clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fantasy Football Picks: Chargers vs. Chiefs DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Chargers and the Chiefs with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

I think we’d all better get used to seeing the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers squaring off against each other in primetime. Honestly, it’s likely Patrick Mahomes ($11,800) and Justin Herbert ($11,200) are going to define the AFC for the next decade, so the league might as well get some ratings, right? I know I’m excited to watch.

I’m also excited to play some DFS. Let’s dive into tonight’s Showdown slate.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $2.5M Thursday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st] (LAC vs KC)


Captain’s Picks

Patrick Mahomes ($17,700 CP) - I know. Mahomes as a Captain’s pick. How original. The thing is, with Tyreek Hill down in South Beach, Mahomes is now suited to the role more than ever before. The Chiefs were downright socialist with how they distributed snaps and targets in Week 1. No running back saw a snap share above 40%. No wide receiver saw a snap share above 75% or a target share above 25%. Mahomes was the only constant, and he looked amazing, finished the win over Arizona with 360 yards, five touchdowns and 37.9 DKFP. Considering Kansas City also ranked second in pass rate over expectation this past Sunday, there’s nothing but upside when looking at Mahomes.

Austin Ekeler ($15,300 CP) - While the Chargers’ wide receivers will obviously be asked to step up in the absence of Keenan Allen (hamstring), I could see Ekeler also shouldering some of the burden. For context, Allen was targeted on a stunning 33.3% of his routes run in Week 1, so there’s a rather large void to be filled in his absence. Ekeler is one of the better pass catching running backs in the NFL, and he’s certainly not averse to action, as the veteran racked up 18 touches in his 33 snaps against the Raiders. Ideally, his snap share will get back to around 60% like it was in 2021 — as opposed to 49.3% in Week 1 — yet even if it doesn’t, this is a matchup where Ekeler could be quite efficient. After surrendering the second-most yards per rush in the league last season (4.7), the Chiefs conceded exactly 4.7 yards per opponent attempt versus the Cardinals. There are some holes here.

Chiefs vs. Chargers Up 7 Early Win

Go up a TD and get paid immediately! Win your moneyline bet if your team leads by at least 7 points at ANY time, even if they lose the game! Opt in at the DraftKings Sportsbook Promos page!

FLEX Plays

Joshua Palmer ($5,000) - Would you like your chalk in stick or powered form? Palmer’s going to be popular on Thursday evening, but it’s not without good reason. When the aforementioned Allen missed the Chargers’ Week 14 victory over the Giants last season, it was Palmer who was suddenly on the field for 93.9% of Los Angeles’ offensive snaps. It was Palmer who ran a route on 94.3% of Herbert’s 35 drop backs. It was Palmer who finished with a team-high seven targets and a touchdown. In what should be a high scoring affair, it’s difficult to ignore an asset that figures to be so incredibly involved.

Noah Gray ($200) - There are safer ways to save some cash on Thursday. Mecole Hardman ($5,600) is a favorite of air yards and is always a threat for a huge outburst. Jerick McKinnon ($2,600) tied Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($8,600) in snap share in Week 1 at 38.6%. However, if you really want to take the “stars and scrubs” build to its limit, Gray has to be on your radar. The sophomore tight end was on the field for 52.9% of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps against the Cardinals, and while he wasn’t always running a route, he was still targeted twice by Mahomes — both times in the red zone. What’s more time honored than a backup TE scoring a touchdown on a Showdown slate?


JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8,000) - Like I mentioned up top, Kansas City was not afraid to spread the ball around during Week 1. Smith-Schuster flashed some encouraging things — his 10.3 aDOT prorated over the entire season would be a career-high — yet he’s clearly the Chiefs no. 2 option, at best, with Travis Kelce ($11,000) still very much in the mix. Honestly, the presence of Kelce limits the raw upside of every wideout on Kansas City’s roster, which is why it’s going to generally be unappealing to pay up for the most expensive option in the positional group. I’m just not sure there’s going to be that much difference between Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($6,400) and Hardman on a week-to-week basis. All three will likely have a target share below 20%.


Far be it from me to doubt the greatness of Justin Herbert, but it seems like the Chargers might just have too much to overcome on Thursday. No Keenan Allen is a killer, and if J.C. Jackson is once again unable to go, it’ll leave Los Angeles’ secondary at less than 100% against Patrick Mahomes. Not exactly an enviable position. Add in the home field advantage at Arrowhead — on opening night, no less — and I think the Chiefs get it done.

Final Score: Kansas City 30, Los Angeles 23

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $2.5M Thursday Night Millionaire [$1M to 1st] (LAC vs KC)

Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.

For sports betting, head over to DraftKings Sportsbook or download the DK Sportsbook app.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600 (ONT), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).

21+ (18+ NH/WY; 19+ ONT). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/ONT/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions. DraftKings operates pursuant to an Operating Agreement with iGaming Ontario. Please play responsibly.