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NFL Matchups: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots Fantasy Football Preview

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This a snippet of Adam Pfeifer’s NFL matchups column, previewing Chiefs vs. the Patriots for Fantasy Football Lineups. With just a few weeks left in the season, we have to begin assessing not only injuries and matchups, but also potential resting of stars for the long haul. All of it has a tremendous effect on our NFL DFS and season-long fantasy lineups. So let’s dig into some NFL DFS matchups and NFL game breakdowns for your Week 14 Fantasy Football Lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo and FantasyDraft.

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Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots

Total: 49

Line: NE -3

Chiefs passing game

I was expecting a huge game from Patrick Mahomes last week but a combination of bad weather and bad opponent kept him from reaching his full potential. Now he heads to Foxboro to take on the league’s top pass defense and while some may contemplate sitting him, I’m not. He’s too good and he’s had success against this defense so far in his career. I actually really like Mahomes in NFL DFS tournaments because when the Patriots have gotten beat through the air, it’s been deep down the field.

New England is allowing the fourth-highest average depth of target in the league (9.3). Mahomes, meanwhile, is third in the NFL in intended air yards per pass attempt (9.5). I think he goes right at this Patriots defense and could have a way bigger game than many are expecting, especially since the speed that Kansas City has on their offense could cause problems for New England’s man coverage scheme. Keep him in your lineups.

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Tyreek Hill didn’t have to do much last week and now gets a tougher matchup. However, the Mahomes/Hill stack is my favorite GPP combo of the week, especially because Hill isn’t going to be followed around the field by Stephon Gilmore, who hasn’t shadowed him in any of their meetings. And even if he does occasionally see him in coverage, Hill’s speed is unmatched and Gilmore is a bigger corner.

Perhaps the Patriots but Gilmore on tight end Travis Kelce, especially after head coach Bill Belichick was talking him up earlier in the week. Kelce has reached the 60-yard mark in every game this season and the 80-yard mark six times, serving as a model of consistency at the tight end position. Still, he has two touchdowns in five career games against the Patriots, going over 40 receiving yards just twice. DraftKings priced him all the way down to $6,200 but it appears that he is the player Belichick looks to take away when these teams meet. That likely inhibits his NFL DFS value, regardless of price.

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Chiefs running game

Surprise, surprise. The Kansas City backfield remains messy. Darrel Williams is now on injured reserve, while Damien Williams still isn’t practicing with a rib injury. If he were to sit, that would leave the Chiefs with LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and recently signed Spencer Ware. Thompson got 11 carries last week, all of which came with the Chiefs up 28 points, but he looked like the most explosive back we’ve seen out of Kansas City all year long. The Patriots have allowed just two rushing touchdowns this season but if Williams sits, Thompson will likely have Darrel’s role of last week, which is plenty of pass-catching work in a very good offense. McCoy, meanwhile, will still likely be limited to 12 or so touches, regardless of who is in or out, making him nothing more than a flex play at best.

Patriots passing game

Tom Brady’s final numbers looked solid last week but we have once again reached the point of the season where we question how much he has left. He is averaging 6.7 yards per pass attempt, a career-low, as the Patriots are really lacking a big play receiver on the perimeter. And since Week 6, he is completing less than 60 percent of his passes with just eight total touchdown passes. New England’s offense as a whole has been below average, as they are averaging 5.1 yards per play, the ninth-lowest mark in football. This is an okay matchup against the Chiefs, who are allowing the 12th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and the 14th-most fantasy points per pass attempt.

This offense is running through Julian Edelman at the moment, who has now seen double-digit targets in each of his last seven games, operating as the clear top option in this New England passing game. Sporting the sixth-highest target share in football (26.7%), Edelman should remain plenty involved against the Chiefs this week, a team allowing the 21.2 fantasy points per game to the slot this year, according to Pro Football Focus, the seventh-most in the league. Edelman is also quietly leading the NFL with 18 red zone targets, too, making him a top-tier receiver play for the NFL DFS week.

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Patriots running game

James White went ballistic last Sunday night, rushing 14 times for 79 yards, adding eight receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Most of it came with the Patriots chasing points throughout the second half but with the lack of pass-catchers in this offense, New England needs White to remain a factor. He actually trails Edelman for the league-lead with 17 red zone targets of his own. White has been a very consistent PPR back, finishing as a top-30 option in all but one game this season. He’s in another good spot this week, facing a Chiefs defense that is allowing the second-most red zone drives in the league this year, as well as the seventh-most receptions (5.9) and second-most receiving yards (63.6) per game to opposing backfields.

It is hard to project how much work Sony Michel will get in a given week but this seems like a spot for him. We’ve seen teams beat the Chiefs this year by running the football and keeping their offense on the sidelines. That could happen with Michel this week and if he gets the work, he could have a very strong game, as Kansas City is stuffing just 12 percent of carries at the line of scrimmage this year, tied for the lowest rate in the league. The Chiefs are also allowing the most total yards per game to opposing running backs, as well as the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.

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