NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 2 Thursday Night (Giants at Washington)

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Washington Football Team is a 3.0-point home favorite over the New York Giants in a game with a lowly 40.5 total. That makes the implied score 21.75-18.75 in favor of Washington. Per our oddsFire tool, there is a lot of sharp money backing WFT to cover, with 64% of the bets and 88% of the money taking Washington.

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.

Our Brandon Gdula has done a deep dive on single-game strategy. It's worth checking out before you make your lineups.

MVP Candidates

Antonio Gibson, Washington ($12,500)

This is super rare but not shocking given who is under center tonight -- neither quarterback is the top-projected player, per our numbers. In fact, the quarterbacks sit third and fourth in our projections. With neither passer offering an enticing ceiling, MVP popularity could be pretty spread out.

Antonio Gibson is our model's top play as we project him for 16.7 FanDuel points. Gibson played 65% of the snaps in Week 1 and handled 20 of 23 running-back carries while getting a team-leading 5 targets to J.D. McKissic's 1. He turned that volume into 108 total yards.

Gibson's 23.8% Week 1 target share ranked second among all running backs, trailing only Christian McCaffrey's mark of 26%. That kind of usage is obviously very promising for Gibson after McKissic took a lot of the passing-game work in 2020.

The big negative in Week 1 was that he fumbled twice, losing one. We'll have to see if the fumbles coupled with the short week push Washington to scale back Gibson's workload, but even if they do a bit, he should be a superb play in a nice matchup. The G-Men allowed 165 rushing yards and 5.9 yards per rush to the Denver Broncos in Week 1.

Daniel Jones, Giants ($15,000)

Daniel Jones is in a tough spot for this one. The matchup is brutal as Washington gave up the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks last season (16.7). Justin Herbert shredded this WFT defense in Week 1, but Jones is not Justin Herbert.

What has me interested in Jones at MVP is his running ability and the likelihood that he's not a chalk MVP pick.

Jones led the Giants in rushing in Week 1 with 27 yards on 6 carries. Last season he averaged 4.6 carries and 30.2 rushing yards per game. He had 7 rushes for 74 yards in one of his two matchups with Washington.

We project Jones for 15.0 FanDuel points, and while the Giants' offense could look miserable tonight, Jones is worthy of MVP consideration.

Taylor Heinicke, Washington ($14,500)

Taylor Heinicke is getting the nod for Washington. We don't have much of a sample to go off of, but he did show fairly well in last year's playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that one, he totaled 306 passing yards and a score while adding 46 rushing yards and another tud.

Those rushing numbers should pique your interest, and the Giants' D looked plenty beatable in Week 1, surrendering 420 total yards to the Teddy Bridgewater-led Broncos.

With a projection of 15.0 FanDuel points, Heinicke has to be on the MVP radar.

Terry McLaurin, Washington ($12,000)

Terry McLaurin is my favorite MVP on the slate as I think he's a perfectly viable MVP option who probably won't see as much MVP love as Gibson does. I'm not sure how popular the quarterbacks will be in the multiplier spot.

In two games against the Giants in 2020, McLaurin went for 7 catches for 74 yards in one and 7 grabs for 115 yards and a tuddie in the other. With Heinicke under center in the postseason last year, McLaurin posted a line of 6 catches for 75 yards versus Tampa Bay.

McLaurin played 100% of the snaps in Week 1 and finished with 62 receiving yards -- more than twice as many as any other Washington pass-catcher.

Our algorithm forecasts McLaurin for 11.6 FanDuel points.

Flex Priorities

Saquon Barkley, Giants ($14,000)

I'm not all that into Saquon Barkley, but our model is, slotting him second on the slate with a projection of 15.5 FanDuel points.

I have a few reasons for being off Barkley, but the biggest is that I can't imagine New York giving him a big-time workload on a short week after they limited him in the opener. Giants beat writers can't either. In Week 1, Barkley played just 47% of the snaps and logged 10 carries and 1 target. He mustered a mere 26 total yards and had little room to run behind a Giants offensive line that PFF ranked as the league's worst coming into the season.

The other big reason I'm fading Barkley is that the shoddy Giants O-Line is going up against an elite WFT defensive front. Even if Barkley could be penciled in for a full workload, this is a rough matchup. Washington gave up only 16.9 FanDuel points per game to running backs last year, the second-fewest.

Barkley is always capable of a big play, but he'll likely need that or multiple scores to really go off. Add in Barkley's $14,000 salary, and it's hard to get excited about rostering him.

Darius Slayton, Giants ($9,000)

Sterling Shepard ($11,500) led the Giants' wideouts in snaps and targets in Week 1, but he's way up there in salary. As a result, our numbers rate him as the worst point-per-dollar play among those with a five-digit salary -- and it's not close.

That pushes me to Kenny Golladay ($10,500) or Darius Slayton if I want exposure to New York's passing game. I side with Slayton between the two.

The $1,500 salary difference is nice, and Slayton actually out-targeted Golladay seven to six last week. With Kenny G banged up for most of the preseason, the Giants may have been easing him back a bit, and that could continue on a short week.

We peg Slayton for 7.7 FanDuel points and have Golladay at 9.4. Golladay has a slight edge in terms of point-per-dollar value, but I lean toward taking the salary savings with Slayton.

Value/Differentiators

Logan Thomas, Washington ($10,000)

For the most part, Logan Thomas started 2021 right where he left off a season ago. He played every offensive snap for Washington and caught all 3 of his looks for 30 yards and a score. While the 3 targets leave a lot to be desired, Washington threw the ball just 21 times.

This may be another low-volume day for the passing game with a backup quarterback at the controls. I'd much prefer to find the extra $2,000 to get to McLaurin for the ceiling, but Thomas is a fine play who we project for 8.4 FanDuel points.

Graham Gano, Giants ($8.500)

The kickers -- Gano and Dustin Hopkins ($9,500) -- are in play. The single-game study I linked in the intro -- done by our Brandon Gdula -- showed that kickers are decent options in low-scoring games, which makes a lot of sense. Gano and Hopkins both offer floors, and their lack of upside shouldn't be a killer if this game lives up (or down?) to its 40.5-point total.

Between the two, I'll go with Gano. He's $1,000 less and projects better by our numbers -- 8.9 FanDuel points for Gano and 8.2 for Hopkins.

Dyami Brown, Washington ($5,500)

Dyami Brown played the second-most snaps among WFT wideouts last week, getting out there for a 93% snap rate in his debut game.

He saw four targets -- the tied for the second-most on the team -- and turned them into one reception for minus-two yards. The bottom-line results aren't ideal, but the snap rate and 19.0% target share is enough to warrant attention at a salary this low.

We rate him as the best point-per-dollar play among anyone with a salary under $7,000, but the raw projection is only 3.9 FanDuel points.