FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 6 Thursday Night
If it seems like the New England Patriots have been huge favorites every week, well, it's because they pretty much have. The Pats have benefitted from a favorable schedule early on, and that rings true again in Week 6 as they host the New York Giants on Thursday night.
New England would be a big favorite even if the G-Men were at full strength, but with Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram all missing from the New York offense, which is being guided by a rookie quarterback, this one could get ugly. The Patriots are 16.5-point favorites, and despite that lopsided line, 87% of the money being bet on the spread is on New England to cover, per oddsFire.
With the public expecting the Pats to cruise to an easy win, how should you handle this slate in DFS? Let's take a look.
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.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots ($16,000)
New England has a 29.00-point implied total, and Brady has scored at least 20 FanDuel points in four of five games.
The fear with Brady in this spot is that if New England is able to roll the Giants on the ground, and Brady doesn't play a big role in the Pats jumping out to a lead, maybe he won't get enough passing volume to have a good fantasy day. But outside of the game with the Buffalo Bills, the Pats have won comfortably in every other contest, and Brady's pass attempts in those games have been: 36, 28, 42 and 42.
In the game with 28 attempts (at Miami), by far the lowest of the season for Brady, he tossed two scores and ran for another en route to 24.66 fantasy points.
While the salary and Brady's likely chalk status make it tempting to fade him, he's got a great floor and could easily have a monster game against what our schedule-adjusted metrics have as the sixth-worst pass defense in the NFL.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots ($12,500)
Along with Brady, Sony Michel figures to be the other chalk play of the night. It makes perfect sense as it's generally a good strategy to use running backs on teams that are favored by more than two touchdowns.
Michel hasn't been very good this year, however. Even with the Pats steamrolling to easy wins in all but one game, Michel is averaging just 9.4 FanDuel points per game. He's been held to 7.1 points or fewer in three of five outings and didn't catch a pass until Week 5. Last week was the first time he delivered in one of these Pats-favored-by-a-million spots.
In that Week 5 affair, Michel logged season-high clips in snaps (38), rushing yards (91), targets (3) and catches (3) on his way to 19.8 FanDuel points.
While Michel is certainly capable of a multi-touchdown game in this one, especially if he sees that same usage, it's important to note that Rex Burkhead ($7,500) didn't play last week. If Burkhead sits again, Michel's outlook gets a big boost. If Burkhead plays, it downgrades Michel, and Burkhead would be an intriguing cheap dart throw who may be worth using unless he's expected to be limited.
Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots ($9,500)
With Julian Edelman ($13,500) fresh off a big game, he might be the Pats' pass-game weapon most people flock to, but Josh Gordon is $4,000 cheaper and projected for just 1.5 fewer FanDuel points, though money isn't a huge issue on this slate unless you're trying to play both quarterbacks.
Gordon has broken into double-digit FanDuel points just twice and has a single-game high of 14.8 points. But the usage is solid as he has an 18% target share and 23% air yards share in the Pats' offense, per AirYards.com. He's been more of a factor over the last three weeks, with a 20% target share -- which is tied for the team lead -- and 26% air yards share over that span.
With Phillip Dorsett -- owner of a 19% target share and 30% air yards share over the past three games -- out, Gordon could see more looks, and he's a sneaky-good MVP play if you want to fade Michel and Brady in the MVP slot.
Jon Hilliman, RB, Giants ($8,000)
It'll be interesting to see how people handle the Giants on this slate. I'd guess rostering just one Giant will be pretty popular, and making Jon Hilliman that one guy gives you plenty of freedom with the Pats.
Hilliman is expected to see volume work with both Barkley and Wayne Gallman sidelined -- though Elijhaa Penny ($7,500) should be involved, too -- and the way to beat this New England defense is on the ground, as our schedule-adjusted metrics have them 1st against the pass and 16th versus the run.
Hilliman had nine carries for just 20 yards last week versus a stout Minnesota Vikings defense. He did have two targets -- catching one for four yards -- and made a respectable 36 catches over his final two college seasons. That's important since New York will likely see a negative game script tonight.
We have Hilliman projected for roughly 80 total yards and 0.32 touchdowns, and he's the top-projected non-quarterback on the G-Men.
Matt LaCosse, TE, Patriots ($5,000)
In an effort to dig deep and look for a dart throw, let's check out Matt LaCosse.
Fellow New England tight end Ryan Izzo ($7,000) got the tuddie last week, but LaCosse had more targets (four to two) and dominated the snaps, logging a 94% snap rate, compared to a 26% mark for Izzo. A guy playing nearly every snap has to be on our radar on single-game slates, especially when he's on the more attractive offense and is priced at the minimum.
LaCosse's salary makes it easy to to jam in both signal callers, and we project him for a not-completely-irrelevant 0.14 receiving touchdowns.