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Week 15 Thursday Night Football Daily Fantasy: Chargers vs. Chiefs

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By Jeff Hicks, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Yahoo's single-game offering has a roster construction of one "Superstar" that scores at a 1.5 multiplier, while the remaining four FLEX roster spots accumulate points at the normal rate. This is half-point PPR scoring and the "Superstar" salary does not change from the Utility. All scoring and rules can be found here.

[Play in Yahoo's $100K Single Game Baller for KC vs. LAC]

Things you love to see: Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes opening Week 15. The Kansas City Chiefs travel west to take on the Los Angeles Chargers.

It is vital to remember that single-game slates are not simply a “max salary, play as many big names as possible, and submit” format, especially in larger tournament fields. We need to identify players that can be pieces in their offense’s success, whether in the lead or trailing, as well as the players that could be focal points in a neutral game script. The ability to then take those players and identify which will succeed in the single-game format will put us in a better position to succeed as daily fantasy players.

Vegas Total and Spread

The Chiefs are 3.5-point road favorites with an Over/Under of 52 points. The Chiefs have an implied team total of 27.5 points, while the Chargers have an implied team total of 24 points.

Potential Game Flow Scenarios

With Keenan Allen ($26) activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list, the biggest concern for the Chargers is whether or not Austin Ekeler (ankle, $33) is healthy enough to play against the improved Chiefs defense ($15). It does seem like he will play, but have his role reduced. Over the past 10 weeks, the Chiefs defense is 7th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to opposing running backs. If Ekeler cannot go or is limited, the Chargers will rely on some combination of Justin Jackson ($14), Joshua Kelley ($14), and Larry Rountree III ($14). It would be a way to keep the Chiefs' defense on their toes, but none of them provide the same dynamic playmaking as Ekeler. Another factor that could hurt the Chargers run game is the loss of rookie tackle Rashawn Slater (COVID-19 protocols).

If QB was not the focal point of all offensive awards, Slater would be one of, if not the, offensive Rookie of the Year.

That puts the weight of the world and LA’s playoff hopes on Justin Herbert ($38). Two things happened in Week 14 for the second-year QB: He ended a three-game, 300-yard passing streak, but also ended a four-game interception streak. Herbert could very well start a new 300-yard streak without starting a new interception streak because the Chiefs will be without one of their best defensive players. CB L’Jarius Sneed (personal) will not play Thursday, and LB Willie Gay is out because of health and safety protocols. Both have made their marks as the KC defense turned a corner after a horrific start to the 2021 season. Herbert will have Allen, Mike Williams ($22), Jalen Guyton ($13), and rookie Josh Palmer ($13) as trusted targets in the passing game, as well as the boring yet reliable Jared Cook ($14).

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10)
Justin Herbert could well start a hot streak in Week 15. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Did you know Patrick Mahomes ($36) has only topped 300 yards passing four times this season? The offense has taken an uncharacteristic dip this season in large part because of inconsistent offensive line play. The other issue is a lack of passing options behind Tyreek Hill ($29) and Travis Kelce ($31) and even they have been inconsistent. Despite the Chiefs scoring 70 points the past two games, Hill and Kelce have less than 100 yards each over that span. It has been so bad that Darrel Williams ($15) can be seen as the third-best passing option. Williams has caught 16 of 18 targets over Kansas City’s past four games.

Williams has been crucial to the passing game the same way Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($19) has been to the run. He has not been dynamic in his three games since returning from injury, but he is a back who can soak up carries (at least 10 in every game since returning) and he has three touchdowns. He has also added six catches out of the backfield and helps give the Chiefs backfield versatility. Only four teams allow more schedule-adjusted fantasy points to running backs than the Chargers.

Close, low-scoring game

Patrick Mahomes

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Darrel Williams

Chiefs defense

Justin Herbert

Austin Ekeler

Justin Jackson

Keenan Allen

Chargers defense

Close, high-scoring game

Patrick Mahomes

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Darrel Williams

Tyreek Hill

Mecole Hardman

Travis Kelce

Justin Herbert

Austin Ekeler

Justin Jackson

Keenan Allen

Mike Williams

Jared Cook

Blowout for home team

Justin Herbert

Austin Ekeler

Justin Jackson

Keenan Allen

Mike Williams

Jalen Guyton

Jared Cook

Chargers defense

Patrick Mahomes

Darrel Williams

Tyreek Hill

Travis Kelce

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Blowout for road team

Patrick Mahomes

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Darrel Williams

Tyreek Hill

Mecole Hardman

Byron Pringle

Travis Kelce

Chiefs defense

Justin Herbert

Austin Ekeler

Keenan Allen

Jared Cook

Cheap/Unique Stacking Option

Traditional stacks such as QB/WR1 or WR2, QB/TE, and RB/DEF are stacks seen used in winning lineups. The obvious choice is not always the winning choice. Below is a cheap stack with at least one unique quality that could break the slate.

[Visit 4for4, where 92% of subscribers made the playoffs, for more]

Darrel Williams ($15) and Jalen Guyton ($13)

Williams has a secure role and if the Chargers can crack the Chiefs' defense, his targets and touches will go up. Only Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce have had a higher market share of targets over the past month. I can guarantee Guyton will see lower rostership because his role will be perceived as smaller with the return of Keenan Allen. It is not. He has seen 53-59% of snaps the past month and 56% of snaps on the season. Guyton is the third wideout on the field and the Chargers average depth of target (aDOT) leader.

Low-Salaried Volatile Plays

Josh Palmer ($13)

If Keenan Allen is not at his expected/preferred conditioning because of COVID-19, Palmer could see an uptick in snaps. Palmer played the Allen role Week 14 and saw a season-high in targets, catches, and receiving yards.

Donald Parham Jr. ($11)

The following is a list of some of the players Parham has more red-zone targets than: Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, C.J. Uzomah, Anthony Firkser, Darius Slayton, Byron Pringle, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Darnell Mooney, among others.

Chargers Defense ($11)

The defense has interceptions in three straight and has not allowed more than 22 points to opposing offenses over that span. For what it is worth, the Chargers defense had 10 fantasy points in K.C. earlier this season.

Derrick Gore ($10)

If Kansas City is leading comfortably earlier in the second half (a recent trend), Gore will get mop-up duty. Few third-string running backs are as productive in spot duty as Gore.

Superstar Picks

Austin Ekeler ($33)

Ekeler is expected to play, albeit in a limited capacity. Cool with me. He has three fewer red-zone passing targets than Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and is seventh in the NFL in red zone carries. Ekeler is the high-value touch king despite having a specific role.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($19)

Andy Reid will know to target LA’s vulnerable rush defense. All three of CEH's 2021 rushing scores have come since returning from injury.

Travis Kelce ($31)

CEH has the best matchup using aFPA, but the second-best is Kelce. His production has noticeably dropped off, but LA has been charitable to tight ends. The Chargers have allowed zero tight end touchdowns the past two weeks but between Weeks 8-12 (all post-bye), the defense allowed five.

Justin Herbert ($38)

Herbert is on a heater and while DFS players will account for the Chiefs’ improvements on defense, I weigh Sneed’s absence favorably for the Chargers. The Chiefs could run the ball and the clock to keep the Chargers offense off the field. To combat that potential loss of time, Herbert and the Chargers will have to throw.

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

Jeff has played fantasy sports since 2001. He has covered fantasy and traditional sports at the pro, semi-pro, and amateur level for the better part of a decade. Born in Illinois and currently living where James Robinson made a name for himself in college, Jeff enjoys running (establish it), followed by doing absolutely nothing.

More from 4for4.com: The Rookie Report: Week 14

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