NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Buccaneers at Saints

The New Orleans Saints are 3.0-point home favorites over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on FanDuel Sportsbook. The total is set at 52.0 points, which implies a 27.50-24.50 win for New Orleans.

Per our oddsFire tool, the betting public is leaning toward the Bucs. Of bets placed on the spread, 57% of the money is backing Tampa Bay while 67% of the money on the moneyline has the Bucs winning. The over is getting pounded as 82% of the bets and 84% of the money is supporting 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.

Tom Brady, Buccaneers ($15,500)

Aided by a soft end-of-year schedule, Tom Brady is playing his best ball of the season, posting FanDuel outputs of 23.40, 29.92, 31.26 and 23.04 points in his past four. The toughest matchup in that span was unquestionably the date against a solid Washington Football Team defense a week ago, and Brady passed the test with flying colors by throwing for 381 yards and two scores.

He's in for another difficult matchup this week against a Saints defense our schedule-adjusted metrics have sixth overall and third against the pass. New Orleans gave up the sixth-fewest FanDuel points per game to signal callers (17.0). While Brady face-planted in his last game against this D, generating a meager 5.36 FanDuel points and tossing three picks, he opened the 2020 campaign with 22.46 FanDuel points in a contest at the Superdome.

Our model projects him for 18.8 FanDuel points and ranks him as the second-best point-per-dollar play. I'm not sure who will get the most MVP love on this slate outside of Alvin Kamara, but Brady is a fine option for the multiplier slot.

Drew Brees, Saints ($15,000)

The Bucs are a pass-funnel defense as we have them with the second-best run D. Now that doesn't mean they're bad against the pass, though. Far from it actually as they own the ninth-best pass defense by our numbers. But that's a lot more forgiving than Tampa Bay is versus the run game, and they ended the regular season permitting the 14th-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (19.2).

Brees put up 14.4 FanDuel points versus Tampa Bay in the season opener, and he produced 22.68 FanDuel points in the Saints' 38-3 romp over the Buccaneers in Week 9. We project him for 17.9 FanDuel points, and with the Saints likely to have to lean on Brees and the passing attack, Brees is on the MVP radar despite not coming up with too many high-upside games this season.

Alvin Kamara, Saints ($14,500)

There were some justifiable concerns about Kamara last week when he faced a stingy Chicago Bears defense without practicing in his first game back after testing positive for COVID. All Kamara did was play 70% of the snaps and get 25 total opportunities (two targets). He's now set a new season-high in carries in back-to-back games, and his 70% snap share last week was a tick above his regular season average. And that was with Latavius Murray ($8,500) active, which might not be the case this week.

Kamara isn't dinged too much by the Saints' tough run D as his heavy involvement in the passing game gives him a great floor/ceiling combination no matter the opposition. The two-target game last week was a fluke as he'd been targeted at least four times in every Brees regular-season start in 2020, including seven games of at least eight looks.

Teams tried to attack this Tampa defense by using running backs in the passing game as the Bucs saw the second-most running back targets against them. Kamara got 14 combined targets over the two previous meetings, and while his yardage numbers were lacking in each contest, one game was a huge blowout and he scored three tuds over the two games to boost his output.

We project Kamara for a slate-topping 20.5 FanDuel points and rank him as the best point-per-dollar play. Kamara could've been $16,000, and no one would've thought it was out of line. The only negative here is that he'll likely be the chalk MVP pick, and we do have plenty of high-upside choices on this slate, including the two aforementioned passers.

Michael Thomas, Saints ($13,500)

Michael Thomas is my favorite MVP on the slate, because he falls perfectly into the kinda-weird-but-not-that-weird range I love targeting for my MVP.

After missing the final three weeks, Thomas came back into the fold against the Bears and scored his first touchdown of the season en route to a campaign-high 15.8 FanDuel points. He's scored at least 12.4 FanDuel points in four of his past five outings. He played just 67% of the snaps in the Wild Card game, and it's probably a safe bet that we'll see him out there more on Sunday.

The Bucs have been a decent matchup for wideouts, with receivers recording 31.1 FanDuel points per game against Tampa Bay, the 14th-most. Thomas hasn't done much against them in either game in 2020, but he torched them a season ago, going for 182 yards and two tuds in one game and 114 and a score in the other.

In a game in which the Saints' best means of offense will likely be via the air, Thomas is capable of going off. Our algorithm projects him for 15.1 FanDuel points.

Chris Godwin, Buccaneers ($12,000)

You can make a case for any of the Bucs' top three receivers, and their season-long market share numbers are all pretty similar. I lean toward Chris Godwin, who is slated to have the best matchup of the trio.

Godwin has seen 28 targets across the last three games, including 12 a week ago at Washington. He's put up at least 79 yards and a tuddie in all three games in that span, scoring four total touchdowns.

New Orleans has been roughly average against receivers when it comes to fantasy production, surrendering the 16th-most FanDuel points per game to the position (29.6). That's not amazing, but when you compare it to the Saints' D against running backs -- they've given up the fewest FanDuel points per game to backs -- the Bucs' receivers look like the way to get exposure to this offense.

Our model has Godwin projected for 12.3 FanDuel points. Not only is that the most among the Buccaneers' receivers, Godwin is also our preferred point-per-dollar play of the bunch.

Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers ($11,000)

Ronald Jones ($10,500) is looking iffy for this game, and his status drastically impacts the outlook for Leonard Fournette. Sans Jones a week ago, Fournette played 85% of the snaps and handled 19 carries plus four targets. It was a big-time workload, and he turned it into 93 rushing yards, 39 receiving yards and one score.

The matchup is a brutal one as the Saints have the eighth-best run D, per our numbers, and have allowed the fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs (15.9). But volume trumps matchup at running back.

Even with our algorithm accounting for Jones playing, we project Fournette for 11.3 FanDuel points and rate him as the top point-per-dollar play among those with a salary under $12,000. If Jones winds up sitting, Fournette's outlook will be even rosier.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Buccaneers ($5,000)

The bargain bin is barren on this slate. Ke'Shawn Vaughn is only worth a look if Jones is sidelined. Even if that happens, Vaughn isn't all that enticing, but the $5,000 salary really opens up things.

When Jones sat last week, Vaughn logged a 16% snap rate and totaled five carries and one target. Again, not that great, but one chunk play could make him worth the investment, and he allows you a lot of flexibility with your other four slots.

Lil'Jordan Callaway ($5,500) and Marquez Callaway ($5,000), Saints

Marquez Callaway is another dart throw who carries a bottomless floor. Our model is kind of a fan, though, as we rate him as the best point-per-dollar play among those with a salary under $11,000. We have him pegged for just 4.2 FanDuel points, so don't get too giddy.

When Thomas was out in Week 17, Callaway paced the Saints' wideouts in snap rate at 73%. But he was in for only 20 snaps in the Wild Card game as Lil'Jordan Humphrey (41 snaps) ran as New Orleans' number-three receiver. It's a risk to use either of these two, but the payoff is huge if they wind up with a touchdown.