NFL Conference Championship Fantasy TE Breakdown: Travis Kelce Is the Only Option
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87).
We are just two games away from the Super Bowl, and this weekend the four best teams in football will compete to see who will advance to the big game.
Although the slate consists of only two contests, they both seem likely to excite. The Saints-Rams game kicks off on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET; Chiefs-Patriots, 6:40 p.m. ET.
In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at the tight end who stands out the most in the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
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Travis Kelce: Kansas City Chiefs (-3.0) vs. New England Patriots, 56.5 Over/Under
- DraftKings: $7,100
- FanDuel: $7,400
UPDATE (Jan. 20): Running back Spencer Ware (hamstring) practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and will play this weekend.
Coming off a seven-reception, 108-yard performance last week, Kelce is in full #ZeusMode. On the Wednesday edition of The Action Network NFL Podcast, we talked about Kelce as a player who should be prioritized in cash games and guaranteed prize pools.
Since his All-Pro campaign in 2016, Kelce leads all tight ends with 13.1 FanDuel points per game, and he’s provided strong salary-adjusted value with his +2.86 Plus/Minus.
As for the 2018 campaign, Kelce had a historic fantasy season for a tight end.
Although the Chiefs went 3-2 after their Week 12 bye, they are still probably the best team in the AFC, and on a per-game basis they’ve …
- Outscored their implied total by 5.9 points (No. 1 in NFL)
- Exceeded their game total by 7.2 points (No. 1)
In the regular season, the Chiefs ranked first in scoring at 35.3 points per game, and Kelce is a key contributor to their success, ranking top-two among all tight ends with his 150 targets, 103 receptions, 1,336 yards receiving, 1,401 air yards, 552 yards after the catch and 10 touchdowns in the regular season.
Kelce doesn’t have an especially great matchup. The Pats have allowed a middle-of-the-road 10.3 FanDuel points per game to tight ends, and they are second overall with their 93.0 Pro Football Focus coverage grade.
In pass defense against tight ends, the Pats are eighth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA thanks primarily to safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty, who are more than serviceable with their 75.4 and 78.6 PFF coverage grades.
Kelce got the better of the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick when he first faced them in 2014, but since then they have pretty much held him in check.
- 2014, Week 4 (vs. Pats): 19.3 FanDuel points, 8-93-1 receiving on nine targets
- 2016, Divisional Round (at Pats): 5.3 FanDuel points, 6-23-0 receiving on nine targets
- 2017, Week 1 (at Pats): 6.9 FanDuel points, 5-40-0 receiving on seven targets, 1-4-0 rushing
- 2018, Week 6 (at Pats): 8.6 FanDuel points, 5-61-0 receiving on nine targets
The Pats could very well limit Kelce’s production once again.
One notable drawback to rostering Kelce is that he’s at Arrowhead Stadium. While playing at home is normally advantageous, that’s not necessarily the case for Kelce and the Chiefs offense.
Conference Championship Positional Breakdowns
Be sure to read the other divisional round positional breakdowns.
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