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Thursday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Lions at Chiefs

We've finally arrived at the highly anticipated kickoff of the 2023 season, with the Chiefs gearing up to defend their Super Bowl champion status against the Lions this Thursday night. However, the narrative of the game took a swift turn when news broke about Travis Kelce's knee injury on Tuesday. While his availability is uncertain, it appears unlikely that he'll be on the field. And if he does play, he's expected to have limited playing time. This article will delve into both scenarios, focusing on the potential absence of Kelce.

For those new to showdown slates, FanDuel and DraftKings both offer single-game contests for Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games, each with its unique setup. On FanDuel, you assemble a roster of five players from any position. One of these slots is designated as the "MVP," earning a 1.5x multiplier. The MVP comes at the same cost as the other four flex spots, with a total budget of $60,000, averaging $12,000 per player.

DraftKings, on the other hand, features a "Captain" spot with the same multiplier, but the salary is higher, encouraging a more strategic approach to roster-building. DraftKings has six roster spots to fill, with five flex positions alongside the Captain. The salary cap on DraftKings is $50,000, translating to $8,333 per roster spot.


  • Patrick Mahomes ($12,200 DK, $18,000 FD) is the undeniable starting point. His exceptional track record speaks for itself, but his suitability depends on the matchup and game strategy. The Lions' defense is not overly intimidating, especially for the league's best quarterback. However, if Kelce plays, Mahomes becomes less appealing as targets may shift towards Kelce and other receivers. In this case, a receiver could potentially outscore Mahomes, which isn't ideal given his high cost. If Kelce is out, Mahomes becomes a strong choice, spreading his passes across multiple targets and increasing his odds of being the top scorer.

  • On the opposite side is Jared Goff ($9,400 DK, $15,500 FD), available at a more budget-friendly rate. While the Chiefs have a solid secondary, they tend to yield significant fantasy points due to opponents attempting to keep up with their high-scoring offense. Additionally, Goff benefits from Chris Jones' absence, who is currently holding out for a new contract. Both quarterbacks present appealing options.

Running Back:

  • Kansas City's backfield appears to be a committee, with Isiah Pacheco ($6,800 DK, $11,500 FD) potentially leading the way. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($3,600 DK, $7,500 FD) is also in the mix, priced as a value option on DraftKings. Jerick McKinnon ($5,600 DK, $9,000 FD) falls between the other two in terms of price. It's likely that this group will rotate, with the player who finds the end zone being the most valuable. Pacheco is the primary candidate, but don't disregard Edwards-Helaire.

  • Detroit's running back situation is clearer, with David Montgomery ($6,600 DK, $13,000 FD) expected to handle the majority of carries and goal-line opportunities. He's priced higher on FanDuel but still offers touchdown potential. Jahmyr Gibbs ($8,200 DK, $11,00 FD) is suited for DraftKings with his pass-catching abilities, but he's relatively expensive.

Wide Receiver:

  • Keep an eye on Kadarius Toney ($7,000 DK, $9,500 FD), whose potential impact might surpass Kelce's due to injury concerns. Toney's price is reasonable on both sites, but his playing time may be limited. If Kelce is out, Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,400 DK, $10,000 FD) and Skyy Moore ($4,800 DK, $8,000 FD) could benefit from increased targets. Valdes-Scantling is a deep threat, while Moore may be used in short-yardage situations. Justin Watson ($200 DK, $6,000 FD) is expected to be the fourth receiver and is worth considering if he makes a big play.

  • Detroit's Amon-Ra St. Brown ($10,200 DK, $13,500 FD) is projected to be the primary target, while Marvin Jones ($6,200 DK, $10,500 FD), Josh Reynolds ($2,800 DK, $8,000 FD), and Kalif Raymond ($800 DK, $7,000 FD) could also contribute.

Tight End:

  • Travis Kelce ($12,000 DK, $15,000 FD) is a risky choice, even if he plays, due to his expected limitations. Noah Gray ($2,400 DK, $5,500 FD) stands to benefit if Kelce is absent, offering value at a higher roster rate. Blake Bell ($200 DK, $5,000 FD) is a punt play as the third-string tight end.

  • Rookie Sam LaPorta ($5,000 DK, $6,500 FD) is set to lead the Lions at tight end, making him an attractive option on FD. Brock Wright ($600 DK, $5,500 FD) is a punt play but comes with a low floor.


  • Riley Patterson ($4,200 DK, $8,500 FD) and Harrison Butker ($4,400 DK, $9,500 FD) both have their limitations in terms of distance and reliability. Given the value available in skill positions, there's not a strong case for rostering kickers.

Defense/Special Teams:

  • Targeting the Kansas City ($3,800 DK, $9,000 FD) defense may seem logical, but the absence of Jones and Kelce diminishes their appeal.

  • Detroit ($3,200 DK, $7,500 FD) is not a strong consideration, even if Kelce is sidelined.

Now that you have a comprehensive breakdown of your fantasy options, assemble your roster wisely, considering the latest news on player availability and injury updates. Best of luck with your fantasy lineup! 🏈📊💰 #FantasyFootball #NFLKickoff #DFS #ChiefsVsLions

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