FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 3 Monday Night (Eagles at Cowboys)

Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season concludes tonight with an NFC East showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

Both sides are 1-1 in the win-loss column, and FanDuel Sportsbook has the Cowboys as a bit of a standard home favorite: they're listed at -3.0.

The over/under sits at 51.5 points, so that should lead to touchdown opportunities for both sides.

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 Pos Salary Median Sim
FanDuel Points
Dak PrescottQB$16,00022.335.7%84.8%
Jalen HurtsQB$16,50021.834.3%82.3%
CeeDee LambWR$12,50014.96.3%54.9%
Amari CooperWR$13,00014.86.5%54.0%
Ezekiel ElliottRB$12,00013.97.4%48.5%
Miles SandersRB$11,00012.24.1%38.4%
DeVonta SmithWR$10,50011.93.5%37.5%
Jalen ReagorWR$7,5009.10.6%19.4%
Greg ZuerleinK$9,0008.90.2%12.9%
Tony PollardRB$10,0008.70.8%19.6%
Dallas GoedertTE$9,5008.60.4%15.0%
Jake ElliottK$8,5008.10.1%8.1%
Kenneth GainwellRB$8,0006.70.3%10.3%
Dalton SchultzTE$6,5006.10.0%5.3%
Cedrick WilsonWR$6,5005.90.0%3.4%
Blake JarwinTE$6,0005.80.0%2.4%
Quez WatkinsWR$7,0005.00.0%1.6%
Zach ErtzTE$6,0003.20.0%1.0%

Slate Breakdown

Across 56 single-game slates from 2019 to 2020 that had spreads under 5 points and totals over 50 points, we saw the quarterback position responsible for exactly half of the MVPs in optimal lineups. Meanwhile, wide receivers (13) actually outperformed running backs (12) in the MVP role. That's about a 4.0-point boost for both receivers and quarterbacks to be optimal MVPs compared to the full subset of games.

Notably, 67.9% of optimal MVPs came from the winning team, so it makes sense if you want to pick a winner here and stack their receivers and quarterbacks at MVP in order to maximize your hit rate probability.

Similarly, in the 29 games in this sample in which the over hit, quarterbacks were responsible for 62.1% of the optimal MVP slots with receivers in at 24.1% and backs at just 13.8%. Going with, for example, an assumption on the over and a Cowboys win could put you on Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb as your MVP rotation options. With quarterbacks always being chalky in single-game slates, it's Lamb and Cooper who will be my focus at MVP.

Of course, it's Prescott and Jalen Hurts who rank as about dead even in MVP odds across the 1,000 slate simulations. Then it opens up a lot to Ezekiel Elliott, Cooper, Lamb, Miles Sanders, and DeVonta Smith. These are the names we should expect, of course.

It's important not to sleep on Zeke's actual role, which has been -- through two games -- a 77.4% snap rate with 13.5 carries and 2.0 targets per game along with a 57.1% red zone rushing share and a 15.4% red zone target share. Elliott as your MVP fits a contrarian angle where you're assuming the under hits.

Within the Dallas offense, we have a tight target share between Lamb (28.6%) and Cooper (25.0%) through two games. Last week without Michael Gallup, we saw targets flow more to Lamb (9) than to Cooper (5) despite 28 targets apiece. Blake Jarwin had four targets of his own, followed by Tony Pollard's three.

Cedrick Wilson remains an intriguing option for some salary savings but may be overstated after what we saw in Week 3 when Wilson ran 18 routes but had just 2 targets with a negative air yards total (-2).

DeVonta Smith won't be forgotten, but his role last week didn't lead to what it could've. He had 7 targets for 164 air yards but only 2 catches for 16 yards. The 2.6-FanDuel-point outing should've been a 12.1 based on the underlying data.

Behind Smith's 26.8% target share on the season, we've got Jalen Reagor at 19.6% and then a gap down to Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders at 12.5%. Quez Watkins cashed in on 2 targets last week for 117 yards, yet it was Reagor (5 targets) trailing Smith's 7 most closely. Reagor seems like the better option for just $500 more in salary.