Monday Night Football
Washington @ Kansas City
Team Totals: Chiefs 28, Redskins 21
Regardless of Monday night’s box-score result, Kareem Hunt is the premier Week 4 running back play in all of fantasy as the NFL’s rushing leader by a 113-yard margin and a seven-point home favorite facing a Skins team primed for letdown after its high-profile primetime win over Oakland to visit Arrowhead, one of the NFL’s toughest places to play. … After a rough opener against Carson Wentz, the Redskins tightened their pass defense in Weeks 2-3, holding Jared Goff to his season-worst QB24 fantasy result and Derek Carr to his season-worst QB29 finish last Sunday night. Alex Smith has returned to Earth since his Week 1 blowup against the Patriots, whom expanded sample sizes now tell us have a legitimately bad defense after they were rocked by Drew Brees and previously-overmatched rookie Deshaun Watson in back-to-back games. Nevertheless, this game has Week 4’s second-highest total (49), and all of the Chiefs’ skill-position players are in excellent spots. Smith is a good-looking streamer versus the Skins.
Smith’s Weeks 1-3 target distribution: Tyreek Hill 22; Travis Kelce 18; Albert Wilson 12; Hunt and Chris Conley 9; Charcandrick West 3. … Hill was indeed under-owned in Week 3 DFS after his Week 2 flop when everyone played him, and Hill indeed went off with 90 yards and a touchdown on nine touches against the Chargers. As Hill runs 77% of his routes against right and slot corners and Josh Norman is playing stationary left cornerback 97% of the time, Hill will not draw shadow coverage on Monday night. This is another probable blowup spot for TyFreak. … The Redskins got pummeled by Eagles tight ends (9/104/0) in Week 1, Rams tight ends (4/104/0) in Week 2, and Raiders tight ends (5/42/1) in Week 3. After his one-yard Week 3 clunker, you couldn’t dream up a better bounce-back spot for Kelce.
Although it was nice to see Kirk Cousins get back on track in last week’s romp over Oakland, there are reasons for Week 4 concern. At Arrowhead, the Chiefs have held each of their last seven opponents to 20 points or fewer with an average of 15.2 points allowed in their last nine home games. Beginning with most recent, Cousins’ last four passing yards/touchdown totals in road games are 179/1 > 270/1 > 234/2 > 271/1. Cousins is a timing-and-rhythm passer whose slow Weeks 1-2 start can be explained away, and Kansas City’s to-date allowance of the NFL’s seventh-most passing yards (772) is one data point working in his favor. Still, I think this is a risky, boom-bust spot for Cousins. … The banged-up Redskins running game is tentatively expected to have Rob Kelley (ribs) and Samaje Perine (hand) available for Monday night’s game, although their roles are to be determined. Kansas City has played above-average run defense so far, holding enemy backs to a combined 68/254/3.73/4 rushing line and the NFL’s 13th-fewest receiving yards (89). As two-down, road-underdog running backs facing a defense that doesn’t give up many points at home, Kelley and Perine look like Week 4 fades. … Chris Thompson’s touchdown scoring is unsustainable, but he is the lone usable Redskins back here. He set a season high with 14 touches in last week’s drubbing of the Raiders, and I’m not buying the coachspeak Thompson’s role won’t continue to grow. As a passing-down specialist, Thompson’s outlook can be enhanced by negative game script.
Cousins’ Weeks 1-3 target distribution: Thompson and Terrelle Pryor 19; Jamison Crowder 18; Jordan Reed 14; Ryan Grant 12; Vernon Davis 7; Josh Doctson 3; Perine 2; Kelley 1. … Pryor’s efficiency has been beyond bad through three games as a Redskin, but all of his usage numbers are where they need to be. He leads the Skins in targets, he is playing 80% of the snaps, and his 222 air yards by far paces the team. I get putting Pryor in a prove-it situation on your fantasy bench, but I also think he is a buy low, and will remain a buy low even if he struggles in Kansas City. On Monday night, Pryor will run 60% of his routes at Chiefs RCB Terrance Mitchell and slot CB Phillip Gaines, whom PFF has respectively charged with the NFL’s first- and 26th-most yardage allowed among 110 qualified cornerbacks. Pryor remains a boom-bust WR3/flex. … Crowder offers rebound potential against Gaines after playing 71% of Washington’s Week 3 offensive snaps and setting season highs in catches (6) and yards (52). Still, Crowder is a WR4/flex in PPR leagues until he shows us more. … Doctson caught a touchdown last week, but he is still rotating with Grant for third receiver duties. … Reed (shoulder, toe) practiced this week and seems likely to play on Monday night. The Chiefs’ tight end coverage has been up and down since losing SS Eric Berry, giving up 6/107 to Eagles tight ends in Week 2 before limiting Chargers tight ends to 2/30/0 in last week’s win.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 30, Redskins 24
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