NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 4 Thursday Night (Jaguars at Bengals)

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Cincinnati Bengals are 7.5-point home favorites over the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game with a 46.5-point total. That makes the implied score 27.00-19.50 in favor of Cincy.

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

Joe Burrow, Bengals ($15,000)

Quarterbacking a 7.5-point home favorite against a bad defense, Joe Burrow is an excellent play.

The Jags are giving up the 11th-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (21.5). This is Burrow's easiest matchup yet, and our model projects him for a slate-best 19.7 FanDuel points -- 2.5 points more than anyone else.

On the flip side, Cincy has been the fourth-most run-heavy team thus far, and Burrow's 9.3% touchdown rate is bound to regress. Plus, he'll surely be a popular MVP pick.

I'll mostly be light on Burrow at MVP, but he can torch the Jaguars if he gets good passing volume.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars ($14,500)

Trevor Lawrence has to be on the MVP radar, and he may not be all that popular given how bad Jacksonville's offense has looked for most of this season.

It's been a rough start to Lawrence's NFL career, which shouldn't be shocking, but he's at least seeing great volume. He's thrown at least 33 passes in every game, and Jacksonville has the third-highest pass rate. Plus, Lawrence has run for 27 and 22 yards in his last two games. That's something.

The Bengals' D has been stout so far. Yes, the opposition has been friendly, but Cincy sits fourth in overall defense and first in run defense, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics.

Still, we project Lawrence for 17.1 FanDuel points, and if touchdowns go his way, he could hit as a leverage MVP pick.

Joe Mixon, Bengals ($14,000)

Joe Mixon is where I'll land a lot at MVP.

In the Burrow blurb, I made a case for Mixon. The Bengals are running the ball a lot, and Mixon has accounted for 67 of their 73 running-back carries. He's got just three total targets over the last two weeks after seeing four looks in Week 1, but with a likely positive game script on tap, he could feast against a Jax defense that is surrendering the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs (26.3).

Oh, and if Burrow is bound to see his touchdown rate fall, Mixon figures be the foremost beneficiary of that unless Cincy just stops getting into the end zone. Mixon has one score this year, and it was the Bengals' lone rushing tuddie. He should be in store for more.

We project Mixon for 17.2 FanDuel points, 3.5 more than any other non-quarterback.

Flex Priorities

D.J. Chark, Jaguars ($10,500)

D.J. Chark and Marvin Jones ($11,500) are the top options in the Jaguars' passing game until Laviska Shenault ($8,500) starts seeing more downfield looks.

Chark's usage is pretty nice. He owns a 20% target share and 33% air yards share -- with the latter mark leading the team. The production has been kinda meh except for some big plays as Chark has posted just 7 grabs for 154 yards and 2 scores.

Marvin Jones, meanwhile, has registered a 23% target share and 31% air yards share. Shenault has an 18% target share and 8% air yards share.

Cincy has been worse against the pass (14th-most FanDuel points per game allowed to wideouts) than the run, shaping up as a pass-funnel D early on. I'll have a lot of Jones and Chark, but I probably won't have them both in the same lineup.

We project Jones for 11.7 FanDuel points and Chark for 9.5. I like Chark more than our algorithm does due to his big-play chops.

Tyler Boyd, Bengals ($10,000)

With Tee Higgins (shoulder) sidelined for the second straight week, Tyler Boyd makes a lot of sense. Boyd played 79% of the snaps when Higgins sat in Week 2, and he paced the Bengals with 6 targets, which came on just 18 Burrow passes (33% target share with a 41% air yards share).

I like targeting Boyd over Ja'Marr Chase ($12,500). The $2,500 salary difference is one reason, but Chase's hot start is being propped up a bit by touchdowns. The rookie has scored four times already on just 11 catches. That's bound to regress over time, although said regression might not start tonight in this cozy matchup.

Still, our model rates Boyd as the better point-per-dollar play between the two of them, and we have Boyd as the top point-per-dollar option among anyone with a salary below $14,000. We put him down for 11.6 FanDuel points.

Value/Differentiators

Evan McPherson, Jaguars ($9,500)

Per the single-game study I linked in the intro, kickers are best used in low-scoring games. Given tonight's 46.5-point total, the kickers are viable.

Evan McPherson is my choice between the two. He's got 7, 7, and 11 FanDuel points through three games, and he's been perfect, hitting all four of his field-goal tries -- including two from 50-plus -- as well as all eight of his extra points.

Our model projects McPherson for 8.6 FanDuel points.

Laviska Shenault, Jaguars ($8,500)

While I dogged on Shenault's usage earlier, the friendly salary means we need to at least consider him.

The negatives are the aforementioned (and laughably low) 8% air yards share and that he played a season-low 65% of the snaps last week when Jacksonville had a positive game script for a portion of the contest.

The positives -- other than the salary -- are that Shenault is seeing a respectable 20% target share, and maybe the low average depth of target is a small-sample fluke. He's also projected to face Mike Hilton, who rates out poorly across the board, according to PlayerProfiler's metrics.

We project Shenault for 8.9 FanDuel points and have him as the best point-per-dollar play among those with a four-digit salary.