If you’re like the DFI team, you love to read articles by the top names in the fantasy football industry to gauge where other player’s minds will be. Doing that this week will allow you to see just how much everyone loves Travis Kelce. He’s an elite tight end in a great matchup who isn’t necessarily priced that way. On FanDuel he’s $7,500 and on DraftKings he’s $7,300. This isn’t cheap by any means, but for an upper-tier player going against the league’s worst defense against tight ends by fantasy points allowed, it’s an enticing price point. Kelce could very well be 60% owned or more in cash games. As safe as Kelce may seem, the truth remains that the tight end position is the most volatile of the fantasy football positions. We also have reason to believe that you can go elsewhere in GPPs. Full disclaimer though: We don’t advise fading Kelce in cash because he always has 100-yard, two-touchdown potential and if you miss out on that, you’ll be in trouble. He will be so high-owned that an underwhelming performance won’t really hurt you all that much in cash games. Now we’ll discuss why we think you can fade him in GPPs.
Our first concern is the weather in MetLife Stadium. The DFI weather expert, Nate Harrington, advises us that winds could hover somewhere around 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. The 20 mph mark is when we start to get concerned about kickers and passing options, so the fact that winds will be 25% higher than that and gusts could be nearly twice that has us doubting the number of throws made downfield by a historically shy Alex Smith (he’s been much more aggressive this year though). Our newest DFI team member, Tom Buckley, is a season ticket holder for the Giants and he shared with us that the winds in MetLife stadium are compounded by the stadium design and will swirl around the field. Travis Kelce sees a good share of targets on quick screens and short red-zone situations, but 52% of his yardage comes on throws over 15 yards. As high as he is priced, Kelce needs more than just a touchdown to hit value. A hypothetical game in which he has 6 catches for 50 yards and a touchdown would have him barely approaching value on DraftKings and leave him well short of value on FanDuel.
The next thing that has us worried about Kelce in GPPs is the likely game script. Kansas City is a ten point favorite, and if the weather report stays the way it is, the spread could increase even more as the Giants have an abysmal run game. They’ve tried multiple different backs as the lead guy this year, all to no avail. As Christian Abbonizio pointed out in the Must-Have article, the Giants pass the ball second most in the NFL. Just as the wind will affect KC, it will also hamper Eli Manning and the Giants’ downfield passing game (NOTE: we aren’t concerned as much with Sterling Shepard being affected by the wind because 74.5% of his yardage and 86.8% of his catches have come on throws under 15 yards). If the Giants are unable to throw the ball downfield, we think it will be difficult for them to score points and keep up with a Kansas City team who can lean on Kareem Hunt in the rushing game and give Tyreek Hill a couple carries as well. If Kansas City gets out to a decent lead, opportunities could decrease for Kelce.
A couple good pivots off of Kelce are Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Kroft. Gronk has an even higher ceiling than Kelce in a game that should stay closer and be more up-tempo. His ownership should also be lower than Kelce’s. Many of us at DFI will be playing Tyler Kroft this week in GPPs, particularly on DraftKings where he is somehow only $2,900. At this price, if Kroft catches a touchdown he is already at value, but we believe he will do more than that. In Denver’s last three contests, they’ve allowed opposing tight ends to catch 20 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns. Granted, those three tight ends were Gronkowski, Kelce and Zach Ertz, but it should be noted that teams are targeting tight ends against Denver. In Week 2, Dallas targeted tight ends 13 times. In Week 4, Oakland targeted tight ends 10 times. In the last three weeks, even the elite tight ends saw more targets than their season averages. On DraftKings, if Kroft catches a 10-yard touchdown, he’s at value already. On FanDuel, he would need a few more catches, or about 25 more yards, but still a very low bar for a player matched up against a Denver defense that funnels passes away from opposing wide receivers.
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