FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 15 Saturday Night (Patriots at Colts)

Two teams fresh off a bye and mostly unimpacted by COVID absences (as of Friday afternoon) will tangle Saturday night when the Indianapolis Colts host the New England Patriots.

On NFL odds, the Colts are 2.5-point home favorites over the Pats in a game with a 45.5-point total. That makes the implied score 24.00-21.50 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 from the slate tab. It's worth checking out both of those things before you make your lineups.

MVP Candidates

We have one standout MVP play in Jonathan Taylor ($17,500 on FanDuel), and he's salaried like it.

He's averaged 28.5 total touches per game over the past four while being in on at least 71% of the snaps in every game in that time, and that includes 4 grabs in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was Indy's lone defeat in that span. Taylor's pass-game usage is good enough that we don't need to worry too much about Nyheim Hines ($7,000) siphoning significant work in a negative game script. Even if you remove the 51.9-point nuking of the Buffalo Bills, Taylor is averaging 23.9 FanDuel points per game over his last eight outings. Coming out of the Colts' bye, Taylor should be ready to rock.

The Patriots have been close to the league average in terms of FanDuel points per game permitted to running backs (19.7). The Tennessee Titans ran it 39 times for 270 yards (6.9 per carry) against New England in Week 12. The matchup shouldn't matter too much anyway as Taylor's signature game came against the Bills, a team that ranks third-best versus the run, per our metrics.

With all that said, there are reasons to use someone other than Taylor at MVP. The obvious one is that Taylor will probably be the chalk MVP pick. The other is that Bill Belichick has a long history of taking away the other team's top weapon, so they could sell out to stop Taylor. And if you wanted to be real different, you could fade JT outright, including not using him in a flex spot.

We project Taylor for 18.8 FanDuel points, a slate-high clip among all players -- including quarterbacks -- by 2.5 points, but I do think there's merit to using a different MVP.

The Patriots are a really good offense, one that has scored at least 24 points in eight straight games in which they weren't running a middle-school gameplan. They're usually not a good offense for DFS, though, because they have the second-lowest pass rate (52.4%) and utilize Rhamondre Stevenson ($12,000) and Damien Harris in a pretty even split in the backfield.

But that's different this week with Harris ruled out, which puts Stevenson in a position to handle a good workload. When Harris was out in Week 10, Stevenson played 55% of the snaps and turned 20 carries into 100 yards and a pair of tuds, adding 5 targets. That's a fantastic role, and it makes Stevenson a really nice play Saturday night. The lone negative is that the Pats are facing a pass-funnel Colts D that has held running backs to 18.1 FanDuel points per game, the fifth-fewest.

Prior to throwing three passes versus Buffalo, Mac Jones ($13,000) had been trending up in terms of passing volume, attempting 18, 23, 26 and 32 passes in the four games going into the Wind Bowl. If New England has trouble against Indy's solid run defense and/or sees a negative game script (they're 2.5-point 'dogs), we could see Jones have to go to the air more than he has been.

In four losses this year, Jones has averaged 37.8 pass attempts per game, compared to 25.9 attempts in wins. We project Jones for 15.9 FanDuel points and rate him as the slate's best point-per-dollar play. I'm pretty into him and will have a lot of lineups with Jones at MVP.

Flex Breakdown

Our algorithm projects Carson Wentz ($14,000) for 16.3 FanDuel points, but I'll be honest -- I'm terrified of him in this matchup, which is why I didn't write him up as an MVP pick.

New England has been excellent on defense, giving up only 13.5 FanDuel points per game to passers this year, the second-fewest. Against pass defenses that rank in the top 15 by our numbers, Wentz has a high of 20.34 FanDuel points, so he's unlikely to have a huge game in this difficult matchup. I much prefer Jones to Wentz, but any quarterback has to be on our radar for single-game slates.

Other than Taylor, the best role on the Colts belongs to Michael Pittman Jr. ($11,500). Over the past three games, Pittman owns a 25% target share and 36% air yards share. In that same span, no one else on Indy has a target share north of 15%. Pittman is the clear top target for Wentz. We project him for 11.6 FanDuel points.

For the Pats, I'm really into Jakobi Meyers ($9,500), and he even intrigues me a little as an MVP option despite his consistently meh ceiling.

Meyers has paced the Patriots' receivers in snaps in every single game. Over the past five, Meyers has a 23% target share and 31% air yards share. That's a good-sized slice of the pie, and the overall pie could be bigger this week than it's been lately unless New England jumps out to a comfy lead. Ultimately, I won't have much of Meyers at MVP, but I'll have a ton of him at flex. He's one of my favorite plays on the slate.

The Colts have conceded the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (12.9). Unfortunately, Jonnu Smith ($6,000) has started eating away at the role of Hunter Henry ($10,500) -- although Henry still holds a slight edge.

Throwing out the incredibly run-heavy Bills game, Smith and Henry have played a comparable amount of snaps in New England's past two contests, with Henry posting a 15% target share and 21% air yards share to Smith's 10% target share and 13% air yards share. Our model actually projects Smith (7.8 FanDuel points) ahead of Henry (5.8), but I think it's worth having some exposure to both of them. Smith's salary is way easier to get to, and we rank him as the game's second-best point-per-dollar play.

Kendrick Bourne ($8,000) and Nelson Agholor ($10,000) are a notch below Meyers for me, but our algorithm is into Agholor, projecting him for 7.8 FanDuel points. While the floor is bottomless, Agholor does have games of 12.5 and 12.1 FanDuel points over his past six and would stand to benefit if the Pats have to pass more than they have been.

In the game without Harris back in Week 10 -- which was a super positive game script in a romp over the Cleveland Browns -- Brandon Bolden ($7,500) registered a 27% snap rate and logged six total touches, including three grabs. Bolden could see more pass-game work in what is expected to be a tight matchup.

The kickers are very much in play thanks to the low 45.5-point total and the game being indoors. We project Nick Folk ($9,500) and Mike Badgley ($9,000) for 8.1 and 7.9 FanDuel points, respectively.