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

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. ET contest between the Lions and the Chiefs with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Doubt I’m breaking news here, but Thursday marks the beginning of a new NFL season. A glorious time where all 32 teams have hope and your fantasy roster in season-long has yet to be destroyed by injuries. Well, unless you drafted Travis Kelce ($12,000; knee), but we’ll get to that in a second.

It’s the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s the Detroit Lions. It’s football, baby. Get excited.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.5M Thursday Kickoff Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semifinal Entry] (DET vs KC)


Captain’s Picks

Patrick Mahomes ($18,300 CP) - This is an interesting spot for Mahomes. The quarterback is always viable — he led his position in total DKFP last season (451.8) — yet with the aforementioned Kelce banged up, there’s some real question marks at the skill positions for Kansas City. Heck, even if Kelce does end up active, I have a hard time believing the tight end will be anywhere close to 100% health after hyperextending his knee on Tuesday. It’s your classic “chicken or egg” scenario. However, Mahomes’ targets might not matter all that much in a matchup this enticing. Detroit struggled immensely against the pass in 2022, surrendering the most DKFP per game to opposing QBs and the second-most yards per opponent pass attempt (7.5). It’s a new season, but the Lions will have to prove they’ve vastly improved their secondary before I give them any credit.

Amon-Ra St. Brown ($15,300 CP) - There’s a couple things you need to consider when thinking about Detroit’s offensive plan on Thursday: Game script and game environment. In a contest where you’re visiting the reigning Super Bowl Champions, you have to assume you’ll be playing from behind. That leads to extra drop backs in the passing attack. This is also a matchup where the implied total just seems to keep rising, which should benefit all the key pieces on the Lions’ roster. Well, no one is more important and involved than St. Brown. The USC product racked up at least nine targets in 12 of his 16 games last season, all while averaging 0.34 DKFP per snap — tied for the fifth-highest mark in football among qualified WRs. Basically, St. Brown is a PPR monster in a premium fantasy setting in Week 1. He’ll be difficult to ignore.

FLEX Plays

Skyy Moore ($4,800) - How much stock can you put into Brett Veach’s recent comments that Moore will be an “every-down” receiver to start the season? Let’s just say I’d be cautiously optimistic about the sophomore’s role. Moore was used sparingly in 2022, yet he did produce when given the opportunity. In fact, in the two games where Moore logged his highest snap shares of his rookie campaign, Week 11 and Week 12, he set and then matched his career-high in targets (6) and receptions (5). Those were snap rates hovering around 45%. I’d expect something closer to 70% on Thursday. That’s a lot of routes in a vacuum, but it’s an especially intriguing amount if Kelce and his near 30% target share aren’t able to take the field.

Noah Gray ($2,400) - Gray isn’t Travis Kelce, but he clearly stands to gain more than any asset on this slate if the All-Pro isn’t able to suit up. While we don’t have a recent example of what a Kelce absence looks like — the man is incredibly durable — Gray was relatively productive playing alongside his teammate in 2022, racking up 28 catches and averaging 10.7 yards per reception in a reserve role. Still, this is less about Gray than it is about Mahomes. The former MVP threw for over 300 yards 10 times last season and never once had a game with fewer than 200 yards passing. Someone, or more likely multiple people, has to catch those passes and gain those yards. Why not Gray?


Marvin Jones Jr. ($6,200) - I have a soft spot for Jones. It’s honestly very nice to see him back in Detroit, where he had the most productive seasons of his career. Still, the veteran is now 33-years-old and is on the heels of a pretty underwhelming campaign in Jacksonville. In fact, Jones is currently the oldest wide receiver on the 53-man roster in the entire NFL. Not to be ageist, but that’s sort of a red flag for me. Yes, Jones will have an expanded role early in the season with Jameson Williams suspended, but so will Josh Reynolds ($2,800) and Kalif Raymond ($800). As we speak, Reynolds’ receiving yards prop on the DK Sportsbook is nearly identical to Jones’. So why is Jones twice the price on this Showdown slate? It doesn’t make sense.


As much as I’d like to believe Dan Campbell and the Lions have the juice to take down the Chiefs as road underdogs, I’m inclined to side with Mahomes and Andy Reid. Including the playoffs, Kansas City was 9-1 playing at Arrowhead last season. The Chiefs have also never lost in Week 1 with Mahomes under center. Those trends continue on Thursday.

Final Score: Kansas City 30, Detroit 24

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL Showdown $2.5M Thursday Kickoff Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semifinal Entry] (DET vs KC)

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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.