FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 3 Thursday Night (Steelers at Browns)
On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Browns are 4.5-point favorites in a game with a 38.5-point total. That makes the implied score 21.5-17.0.
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, and we have projections for the single-game slate if you select the game from the slate tab. It's worth checking out both of those things before you make your lineups.
We've been spoiled with good offenses through two Thursday affairs. This game won't be like those, and it makes for a different kind of single-game slate -- one that should be much lower scoring. We have a 38.5-point total, and our model projects no one for more than 15.3 FanDuel points. Weather, specifically wind, should be a factor, too.
Quarterbacks are almost always the most popular MVP plays. I don't think that'll be the case in this one as Nick Chubb ($16,000 on FanDuel) leads the slate with a projection of 15.3 FanDuel points,per our model. Chubb is coming off a three-touchdown game, and that will only add to his popularity. He's gotten 17 and 22 carries through two weeks, and while Chubb doesn't do much in the passing game, he's unlikely to be game-scripted out of this one.
However, while acknowledging that we have to overlook some things for anyone we put at MVP, I'll mostly stay away from Chubb as my multiplier. He still loses a lot of snaps to Kareem Hunt ($13,000), logging snap rates of 51.3% and 53.8% so far this season, and could get bottled up by a stout Pittsburgh D.
I like the idea of rolling the dice on one of the two signal-callers -- Mitchell Trubisky ($14,500) or Jacoby Brissett ($14,000) -- at MVP. Both have a tough matchup and have done about what you'd expect so far this season, which is to say not a whole lot. But they'll each probably see less MVP love than most quarterbacks do on single-game slates.
Brissett totaled 16.46 FanDuel points in Week 2, boosted by 43 rushing yards on six carries. Trubisky's fantasy outlook also gets a lift from his scrambling ability. He hasn't run much this year (four attempts for 16 yards), but we know he can scoot. We project Trubisky and Brissett for 14.7 and 13.3 FanDuel points, respectively. I side with Trubisky between the two.
Najee Harris ($13,500) and Diontae Johnson ($12,000) are the final two players who need to be in our MVP player pool. Both intrigue me as they might slip through the cracks in terms of MVP popularity.
Harris got dinged up late in Week 1 but played 70.1% of the snaps in Week 2. He's seen 25 carries and eight targets thus far, with the pass-game work aiding his floor and ceiling. We peg him to produce 13.7 FanDuel points.
Johnson has 22 targets through games, accounting for a 32% target share and 40% air yards share. He's still the target hog in the Steelers' offense. He's turned the volume into 13 grabs for 112 scoreless yards. The Browns' pass D just got shredded by Joe Flacco and Garrett Wilson, and they are giving up the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to wideouts (38.8). Our algorithm projects Johnson for 11.9 FanDuel points.
As for the rest of the options, Amari Cooper ($12,500) and Hunt lead the way on the Cleveland side.
Cooper opened his Browns touchdown account last game, putting together a really good showing as he caught 9-of-10 looks for 101 and that tud. That's pushed his salary up, but he's still a fine choice. The usage is pretty dang sweet -- 28% target share and 40% air yards share -- and he's played 81.1% and 80.0% of the snaps through two games. The Steelers have struggled with receivers, giving up the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to the position (40.1). We have Cooper scoring 9.5 points.
This doesn't project as the ideal game script for Hunt, who typically fares best in pass-heavy situations. With that said, he's seen 13 and 11 rushing attempts in Cleveland's two games -- the 13 in a positive game script -- so he gets a solid amount of carries in addition to his receiving volume (six targets). He also gets roughly half the snaps. Our model projects him to score 9.9 FanDuel points.
Chase Claypool ($10,000) is one of my favorite plays on this slate. He's clearly been behind Johnson in the pecking order, garnering just 12 looks, but I'm a sucker for big-play weapons on single-game slates. Claypool has been out there a lot, leading the Steelers' skill guys in snap rate in both Week 1 (91.8%) and Week 2 (91.4%). If this is a low-scoring slog, one chunk play could carry a lot of weight Thursday, especially if it results in a touchdown.
The defenses and kickers profile as quality plays, and we could see them be pretty popular. If it's as windy as what the forecast says (20 to 30 MPH), that'll certainly ding the kickers.
We project the Cleveland D/ST ($9,000) for 8.2 FanDuel points and rate it as the best point-per-dollar option among those under $12,000 in salary. At a projection of 7.4 FanDuel points, Cade York ($8,500) is right behind the Browns' D/ST in terms of point-per-dollar rating. Our numbers have Chris Boswell ($9,500) going for 7.7 FanDuel points. The Pittsburgh D/ST ($9,000) doesn't project all that well -- 6.7 FanDuel points -- but is capable of a big game any given week, which we saw in Week 1.
Njoku is a handy salary-saver who has led Cleveland's skill guys in snap rate in each of the first two weeks (89.2% and 93.8%). DPJ got 11 looks in Week 1 but was targeted just once in Week 2. He could get some squeaky-wheel treatment on Thursday and has big-play ability.