NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 5 Sunday Night

This week's Sunday night matchup pits the Minnesota Vikings against the Seattle Seahawks, and we should see plenty of points.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the 'Hawks are 7.0-point favorites, and the total is all the way up at 56.5 points. The implied score is a 31.75-24.75 win for Seattle.

Per our oddsFire tool, the public is all over Seattle. On the spread, 70% of the bets and 66% of the money is backing Seattle. The moneyline follows the same trend with 63% of the bets and 65% of the money on the 'Hawks. On the total, 62% of the bets and 56% of the money is on the over.

Our model, however, has this game being much closer than the public and oddsmakers do. We project a 24.76-21.49 win for Seattle and have the under as one of our strongest bets of the week. That's very useful information to keep in mind when building lineups for this single-game slate.

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.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks ($16,500)

Russell Wilson is the obvious MVP pick. The issues are his steep salary and Wilson will be super popular -- both overall and in the MVP spot.

I wouldn't fade Wilson -- we project him for 24.7 FanDuel points, 6.2 more than any other player -- but I will likely avoid using him as the MVP for game-theory reasons. Wilson's floor/ceiling combination is undeniably great, though.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings ($14,500)

The Vikings want to run the ball, and they'll likely ride Dalvin Cook ($15,000) for as long as the game script allows them to. The biggest question on this slate, for me, is how long will that be with Minnesota a touchdown 'dog.

If the Vikings keep it close like our model suggests, Kirk Cousins probably won't attempt enough passes to really smash. If Minnesota gets down big in the first half, Cousins should see more volume than usual, and he can crush it in this matchup.

Seattle has been brutal against the pass this season, allowing the second-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks as well as the most receptions, yards and FanDuel points to wideouts.

We project Cousins for 18.5 FanDuel points, and if you think this turns into a shootout, he is a viable MVP pick. If the game goes how our model forecasts, then you can fade him and get your Vikings exposure via Cook.

Dalvin Cook, Vikings ($15,000)

As we touched on in the intro, our model projects the Vikings to lose by roughly three points, which goes against the sentiment of the betting public and oddsmakers. That makes Cook very intriguing as an MVP option as the masses will likely slide Wilson or one of Seattle's two star wideouts in their MVP slot.

Cook has been fantastic this year, but our schedule-adjusted numbers rank this Seattle D fifth against the run. As we just laid out, the best way to attack the Seahawks is through the air. But the Vikings -- who have called more runs than passes this season -- will probably try to pound Cook anyway, and they'd probably like to do so for as long as they can, which our model thinks will be the entire game.

If you think Minnesota gets whipped by Seattle, you could fade Cook altogether, but if you're building under the assumption of a close game -- or a Minnesota win -- Cook makes a lot of sense as either an MVP play or in a utility spot.

Adam Thielen, Vikings ($12,500)

Adam Thielen is my preference over red-hot rookie Justin Jefferson ($10,000). Thielen is playing nearly every snap (98.6% snap rate), and the usage is immense as he holds a 32.6% target share and 48.7% air yards share, per PlayerProfiler. All of those are top-six marks among wideouts, with the air yards share being the top clip.

In a game in which Minnesota should have to pass more than they normally do, Thielen could pop. We project him for 14.0 FanDuel points, and if I was making just one lineup for this slate, rostering Thielen would be a priority. Stacking him and Cousins will likely be contrarian since the popular route will be to pair Wilson with one of the next two guys.

D.K. Metcalf ($11,000) and Tyler Lockett ($12,000)

Both of Seattle's star wideouts have feasted this season, with Tyler Lockett averaging 16.2 FanDuel points per game while D.K. Metcalf is putting up 16.1. The star duo is coming off their worst outputs of the season, but the Seattle passing game should shred a Vikings' D that is allowing the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to wideouts.

It's possible to get both of these two in alongside Wilson, and that's certainly a high-upside play. It takes Cousins off the table unless you're willing to punt at your last spot, but you can get access to Minnesota's passing game through one of their wideouts.

Chris Carson, Seahawks ($13,500)

If you want a unique lineup, you can fade both Lockett and Metcalf and roll with Chris Carson.

Prior to this season, a game in which Seattle was a big favorite would be a game we would all assume they'd go with a run-heavy approach. While that hasn't been the case in 2020, Carson has become more involved in the passing game, making at least three grabs in every game. After averaging 3.1 targets per game in 2019, Carson has averaged 4.0 looks per game so far this campaign, and he has as many receiving scores through four games this year (3) as he did across his first three seasons.

Minnesota gave up at least 100 rushing yards to each of their first three opponents, and they've allowed the sixth-most rushing yards per game to running backs.

Carson is a good play, but his salary could cause him to fly under the radar a bit -- assuming the masses want to stack Wilson with one of his top wideouts. And Carson is even in play for the MVP spot and could pop there if the touchdowns go his way.

Greg Olsen, Seahawks ($7,000)

The low-salary options are pretty ugly, but I am going to work hard to try to talk myself into one so I can plug in four big dogs. According to our model, Greg Olsen is the best point-per-dollar play at $7,000 or below.

Olsen is third on the 'Hawks in targets and is also third in snap rate (64.0%) among the team's pass-catchers, including the running backs. On the down side, he's had more than 35 yards just once this season. But he's seen at least four targets in three of four games, and he's not a bad dart throw at a touchdown.