Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season wraps up with Monday Night Football as the Kansas City Chiefs play host to the New York Giants. Here is my fantasy football preview to the game, offering up my starts and sits and DFS plays for Monday night action.
New York Giants
QB Daniel Jones — Jones always brings a trap door floor with him but this is as good of a spot as any for him to produce top-12 QB numbers. The G-Men have thrown the ball on first-half early-downs 55% of the time (per SharpFootballStats) over the last three weeks and their three-wide set should be fully functioning for the first time in ages. Kansas City’s paltry NEFF pass defense rating of 35.7% ranks just 29th in the NFL.
WR Kadarius Toney — Slayton’s availability should work wonders for Toney and Shepard as the downfield receiver will command stud safety Tyrann Mathieu’s attention all night long. Initially pigeonholed as a slot receiver, Toney found immense success as an inside/outside receiver in Weeks 4 and 5. Toney split reps down the middle, taking 32 in the slot and 32 on the perimeter (per PFF.com) during that dynamic span which resulted in a combined 22 targets, 16 catches, and 267 receiving yards. KC’s 32.5 .5PPR WR PPG allowed are 10th most in the NFL. Start Toney with confidence as a high-ceiling WR2.
WR Sterling Shepard — Tyrann Mathieu’s slot coverage has held up well, as expected, but the coverage of primary slot CB L’Jarius Sneed and sometimes-slot CB Daniel Sorensen has left a lot to be desired. Per PFF.com, the duo’s slot reps have resulted in 17 catches on 23 targets for 262 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Primary NYG slotster Shepard should rip these two apart. He’s a high-floor/high-ceiling WR2.
WR Darius Slayton — Slayton can only be started as a boom/bust WR3 (with a good shot at a long touchdown, hint hint DFS).
WRs Dante Pettis, Collin Johnson, and John Ross — Pettis and Ross are the two players to roll the dice on in DFS.
TE Evan Engram — His 4.5 average air yards per target is T-5th lowest among WRs and TEs. That makes it very difficult for Engram to produce in the yardage column. KC is allowing 14.8 .5PPR TE PPG, T-2nd most in the league right now so clearly their TE coverage is literally almost as bad as it could be. A red zone touchdown is his only bankable hope for success but he is just a Hail Mary-redraft play. In DFS, fire him up.
RB Devontae Booker — Booker isn’t getting monstrous touch-sums but he is operating as the clear-cut dual threat guy in NY. His carry counts in Barkley’s 3-week absence have been 16, 12, and 14 while his targets have been a steady 4, 4 and 3. Count on a fruitful 18-touch outing from Booker as he tees off on KC’s front-seven. The Chiefs recently got stud DL Chris Jones back but now rangey inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens is going to a second consecutive game (triceps). Booker should run free against a front-seven unit that currently ranks 26th in NEFF run defense rating (41.7%) and has allowed 23.2 .5PPR RB PPG through 7 weeks (12th most). He’s a back-end RB2 with high-end RB2 upside.
Kansas City Chiefs
QB Patrick Mahomes — A combination of questionable offensive line signings and too much hero-ball has led to a wonky season in KC. This coach/quarterback duo is too good to stay down for long though. NYG’s defense ranks 3rd in NEFF pass defense rating with a score of 42.4% and will be playing without SS Jabrill Peppers (IR) and edge rusher Lorenzo Carter this week, both of whom had been key components of the Giants’ pass rush. The duo combined for 24 blitzes, 5 QB hurries, 4 QB knockdowns, and 1 sack. Captain/inside linebaker Blake Martinez was also lost for the year in September. Mahomes should get back on track as a high-end QB1.
WR Tyreek Hill — Hill will have to do battle with stud CB James Bradberry on the perimeter from time to time but Hill’s taken 56.7% of his snaps in the slot this year (PFF.com). No worries on this front. Hill is a high-end WR1.
WR Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle — Robinson and Hardman are playing far more snaps than Pringle on a weekly basis but he saw a decent increase last week in both snaps and targets. In redraft, Robinson, Hardman, and Pringle all have low floors and 12 to 15-point ceilings in .5PPR formats. Hardman’s been a tad more stable than the rest in the target column over the last three weeks.
WR Josh Gordon — KC’s easing Gordon in like the beach-going kid who can’t swim. His snap share has hovered between 10-13% and he’s seen just 2 targets through 3 weeks of action. Purely a redraft bench stash in very deep leagues.
TE Travis Kelce — Kelce has remained the lone constant in Kansas City’s clunky 2021 season, posting double-digit .5PPR finishes in all but one game. He’s once again the top-ranked player at the position this week.
RBs Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon — Williams has run as the clear-cut lead back in consecutive weeks while McKinnon fills in as a passing game specialist (four targets in each contest). As mentioned above, New York will be without ILB Martinez and SS Peppers tonight, which should afford Williams room to run in primetime. Like his Week 8 counterpart, Williams is a back-end RB2 with high-end RB2 upside. McKinnon would have to get loose for a long touchdown to return even moderate fantasy value.