Detroit Lions vs Kansas City Chiefs – TNF
Details of the Script
- TNF – 8:20pm @ GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium
- Weather – Clear evening with a chance for rain late in the game
- What Vegas is saying – Line (KC -6.5) & Over/Under 54
Identifying the Game Script
The first game of the year! In the last three seasons, the first game of the NFL season has been a high-scoring game. The average is 51 total points, and the winning team has gained over 404 yards on offense. Based on the 2022 team ranks, both were in the bottom 10 in defense, allowing plenty of yards and fantasy points. You should expect a shootout game between these two high-power offenses for fantasy. The weather shouldn’t impact this game at all. The likelihood the Chiefs do pull ahead, allowing the Lions to attempt to fight their way back into the game. This game should expect many of their stars to shine on national TV, and we could get some sleepers on offense who blow up in Week 1.
Patrick Mahomes looks to come swinging as he opens the fantasy season at home. Mahomes has been dominant in week one action, as he has not thrown an interception on opening day since he became the starter in 2018. Mahomes has at least three passing touchdowns in every week one game of his career. The Chiefs are playing the worst pass defense from 2022, so expect Mahomes to continue that trend.
Jared Goff is looking to have a breakout season in 2023; He’ll be going up against the fourth-worst passing defense from last season in a matchup that could be a shootout. Goff averaged fewer than one touchdown per game on the road; there is concern. If the Lions get behind early, it may allow Goff to break those odds.
The running back room for both teams is interesting as we look to see how the splits will go for both backfields. Isiah Pacheco is the starter and should find success vs. a Lions team that was bottom ten in rush defense. Pacheco should be able to get over 12 carries, even coming off injuries. But I expect Jerick Mckinnon to take over the passing duties. McKinnon was coming off a hot streak in last year’s regular season, with a touchdown in each of the final six games. Lions were the best team vs. pass-catching back last year, so we’ll have to see McKinnon’s involvement in the offense. We’ll have to see if Clyde Edwards Helaire has some effect on both these backs since he wasn’t there in the back half of last season. Outside of Pacheco’s groundwork, having any of these backs in lineups in week one is risky.
Rookie Jahymr Gibbs will be in his first regular season NFL game as he looks to be the 1A in the offense against David Montgomery. KC was a team that allowed the most receptions to running back last year so Gibbs could blow up in his first game. Without the services of wide receiver Jameson Williams, Gibbs should finish second in targets. Montgomery will likely see the groundwork but KC was top 10 in rush defense, and I expect the Lions to be behind in this game. Montgomery would still be worth a start due to his veteran experience and excellent pass-catching skills.
We all know that Travis Kelce is the man for the KC pass attack. Recent news that he hyper-extended his knee makes him uncertain for week one. If he plays, you have to take the chance since he could still see eight-plus targets vs. a poor Lions team that was terrible against tight ends. If there is no Kelce, Noah Gray would step up as the starter. Gray has never had more than three targets in a game, but he had 15 YPR plays on multiple occasions. He becomes a deep sleeper, and if you are willing to take the risk, he could have a top-15 upside. The Lions allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends in the 18 weeks last season.
The Lions had issues with slot receivers in the middle of the field, so it will be interesting if Skyy Moore steps up in Week 1. If there is no Kelce, you should have confidence that Moore can give WR2 numbers in a favorable matchup. Typically, it’s hard to trust the likes of MVS, Kadarius Toney, and Rashee Rice, but they offer boom-bust flex appeal. MVS or Rice become a little more interesting without Kelce that they could see WR4 value for week one. Kelce’s potential absence won’t affect the quarterback or running back situation.
Like the Lions, the Chief’s pass defense was terrible last season. Amon St. Brown is a lock in the starting lineup, as his target share is safe. Marvin Jones or Josh Reynolds may be the only other receivers who would be in consideration for a sleeper status since the Chiefs outside corners couldn’t stop anyone. My eyes will be on Sam LaPorta, as the Chiefs allowed nine touchdowns to tight ends last year. If he can start right, LaPorta will look like a mismatched weapon in the red zone. LaPorta could see between four and six targets in his first game and put up solid numbers for fantasy. LaPorta could easily put up numbers to the ones above and score to give him a TE1 week.