Divisional Round NFL Fantasy TE Breakdown: Lock In Travis Kelce vs. Colts

Jan 12, 2019 11:09 AM EST
Credit:

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87).

Read the full version of this piece on FantasyLabs.

Wildcard weekend was wildly wonderful, and the joy of playing daily fantasy football is once again upon us. The divisional round of the playoffs brings a star-studded four-game slate that kicks off on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET.

In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at one tight end at the top of the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.

If you want more information on the rest of this week’s tight ends, subscribe to FantasyLabs, where you can access the large suite of analytical DFS tools I use to research every player.

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Model Tight End

As was the case last week, one tight end stands out above the rest in our Pro Models.

  • Travis Kelce: $7,000 DraftKings; $7,500 FanDuel

Travis Kelce: Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts, 54.5 Over/Under

UPDATE (1/12): The game total has dropped significantly due to snowy and windy conditions in Kansas City. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) is questionable but expected to play. Running back Spencer Ware (hamstring) is officially questionable, but he’s expected not to play.

On the Wednesday edition of The Action Network NFL Podcast, we talked about Kelce as the slate’s top option, and it’s not hard to see why we’re enthusiastic.

The Chiefs are implied for a slate-high 31.0 points as home favorites coming off a bye week. And Kelce has had a historic fantasy season for a tight end.

Although the Chiefs went 3-2 after their Week 12 bye, they are still the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and on a per-game basis they’ve …

  • Outscored their implied total by 6.2 points (No. 1 in NFL)
  • Exceeded their game total by 8.3 points (No. 1)

The Chiefs rank 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.

Since his All-Pro campaign in 2016, Kelce leads all tight ends with 13.1 FanDuel points per game. He’s also provided outstanding salary-adjusted value with his +2.92 Plus/Minus.

I really like Kelce’s matchup with the Colts, who have a funnel defense: This season, they rank fourth against the run in Football Outsiders’ DVOA but 20th against the pass. Their secondary is better than it was last season, and the linebackers are the strength of the Colts defense, but they aren’t at all imposing as pass defenders: Rookie Darius Leonard has been targeted a position-high 90 times, and Anthony Walker has a subpar 55.7 Pro Football Focus (PFF) coverage grade.

As much as they’ve improved defensively since last season, the Colts rank 20th in pressure rate and 29th in adjusted sack rate. The Chiefs should be able to move the ball against them. And the Chiefs and Colts are both top-10 in situation-neutral pace: They will likely combine to have the week’s fastest-paced matchup.

This season, the Colts have limited opposing pass offenses through a heavy reliance on a Cover 2 zone defense, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes hasn’t struggled against the zone, and the Colts have been vulnerable to tight end production because of their scheme. This year, they are 29th in pass DVOA against tight ends and have allowed a top-three mark of 12.7 FanDuel points per game to the position.

Kelce will probably match up most with strong safety Clayton Geathers, who has a 63.2 PFF coverage grade and has allowed a 75% catch rate. Kelce should dominate him. For guaranteed prize pools, you might want to use our Lineup Builder to stack Kelce with Mahomes. Since 2014, No. 1 tight ends have had a 0.47 correlation with their quarterbacks, but Kelce has had a 0.78 correlation with his passers.

Divisional Round DFS Positional Breakdowns

Be sure to read the other divisional round positional breakdowns.

• Quarterbacks
• Running Backs
• Wide Receivers

For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.


Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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