NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 1 Sunday Night

The last game of the opening Sunday of the 2020 NFL season is an NFC clash between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams.

We should see plenty of points. The Cowboys are 2.0-point road favorites on FanDuel Sportsbook, and the total sits at 51.5.

Per our oddsFire tool, the public is backing Dallas and the over. As of Sunday morning, 66% of the bets on the total are coming in on the over, and 64% of the money being placed on the spread is on the Dallas side. Interestingly, just 55% of the spread bets are on Dallas, so some big-money wagers have been placed on the 'Boys.

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.

This past offseason our Brandon Gdula did a deep dive on single-game strategy. It's worth checking out before you make your lineups.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys ($15,000)

Ezekiel Elliott is projected for 18.0 FanDuel points tonight, the best on this single-game slate outside of the two quarterbacks.

For the season, the Rams' defense wasn't that bad against the run in 2019, but when they faced top-level rushing attacks, they got bullied. Christian McCaffrey, the Baltimore Ravens and the Cowboys all had big rushing days against this D. Zeke totaled 24 carries, 117 yards and 2 tuds against LA a season ago, and Tony Pollard ($7,000) added 131 and a score on just 12 attempts.

We have Zeke projected for nearly 22 total touches, and I like him in the MVP spot tonight.

Jared Goff, Rams ($14,000)

Using Jared Goff correlates well with rostering Zeke as a positive game script for Dallas would lead to more passing for the Rams. We have Dallas projected to be the 12th-worst pass defense this season, and Goff has shown he can go HAM in good matchups.

Even in his down 2019 campaign, Goff was able to thrive in matchups like this one. In six games against teams that were below averages pass defenses, per our schedule-adjusted metrics, the Rams' signal caller recorded 0.31 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back. In his other 10 games, that clip was just 0.02.

We have Goff projected for 17.9 FanDuel points tonight.

Michael Gallup, Cowboys ($10,500)

With Jalen Ramsey likely on Amari Cooper ($11,500), I'm enticed by Gallup. By our NEP metric, Gallup and Cooper were basically equals in 2019, and Gallup edged Cooper in both target share (21% to 20%) and air yards share (28% to 26%) last season, per AirYards.com.

How will the addition of CeeDee Lamb ($8,400) impact things? I have no clue. But given that Lamb is making his NFL debut after not getting a full offseason, I'm going to roll the dice on Lamb not being a huge factor right out of the gates.

Our model doesn't love Gallup today, projecting him for only 9.7 FanDuel points, but I think he's got a good floor and a nice ceiling.

Cam Akers, Rams ($10,000)

I'll be honest -- I don't know how the workloads in the Rams' backfield are going shake out. Akers, Darrell Henderson ($7,500) and Malcolm Brown ($8,000) are all expected to be involved. The wise thing to do may be to take one of the cheaper options and hope for the best. With that said, if that's the route a lot of people take, I want to go down a different path and use Akers.

The Rams spent their first pick in the 2020 draft (52nd overall) on Akers. If they loved Brown and/or Henderson, they probably don't do that. Over the long term, I think Akers leads the Rams in touches in 2020. In Week 1, who knows.

But our model gives Akers the best touchdown odds outside of Zeke among non-quarterbacks outside, and I think the rookie may be a contrarian pick on this slate with his salary being what it is.

Josh Reynolds, Rams ($6,500)

If you're building under the assumption of a Rams loss, LA has three low-salary options worth considering -- Reynolds, Van Jefferson ($6,000) and Gerald Everett ($6,500). All three have uncertain roles going into the year, but they would benefit from the Rams getting behind.

Reynolds reportedly ran as the Rams' number-three wideout for most of camp, meaning he should see the field over the rookie Jefferson. Given how much LA relies on three-receiver sets, Reynolds could be out there a lot tonight. For $6,500, the reward outweighs the risk for me.