FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 9 Thursday Night
Week 8 is in the books and your first crack at redemption in week 9 is on FanDuel's Thursday Night Football single-game slate. The salary cap remains at $60,000 and scoring is unchanged from the full roster game, but we don't have to worry about individual positions. Instead, your roster will consist of five offensive flex spots with kickers replacing team defense/special teams. One player will be designated as your "MVP," who is awarded 1.5x his total fantasy points. Making the correct choice for MVP is crucial for a top-scoring lineup but we also can't ignore the value plays that let you squeeze in your favorites.
Tonight's game features the Oakland Raiders visiting the San Francisco 49ers. It's too bad this game wasn't on Halloween, as the teams have a combined record of just 2-13. The 49ers are 2.5-point home favorites with an over/under of 45.5 points, the third-lowest of the week. The Raiders appear to be in full rebuild mode after trading Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first round pick and having shopping other veterans for additional picks. On the other side, the 49ers have lost six consecutive games and have failed to top 18 points in three of their last four. They're also banged up, with C.J. Beathard, Pierre Garcon, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert all listed as questionable.
If there's any hope for some offensive fireworks in this matchup, it lies with how bad both pass defenses are. Oakland is 32nd, per numberFire rankings, and carries an adjusted defensive passing Net Expected Points (NEP) of 74.90, which is only ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the other side, San Francisco sits 21st in passing defense, per numberFire's metrics, but have given up multiple touchdown passes in every game but one.
To score well in your contests, making the right choice for your MVP slot is crucial. With injuries playing a major role this week, we have a few more top plays to consider if Beathard or Breida are ruled out.
C.J. Beathard ($16,000): Beathard did not practice Monday or Tuesday due to a wrist injury and was listed as limited for Wednesday's walkthrough. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he will be a game-time decision for Thursday night, and if he is unable to go the 49ers will turn to undrafted rookie free agent Nick Mullens ($6,000). The injury takes some of the shine off of Beathard, as the Raiders have been unable to stop anyone through the air this season.
In his first three starts following Jimmy Garoppolo's season-ending injury, Beathard passed for 298, 349, and 245 yards with 6 total touchdowns, scoring at least 18 FanDuel points in each. However, over his last two games against the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals, he's failed to eclipse 200 yards passing with just 2 touchdowns and 3 turnovers. If a perfect matchup exists, it would be this one for Beathard. However, given the nature of his injury and recent performance, it'll take some conviction to play him, especially as your MVP. Keep an eye on breaking reports before making your final decision.
Derek Carr ($16,000): Whether Beathard plays or not, Carr will be a popular choice for your MVP, as he's coming off of a four-touchdown day against the Indianapolis Colts. Both quarterbacks have a projection over 16 points, and the 49ers are 28th against quarterbacks, per numberFire's advanced stats.
Vegas expects this one to stay close, as shown by the 2.5-point spread, but whether Carr has a big day or not appears more tied to the game total. He's scored over 25 FanDuel points twice this year, this past Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts and back in Week 3 versus the Cleveland Browns, which went to overtime. The Raiders were at home in both games and easily cleared the over/under in each. Those are also the only two games he's thrown multiple touchdown passes. As mentioned above, the 49ers have surrendered multiple passing touchdowns in seven games thus far. If Beathard plays and is not overly hampered by his injury, we could have the ingredients for an entertaining and offensively-focused game, which would benefit Carr.
George Kittle ($14,500): Kittle is the clear number-one option in the 49ers' passing attack, leading them in targets (57), receptions (37), and receiving yards (584). He ranks ninth among all tight ends in air yards and trails only Garcon for the team lead. The Raiders pass defense is brutal and ranks 32nd versus the tight end position overall. Against the Colts, Indy's tight end trio of Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, and Mo Alie-Cox caught 10 of their 11 targets for 133 yards and 3 touchdowns.
On the year, Kittle is the PPR TE4 and is in a prime blow-up spot based on usage and matchup. At his position, only Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski have a higher projection than Kittle's 12.2. If Beathard plays, Kittle should have no problem rolling up fantasy points.
Jared Cook ($12,500): Cook leads the Raiders in targets and air yards, and is second in receptions. He ranks fifth among all tight ends in red zone targets, with 11. Nine of those have come from inside the 10, which is second in the NFL behind DeAndre Hopkins' 12.
Cook didn't see a usage bump with Cooper gone but instead continued as a reliable option for Carr, converting 5 targets into 4 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers are ranked 19th against the position, using our advanced stats, but have given up 100 yards or a touchdown to tight ends in five of eight games. Keep in mind two of those games were against the struggling Cardinals offense.
Cook slots in just behind Kittle in our tight end projections, with 11 points. Most weeks playing two tight ends in your lineup is a contrarian move, but this slate will be the exception as both are primary receiving options.
Matt Breida ($12,000): In the aftermath Jerick McKinnon's preseason ACL tear, the resulting 49ers running back roulette of Breida, Alfred Morris ($8,500), and Raheem Mostert ($7,500), has been frustrating for season-long and DFS players alike. Breida has battled injuries and was thought to be limited for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. That report didn't pan out on the field as Breida received a season-high 16 carries for 42 yards, while Morris and Mostert combined for only 8 attempts.
The Oakland defense has serious issues at every level. For opponents, attacking them on the ground has been almost as fruitful as through the air. Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines accounted for 234 yards and 2 touchdowns on 40 touches Sunday, leaving the Raiders 28th against the running back position overall coming into Thursday night. If Beathard plays, it's (hopefully) wheels up for the passing game, and if he's out, Breida will become a popular play. It's hard to trust any of these running backs, but you have to consider Breida for his upside should he garner the majority of the running back touches again.
Jalen Richard ($10,500): If the Raiders fall into negative game script, which is often, Richard is the Oakland running back you want. He played on 22 of a possible 50 snaps (44 percent) against the Colts on Sunday and had 10 touches. He caught all 8 of his targets for 50 yards and rushed twice for 14 yards, cracking double-digit FanDuel points for the first time since Week 1. Richard trails only Jared Cook in targets, with 44, and leads the team in receptions with 38. His projection of 9.82 FanDuel points also tops Doug Martin and the Oakland wide receivers. Outside of Carr and Cook, if you want a piece of the Raiders offense, Richard is a viable option as the 49ers have allowed over six receptions per game to running backs.
Robbie Gould ($9,000): As much as I want to avoid kickers and defense in fantasy football, it's hard to be too picky on a single-game slate. On the year, Gould is 6th in the NFL with 16 made field goals and has at least 2 field goals in 6 of 8 games. Meanwhile, the Raiders have allowed more than two field goals in just one game, the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. Gould offers salary relief if you need it to fit in other options and has the fifth-highest projection at the position this week.
Brandon LaFell ($8,500): The trade of Amari Cooper to Dallas immediately opened up a role in the Raiders offense, perhaps to feature another young wide receiver. Most of us assumed that Martavis Bryant would be the beneficiary in this scenario, but Bryant played only seven snaps against the Colts on Sunday. Instead, the 32 year-old LaFell was on the field for 92 percent of the snaps and saw 4 targets. He secured 3 of them for 39 yards and a touchdown. If the trend continues Thursday, with LaFell and Nelson playing in two wide receiver sets, LaFell's salary of $8,500 is another option for salary relief if you want to avoid the kickers.
Kendrick Bourne ($6,000): With Pierre Garcon still battling injuries, Bourne started opposite Marquise Goodwin ($9,000) against the Cardinals and led the team in every receiving category, securing 7 of 10 targets for 71 yards. If Garcon can't go Thursday night, Bourne and rookie Dante Pettis ($6,500) figure to be more involved against a vulnerable defense. At minimum salary, Bourne is the ultimate value play in an ideal matchup.
Ryan Bobbitt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan Bobbitt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Drummerinabox. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.