FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 1 Monday Night (Ravens at Raiders)
Just one game remains in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL slate, and it should promise some scoring.
How will the high total impact the expectations, and which players are most likely to post a big game?
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.
Using numberFire's projections as the base, we see Lamar Jackson ($17,000) just dominate the baseline and ceiling projections. His median projection works out to 21.9 FanDuel points, and no other player is within 6.0 points of him. You'll have to pay a lot of salary for him, but last year, Jackson was the MVP in the perfect lineup in 8 of 13 games for which a single-game slate was offered on FanDuel. It's going to be more about differentiating elsewhere or taking the slim chance odds that he is bodied out of a perfect lineup slot. That typically only happens when the opposing offense lights it up.
Derek Carr ($14,000) is next up and is the most obvious pivot away from Jackson as a quarterback. If you're gutsy enough to fade Lamar and play Carr at MVP, you're virtually guaranteed a minimally-duplicated lineup. Carr, though, put up an MVP performance in just 1 of 13 Raiders games with single-game offerings in 2020.
An elite pivot away from the quarterbacks -- or an addition to Carr-anchored lineups -- will be Darren Waller ($13,000). Waller was also just once an MVP when a single-game slate was offered last year (13 games for the Raiders), but we've seen him erupt when volume gets funneled his way.
The model likes Josh Jacobs ($12,000) well enough, but we are looking at a game where the Raiders are 4.0-point underdogs, and like we saw with Carr and Waller, Jacobs only once returned MVP-caliber outings in the 13-game sample. Jacobs ultimately faces a difficult defense and likely lacks the true ceiling to punish us for not building around him, so I'd be fine leaving him out of the MVP conversation.
Ty'Son Williams ($12,000) is going to get RB1 treatment to start the season. That likely doesn't mean 70.0% of the snaps and all the work he can handle, but he's the clear priority in this backfield. As a favorite running alongside the lethal Lamar Jackson, Williams -- despite what the simulations say -- would be preferable for me to Jacobs as a non-Jackson MVP choice.
Last season, the Ravens' pass-catchers were primarily just Marquise Brown ($10,000) and Mark Andrews ($11,000). Brown maintained a 24.6% target share in his healthy games, and that mark for Andrews (get it?) was 24.5%. However, historical trends have not been kind to tight ends as MVPs, so Brown would earn the edge for that discussion.
Sammy Watkins ($8,000) is also a name to consider. The model is lukewarm on him overall, yet there are positive remarks surrounding Watkins from Lamar Jackson.
Shades of salary relief exist with Henry Ruggs ($9,500), Bryan Edwards ($7,000), and Hunter Renfrow ($7,500). Ruggs, last year, managed just a 9.8% market share, but Nelson Agholor is gone. Edwards is listed as the team's WR2. Renfrow managed a 13.8% target share in 2020 and should have a floor of targets running out of the slot.