Last updated: September 3rd at 12:34am ET.
Team Totals: Chiefs 28, Jaguars 24
Chiefs-Jaguars boasts Week 1’s second-highest total (52.0) after Kansas City dropped 30 points on Jacksonville last Week 5 and DC Todd Wash’s personnel worsened this offseason by losing WLB Telvin Smith (retirement), expected Smith fill-in Quincy Williams (knee), DT Malik Jackson (Eagles), and first-team safeties Tashaun Gipson and Barry Church. Patrick Mahomes threw for 313 yards and logged a 4/13/1 rushing line in last year’s Jags meeting but was picked off twice, managing a QB17 weekly finish. Nevertheless, Mahomes’ elite talent, weapons, and scheme combined with Jacksonville’s defensive downgrades cement him as a top-five QB1 play. … LeSean McCoy’s final-cuts reunion with Andy Reid dumped cold water on Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson. The Chiefs aggressively moved to sign Shady the same day he was released by Buffalo and made him the NFL’s 15th-highest-paid back on a one-year, $4 million deal with $3 million guaranteed. McCoy’s history with Reid and easy-to-transition position make it likely he’ll see the field immediately. As last year’s Chiefs backfield collectively averaged 24 touches per game, I am projecting Williams for 13, McCoy for 7, and Thompson for 4 in Week 1. Reid did announce Monday that Williams will start at Jacksonville.
I re-watched Tyreek Hill’s seven targets from the aforementioned Week 5 game, in which Jacksonville held him to 61 yards on four catches. The Jaguars made certain two and even three defenders were in Tyreek’s vicinity early in the game and used Jalen Ramsey to press Hill at the line. Difficult cornerback matchups increase receivers’ volatility, affecting their floors more than their ceilings. Especially in the case of Hill, all he needs is one or two big plays to pay WR1 dividends. … Travis Kelce is my favorite Chiefs pass-catcher play with Ramsey on Hill, coverage-maven Telvin Smith gone, and the Jaguars breaking in two new safeties. Kelce hung 100 yards on eight targets last Week 5, and his on-paper matchup looks much softer in Sunday’s rematch. … Including playoffs, these were Sammy Watkins’ receiving lines in the ten 2018 games where he played at least 15 snaps: 3/21/0 > 6/100/0 > 5/55/1 > 6/78/0 > 2/18/0 > 4/74/0 > 8/107/2 > 5/62/0 > 6/62/0 > 4/114/0. (He registered the six-catch, 78-yard game against Jacksonville.) Over 60 yards and/or a touchdown in 8-of-10 games is pretty, pretty good. One of 2019’s most-underrated season-long picks, Watkins is an underrated WR3 play in Week 1. … I’m in wait-and-see mode regarding Kansas City’s third receiver. The Chiefs kept Demarcus Robinson, exciting second-round rookie Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle on their 53 behind Hill and Watkins.
Leonard Fournette was quietly one of August’s biggest fantasy football winners, locking in true every-down bellcow duties as third-down candidate Alfred Blue (ankle) hit I.R. and the Jaguars entered the season with rookies RyQuell Armstead – who caught just 29 passes in four seasons at Temple – and UDFA waiver-claim Devine Ozigbo as the only other true running backs on their 53. Previous pass-game specialist T.J. Yeldon caught 85 balls in only 24 games over the past two years. Fournette’s increased receiving role will help him compensate in negative game script, raises both his ceiling and floor, and makes Fournette an enticing Week 1 DFS-tournament play versus Kansas City, which last year ranked dead last in run-defense DVOA and yielded the NFL’s fifth-most receiving yards per game to running backs (55.1). … New Jaguars OC John DeFilippo’s decidedly pass-first background hints at a potentially significant hike in pass attempts after Jacksonville’s last two offenses ranked 21st and 19th, while Nick Foles should have no trouble upgrading on Blake Bortles’ passing efficiency. Despite his boom-bust track record, I’m confidently starting Foles in two-quarterback leagues behind a Jaguars offensive line that returns four starters and stole widely first-round-graded RT Jawaan Taylor in the second round.
Chiefs-Jaguars is a stack-able game in DFS with Fournette and Dede Westbrook as priority plays on Jacksonville’s side. Low-volume speedsters Chris Conley and D.J. Chark secured the Jags’ two first-team outside receiving jobs, while Westbrook ran 89% of his 2018 routes in the slot, where Chiefs slot CB Kendall Fuller conceded league highs in catches and yards on slot targets last season. Late in camp, DeFilippo called Westbrook “the best route runner I’ve ever been around.” As Conley and Chark are best deployed as role-playing clear-out guys and Jaguars starting tight end Geoff Swaim has 35 catches in 37 career games, you can count on DeFilippo dialing up a lofty target share for Westbrook all year long.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 24