Monday Night Preview
As the calendar moves into November and the NFL season continues, this week will provide another chance for fans to get either a trick or a treat as the New York Giants take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Both teams are currently at the bottom of their respective divisions, which is a shock for the Chiefs. Kansas City has seen some of the best teams their franchise has ever had in recent years but it looks like things are starting to unravel a bit as they go for their fourth straight AFC Championship appearance. The Giants are dealing with a long list of injuries throughout their roster and will need to be at their best to contend with the Chiefs on Monday Night.
New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5)
Despite these teams being two of the older franchise in football, the Giants and Chiefs have only played each other 14 times in their history. New York has struggled when traveling to Arrowhead, averaging just over 19 points in their seven appearances there; which is not too surprising as it is one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL and is a tough place to play for just about every team in the league. This season’s Giants team has had trouble on the road in general, getting outscored 95-76 in their three away games in 2021. However, they have been able to beat the spread in two of those road games (Weeks 2 and 4) so it will be interesting to see if they will be able to accomplish that once again on Monday Night, especially since the line is set at 10.5. Kansas City has been a tough team to bet on this year as they have gone 2-5 against the spread through Week 7. But, with their level of talent and needing a big win to gain some momentum for the rest of the season, I would bet the Chiefs with the points and the Over on Monday Night.
One of the NFL’s biggest stars at the moment is Patrick Mahomes, though he has not played up to that level much in 2021. Through seven games, Mahomes has 2093 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and an astounding nine interceptions (which is tied for the league lead in that time frame). He has only thrown an interception on 3.2% of his attempts, which is not too bad compared to the league average but is a major step backward for the All-Pro quarterback. This has not hampered his fantasy production, however, as Mahomes is currently ranked as the QB5 with five weekly finishes at the QB7 or better. He will have a prime opportunity to right the ship on Monday Night as the Giants are ranked as the tenth-worst defense against opposing quarterback this season (depending on scoring format) and is allowing an average of 364 passing yards over their last four games. While it has been rougher than many expected, this is not the week to move off of Mahomes. Keep him in your lineup for Monday Night.
Daniel Jones came into this 2021 season with a lot on his shoulders. Since winning his first two starts back in 2019, Jones has yet to hold a winning record as the Giants’ signal-caller and many fans are wondering if he is the guy who can bring them back to glory. As a fantasy player, he is a worthy streaming option in the right situation, such as Week 4 against the Saints, but he is also incredibly risky. Over the past three years, Jones has a combined 60 turnovers between his fumbles and interception which leads the NFL in that timeframe, just surpassing Jared Goff who has 58. With his near-constant desire to hand the ball to his opponent, it is hard to trust him as a fantasy starter each week, including Monday Night. Between his play and the fact that his supporting cast will be shorthanded this week, Jones should remain on your bench/waiver wire this week.
Both of these teams will be without their star running backs for MNF which will make for an interesting storyline to watch if either team will be able to establish a consistent running attack. Darrel Williams has taken over in Kansas City with Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the IR since Week 5. In that time he has posted 82 rushing yards on 27 attempts and two touchdowns along with six receptions on eight targets for 57 yards. Those numbers are very similar to what Devontae Booker has posted in the same timeframe (92 rushing yards on 26 attempts and one touchdown with six receptions on seven targets for 43 yards) as both backs have tried to find their footing in their teams’ offensive gameplan. Williams will have the better matchup in this game as New York has allowed an average of 153.5 all-purpose yards to opposing backfields this season but showed improvement in Week 7 against Carolina, allowing on 53 rushing yards in the entire game. Booker and Williams have upside as they will be needed on offense to help fill the voids of Edwards-Helaire and Saquon Barkley but have a low floor due to their talent level compared to their star counterparts. Both players are solid RB3/Flex options but managers should see what other options are available this week.
Just like in years past, the Chiefs’ passing attack among their wide receiver group is led by Tyreek Hill by a large margin. Hill leads the team in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns through Week 7 and is currently ranked as the WR3 in 0.5 PPR scoring formats. He is a mainstay in many managers’ lineups and will be an elite option once again on Monday Night.
The true question lies in which of the other Kansas City wide receivers will be a factor on MNF. None of the other Chiefs’ wide receivers are ranked in the top 50 currently (in 0.5 PPR scoring formats) but each has flashed abilities to go off in the right matchup. Mecole Hardman, Bryon Pringle, and Demarcus Robinson have each had weeks where they finished inside the top 27 (Weeks 5, 7, and 6 respectively) so the potential is there but they are about as boom-or-bust as you get. With New York’s secondary allowing an average of 166 yards per game to opposing wide receivers it seems like the potential for a big game for one of these guys is there, but it seems just as likely that all three have low-scoring games as well. Hardman is the best bet to start if you are looking to pick between these three players, especially if your league counts return yardage, but there are better options out there to play this week.
Much like their backfield, New York will also be working with a patchwork of new wide receivers on Monday Night as all three of their top wide receivers are dealing with injuries. Kenny Golladay has already been ruled out but the status of Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney is still questionable at this point. If one or both guys can go, it will surely be in a limited capacity as neither players are fully healthy and will have to battle through leg injuries to play a factor on Monday Night. Outside of those two, the Giants will be looking to a mix of Darius Slayton, Dante Pettis, and John Ross to keep their passing game afloat this week. Slayton and Pettis were both solid last week against Carolina, including an incredible pass by Pettis. Kansas City’s secondary has struggled at points throughout this season, allowing big performances to guys like A.J. Brown (Week 7), Mike Williams (Week 3), and Marquise Brown (Week 2) among many others. With player statuses and defined roles in flux, it is hard to say which wide receiver will have the best game on Monday Night; but Slayton and Pettis are the better options to put in your Flex if Toney and Shepard are both out with the latter being the best options of all if they are active this week.
2021 has been another disappointing year for Evan Engram and those who selected him to their fantasy roster. Since bursting onto the scene as a rookie, Engram has yet to find the same level of success as he did in 2017. Part of that has been due to underwhelming quarterback play and injuries suffered by Engram but it is still disappointing nevertheless. He currently ranks as the TE37 (in 0.5 PPR scoring formats) and has only posted one game with more than 50 receiving yards this season (Week 5). Engram was limited in practice all week so it is unclear what kind of performance he will be able to post on Monday Night, even if he is facing one of the worst defenses against opposing tight ends this season (Kansas City has allowed the most receiving yards and is tied for the third-most receiving touchdowns to tight ends through Week 7). Despite this matchup, Engram is still a risky player to start this week, given his health and subpar numbers this year. If you are looking for a lottery ticket-type player this week, Engram would be a solid choice but outside of that, he is someone who can stay on your bench/waiver wire on Monday Night.
At a position in fantasy football that is often filled with inconsistency and doubt throughout, it is nice to know there is at least one player who will constantly put up solid numbers and give your lineup what it needs nearly every week. Travis Kelce has been one of the best tight ends in the NFL over the past six years and has turned that into great fantasy production. Kelce has finished inside the top two tight ends (in 0.5 PPR scoring formats) every year since 2016 with three consecutive TE1 finishes in 2018-2020. He has been a key component in the Chiefs’ offense and will continue to do so on Monday Night. Expect big things from Kelce this week.
For D/STs that have the pleasure of playing against Jones and the Giants, it is usually a successful venture. Now, there are instances where Jones has been able to shred defenses and keep opposing D/ST statistics down, but normally it is a wonderful combination. Kansas City will try to capitalize on this opportunity and will hopefully get back on track as their defense has not played up to the same level it has during their recent run of playoff success. They will look to apply pressure to Jones, something their defense has stayed consistent on in 2021 (the Chiefs are sixth in the league in quarterback pressure percentage and third in quarterback pressure percentage). If they can continue to do that and take advantage of the turnovers Jones is likely to give up on Monday Night, Kansas City’s D/ST will be a solid start for this week.
This game will be very important to both teams but in different ways. For New York, they will get to see what their team and game plan looks like against one of the top teams in the league and will be able to see where they are in their rebuild so far. For Kansas City, this will be a chance to put their clumsy start to 2021 behind them and start the second half of the season off right on the right foot. With multiple injuries to star players on both squads, this game will be closer than it would be otherwise but the Chiefs are still the superior team at the moment and will do what they need to do to leave Monday Night with a win. I have this game going to Kansas City by a score of 34-21.
Brandon Sysak is an staff writer for Gridiron Experts. I have been covering different aspects of the NFL, fantasy football and the NFL Draft since 2017. I am originally from Midland, MI but now reside in the Cincinnati, OH area. I began my career with Gridiron Experts covering the 2017 College Football National Championship.