Toney: If he plays, he still has to catch the ball and that has been an issue.
  6. Marques Valdes-Scantling and Richie James Jr.: Take the $1,500 savings with James on FanDuel. On DraftKings MVS is a dramatically discounted option coming in $2,800 less than James. James is the main kick returner and the balls could move in funny ways after being launched off a foot tonight.
  7. Jeff Wilson Jr.: Would have headed the secondary tier if Mostert were out tonight, should still get a couple of touches, with an untimely injury foisting more action upon him.
  8. Alec Ingold: Will be active and on the field for around one-third of the snaps, his two carries were back in Week 3, but he projects for 1.7 targets and a 10-yard catch tonight, which is in play at the DraftKings $200 minimum salary.
  9. Julian Hill: Has a similar outlook to Ingold, but their playing time is inversely correlated, despite Ingold being a “fullback” he sees tight end snaps in his role.
  10. La’Michal Perine: Would be more fun if he was under a grand on DraftKings.
  11. Blake Bell: Will be active and live for a target, but the Belldozer is mostly a blocker these days, save for the rare trick play.
  12. River Cracraft, Chase Claypool and Robbie Chosen: Two of the three are likely to be inactive.

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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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