NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 9 Thursday Night (Jets at Colts)

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Indianapolis Colts are 10.5-point favorites over the New York Jets in a game with a 45.50-point total. That makes the implied score 28.00-17.50 in favor of Indy.

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, and we have projections for the single-game slate if you select the game in the slate tab. It's worth checking out both of those things before you make your lineups.

MVP Candidates

There are two main MVP options who stand out from the pack in terms of projection and salary -- Carson Wentz ($16,500 on FanDuel) and Jonathan Taylor ($16,000).

Wentz has scored between 17.02 and 22.58 FanDuel points in each of his last five starts. That's not bad. The negative is that he's averaged just 23 pass attempts in Indy's past two wins and has just 200.3 passing yards per game this year in the Colts' three victories. With Indianapolis favored by 10.5, Wentz will need to be efficient and have some touchdown luck to pay off at MVP. We project him for 18.1 FanDuel points.

I like Taylor more as a multiplier.

The second-year back has at least 15 total touches in five straight games, and the win/loss splits unsurprisingly go the other way for him. In wins, he's averaging a whopping 118.3 rushing yards per game, compared to only 58.8 rushing yards per game in losses. He's also upped his pass-game work to clips of 2.6 grabs and 33.1 receiving yards per game. He offers an elite floor/ceiling combination and projects for a slate-high 19.0 FanDuel points.

Mike White ($14,000) is worth a look at MVP, as well, although I'm a little worried that his big outing last Sunday could inflate his popularity a little too much. Still, there's a path to success for him even in a much tougher matchup than what he had in Week 8.

Indy's D prevents big plays but allows a lot of underneath throws en route to surrendering the third-highest completion percentage. In his huge game against the Cincinnati Bengals, White feasted on short passes, completing 24 of 28 passes that traveled between 0 and 9 air yards, per Next Gen Stats. I'll mostly stay away from White at MVP, but his projection of 15.3 FanDuel points certainly puts him on the radar.

Michael Pittman Jr. (13,500) is the last MVP pick I'll consider. The Colts' offense funnels through Pittman and Taylor, and Pittman is the Colts' clear number-one wideout. He's got a 24% target share and 34% air yards share for the year, and if he -- not Taylor -- gets the touchdowns, Pittman could hit as a contrarian MVP selection. Our model has him going for 11.3 FanDuel points.

Flex Breakdown

On the Colts' side, it's hard to get jazzed about any of their ancillary pieces with Taylor and Pittman hogging so many touches. If I had to roll with one, Zach Pascal ($8,000) would be it.

With T.Y. Hilton getting dinged mid-game last week, Pascal finished with a 16% target share and 16% air yards share while playing 94% of the snaps. He has logged a snap rate of at least 82% in every game in 2021 and is running as the team's number-two wideout even with Hilton, who is out tonight. While it's fair to question how much volume will be there for him if the Colts get out to a lead, Pascal's salary is easy to like.

For Gang Green, Corey Davis is doubtful and expected to sit, so Michael Carter ($13,000), Jamison Crowder ($11,000), Ty Johnson ($9,000) and Elijah Moore ($8,000) should be the focal points.

Carter is coming off an excellent showing against the Bengals in which he amassed 24 total touches, including 9 catches for 95 yards, on his way to 27.7 FanDuel points. As we touched on earlier, the short-yardage completions should be there, but it'll be tough sledding on the ground versus a Colts defense that has permitted the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs (15.7). Our algorithm is into Carter, pegging him to score 13.0 FanDuel points.

Of the other three, Moore intrigues me the most. The rookie receiver is emerging as a playmaker, setting career-high marks in catches (6) and receiving yards (67) last week. The Jets are trying to get the ball in his hands quickly, with his average depth of target a mere 5.8 yards. That hurts his big-play upside, but it also means he could be a chain-moving machine tonight given the matchup.

In the single-game study I linked in the intro, our Brandon Gdula found that kickers are best suited for low-scoring games. With the total at 45.5 points, this clash fits the bill, and I'll have some Mike Badgley ($9,500). He's got 8, 7 and 7 FanDuel points in his three games with the Colts, making all three of his field-goal tries, including a pair from 40-49 yards. Our model forecasts him to score 8.3 FanDuel points.

One dart throw to check out -- Ashton Dulin ($5,000). The game log isn't going to get anyone excited as he's averaging 1.1 FanDuel points per game. But he was in on 63% of the snaps in Week 7 with both Hilton and Parris Campbell sidelined, and both of those wideouts are out tonight. He accounted for 19% of the air yards last week and is viable at his $5,000 salary.