FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Tampa Bay at Washington
The betting public is all over the Bucs, per our oddsFire tool. Of bets placed on the spread, 76% of the wagers and 80% of the money is backing Tampa Bay to cover. Some sharp money is on the under. While 62% of the bets on the total are on the over, 58% of the money is on the side of the under -- indicating some big-money bets on the under.
Our model projects this to be a closer game than the line indicates as we have the Bucs winning by a score of 25.95-21.53.
For those unfamiliar, single-game slates feature five flex spots with identical scoring to the main slate. However, kickers are included in these contests, and there is an "MVP" roster slot. The MVP receives 1.5-times his total fantasy points, making this spot crucial.
This past offseason, our Brandon Gdula did a deep dive on single-game strategy. It's worth checking out before you make your lineups.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers ($16,500)
In what shapes up as a low-scoring game (44.5-point total), Tom Brady is head and shoulders clear of the field, according to our projections. We have Brady going for 18.1 FanDuel points -- 5.0 more than anyone else on the slate.
While Washington boasts the league's third-best overall D and fourth-best pass defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics, this slate is devoid of reliable high-floor plays. Brady should be able to generate at least a respectable fantasy day. That's what he's done in his toughest matchups this season. Back in Week 10, he amassed 14.64 FanDuel points in a brutal matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, the top defense in the league by our numbers. At the Chicago Bears in Week 5, Brady scored 14.12 FanDuel points.
A similar type of outing against Washington isn't going to break the slate, obviously, but the only other player we have projected for more than 13.0 FanDuel points is Alex Smith ($14,000), who is questionable and may split time with Taylor Heinicke ($5,000).
Plus, Brady has been red-hot of late, putting up 31.26, 29.92 and 23.40 FanDuel points in his past three -- although those came against the barely-there defenses of the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons (twice).
If Chase Young and company can pressure Brady without having to blitz, this could be a difficult game for the Bucs' offense, especially with Mike Evans ($14,500) gimpy. I probably won't go to Brady too much in the MVP spot, especially since he'll likely be the chalk MVP pick, but it's difficult to fade him altogether.
Terry McLaurin, Washington ($13,500)
Terry McLaurin didn't look fully healthy in Week 17, but he was out there and made an impact by catching seven of eight targets for 40 yards and a score. He should once again be a focal point for the WFT offense, and with Washington expected to be in a negative game script, they may be forced to air it out more than they usually do.
McLaurin's usage is elite. He has at least six targets in every game this season, and his 98.1% snap rate is tops among all wideouts, per PlayerProfiler, as is his 100% route participation percentage. He's seen 25.5% of Washington's targets and has a 41.2% air yards share, clips which sit 10th and 4th, respectively, at the position. McLaurin has been targeted 10.0 times per game in losses, compared to 7.7 times per game in victories.
Tampa Bay's defense is legit, but it has been a pass-funnel unit, ranking first against the run and eighth against the pass. The Bucs are surrendering the 14th-most FanDuel points per game to receivers (31.1), compared to the 4th-fewest to running backs (17.3).
You can make a case for Antonio Gibson ($12,000) as best the high-salaried Washington player to roster, but I much prefer using McLaurin and WFT's passing-game pieces than trying to test the Bucs' run D. Our model projects McLaurin for 12.0 FanDuel points, and if you're cool with getting a little weird, you could sprinkle him in as the MVP in a few lineups.
Chris Godwin, Buccaneers ($12,500)
Chris Godwin is my favorite MVP play on this slate, and we know wideouts aren't used in the MVP spot as much as they should be. We'll need to monitor Evans' status, but even if Evans suits up -- which is looks like a real possibility -- Godwin makes for a fun MVP pivot away from the likely Brady chalk.
As we mentioned above, this Washington D is stout, but Godwin has 21 targets across the last three games. Based off of Week 17, Godwin may be in line for more deep shots if Evans sits as Godwin made five catches for 133 yards and two tuds a week ago. It was his first 100-yard game of the campaign.
But like I said, I like Godwin as an MVP play even if Evans suits up. That's partially because I think Evans won't be right and may be used as more of a decoy. I also anticipate Tampa Bay having to rely on their short, quick passing game to combat Washington's defensive line. That suits Godwin, who had an average target depth of just 10.3 yards.
We project him for 10.7 FanDuel points. While that's not super sexy, it's the second-best wideout projection in this game, and he's our best point-per-dollar play among the Bucs' receiver trio.
Antonio Brown, Buccaneers ($11,500)
Antonio Brown's outlook is tied to Evans' status a little more than Godwin's is -- at least in my eyes.
If Evans suits up, AB is likely pushed down to a gig as the Bucs' third receiver unless Evans is a decoy. But if Evans is sidelined, Brown should get more looks in the number-two role, and he'd likely do work on underneath routes while Godwin assumes some of Evans' deep work. Brown's average target depth was just 8.7 yards.
Brown got 14 targets last week, when Evans exited early, although that number is a little skewed by the team peppering him with looks to help him get to an incentive in his contract. But in a game in which Tampa should have a tough time running it and Brady may have to get rid of the ball quickly, Brown should be busy once again, especially if Evans is out.
Our model has AB going for 9.2 FanDuel points.
Logan Thomas, Washington ($10,500)
Tight ends have had some pretty good success against Tampa Bay's defense. The Buccaneers have permitted the 10th-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (11.2), including allowing the 7th-most catches and 7th-most touchdowns to the position.
Logan Thomas has become an every-snap dude for Washington, playing 100% of the snaps in each of their last three games. Since WFT's bye in Week 8, Thomas has played at least 97% of the snaps in every game but one, with that lone exception being a 90% snap share.
He's been targeted at least six times in five straight outings, including games of 12 and 16 looks in Washington's two losses in that span. He could be in for a big target total Saturday with Washington a large underdog.
The only thing missing here is good touchdown equity given WFT's lowly implied total. But we have Thomas pegged for 8.3 FanDuel points, and it feels like you need to plug in one of he or McLaurin to get exposure to Washington's passing game in what profiles as a game where they'll need to go to the air.
J.D. McKissic, Washington ($9,500)
I sure wish the salary was a little lower, but J.D. McKissic is a fine option if you think Washington gets housed by the Bucs. Even in a win in Week 17, McKissic still played 44% of the snaps (another reason I'm not super into Gibson), and he logged 10 targets in a loss in Week 16, a game in which Gibson played. Overall, McKissic got 8.3 targets per game in losses this season, and Tampa Bay gave up 7.7 targets per game to running backs.
Using more than two Washington players is a risk, but pairing McKissic with either Thomas or (preferably) McLaurin is a solid way to get access to a lot of Washington's targets.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington ($5,000)
Alex Smith sure looked limited in Washington's Week 17 win at the Philadelphia Eagles, and coach Ron Rivera suggested earlier this week that Heinicke -- who took the majority of first-team reps on Thursday -- could get some playing time in this game.
Was Rivera serious, or was he trying to force Tampa Bay's defense to spend time preparing for a backup he has no intention of playing? I have no idea. But I do know Heinicke is only $5,000, and Smith -- who is saddled with a questionable tag -- is clearly not 100% healthy.
At this salary, Heinicke would be a nearly impossible fade if he starts. Even if he rotates with Smith and sees around 20 or so snaps, he can avoid a total dud, aided by the running ability he flashed in relief of Dwayne Haskins in Week 16, when he toted the rock three times for 22 yards. Of course, Heinicke could see zero snaps and turn in a goose egg. Pretty much everything is on the table here as we're unlikely to know how much Heinicke will play unless Smith is inactive.
Stay tuned to the reports out of Washington leading up to this game, but the salary makes Heinicke awfully appealing if it looks like he has a real shot at getting meaningful playing time.