FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Wild Card Sunday (Eagles at Buccaneers)
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.
Our Brandon Gdula has done a deep dive on single-game strategy. It's worth checking out before you make your lineups.
As of this writing, we could be looking at winds exceeding 20 MPH, so barring a dramatic shift in the forecast, both passing attacks could be nerfed on Sunday afternoon.
This will be an important factor when considering Brady; it's not like we're rostering him for his world-class speed. And that's not even getting to the next issue, which is his depleted wide receiver group that's now without both Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. Even an improving Cyril Grayson Jr. is out after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 18.
Brady led the league in both passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43), and it's not like he's unfamiliar with poor weather conditions after his lengthy tenure in New England. We learned long ago that doubting Brady doesn't tend to end well.
But he will be a popular MVP play regardless of the weather -- perhaps the most popular one -- giving us added incentive to fade him at MVP. Monitor the forecast closely before deciding which side of the fence you'll fall on.
On the other hand, Hurts' value does come from his legs, so he has far more wiggle room when it comes to any unfavorable conditions. He sat out Week 18 and is practicing in full this week, so his ankle should be in much better shape to go all out this weekend. The polar opposite of Brady, Hurts led the position in rushing yards (784) and rushing scores (10).
Hurts should be a chalky MVP, too, but he could be the priority over Brady if the forecast holds.
Fournette may very well be the best candidate of the trio, though he's trending toward being a game-time decision, so keep tabs on his status.
While there's admittedly some risk going all-in on a player coming off an injury, the stage is set for an explosive return if high winds force the Bucs to lean on him.
In the three games prior to his injury, Fournette averaged 31.7 adjusted opportunities per game (carries plus 2x targets) with an 82.7% snap rate. Additionally, when these two teams played in Week 6, Fournette crushed Philly for 27.7 FanDuel points.
There's no guarantee Fournette jumps right back into his elite role, but his injury stint should also keep his MVP roster percentage lower than either Brady's or Hurts'.
The weather makes branching out to MVP pass-catchers a little trickier, but Mike Evans ($14,500) and Rob Gronkowski ($13,000) deserve shoutouts. In Week 18 (post-Brown), these two were Brady's most productive weapons, with Evans scoring a pair of touchdowns and Gronk pacing the team with 137 receiving yards. Gronkowski led the Bucs with 10 targets (26.3% share), while Evans logged 7 looks (18.4%).
If Brady overcomes the elements, it's either Evans or Gronkowski who's most likely to benefit, and they should both come at palatable MVP roster percentages. It's worth noting that Evans may have to deal with Darius Slay in shadow coverage, which is something to keep in mind.
Sanders is practicing on a limited basis, so he should be back in action as Philadelphia's lead back. The problem is he has a tough matchup and uncertain workload in a crowded backfield.
Tampa's defense is known for stopping run and has allowed the fifth-fewest FanDuel points to running backs. That said, they might not be as impervious as their reputation would suggest, ranking 10th in adjusted rush defense, per numberFire's metrics. They're still great but maybe not quite elite.
Perhaps the more troubling issue is that Sanders will share snaps with some combination of Jordan Howard ($7,500), Boston Scott ($11,500), and maybe even Kenneth Gainwell ($7,000). A three-way split between Sanders, Howard, and Scott seems like the most likely scenario, but it's difficult to predict just how the touches will shake out. Of the backup running backs, Howard is the most intriguing at his low salary.
It all pushes Sanders to the fringe of MVP consideration, but he should still have value as a flex play. His salary isn't prohibitive, and in his last two healthy games, he rushed for more than 100 yards. The committee is a downer, but if the Eagles can keep things close and maintain their preferred run-heavy attack, Sanders could come through.
Smith and Goedart are Hurts' top receiving weapons, recording target shares of 23.1% and 25.6%, respectively, over Hurts' last three games. In a low-volume passing offense, it's unlikely either one pops for a huge score -- particularly if we see those high winds -- but they get enough usage to have a shot at cracking the optimal lineup.
Instead, the value pass-catchers for Tampa are far more appealing in Tyler Johnson ($8,000) and Breshad Perriman ($7,500), particularly if the Eagles are able to clamp down on Mike Evans. In Week 18, Johnson saw seven targets and Perriman logged six. Johnson actually led all Buccaneer wideouts in snap rate, too (86.7%).
Barring some truly absurd conditions, it's hard to see this Brady and this passing game getting completely shut down, opening the door for these two to cash in.
Injuries on the depth chart have pushed Vaughn into a bigger role over the last four weeks, and even in Fournette's potential return, he should still get at least a handful of touches -- if not more. Particularly if the Bucs run more than usual, Vaughn could be productive.
If Fournette is ultimately ruled out, then Vaughn becomes a standout value play, and Le'Veon Bell ($8,500) is much more viable.
Finally, the kickers on both sides -- Ryan Succop ($9,500) and Jake Elliott ($9,000) -- are secondary choices with the wind. Again, let the final forecast dictate how much exposure you want to them come Sunday.