FanDuel Single-Game Fantasy Football Helper: Week 13 Sunday Night
With the FanDuel main slate ending after the afternoon games, single-game slates allow DFS enthusiasts to stay involved through the evening. 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.
Bookmakers project the Steelers win this contest by 3.0 points while the over/under sits at 51.5. Both of these teams have impressed this season, with Pittsburgh sitting at 7-3-1 and Los Angeles coming in at 8-3. A win on either side could shift the power balance in the AFC, making this game particularly important.
Ben Roethlisberger ($16,000): The highest-projected scorer on the slate, according to our models, Ben Roethlisberger deservedly needs to be considered in the MVP slot. Roethlisberger has shown a far higher ceiling than Philip Rivers has, eclipsing 25 FanDuel points four times this season while Rivers has passed that mark only a single time. Likewise, the Steelers have abandoned the run recently, throwing on 69% of their offensive plays (third-highest rate in the NFL), despite seeing a positive game script in three out of the four games. The volume bodes well for Roethlisberger's fantasy outlook, putting him squarely in play for the MVP slot, even though the Chargers have a top-10 pass defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics.
James Conner ($14,000): Despite the Steelers' reluctance to run the ball in recent weeks, James Conner remains in MVP consideration with the good matchup. While the Chargers rank ninth in pass defense, they sit 21st in run defense, per our metrics. Los Angeles also recently lost linebacker Denzel Perryman and defensive tackle Corey Liuget to injured reserve, further boosting the matchup for Conner. The second-year pro has touch counts of 15 and 17 in consecutive weeks, but those could rise given the Chargers' vulnerability on the ground. Likely to go low-owned in terms of MVP ownership, Conner should provide leverage in this spot.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($13,000): Widely considered a complementary asset to Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster quietly ranks seventh in targets (110) and fifth in receiving yards (1,011). Noted above, Pittsburgh has increasingly relied on the pass in recent games. Despite the tough matchup, Brown and Smith-Schuster remain tied with 22 targets over the last three weeks, giving them more than enough volume to overcome the difficult draw. Coming in $1,500 cheaper, JuJu brings just as much upside as Antonio Brown does. Fire up the second-year pro as a direct pivot from AB.
Austin Ekeler ($12,000): With Melvin Gordon on the shelf, Austin Ekeler projects to take over the starting running back role. In a game without Gordon earlier this season, Ekeler played 95% of the Chargers' snaps and handled 17 touches. However, the Chargers will face the league's 10th-best run defense, according to our metrics, and it's a group that returns Stephon Tuitt after a two-game absence. Impressively, Ekeler has 763 yards on a mere 102 touches this season, making this a bet on talent and expected volume.
Mike Williams (10,500): Tyrell Williams played limited snaps due to injury last week, and he was limited all week in practice. That means Mike Williams could step in for an increased role again this week. With Tyrell playing a mere 13% of the snaps last week, Mike's snap count jumped to a season-high 91%. He parlayed this increased playing time into 4 catches, 25 yards, and a pair of scores, continuing to show his nose for the end zone by grabbing both of his red-zone targets. The Steelers have played solid pass defense, ranking fifth, per our metrics, but Williams' red zone usage keeps him in play this week.
Vance McDonald ($9,000): Fighting through a hip injury, Vance McDonald returned to full practice on Friday, suggesting he will play without limitations. McDonald has moved ahead of teammate Jesse James in recent weeks as the Steelers' preferred pass-catching tight end. Over the last four weeks, McDonald has out-targeted James 21 to 8. The Chargers have played middling tight end defense, but McDonald offers cheap exposure to the Pittsburgh passing game.
Ryan Switzer ($8,000): Another cheap way to get access to the Pittsburgh passing game, Ryan Switzer played a season-high 67% of the Steelers' snaps last week. This amounted to 8 targets, 6 catches, and 67 yards receiving. Running 77.8% of his routes from the slot, Switzer should avoid stud boundary corner Casey Hayward. With Pittsburgh's recent affinity for the pass, Switzer looks like a strong play at this cost.
Justin Jackson ($7,500): With Melvin Gordon out, Ekeler is expected to step into the starting role, but he may not handle a full workload like he has earlier this season. LA beat reporter Eric Williams suggested it could be more of a committee approach to replacing Gordon. Seventh-round rookie Justin Jackson could benefit from this approach. Jackson has only 64 rushing yards on 12 attempts in his career, but he impressed coming out of Northwestern and has stuck around with the Chargers. Likely to see low ownership, Jackson could provide an edge if LA replaces Melvin with a committee.
Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. 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