FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Rams at Seahawks

We don't often get a three-game series in a single NFL season, but we're getting it in the opening weekend of the playoffs with the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks.

The first two matchups were won by the home team (Rams 23-16 and then Seahawks 20-9). So that means not a whole lot of points -- and FanDuel points -- in either of those games. The over/under for this game is just 42.5 points with a 3.5-point spread in favor of Seattle.

We don't know the status of Rams quarterback Jared Goff, so we could get another week of John Wolford. For now, numberFire is projecting Goff to start.

Before we dig in more, don't forget to brush up on some single-game perfect lineup trends and leverage our Sharpstack single-game optimizer for correlated lineup plays.

High-Level Simulation Results

I simulated this game a thousand times -- using numberFire's projections -- to see some high-level takeaways. Here's what I found.

Player Salary Median Simulation
FanDuel Points
Top Score
Top-5 Score
Russell Wilson $16,000 17.8 28.8% 75.2%
Jared Goff $15,000 15.1 15.9% 66.0%
Cam Akers $12,500 13.5 13.4% 54.1%
Chris Carson $13,500 13.5 11.7% 54.1%
DK Metcalf $13,500 12.0 9.2% 46.1%
Robert Woods $13,000 11.5 9.7% 45.8%
Tyler Lockett $12,000 10.0 4.4% 35.7%
Cooper Kupp $11,500 9.8 4.4% 35.0%
Jason Myers $8,500 9.6 0.5% 28.7%
Josh Reynolds $8,500 6.4 1.3% 15.2%
Matt Gay $9,000 8.1 0.4% 15.2%
Tyler Higbee $8,500 5.9 0.2% 10.9%
Jacob Hollister $7,500 4.9 0.0% 5.4%
Gerald Everett $7,000 5.0 0.1% 4.4%
Carlos Hyde $9,500 5.0 0.0% 3.3%
David Moore $8,000 4.1 0.0% 2.8%
Malcolm Brown $8,000 4.3 0.0% 1.7%
Will Dissly $6,500 3.4 0.0% 0.3%

Here's a snapshot of how these two teams stack up, based on numberFire's opponent-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metric.

Team Total
Los Angeles 19 18 20 1 2 2
Seattle 6 7 7 21 22 11

Slate Breakdown

Using numberFire's projections as the base, Russell Wilson stands out as the most likely slate-leader in FanDuel points at 28.8%. He'll very likely be more popular than that as an MVP choice given the ambiguity around the Rams' quarterbacks and the fact that quarterbacks are just generally the most popular MVP choices (around 49.9% of MVPs last year were quarterbacks). Wilson, though, averaged shy of 240 passing yards in two games against the Rams, and his per-drop back Passing NEP was -0.03 (NFL average overall is 0.13 this season). Now, the Rams are an elite pass defense, but there's another issue with Wilson.

Russ isn't cooking lately, and since their offensive reversal in Week 11, he has been on the wrong side of NFL average with 0.11 Passing NEP per drop back and an average of just over 200 passing yards per game. Yes, Wilson is the most likely player to lead in FanDuel points, but we shouldn't view him as a can't-miss MVP choice.

Goff -- barely -- rated as the second most likely MVP choice in my simulations (again, using numberFire's projections as of Thursday). Goff didn't throw a single touchdown on 80 attempts and averaged 0.06 Passing NEP per drop back against Seattle this season, and that's not particularly good at all, especially against the NFL's 22nd-ranked adjusted pass defense. Goff also hasn't taken advantage of his seven games against bottom-half adjusted pass defenses: 15.8 FanDuel points per game and just 0.05 Passing NEP per drop back over expectation against these opponents (0.18 in raw Passing NEP per drop back). His downfield attempt rate has been just 13.8% against Seattle (NFL average is 17.1%), and it's been even lower overall this season at 12.7%. He probably won't be throwing it farther downfield after his thumb surgery, either. That will assuredly cap his upside.

For what it's worth, Wolford, last week, virtually doubled Goff's season-long downfield attempt rate at 23.7% with a 9.4-yard average depth of target. He wasn't efficient, but he at least chucked it deep.

Both starting running backs are interesting. Chris Carson's team is the favorite in this game. He has largely been a high-floor, low-ceiling player. From Weeks 13 through 16, he averaged 14.0 carries and 4.3 targets for 89.0 scrimmage yards per game. I prefer Cam Akers, despite the underdog status. Akers played 65.8% of the Rams' offensive snaps last week and had 21 carries and 4 targets, which included 5 red zone carries and a red zone target.

We've seen really peculiar target shares from the Rams in two games between these teams earlier this year. Josh Reynolds led the team with a 25.0% target share (10.0 per game), followed by Cooper Kupp (20.0%) and Robert Woods (18.8%). Between their bye and Week 17 -- so, looking at recent games with Goff -- Woods easily leads the team with a 25.7% target share, followed by Kupp (19.8%) and Reynolds (13.8%). Reynolds ran 63.2% of the routes in that span, not far from Kupp (68.8%); Woods ran 77.2% of the routes in this sample. Woods is the preference. Kupp could see elevated short and intermediate volume if Goff is limited. Reynolds has more appeal if Wolford were to start, given the downfield target expectations.

For Seattle, it's still been DK Metcalf's and Tyler Lockett's offense since the team started running more in Week 11. In that sample, Metcalf has a 24.9% target share (8.1 targets per game) and 11.4 FanDuel points per game. Lockett has a 23.1% target share (7.6 per game) and 10.9 FanDuel points per game. Combined, they're around half of Wilson's targets, leaving very little for the tertiary (Jacob Hollister [10.5%]), quaternary (Carson [10.4%]), and quinary (David Moore [7.9%]) options for the team.

But the Seattle pass-catchers have also shown wonky splits in this matchup. Lockett leads the team with just 20.3% of the targets (with an 18.1-yard average depth of target, and Metcalf had 17.4% (with a 13.9-yard average target depth). They did spread the ball around more, yet Hollister was third in this two-game sample with only 10.1% of the targets. It's hard to get cute with the Seattle passing offense unless you're just throwing darts.