FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 15 Thursday Night
Week 14 is in the books, and your first crack at redemption in Week 15 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.
If you played last Thursday night's slate in the Derrick Henry blow-up game and managed to stay awake through Monday night's Seahawks/Vikings matchup, congratulations, we should have a lot more offense in tonight's game. It's another divisional showdown, this time in the AFC West, as the Los Angeles Chargers visit the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are 3.5-point home favorites with a 53.0 point over/under. We've had a run of low game totals for Thursday night games, but the opposite is true this week, as the highest two over/unders on the main slate are 52.0 and 47.0.
To score well in your contests, making the right choice for your MVP slot is crucial. In a game with a lot of offensive potential, that means we have several options to consider. Let's dive in!
Patrick Mahomes ($17,500 on FanDuel): Mahomes gets another home matchup against a strong passing defense, coming off a 377-yard, 2-touchdown game against the Baltimore Ravens, numberFire's top-ranked passing defense, on Sunday. The Chargers are not far behind -- ranked eighth -- but those numbers haven't mattered to Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense. He averages 28.0 FanDuel points per game, and in their first meeting back in Week 1, Mahomes hit that number almost exactly, at 28.34 points. He completed only 15 passes but 4 were touchdowns in a 38-28 win.
Mahomes leads the league in Passing Net Expected Points (200.04) and is 30 points beyond the next quarterback, Drew Brees. On a per-drop-back basis, Mahomes is still number one, at 0.40, and just ahead of Brees (0.39). The Chargers allow just 16.0 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks but have faced Derek Carr twice, Jeff Driskel, Josh Rosen, and Josh Allen. That shouldn't deter you from using Mahomes as his projection of 25.1 FanDuel points is the highest of any player this week.
Philip Rivers ($15,500): If you can't fit Mahomes into your roster construction, Rivers is $2,000 cheaper and gets a Kansas City defense allowing the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks. He had his best game of the year in their first meeting, falling just short of 30 (29.96) points while attempting 51 passes. The Chargers lost that game 38-28 and are now 3.5-point road underdogs for this one.
Meanwhile, Melvin Gordon ($13,500) will be a game-time decision, and if he's able to go he gets a great matchup. However, if Gordon sits it's possible the Bolts will have to rely even more on Rivers and the passing game to keep pace with the NFL's highest-scoring offense. Mahomes will no doubt be the more popular choice of the two quarterbacks, and Rivers has struggled in Arrowhead previously, but if you're playing the ownership game, Rivers makes a great tournament option.
Keenan Allen ($14,500): Allen hasn't been held under 10 FanDuel points since his Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans in London, and that trend should continue tonight. He started the season off hot against the Chiefs, converting 11 targets into 8 receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. His 20.8 FanDuel points in Week 1 were a season-high until he posted 29.8 on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13.
Over his last six games, Allen has been an absolute monster, totaling 127.7 PPR points, which ranks fourth among all wide receivers. He's dominated the Chargers' air yards (41 percent) and target share (34 percent) in that span while scoring four touchdowns. Allen will likely go overlooked as an MVP option, but the matchup -- in what could be a high-scoring game -- and usage are right for him to have another 20-plus point performance.
Damien Williams ($10,500): With Spencer Ware dinged up multiple times during Sunday's contest versus the stout Ravens defense, Williams logged 50 percent of the snaps. While he did score twice, he was out-touched 20-12 by Ware and could only manage 30 total yards. As of Wednesday night, Ware is listed as doubtful, which could propel Williams into the lead back role.
As for matchup, the Chargers' rushing defense is ranked 15th, but their weakness appears to be in stopping opposing running backs in the receiving game. They allow the highest percentage of yards (23.84) to the running back position in the league. We're uncertain exactly how the backfield will play out with Darrel Williams ($4,000) and Charcandrick West ($4,500) also potentially involved, but if Damien sees close to 20 touches, we have to consider him, especially if he keeps the passing game work.
Justin Jackson ($8,000): Melvin Gordon suffered an MCL sprain against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12 and will likely be a game-time decision tonight. Jackson received seven carries in the Arizona game, largely in garbage time, but ran for 57 yards. The following week at Pittsburgh, Jackson was the more productive back, gaining 63 yards on / carries and scoring a touchdown, while also catching his lone target for 19 yards. Head Coach Anthony Lynn hinted that Jackson could get more work against the Cincinnati Bengals, but it didn't pan out as Jackson was limited to just 35 yards on 9 touches behind Austin Ekeler.
With Gordon listed as questionable and Ekeler out, Jackson could see the majority of the backfield touches against a Chiefs defense that ranks 31st versus the running back position by our advanced stats. The Chiefs also give up the highest success rate to the position, and Jackson's only competition may be fellow undrafted rookie Detrez Newsome ($4,000), who has five touches all season. At $8,000, Jackson is easily the best value on the slate if Gordon is unable to go.
Demarcus Robinson ($7,000): Sammy Watkins is already out for tonight's game and leaves an opening for the number two wide receiver opposite Tyreek Hill ($13,500). With Watkins out Sunday and Hill missing some time due to injury, Robinson saw seven targets compared to just three for Chris Conley ($6,500). He made the most of his uptick in opportunity, catching 5 passes for 42 yards. Both Robinson and Conley give salary relief but face a tough Chargers defense that gives up just a total of 26.7 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers.
Antonio Gates ($6,500): I know we're going way down into "value" range here, and using a 38 year-old tight end who has 20 receptions all year isn't appealing. Still, the Chiefs give up the second-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends so something has to give, right? Gates' target share this season is only nine percent, but of his 33 targets, 8 have come in the red-zone. There's no floor if you go this way -- Gates could realistically finish with a 1/1/1 in the box score -- but we're hoping the ineptitude of the Chiefs defense continues and allows Gates to dad-run into the paint.
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.