NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Ravens at Titans

This should be a fantastic game -- both in real-life and in fantasy. On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Baltimore Ravens are 3.0-point favorites over the Tennessee Titans, and the total is way up at 54.5 -- which implies a 28.75-25.75 win for Baltimore. Like I said, this should be a doozie.

Per our oddsFire tool, sharp money is on the Ravens. Of bets placed on the spread, 53% of them are on Baltimore while 60% of the money is backing the Ravens, alerting us that some big wagers have come in on Baltimore's side. With the total, 70% of the bets and 77% of the money is on the over.

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.

Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($17,000)

It's always the same with Lamar Jackson on single-game slates -- you basically have to have him. The dilemma is whether or not to make him your MVP. While it's extremely easy to make a case for using Jackson in the multiplier spot, he's going to be the chalk MVP pick -- even with Derrick Henry ($16,000) on the slate -- so for game-theory reasons, I'll probably be underweight on Lamar at MVP.

With that said, Jackson is in his own tier, per our projections. We forecast him to score 23.5 FanDuel points, 4.9 clear of the field. Since coming back from COVID five games ago, Jackson has been the 2019 Jackson who shredded the league. He's upped his rushing in that span, averaging 86.0 rushing yards per game on 11.2 carries, and with it all on the line this week, we could see Jackson run even more. He's also dealt through the air, putting up 0.41 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back as a passer, per our Jim Sannes.

Oh, and this matchup is sublime, as Tennessee sports the seventh-worst overall defense and fifth-worst pass D, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. Over the past two weeks, the Titans have surrendered 38 points to the Houston Texans and 40 to the Green Bay Packers. They allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game (22.1) to quarterbacks.

There's no doubt about it -- this is a smash spot for Jackson. He's our top point-per-dollar play by a big margin. Like I stated at the jump, it's not hard to make a case for him in the MVP slot, because he'll probably lead the slate in scoring. But weird things happen on single-game slates, and he's going to be the masses' MVP pick.

Derrick Henry, Titans ($16,000)

Henry is more volatile than his game log would have you believe. I'm tempted to fade him outright and focus more on the Titans' passing game, but I also think Henry is a fun MVP pivot off Jackson. That's Henry in DFS.

First, the positives. Our model loves him, projecting him for 18.6 FanDuel points. While his salary is above the salary for Ryan Tannehill ($15,500), Henry's projection is a tick above Tannehill's 18.1-point clip. Henry's rushing touchdown projection of 0.91 is laughably high. He has 26, 24, 23, and 34 carries over the past four games, running for at least 147 yards in three of those games, including outings of 215 and 250. He's been unreal down the stretch in Titans' wins, and Tennessee will likely ride him for as long as they can keep running the rock.

Now for the negatives. Henry is $16,000, and he's a bystander in the passing game, totaling two catches for 12 yards over the past four games. He's made more than two grabs in just one game this year, and he hasn't seen a target since Week 15, with one of the zero-look games coming in a lopsided loss at Green Bay. So even in defeats, it's not a given Henry sees more receiving work.

That Packers game likely represents Henry's floor, as he went for 23 carries and 98 scoreless yards in it. And it was a really good matchup considering Green Bay gave up the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs. This game with the Ravens is a much tougher matchup. Baltimore has the fourth-best run D by our numbers, and while Henry had 133 rushing yards and a tud in his regular-season meeting against the Ravens, he ripped off a 29-yard score in overtime, going for just 96 yards on 25 carries in regulation (nearly identical to the line versus the Packers).

Henry also carries heavy win/loss splits. In 11 wins, he averaged 143.5 rushing yards and 1.3 tuddies per game, compared to only 89.6 rushing yards and 0.4 scores per game in defeats.

I'll mostly treat Henry like an all-or-nothing asset for this slate. In most lineups in which I have him, he'll be in the MVP spot. In other lineups, I'll fade him completely and look to the Titans' passing game.

Ryan Tannehill, Titans ($15,500)

Tannehill has been excellent this year against good defenses. According to Sannes, Tannehill averaged 0.23 Passing NEP per drop back versus pass defenses that ranked as top-10 units by our schedule-adjusted metrics. That'll come in handy Sunday because the Ravens rank sixth in both overall D and pass defense by our numbers.

While I'm still coming to grips with Tannehill being legit good -- which he has been for more than a year now -- we can't ignore Tennessee's 25.75-point implied total, and if I'm going light on Henry, I'll need exposure to the Titans' aerial attack. Tannehill is obviously a great place to get just that.

Tanny threw for 22 scores in eight home games in 2020, compared to 11 touchdowns in eight road contests. He also passed for 24.3 more yards per game at home. He went for 259 yards and two scores in the previous clash with Baltimore, attempting 31 passes, which is actually the fifth-most he had in a game this campaign.

The chances of a ceiling game for Tannehill are never all that high because of the lack of volume, but with Tennessee owning a good implied total, maybe he -- not Henry -- gets the touchdowns. And Tannehill can run it, too, notching seven rushing tuds and recording at least four carries in five games.

We project Tannehill for 18.1 FanDuel points. He's on the MVP radar and likely won't see nearly as much MVP love as Henry and Jackson do.

Corey Davis, Titans ($11,500)

Of the Titans' two main wideouts, Corey Davis is my preference, mostly due to his salary being $3,500 less than than the salary of A.J. Brown ($14,000). Brown is definitely the better play, but Davis' usage shares aren't that much worse than Brown's.

Per Sannes, in the 10 games this year in which Davis, Brown, and Jonnu Smith ($8,000) all played, Davis has a 23.6% target share and has seen 42.1% of the deep targets, compared to marks of 27.5% and 26.3%, respectively, for Brown. Brown and Davis both carry a 17.7% red-zone target share in that split. Davis actually has one more 100-yard game (five) this year than AJB does.

If you put Lamar at MVP, stacking Tannehill and Davis while fading Henry is a way to still be unique. Our algorithm projects Davis for 9.7 FanDuel points.

Marquise Brown, Ravens ($10,500)

I'm all for getting a little weird at MVP -- but not too weird -- so if you want to use Mark Andrews ($11,500) as your multiplier, go for it. I don't think it's a bad move, but I like the matchup better for the other viable pass-catcher on the Ravens, Marquise Brown, who is the fourth -- and last -- guy I'm considering for the MVP slot.

The speedster has been playing well, and this matchup is a fantastic one because Tennessee permits the third-most FanDuel points per game (36.2) to receivers. Two weeks ago, Davante Adams blowtorched this D for 11 grabs, 142 yards, and 3 scores. In the regular-season finale, Brandin Cooks had 11 catches, 166 yards and a pair of tuddies against the Titans. While it's unfair to compare Brown to Adams, deep-threat Cooks is a decent comp.

Admittedly, Brown has been heavily reliant on touchdowns during his late-season tear. He's surpassed 50 yards only twice since Week 6, but Hollywood has scored six times over his last six outings, including at least one tuddie in five games in that span.

The low-volume nature of the Ravens' passing game is a downer for Brown's upside, but if you use him in the MVP spot, the dream is he hits for a bomb or two -- which is a very real possibility against this shoddy Titans secondary.

Our algorithm projects Brown for 11.4 FanDuel points and has him as a top-five point-per-dollar option.

Jonnu Smith, Titans ($8,000)

Both of these teams have pretty tight usage trees, so it's hard to feel good about most of the low-salary options. Jonnu Smith is wee bit of an exception.

In the Titans' split we referenced above, the 10 games in which Smith, AJB and Davis all played, Smith had a 15.4% target share and 35.3% red-zone target share.

That red-zone usage is the big draw, and our model ranks Smith as the best point-per-dollar play among those with a salary under $10,500.

Dez Bryant, Ravens ($7,000)

Dez Bryant is more appealing than you might think, though some of that may be me trying to talk myself into some of the low-salary guys on this slate. But stick with me here.

While Dez has a total of two receptions for 19 yards across the last three games, that's a little skewed by all three contests being lopsided wins for Baltimore. In the Ravens' last two one-score games, which came in Weeks 11 and 12, Bryant had seven combined targets and played 54% and 60% of the snaps. That's something -- right?

We have Bryant projected for 0.33 receiving touchdowns, which is tied with Corey Davis for the fourth-best clip on the slate and is the best touchdown projection for any player with a salary under $10,500. Bryant is probably a touchdown-or-bust option unless the Ravens get way behind, but we have to save salary somewhere.