- Everything you need to craft a winning fantasy football lineup in Week 11, with a special focus on Chiefs-Rams.
Every Sunday, the combined SI.com and 4for4 Football team will answer a question about the day that is to unfold before our eyes. The question will change every week. Some weeks, it will be quite specific, and others it will be broader in nature. No matter what the question is, though, we’ll strive to give you a last few pieces of wisdom before you officially set your lineups for the week, kick up your feet, and enjoy the football. Let’s get to it.
Chiefs-Rams on Monday Night Football this week will likely be the most anticipated regular season game this season. A possible Super Bowl preview, this game carries an over/under of 63.5, the highest opening total since at least 1986. Let's make some prediction about what could be the most exciting fantasy game of the season.
Who will win?
Will it go over?
Who will have the better fantasy day: Patrick Mahomes or Jared Goff? Kareem Hunt or Todd Gurley? Tyreek Hill + Travis Kelce or Brandin Cooks + Robert Woods?
Michael Beller (@MBeller): I don’t think the loss of Cooper Kupp can be overstated. Sure, Jared Goff still has plenty of weapons at his disposal, but this team was buit in such perfect balance with Kupp, Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods that I worry about what the loss of any of them will do to the attack as a whole. If there’s an offense and, more importantly, a coach that can handle it, though, it’s this one and Sean McVay.
I’m also concerned with how the Rams’ secondary stands up to Patrick Mahomes and company. The backend of the defense has been exposed without Aqib Talib, giving Mahomes and the Chiefs a huge advantage every time they have the ball. If Aaron Donald and the rest of the Rams’ pass rush isn’t getting home, it’s going to be a long night for this defense.
Still, I like the shift to home ground for the Rams. In a game of virtually even powerhouses, I think home-field advantage could make the difference. Give me the Rams, 41-34, pushing it comfortably past the over. From a purely fantasy perspective, I’ll say that Mahomes outperforms Goff, Gurley blows past Kareem Hunt, and Hill and Kelce narrowly edge Cooks and Woods. If you’re invested in any of these eight players, though, you will not be disappointed.
Chris Allen (@ChrisAllenFFWX): Before we look forward to Monday, let’s look all the way back to mid-April. The NFL had released the 2018 schedule and analysts began to pore over the matchups. The Rams were already a fan favorite after the 2017 season, but there was only tentative excitement surrounding the Chiefs. What were Patrick Mahomes and offensive mastermind Andy Reid capable of doing with the offseason to prepare? Apparently, they could break the AFC. Now, here in Week 11, we might have a glimpse of Super Bowl LIII. Both teams average more than 30 points per game, and their fantasy assets have been the most explosive and consistent all season.
Looking at this game from a macro perspective, I think the Rams have the edge to win. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks sit in seventh and ninth, respectively, in receiving yards. Second-year wide receiver Josh Reynolds was the popular waiver wire pickup this week, but both Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett stepped up with Cooper Kupp was out previously. Their defense isn’t all that bad, either, ranking in the top 10 in first downs allowed per good. That Todd Gurley guy is pretty important, too. All of this isn’t to say the Chiefs can’t pull it off, but I have concerns.
Mahomes’ attempts have come down as defenses have started generating more pressure against him. He’s taken nine sacks in the last 3 games after taking eight in the first seven. Then there’s Kareem Hunt. He’s currently third in fantasy points for running backs, with heavy involvement in the passing game. However, almost 28% of his rushing production has come on long plays—10 yards or more. For comparison, Gurley only has 18% of his production on such plays. Tyreek Hill is always a big play waiting to happen, but those can be hard to rely on entirely. So, what is this offense without the explosive plays? The Rams’ passing attack, led Cooks and Woods, is in a better spot, even after the loss of Kupp. Their outside corners have been susceptible to a variety of routes that both Cooks and Woods can exploit. While I think the game goes under the projected total, the Rams should take home the win, with all their players have the superior fantasy days.
Stephen Andress (@SportsByStephen): I’m going against Beller and Allen, and taking the Chiefs to win this game. Their defense is playing better at this point after being a complete mess early in the season, only allowing 17 points per game over the last four weeks. Over that same span, the Rams are allowing 28 points per game. Leave it to me to talk about defense in a game with the largest over/under in Vegas in 30-plus years, but a couple stops could make the difference in this shootout. Still, it's going over 63.5 points. Mahomes will outplay Goff. Gurley is still Gurley. You just never pick against him, even with Hunt on the other side of the bet. And I'll take the combo of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to shred this Rams struggling secondary over the Rams wideout duo, even with the absence of Cooper Kupp sending a few more targets their way.
Jennifer Eakins (@themondaymommy): Wouldn’t it be great if these teams trolled all of us with a massive defensive showdown for the ages? It’s not likely, but it would be pretty fun to see the fantasy community melt down over it. Both the Chiefs and Rams have been offensive powerhouses this season, with five combined players among the top 12 in total fantasy points—Gurley, Mahomes, Hunt, Goff and Hill. The Rams are technically the better defense, but that’s not really going to matter. The Chiefs are dead-last at defending the run in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric (aFPA), while the Rams are 12th. Advantage Gurley. Goff also has the edge over Mahomes on paper, but we’ve all seen what the talented young quarterback can do when pressured. The teams are ranked similarly against receivers and tight ends, so I’ll give it to Hill and Kelce based on having less competition for targets. No matter how it all plays out, this should be a battle royal, and I expect the point total to fly past the over.