FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 13 (Cowboys at Ravens)
The Cowboys are a lowly 29th in our power rankings (we'd expect them to lose to an average opponent on a neutral field by 7.66 points). The Ravens, despite their near-.500 record, are seventh in our rankings. Our algorithm views them a full touchdown (6.00 points) better than the average opponent at a neutral location.
That's a 13.66-point gap between them -- before adjusting for homefield advantage -- and the spread at FanDuel Sportsbook is just 7.5 points for the Ravens. Per oddsFire, 69% of the bets are on the Ravens to cover the spread, as well as 59% of the money.
As for the over/under (45.5 points), the betting public has placed 55% of the tickets and 63% of the money on the over to hit.
High-Level Simulation Results
I simulated this game a thousand times -- using numberFire's projections -- to see some high-level takeaways. Here's what I found.
|Lamar Jackson||$16,500||89.2%||Devin Duvernay||$7,000||23.3%|
|Andy Dalton||$14,000||63.3%||Dalton Schultz||$8,000||13.8%|
|Ezekiel Elliott||$15,000||50.2%||Greg Zuerlein||$8,500||13.3%|
|Marquise Brown||$10,500||40.4%||Miles Boykin||$6,500||8.9%|
|Amari Cooper||$13,500||37.1%||Gus Edwards||$12,500||5.9%|
|CeeDee Lamb||$11,500||36.6%||Tony Pollard||$7,500||2.9%|
|Justin Tucker||$9,000||31.3%||Mark Ingram II||$9,500||1.8%|
|Michael Gallup||$8,500||28.3%||James Proche||$5,000||0.6%|
|J.K. Dobbins||$12,000||27.5%||Cedrick Wilson||$6,000||0.4%|
|Dez Bryant||$7,000||25.1%||Chris Moore||$5,000||0.1%|
Here's a snapshot of how these two teams stack up, based on numberFire's opponent-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metric.
Using numberFire's projections as the base, we see Lamar Jackson easily the most likely player to finish with a top-five fantasy-point output. With a median projection of 21.5 points against a bottom-half adjusted pass defense and a bottom-five rush defense, Jackson's status as MVP isn't entirely locked in, however.
Even with the baseline projection, he came out as 49.4% likely to score the most fantasy points in this game over a thousand simulations. Football is a weird sport. If you play Jackson at MVP, though, prepare to see similar lineups to yours. You can vary your Jackson-as-MVP lineups with a dart throw (or two) or by leaving extra salary on the table, making it less likely you'll have the same lineup as a lot of others in your tournaments.
The next-best top-score odds belong to Andy Dalton, but they're just 14.3%. We usually see quarterbacks rostered in the MVP slot more often than they actually rate as the MVP in optimal lineups. Dalton's Passing NEP per drop back of -0.10 is way off the NFL average pace (0.14), and he faces a top-tier defense. Combining all of that, we could see more Dalton-MVP lineups than is probably ideal. Avoiding him as the MVP -- or not running a two-quarterback lineup -- can help differentiate, as well.
Everything is spread out behind Jackson, so I think the best MVP pivots would be wide receivers, who are usually MVP afterthoughts based on optimal lineup trends.
The most intriguing option to me is Amari Cooper, who has the best target share and is in another stratosphere with efficiency from Dalton this season compared to other Cowboys.
Elliott himself has returned single-digit FanDuel-point games in five of his past six and now faces a team that is best in the NFL at stopping the run. It'll take a long rush or numerous red zone conversions for Elliott to break out of the funk.
We saw the rejuvenation of Marquise Brown last week without Willie Snead and Mark Andrews. He had a team-high 8 targets (44.4%) with 104 air yards and 85 receiving yards. He ran 95.5% of the team's pass routes, via ProFootballFocus, to tie for the team-best.
Also running that number of routes was Devin Duvernay, who drew three targets to rank second on the team. None of his targets were downfield, and his average depth of target was just 5.3 yards. He's still very much in play on a single-game slate. Dez Bryant ran 72.7% of the routes and drew just 2 targets, catching neither. But it is a revenge game against his former team, so you know, there's that angle.
Luke Willson ran 18 routes last week (81.8%, more than Bryant) but had just 2 targets of his own. If you're locking in Jackson, then Willson is a potential differentiator.
The backfield last week was split between Justice Hill and Gus Edwards; each player had nine carries, but Hill had two targets. J.K. Dobbins' return, though, muddies the waters. The last time we saw Dobbins, he played 63.1% of the team's snaps (which was his third game with at least 56.3% of the snaps over his past four). In those four games, he averaged a team-best 11.8 carries with 2.3 red zone chances per game and 63.8 scrimmage yards. He's the clear priority here and is a viable MVP option against a poor rush defense.
Both kickers are also justifiable, and Justin Tucker actually rates out quite well given the dispersed market shares for pass-catchers and rushers overall on these teams.