NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 15 Sunday Night (Saints at Buccaneers)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not beaten the New Orleans Saints in the regular season since 2018. This rivalry gets another chapter on Sunday night in Tampa.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Bucs are 11.5-point home over the Saints in a game with a 45.5-point total. That makes the implied score 28.50-17.00 in favor of Tampa Bay.

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

The obvious MVP play is Tom Brady ($17,000 on FanDuel). He is salaried as such and will surely be the chalk MVP pick.

The Bucs sport the highest pass rate (66.5%), and it's allowed Brady to have a sweet ceiling despite his lack of running. He's scored at least 24.44 FanDuel points eight times this year, and he's scorching right now with back-to-back games of 30.12 and 29.62 FanDuel points while averaging 48.5 pass attempts per game in that span. Facing a Saints run defense that ranks as the league's best by our metrics, Brady should be throwing early and often, and we project him for 21.0 FanDuel points -- 4.6 more than anyone else.

While Brady is certainly in his own tier, I prefer to turn to Chris Godwin ($12,500) and Mike Evans ($12,000) at MVP for game-theory reasons. They'll benefit from New Orleans' pass-funnel defense, and of the two, I side with Godwin. In the past two games, Godwin has amassed target totals of 17 and 15 for a whopping 32 combined targets and a 32% target share -- turning that into 25 receptions for 248 scoreless yards. By comparison, Evans has 33 targets across the last four games.

You can also make a case for Evans, because he's the better big-play weapon. He actually bests Godwin in air yards share over the last two -- 32% to 31% -- despite barely recording half as many targets, although Evans is likely to see plenty of Marshon Lattimore. We forecast Evans for 12.9 FanDuel points and Godwin for 14.8.

On the Saints side, Taysom Hill ($14,500) and Alvin Kamara ($14,00) are viable MVP options.

Hill has predictably run his way to fantasy success since taking over, racking up 174 yards and 2 scores as a runner in his pair of starts, which has led to outputs of 26.30 and 24.66 FanDuel points. The Bucs' D has faced the fewest running-back rush attempts, but as we saw last week when Josh Allen rushed 12 times for 109 yards and a tud, Tampa Bay is a little more forgiving on the ground to signal-callers. Our algorithm pegs Hill for 16.3 FanDuel points.

Kamara projects for 15.7 FanDuel points, per our model, but I will mostly stay away from him at MVP due to Mark Ingram ($9,000) returning. Ingram and Kamara have played two games together this season, and in those games, Kamara finished with his two lowest snap rates (67% and 68%). Kamara still averaged 16.0 carries and 5.5 targets in those two outings, but the combination of a stout Bucs run defense, Hill possibly stealing some goal-line work and Ingram pilfering snaps, Kamara is a tough sell for me at MVP.

Flex Breakdown

Among players we haven't yet talked about, Leonard Fournette ($13,000) is the top-projected player by a good distance as we have him amassing 16.4 FanDuel points. With that kind of projection and with him playing at least 80% of the snaps in three straight games while averaging 22.3 total touched per contest in that span, Lenny isn't a bad shout for an MVP pick. But the tough matchup coupled with him getting in just one limited practice session this week (on Friday) keeps Fournette in flex-only territory for me.

Rob Gronkowski ($11,000) has a 19% target share and 28% air yards share over the last two games as the Bucs' target tree is narrowed to Gronk, Evans and Godwin with Antonio Brown out. Gronk has garnered either eight or nine looks in all four games since coming back from injury. At a projection of 10.4 FanDuel points, he has to be on our radar, and we forecast him for 10.4 FanDuel points.

It's tough to get excited about anyone on the Saints outside of Kamara and Hill. We have Marquez Callaway ($8,500) and Tre'Quan Smith ($8,000) projected for 6.5 and 6.0 FanDuel points, respectively. Using them is a dart throw at a touchdown, though, because neither is likely to get enough volume to hit without a score. Callaway has four looks apiece in Hill's two starts while Smith has seen three and seven targets in the two games.

The punt plays on this slate are pretty dire. We have just one player who is salaried under $8,000 projected for more than 4.5 points, and it's Tyler Johnson ($6,500) at 5.0 points. Breshad Perriman is out, and Johnson played 59% of the snaps last week with Perriman in the fold. You can try Ronald Jones ($7,500) as a lottery ticket in hopes that either Tampa wins in lopsided fashion and/or that Fournette isn't 100%.

Between the kickers, our model has Ryan Succop ($9,500) as the much better play, projecting him for 9.3 FanDuel points and rating him as the best point-per-dollar choice among those salaried under $12,000.