NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 7 Thursday Night (Broncos at Browns)

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Cleveland Browns are 1.5-point home favorites over the Denver Broncos in a game with a 41.5-point total. That makes the implied score 21.50-20.00 in favor of the Browns.

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

Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos ($14,500)

This is a really weird slate, and with a lowly 41.5-point total, it could be an ugly game. We have just four players projected for double-digit FanDuel points, and Teddy Bridgewater is the only guy we project for more than 14.6.

Blah.

Bridgewater -- assuming he plays through his questionable tag, which is the expectation -- will be the highest-salaried active player by $2,000, and we have him scoring a slate-high 15.7 FanDuel points. He's put up at least 19.0 FanDuel points in four of his six starts, and he has a single-game high of 21.26. While I worry about Bridgewater's upside, I worry about the upside of every player on this slate.

The Browns' defense has been struggling to start the year, especially against the pass. They are surrendering the third-most FanDuel points per game to signal-callers (23.3) and the second-fewest to running backs (15.1). That could result in a pass-heavy approach from Denver.

Bridgewater figures to be a popular MVP pick on a slate where we're hurting for enticing MVP options.

Case Keenum, Browns ($5,000)

With Baker Mayfield out, Case Keenum will take over, and he's going to be mega chalk at his $5,000 salary.

Obviously, there is a lot to love about getting any starting quarterback for a salary this low, and we project Keenum for 14.7 FanDuel points, which makes him the best point-per-dollar play by a massive margin. He's pretty much a free square.

However, if you wanted to get weird, you can find reasons to fade him.

The Denver D is giving up the second-fewest FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (15.3), and not only are the Browns' two stud running backs out, but Odell Beckham ($10,000) and Jarvis Landry ($10,000) aren't guaranteed to suit up and might be less than 100% even if they do play. Plus, the cap relief Keenum offers is valuable but not a 100% must on a slate that is lacking quality high-end options.

Keenum would have to really faceplant to not pay off at a $5,000 salary, but this is a difficult spot for a backup quarterback. Ultimately, I think I'll just use him.

Courtland Sutton, Broncos ($12,500)

Courtland Sutton is seeing big-time usage, and that should continue for at least one more week with Jerry Jeudy ruled out for Thursday night.

In the five games in which Jeudy didn't play at all, Sutton has recorded a 27% target share and 47% air yards share. No one else on Denver has an air yards share above 20% in that span, and the 47% clip ranks fourth among all wideouts across the league. Sutton has scored at least 19.0 FanDuel points in three of those five games, including outings of 21.5 and 19.4 FanDuel points over the last two.

He's in a good spot to keep rolling versus Cleveland's pass-funnel D, which has permitted the sixth-most FanDuel points per game (34.3) to receivers.

With a projection of 10.9 FanDuel points, Sutton is firmly in play as an MVP option.

D'Ernest Johnson, Browns ($10,000)

D'Ernest Johnson figures to see plenty of work tonight with Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb out. He played 20% of the snaps last week, a game in which Chubb sat and Hunt got injured mid-game, and finished with two total touches for nine yards.

Denver has been tough against running backs, giving up the fifth-fewest FanDuel points per game (15.8) to the position, and there's a chance this is just a nightmare game for the entire Cleveland offense.

But running back is a position where volume can trump matchup, and Johnson is a modest-salaried lead back who should get volume. We project him for 11.7 FanDuel points and rate him as the top non-quarterback.

Flex Priorities

Odell Beckham ($10,000) and Jarvis Landry ($10,000)

As I mentioned above, neither of these former LSU wideouts is a lock to play, and there's a chance that they'll be operating at less than full health if they do suit up. Oh, and they'll have Keenum throwing them the rock versus a stout Denver D.

Excited yet?

As of Thursday morning, Beckham reportedly faces an uphill battle to play while Landry is expected to give it a go. Someone on this Cleveland offense is going to move the ball and get some fantasy points. Beckham would be my pick between these two if he plays.

In his four games, Beckham has registered a 21% target share and 32% air yards share, and all of those games came sans Landry. That kind of usage gives him a chance to make a big play, and if this is a pretty low-scoring slate, one chunk play could carry a lot of weight.

Landry is a viable pick, as well, especially if Beckham is out. Without Beckham in Week 1, Landry logged an 86% snap rate and 17% target share.

We project OBJ for 8.2 FanDuel points and Landry for 7.2, but those numbers will obviously change if Beckham is inactive.

Javonte Williams, Broncos ($9,000)

Our projections have Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon ($10,500) at 9.4 and 9.5 FanDuel points, respectively, so give me the lower-salaried Williams.

While Gordon has out-snapped Williams in four of the last five games, Williams has been in on at least 40% of the snaps in every game this year. For the year, the rookie has 65 carries to Gordon's 70 plus one more reception (14 to 13).

Williams has flashed big-time efficiency over his last three games. In that time, he's totaled 26 carries for 162 yards in that time -- good for 6.2 per rush -- and hauled in all 9 of his targets for 51 yards.

Denver's run game is in a bad spot against a Browns run defense that has been really good, but if I get a piece of this backfield, Williams will be it. We rank Williams as the slate's fourth-best point-per-dollar option (second-best among non-quarterbacks).

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Browns ($8,000)

If neither Landry nor OBJ is active, Donovan Peoples-Jones would be the Browns' number-one wideout.

That was the case for parts of last week's game -- OBJ was in and out while Landry was inactive -- and Peoples-Jones racked up 4 catches, 101 yards and 2 tuds, although a 57-yard Hail Mary inflated those numbers.

Still, Peoples-Jones, who played 78% of the snaps in Week 6, needs to be on our radar if one or both of Cleveland top two receivers are ruled out. I'll probably use him only if both OBJ and Landry sit. Our algorithm accounts for Landry and Beckham playing and projects Peoples-Jones for just 3.0 FanDuel points.

Value/Differentiators

Tim Patrick, Broncos ($11,000)

In five full games sans Jeudy, Tim Patrick has seen solid usage, recording a 17% target share with a 20% air yards share, the latter of which ranks second on the team. He's been the Broncos' clear number-two wideout and has played at least 89% of the snaps in each of the last three weeks.

For the full season, Patrick has handled 20% of Denver's targets inside the 10, which isn't far off from Sutton's team-best 26.7% mark. He holds the same winnable matchup with Cleveland's pass-funnel defense that Sutton gets, and he may slip through the cracks a bit at his $11,000 salary.

Brandon McManus, Broncos ($9,000)

Kickers are more viable in low-scoring games, per the single-game study I linked in the intro, so they are definitely in play tonight. Between Chase McLaughlin ($8,500) and Brandon McManus, our model leans toward McManus.

McManus has the thin air working in his favor in home games, but he's posted 7.0, 13.0 and 9.0 FanDuel points in Denver's three road games. He's a perfect 12-for-12 on field goals this season, including 4-for-4 from 40-plus.

We have McManus scoring 7.9 FanDuel points and project McLaughlin for 7.1. One thing to note with either kicker is the wind, which we have at 18 MPH.

Demetric Felton, Browns ($8,000)

It's hard to pin down exactly what Demetric Felton's role will be, but with Cleveland incredibly dinged up at receiver and running back, he'll likely be part of the game plan.

A week ago, Felton played 20% of the snaps, mostly playing as a wideout, and caught 2 balls for 14 yards. Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski said Felton will be part of a three-man backfield committee tonight, so Felton -- who had 132 rushing attempts last year at UCLA -- could rack up some carries.

Even when the Browns were close to full strength earlier this campaign, they were trying to make sure Felton got a few touches each game, so it wouldn't be shocking to see the rookie handle a decent workload tonight.