Thursday Night DFS Single Game Plays Week 1

Welcome to Thursday Night Football! It’s finally here, and for once it should be a pretty good game, at least on paper, instead of one of those Jaguars-Texans matchups we seem to have seen so often in the past. Below I’ve outlined some rationale and picks for the Single Game DFS matchup. This is more catered to FanDuel but you should be able to use the rationale to make your picks on DraftKings or other platforms. Goooood Luck!


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This game has a really high O/U of 53.5 and the Chiefs are favored. I think that’s why you have two options here: use the QB on the team that’s favored (Patrick Mahomes) or use the player he’ll be throwing those TD passes to (?). That’s our conundrum, however.

This one is a bit tricky because at the time of this writing Travis Kelce’s status is still up in the air. And Mahomes is going to have high ownership, so if you’re going to win you may need to differentiate your MVP spot. But if you’re not going with Mahomes and you’re not sure if Kelce is playing (and even if he is, will he just be a decoy?), which pass-catcher do you use? Kadarius Toney is the WR1 but Skyy Moore should be a close WR2. Marquez-Valdez Scantling (MVS) is more of a deep threat so may not be scoring TDs in bunches. Jerick McKinnon had NINE receiving TDs last year, but this is week 1 – will he have the same role?

Looking at the odds, outside of Kelce, Vegas has MVS with the best odds for a TD, but MVS and McKinnon have the same odds to score 2+. Intriguingly, Kelce’s backup, Noah Gray, has the next-best odds, then Moore, then Toney.

As I mentioned, MVS could score a TD but may not score multiple, so I think that leaves us with one choice: Jerick McKinnon.


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So, you’ll use Mahomes here. But remember, we need to stay under $60k on FanDuel. That leaves us with $33k on FD. If it’s going to be a shootout, as the O/U implies, then you probably want a piece of Jared Goff and one of their pass-catchers. But you won’t be able to afford Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown, so what do you do? You could go with Goff along with rookies RB Jahmyr Gibbs and TE Sam LaPorta. Gibbs should be the “pass-catching” back and LaPorta could assume the T.J. Hockenson role (which included catches/TDs, not just blocking). Or you can mix and match the squads, using Goff and LaPorta, but instead of Gibbs ($11k on FD) you could swap him out for MVS ($10k on FD), Toney ($9.5k on FD), or Moore ($8k on FD). Finally, if there is going to be a lot of points, then some of those will likely come from the kickers in the form of extra points and possibly field goals. Harrison Butker would be the preferred option here ($9.5k).

Choice: TBD

Game Script

Before you make your Flex picks, think about how you think this game will go and build your lineup accordingly. More often than not Vegas is right, so the likeliest outcome is that the Chiefs win a relatively high-scoring affair by more than a field goal. I imagine Vegas gets smarter as the weeks roll on and more data becomes available, so Week 1 may be a bit harder to predict.

My thought is that this will be a game where Mahomes will have to figure out how to score points without his top option (Kelce) and he’s more than capable of figuring out the recipe for success, but these WR’s are not Tyreek Hill so despite pre-season work, this process could take some time. Skyy Moore was a hyped WR last year and the Chiefs spent a second round pick on him, so I think they’d like to get him involved more, especially with Toney’s injury history I think they’d like to be able to rely on Moore as the second option behind Kelce. I just don’t know how much he’ll score, so they’ll use McKinnon Thursday night as a safety blanket.

I do think that Dan Campbell and the Lions will view this as an opportunity to showcase on national television that they are for real. They have a great offensive line that should keep Goff upright and able to complete passes, especially with the Chiefs being without star defensive end Chris Jones. Campbell should have the Lions fired up, so I think this game is competitive and relatively high-scoring (although 53.5 is a bit rich).

Based on game script and salary limitations, these are my choices: Mahomes, Goff, Gibbs, LaPorta.


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  • MVP – Jerick McKinnon ($9k)
  • Flex – Patrick Mahomes ($18k)
  • Flex – Jared Goff ($15.5k)
  • Flex – Jahmyr Gibbs ($11k)
  • Flex – Sam LaPorta ($6.5k)

Betting Angle

Lions Cover : I think with some of the question marks on the Chiefs side along with the Lions’ O-Line this game remains close.

Under Game Total : Vegas is smart and is usually right, but they also know everyone wants to bet the Chiefs and bet the Over, so I’ll play the game and take the Under.

David Montgomery to Score a TD : you should get paid more for forecasting a TD, but I like the Lions’ O-line and Montgomery’s rushing chops, so he’ll find the endzone.

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Jarod Rupp, Fantasy Sports
Jarod Rupp, Fantasy Sports
Jarod is a long-time fantasy sports veteran, with over 20 years of experience using salary cap, season-long, best ball, and DFS formats - mainly centered around MLB and NFL. Ever since the "Sid Bream Slide" he has been a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan. He also enjoys collecting trading cards and memorabilia from his favorite teams and players.

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