FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 5 Monday Night (Colts at Ravens)
Two playoff teams from last season collide on Monday night to cap Week 5. The Indianapolis Colts, fresh off a season-saving win, travel to Baltimore to visit the 3-1 Ravens. Can the Colts' defense slow down Lamar Jackson, or will the Ravens' newfound success through the air propel them to a fourth win?
For those unfamiliar, single-game football slates on FanDuel feature five positional flex spots with identical scoring to the main slate. However, roster construction instead features an "MVP" slot accompanied by four flex slots. The MVP receives 1.5-times his total fantasy points, making this spot crucial to balance floor and ceiling for optimal lineup builds.
With that in mind, let's preview the single-game slate between Indianapolis and Baltimore on FanDuel.
While the public sentiment is pretty heavily backing the Ravens, the Colts are just seven-point underdogs for the game. The total in the game is a paltry 46.5 points, but it is largely because Baltimore and Indianapolis rank 28th and 29th respectively in situational-neutral pace. Therefore, FanDuel points should be at a premium.
numberFire's model is largely sitting this one out. It has a slight, one-star conviction of over 46.5 points, with the game surpassing that projection 56.1% of the time. That still does not mean to expect points in bunches.
The key injuries to monitor to the skill pieces are exclusively on the Indianapolis side -- trust me, the Ravens are more than good there overall. Carson Wentz got in a full practice on Wednesday and should be good to once again start with his sprained ankles. Nyheim Hines is a larger concern though, as he is questionable with a shoulder injury. Hines missing the contest would allow for more work for Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack.
Here are some key information pieces and team leaders to know before the contest about the two teams:
|Passing Net Expected Points
Per Drop Back
|Carson Wentz (0.08)||Lamar Jackson (0.21)|
|Rushing NEP Per Carry||Jonathan Taylor (0.13)||Ty'Son Williams (0.28)|
|Reception NEP Per Target||Zach Pascal (0.64)|| Sammy Watkins (0.71)
Mark Andrews (0.71)
Defensive NEP Per Play
|RB Adjusted Opportunities
(Carries Plus 2x Targets)
|Jonathan Taylor (21.5)||Latavius Murray (11.0)|
|Jonathan Taylor (46.7%)||Lamar Jackson (50.0%)|
|Routes Run %||Michael Pittman Jr. (96.1%)||Sammy Watkins (84.4%)|
|Target Share %||Michael Pittman Jr. (26.3%)||Sammy Watkins (25.0%)|
|Air Yards %||Michael Pittman Jr. (39.9%)||Marquise Brown (32.2%)|
Targets Per Game
|Michael Pittman Jr. (5.0)||Marquise Brown (4.3)|
Lamar Jackson ($17,000): The most impactful decision building is whether or not Jackson's lofty salary is worth it. With a rash of injuries in the backfield, Jackson has been Baltimore's most consistent ground option in addition to his 0.28 Passing NEP per drop back. His 69.8 rushing yards lead the team, and he is just one red-zone carry (6) shy of Latavius Murray's team-high mark. That ability to encapsulate both the rushing and passing game for the favored Ravens seems priceless in a five-player, single-game draft format, and that makes him well worth the allocation.
Jonathan Taylor ($13,000): Especially if Hines were to miss this contest, Jonathan Taylor seems like the best spot to attack a "Colts are competitive" strategy. Taylor has really found poor luck in a decent fantasy output thus far. He has 18 red-zone carries through four games, but he has just a single rushing touchdown to show for it. Baltimore is not an outlier matchup for running backs anymore (0.02 Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per carry), which brings Taylor fully into play in a space where Indianapolis would prefer not to drop Carson Wentz back 50 times into Baltimore's 32% team pressure rate.
Carson Wentz ($14,000): In a game in which he is projected to trail, Wentz's improved play may justify a reduced quarterback salary for a single-game format. Wentz's 0.08 Passing NEP per drop back is well improved from his -0.12 mark a year ago with Philadelphia but still lingers below the NFL average. The issue, as stated with Taylor, is that the Colts are clearly trying to limit his passing volume when possible. Wentz has not eclipsed 40 dropbacks or 300 yards passing this season. The Ravens' pass defense is above average (0.07 Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per drop back), and that likely does not make this the spot where he eclipses those marks either.
Mark Andrews ($12,000): Andrews' historical drawback appears to be gone. He used to play limited snaps as solely a pass-catcher, but playing 74.0% of Baltimore's snaps and running 82.2% of the team's routes have all but eliminated those concerns. Andrews has seen only three red-zone targets in four games and has not found the end zone yet this season, but that is expected to change. Andrews saw 20 red-zone looks (tied for 13th in the NFL in 2020) and scored 4 touchdowns last year.
Michael Pittman Jr. ($11,000): If it were not for playing inside of the slow, mediocre Colts' offense, Pittman's market shares would be amongst the most coveted in fantasy football. Pittman has a 26.3% target share while running 96.3% of Indianapolis's total team routes. He has been efficient on them as well, as his 0.60 Reception NEP per target is a solid mark and second on his team to only Zach Pascal (0.64). Pittman should be popular in Baltimore-heavy stacks as well as a "bring back" option, and that should place him amongst the most popular players on the slate overall.
Value Plays, Pivots, and Punts
Justin Tucker ($9,000): If there were ever a game to use a kicker in a single-game format, it might be this one. The low, 46.5-point total implies a slow pace that should limit FanDuel points for offensive players, and two of the best kickers in the NFL are in this contest. Tucker not only has the longest field goal in NFL history at this point, but he has above an 89.0% accuracy in each of the last six seasons. Rodrigo Blankenship ($8,500) had an 86.5% accuracy last season as well, and he is 7-for-8 on the young season. In a game with a higher total and pace, kickers would be off-limits, but in this is one particular script, it might be okay -- especially in cash games.
Sammy Watkins ($7,500): Dollar-for-dollar, Watkins is the best value play on the slate. His usage is tremendous for this salary, as he has seen at least seven targets in all four games this season. At 25.0% of the overall targets, Watkins outpaces Mark Andrews and Hollywood Brown in passing volume thus far, but he has not scored to inflate his FanDuel point total yet. Watkins has seen six deep targets and two red-zone targets, however, which makes it seem like just a matter of time before he finds paydirt. Playing 81.7% of the snaps as well, no one in this salary area comes close to matching his projection.
Mo Alie-Cox ($7,000): Even though scoring twice a week ago will likely inflate his popularity in this spot, the Indianapolis tight end snaps are trending toward Alie-Cox. Jack Doyle played just 29.9% of the snaps in Week 4 after playing a season-high 73.8% of snaps in Week 2. Alie-Cox saw the opposite, as his Week 4 snap share (68.7%) was his highest mark of the season. The other two weeks, the two both played roughly half the snaps. Presuming both are fully healthy as the injury report would indicate, the best bet is to rely on the freshest data, and that likely means Alie-Cox -- who does have the higher ceiling athletically -- continues to see more work in the passing game.