This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Football series.
We've reached perhaps the most entertaining weekend on the NFL schedule, and we'll have two traditional slates with which to work. The action kicks off Saturday at 4:30 pm EST, when the visiting Jaguars take on the Chiefs. The game has a 52.5 total, with the Chiefs having a high 30.5 implied total and the Jaguars 22. The primetime matchup pits the Giants against the Eagles, with the game total at 48.5. The Eagles have an implied total of 28 points and the Giants 20.5.
Patrick Mahomes ($9,200) is not the only highest-priced quarterback but the highest-priced player of the entire slate. Things line up for him to have a big game. On top of the strong total, the Jaguars have a pass-funnel defense, which pairs extremely well with the Chiefs' offensive philosophy — they have the highest pass rate over expectation in the league.
Mahomes' position as the top quarterback is further solidified by the ongoing health concerns surrounding Jalen Hurts ($9,000). While he's officially come off the injury report, that could be gamesmanship more than an actual reflection of his health. Hurts last played in Week 18 and had only 13 rushing yards on nine attempts. As a result, Mahomes is the preferable cash-game play. Hurts enters the conversation in tournaments, because if he can use his legs as a weapon, he'll have a strong chance to keep pace and potentially surpass Mahomes. Hurts becomes even more intriguing in that context if his roster rate is diminished due to the aforementioned health concerns.
Both Daniel Jones ($7,400) and Trevor Lawrence ($7,600) have the potential to return strong value. Jones has a tough matchup (Eagles are the top-ranked pass defense per DVOA) but has 169 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns combined across his last two games. Lawrence is fine for his price, but he lacks the upside of the other three options due to his lack of rushing upside and relative lack of ability as a passer as compared to Mahomes.
Unlike quarterback, it's a weak group of running backs. Saquon Barkley ($8,500) is by far the class of the position, though he's priced $1,300 higher than Miles Sanders ($7,200). The Eagles are a run-funnel defense, so Barkley could be in for a strong performance.
Jerick McKinnon ($7,000) is an obvious value based on his recent run of production (he's topped 25 FD points in two of his last five games, and 20 FD points in three of his last five games). However, he has had to score eight touchdowns in his last six games to reach that point. That run will end at some point, though this may not be the game where regression occurs. In addition to the high team total, the Jaguars allowed the third-most receptions to running backs during the regular season.
Travis Etienne ($6,800) jumps off the page as a potential bargain at first glance, but he's been a far more productive player for the Jaguars than fantasy managers in recent weeks. Despite surpassing 100 rushing yards in three of his last five games, he has topped 20 FD points only once in his last eight matchups. His lack of involvement as a pass catcher closes one path to addition FD points. On the other hand, Etienne has only one touchdown on six rushing attempts inside the 5 in his last five games, so there is hope for regression in a positive direction.
Despite being designated to return from injured reserve, Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks unlikely to play Saturday. That leaves Isiah Pacheco ($6,400) as a potential value, as he has eight rushes inside the 5-yard line in his last seven games. He also topped 60 rushing yards in seven of his last nine games, and if he reaches that mark again while finding the end zone, he'll return strong value. The Jaguars have a relatively strong run defense.
Targets are very concentrated in Philadelphia, which makes both A.J. Brown ($8,300) and DeVonta Smith ($7,400) strong plays. Brown has at least eight targets in each of his last four games, while Smith has hit that mark in nine consecutive weeks. The Giants are a mediocre secondary but managed to shut down Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn in the wild-card round. Even so, I'd be willing to bet on volume and the dynamic Eagles' offense.
Speaking of concentrated targets, each of Christian Kirk ($7,600), Zay Jones ($6,500) and Marvin Jones ($5,300) have a target per route run rate higher than 30 percent the last four weeks. Kirk and Zay Jones are likely to command the most targets on a weekly basis, but Marvin Jones quietly has at least six targets in four of his last five games. In a game script where Jacksonville likely will have to throw a lot, he becomes a nice potential value.
Isaiah Hodgins ($6,700) seems mispriced as the fourth-highest salary at the position, but he has had both volume (35.1 targets per route run rate across his last four games) and efficiency (3.19 yards per route run across his last four games) on his side of late. Darius Slayton ($5,700) is the discounted and more volatile version of Hodgins. Keep in mind that the Eagles are a tough defense against wide receivers.
While the Chiefs boast the best offense, they also unfortunately have a spread-out target distribution. In other words, while it's an offense to target thanks to Mahomes, it's difficult to pinpoint which pass catchers (with the exception of Travis Kelce) will produce. Mecole Hardman remains out, which makes Kadarius Toney ($5,700), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,4000) and Justin Watson ($4,700) value plays.
Travis Kelce ($8,000) is the obvious class of the position, but he's priced as such. He has at least six catches in each of his last four games but hasn't scored in any of his last six matchups.
Evan Engram ($6,000) is the standout option. He has a minimal floor, but he has popped 33.7, 18.8, and 14.8 FD point performances in the last six weeks. He has the potential to be a slate-winning play.
Dallas Goedert ($6,300) is a fine option as part of an Eagles' stack, but I'd take the $300 savings and pay down for Engram purely from a point-per-dollar perspective.
Daniel Bellinger ($4,900) has three or fewer targets in each of his last three games but is on the radar due to his potential to reach the end zone.
The Eagles ($4,800) and Chiefs ($4,200) stand out as strong options and are chalk. The Eagles haven't spiked big weeks of production but have at least seven FD points in 13 of 17 games this season. The Chiefs are more boom or bust, but we can project that the Jaguars will have to throw a lot to keep pace in the game. In turn, that will open the opportunity for interceptions, sacks and turnovers.