Monday Night DFS Breakdown: Chiefs vs. Rams
Monday Night DFS Breakdown: Chiefs vs. Rams

Single-game slates on DraftKings and FanDuel are a fixture of this 2018 season, with large prize pool tournaments running on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights each week.

Whether you've been playing these slates heavily, have only dabbled on occasion, or are thinking about it for the first time with the best Monday Night matchup of the season on tap with the Chiefs visiting the Rams, here's a closer look at the matchup from the single-game DFS perspective.

Vegas Info

The Rams are favored by three and the over/under total is 63 (it opened at 59.5).

This implied final score is Rams 33, Chiefs 30.

Team Info

Rams -- 9.4 YPA (1st in NFL), 4.9 YPC (T-4th in NFL)
Chiefs -- 9.1 YPA (T-2nd in NFL), 4.8 YPC (T-5th in NFL)

Both defenses are allowing 6.0 yards per play this season -- seven teams in the league have been worse.

Rams -- 7.7 YPA allowed (T-24th in NFL), 5.2 YPC allowed (32nd in NFL)
Chiefs -- 7.4 YPA allowed (T-14th in NFL), 5.1 YPC allowed (T-31st in NFL)

Rams Injury Report

Cooper Kupp (knee) is out for the season after tearing his ACL in Week 10.

Chiefs Injury Report

Sammy Watkins (foot) is questionable.
Eric Berry (heel) is doubtful.
Starting center Mitch Morse (concussion) is out (he hasn't played since Week 6).

The Chiefs promoted a receiver (Gehrig Dieter) from the practice squad Sunday, which along with the Chiefs' possession of a Week 12 bye, has led to speculation that Watkins might be held out for the second straight game due to his foot injury.

Chris Conley played 92% of the snaps for the Chiefs in Week 10 when Watkins was unavailable, but he was only targeted twice while Demarcus Robinson was targeted four times in the win over Arizona.

Both players have been very limited in their opportunities to this point, but Robinson has generated more air yards per snap (0.78) than Conley (0.40), which probably makes him the more interesting tournament dart throw when you account for the difference in price.

Over the last two seasons, Robinson has 10 red-zone targets while Conley has three.

Lineup Construction

Kevin Cole of RotoGrinders ($) has done excellent research on this format, and the most common lineup build is for the quarterback from the team favored to win to be used as the Captain.

Jamming in both quarterbacks or a combo of Todd Gurley and Patrick Mahomes should be the most frequently-used combinations, which will leave many entries picking through the mid-tier and bottom of the price list to find value plays.

Let's start with DraftKings, where the 1.5x multiplier on the Captain spot is affixed to a 1.5x salary multiplier.

(Reminder: The salary cap is $50,000 and you get six roster spots to fill, with the only build requirement being the need to have at least one player from each team.)

Eight players will cost five figures from the Captain spot Monday night:

Todd Gurley ($17,000)
Patrick Mahomes ($16,800)
Tyreek Hill ($15,000)
Jared Goff ($14,400)
Kareem Hunt ($13,200)
Robert Woods ($12,000)
Brandin Cooks ($11,700)
Travis Kelce ($11,100)

Thinking about the foundation of the roster, here are a few simple combinations to consider from the top of the price list:

Gurley captain + Mahomes = $29,900 ($20,100 left for four spots)
Mahomes captain + Gurley = $28,600 ($21,400 left for four spots)
Hill captain + Mahomes = $26,200 ($23,800 left for four spots)
Goff captain + Gurley = $26,200 ($23,800 left for four spots)
Hunt captain + Gurley = $25,000 ($25,000 left for four spots)

It's not unreasonable to think that in tournaments, using one of Woods, Cooks or Kelce in the captain spot can work. In this matchup, there isn't a compelling reason to go any lower than that.

The best value play on the Rams' side appears to be Josh Reynolds, who at $4,800, is positioned to play a lot more snaps with Kupp's season-ending knee injury. Reynolds had three red-zone targets in the two games that Kupp missed earlier this season (Weeks 7 and 8), while playing season-high snap shares of 84 and 88 percent in those matchups against the Niners and Packers as the Rams frequently deployed three-WR sets.

The low price and clear spike in playing time will likely draw plenty of owners to Reynolds, so pivoting to a tight end -- Tyler Higbee or Gerald Everett -- might be a better option in tournaments. The Chiefs are allowing the ninth-most DraftKings points to tight ends in 2018, and Kupp's absence creates a significant number of red-zone opportunities.

At a glance, Higbee's 3:1 advantage in snaps played this season makes him the better option, but it's very important to note that Everett runs a route on 95% of the pass-play snaps he's on the field for, compared to Higbee's 58% rate.

For the season, Higbee has run 142 routes to Everett's 119, so their opportunities to provide meaningful fantasy value are closer than it appears at first glance. Not surprisingly, Everett averages more air yards per snap than Higbee by a decent margin (0.69 to 0.29).

Higbee's price on DraftKings ($2,200) is actually slightly cheaper than Everett's ($2,400), while the opposite is true on FanDuel (Higbee: $7,500, Everett $7,000).

As FanDuel goes, the basic lineup construction principles are similar, but the lack of a salary multiplier on the MVP spot (1.5x points) provides a slight wrinkle. The FanDuel single-game format uses five roster spots instead of six, and the salary cap is $60,000.

A similar group of five-figure players are available as MVP selections:

Patrick Mahomes ($17,000)
Todd Gurley ($17,000)
Jared Goff ($15,500)
Kareem Hunt ($13,500)
Tyreek Hill ($12,000)
Travis Kelce ($12,000)
Brandin Cooks ($12,000)
Robert Woods ($11,000)

A few pricey pairing to build around include:

Gurley + Mahomes = $34,000 ($26,000 left for three spots)
Mahomes + Goff = $32,500 ($27,500 left for three spots)
Goff + Gurley = $32,500 ($27,500 left for three spots)
Mahomes + Hill = $29,000 ($31,000 left for three spots)
Goff + Hunt = $28,000 ($32,000 left for three spots)

Pairing one of the Rams' top-two WRs with Goff is also an option, and that route provides a little more salary-cap flexibility for the three remaining roster spots.

Regardless of the site you choose to play on, deciding which Rams receiver you want to play (either as a standalone or stacked with Goff) is somewhat tricky.

One of the most surprising stats I've seen this season is that Robert Woods does not have a red-zone target since Week 3. Again, when Kupp missed time previously, Reynolds saw an increase in overall opportunities, while also picking up targets inside the red zone. While Woods' lack of chances inside the 20 could be an anomaly, the Rams seemingly have designs to get their other weapons more involved in that part of that field.

From the RotoWire Team Trends page, here are the Rams' red-zone target leaders since the start of Week 4:

Todd Gurley - 12
Brandin Cooks - 7
Gerald Everett - 5
Cooper Kupp - 5 (IR)
Tyler Higbee - 4
Josh Reynolds - 3 (all three red-zone targets were in Kupp's previous two-game absence)
Malcolm Brown - 1

Cooks is my preference if I'm using a Rams WR on either site, even with the elevated price ($12,000 compared to Woods' $11,000 tag) on FanDuel.

The challenge I've found trying to build a lineup I like on FanDuel in this particular matchup is the lack of bottom of the pool players that I can talk myself into.

If I have to use a player at $6,000 or less on FanDuel on Monday night, it's Demarcus Robinson over Chris Conley ($5,500) in tournaments.

Otherwise, it's a $5,000 Anthony Sherman as a pure hail mary (he has two red-zone targets this season).

The more comfortable play is to build a lineup around a narrative that requires only one QB -- perhaps pairing Mahomes with Gurley (using one, likely Mahomes as MVP) -- hoping for a Rams' offensive performance that puts two-plus TDs on Gurley, and one on your preference of Cooks or Woods, and the other Everett. That build leaves a Mahomes lineup without a Mahomes pass-catcher if you lean on Harrison Butker for a 3+ field goal night, or on one of the low-volume types like Robinson or Conley, which leaves you rooting for a Mahomes rushing TD and chaos with low-owned Kansas City pass-catchers in terms of TD distribution.

In any case, this should be one of the most enjoyable Monday Night games in recent memory.

Good luck tonight!

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Derek VanRiper plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: RotoWireDVR, DraftKings: BentleysChair, Yahoo: d.vanriper,.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Derek VanRiper
Derek is the Director of Media for RotoWire.com, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210).
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