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Chiefs vs. Chargers Week 15 Thursday Night Football Showdown Game Breakdown & NFL DFS Picks

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Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 15 Thursday Night Football. Below is provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel showdown lineups. Let us dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 15 Chiefs vs. Chargers Thursday Night Football matchup.

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Week 15 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Picks

The Chiefs head to Los Angeles to take on the second-place Chargers in a game that has huge implications for the seeding in the AFC playoffs. Just one game back, the Chargers have a chance to vault into a tie for first, but they will have to overcome injuries on offense, particularly at the running back position. Plus, their defense now ranks outside the top half of teams in defensive expected points added per play. With a total that began at 51.5 and has been steadily climbing throughout the week, there is a ton of potential shootout indicators in this matchup. Both offenses are capable of winning games on their own, and while both defenses are around league average, there is very little chance either will get slowed down enough to turn the game into a defensive slog.

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From a fantasy football perspective, both offenses are close to ideal, as they lean heavily towards the pass and tend to concentrate their opportunities toward their top playmakers. Justin Herbert ($10,800 DraftKings/$16,500 FanDuel) ranks top 10 in the NFL in adjusted yards per attempt, play-action completion percentage, red-zone completion percentage and deep ball completion percentage. He has targeted one of his big three options — Keenan Allen ($9,400 DraftKings/$12,000 FanDuel), Mike Williams ($7,400 DraftKings/$11,500 FanDuel) or Austin Ekeler ($10,200 DraftKings/$14,000 FanDuel) — on 56% of throws when all three are on the field together. Allen will return to the field tonight after a one-week stint on the COVID-19 list, while Ekeler is expected to play despite the questionable tag. Since Week 8 these three have earned a total of 142 of Herbert’s targets, and they see their target shares increase in the red zone, earning a collective 64% of the team’s looks. And while the Chiefs defense has improved in recent weeks, they still rank just 24th in yards per pass attempt.

Ekeler’s production is the toughest to project this evening. A player that relies on shiftiness and elusiveness could struggle if playing hurt, but the receiving and red-zone workload make him more than viable from an opportunity standpoint, nonetheless. With a likely sizeable workload through the air and significant lower salary than the rest of the group, Williams is the optimal Captain play in 10.8% of Awesemo’s simulations.

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Kansas City walloped the Raiders last weekend, but did so in a highly unorthodox way, at least for Patrick Mahomes ($12,000 DraftKings/$17,000 FanDuel). Influenced heavily by an opening-play defensive score for the Chiefs defense, Mahomes threw just 22 times during Sunday’s rout, a little over half of the team’s typical per-game pass volume. Travis Kelce ($8,600 DraftKings/$12,500 FanDuel) and Tyreek Hill ($11,400 DraftKings/$13,000 FanDuel) saw just four looks each but still led the team in target share. However, the Chiefs have been moving toward a slightly less concentrated offense than in years past. Hill and Kelce have combined for a 48% target share since Week 7, compared to a 60% target share in Weeks 1 through 6. While Kelce has 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns in his range of outcomes, Hill’s absolute ceiling is significantly higher. He is the only player on the slate with true 40-point upside, and his median projection is higher than Kelce’s on DraftKings. For those reasons, Awesemo’s tools suggest Hill is the slightly superior play if choosing between the two. Mahomes is the only Chiefs player with a projection of 10 or more fantasy points and a point-per-dollar value of 2.0 or higher on DraftKings.


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The Chiefs have begun to use Byron Pringle ($2,600 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) as their third wideout, moving ahead of Mecole Hardman ($5,000 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) in playing time by a wide margin. However, the usage has remained fairly even between the two. Since Week 10 Pringle has been on the field for 62% of the Chiefs snaps, earning 12 targets. Hardman has played on just 25% of team snaps but has seen 11 total touches, including two rushes. On a per-snap basis, Hardman is being used much more frequently than Pringle, but Pringle’s boosted playing time still makes him an intriguing option, especially at nearly a 50% discount from Hardman’s $5,000 salary on DraftKings. As such, Pringle has a much higher chance of being in the optimal lineup than his current projected ownership.

Darrel Williams ($3,200 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) has played on 48% of team snaps and earned just 22% of the team’s running back carries over the last four weeks. He has quietly been the third-most utilized player in the receiving game during that span, earning 18 targets, six more than any other player besides Kelce and Hill. Williams has racked up 64 air yards, just 16 fewer than Hardman in that four-game stretch. Williams’ continued usage directly inhibits Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($7,000 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel), who is a large-field tournament play only and grades poorly in Awesemo’s projections. Demarcus Robinson ($1,800 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) is the typical low-salary punt play and will likely see less than fewer targets. However he should get more playing time with Josh Gordon on the COVID-19 list.

Los Angeles will continue to use an array of skill players around their big two wideouts. In the absence of Allen last week, Josh Palmer ($2,200 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) led the team in snap share and earned a team-high seven targets, one more than Williams. Palmer also saw three of Herbert’s 10 red-zone passes in Week 14, but that was fewer than Jared Cook ($5,400 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel), who saw four of his five total targets in the end zone and caught a touchdown. Palmer will likely slide back to an auxiliary role, likely playing a 60% snap share and splitting time with Jalen Guyton ($4,800 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel). Guyton has emerged as a big-play threat, earning a team-high 74 air yards on just three targets. But the Awesemo value rankings suggest looking elsewhere, as Guyton has the fourth-lowest value score of any player projected for at least 1 point on FanDuel. He is dead last in that metric on DraftKings, just behind Donald Parham Jr. ($2,400 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel). Parham, despite earning a 40% snap share and two targets in Week 14, is getting absolutely no love from Awesemo’s projections this evening. The Chief’s tertiary options look like the preferred plays according to Awesemo’s suite of tools.

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Finally, do not be surprised if Justin Jackson ($2,000 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) plays more than many believe. With Ekeler still ailing, the Chargers could use a timeshare backfield. Jackson’s modest salary makes him a solid contrarian tournament play as direct leverage off of Ekeler.

If you’re looking to get more action down on tonight’s game, check out Ben Rasa and Eytan Shander
giving their Week 15 NFL Picks, Predictions & Same Game Parlay for Chargers vs. Chiefs Thursday Night Football.

Week 15 Thursday Night Football Prediction: Chargers 30, Chiefs 27

With that prediction, it would point toward OVER 52 being the best bet in tonight’s Thursday Night Football game. Find the best NFL odds here to bet the over.


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We also have NFL showdown projections and NFL single-game ownership projections. Take a look at our inactive players, NFL lineups and NFL depth charts. View our FanDuel NFL ownership rankings and our DraftKings DFS NFL ownership rankings. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, daily fantasy football rankings, and daily fantasy football stacking.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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