FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Wild Card Saturday (Raiders at Bengals)
The NFL regular season may be in the books, but that doesn't mean fantasy football has to come to a halt just yet! There are plenty of postseason FanDuel slates left on the docket, including single-game offerings for every matchup.
The festivities get underway on Saturday at 4:30 pm ET with an AFC wild-card duel between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. This should be a fun one for fantasy purposes, too, as it carries a solid 48.5-point over/under with the Bengals favored by 4.5 points at home.
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.
On many single-game slates, it feels like only a handful of players are all that likely to finish as the game's top fantasy scorer, but that may not be the case this time around.
In numberFire's model, seven different players are projected for at least a dozen FanDuel points, and you can reasonably make a case for any of them coming away as the day's best MVP play.
But as is often the case, it's the quarterbacks and running backs who lead the way. Joe Burrow ($16,500) tops numberFire's projections, followed Derek Carr ($15,000), Joe Mixon ($14,000), and Josh Jacobs ($13,000).
Seeing as Burrow has tossed four touchdowns in back-to-back games while totaling a combined 971 (!!) passing yards, he'll almost certainly be the most popular MVP play. Against a defense that ranks 25th in schedule-adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics, another big game could be on tap.
On the other hand, Carr is the weaker bet to best the field despite having the second-highest median projection.
Although Carr actually finished with the fifth-most passing yards this season, most of that production came early in the season. Since Las Vegas' Week 8 bye, Carr has exceeded 290 yards in just 2 of the last 10 games, and he's tallied multiple touchdowns only twice during that span. As a result, he's exceeded 20 FanDuel points just one time over this stretch.
Given that quarterbacks are also usually heavily rostered at MVP, utilizing Carr primarily as a flex play could be the wise move.
Meanwhile, Mixon and Jacobs are both seeing the types of voluminous roles that are worthy of the multiplier slot.
Beginning with Mixon, he's averaged 25.1 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) across his 15 full games and could enjoy a positive game script on the home favorite. It also doesn't hurt that the Raiders have allowed the fourth-most FanDuel points to running backs. Mixon will be an appealing, albeit popular, MVP pick.
Jacobs may garner slightly less attention on the underdog despite seeing a fantasy-friendly role of late. Since Kenyan Drake was lost to a mid-game injury in Week 13, Jacobs has logged 27.0 adjusted opportunities per game over the last six weeks. He's a viable choice in lineups predicated on a Raiders upset win.
After those four, we have the top pass-catchers on Cincinnati in Ja'Marr Chase ($13,500) and Tee Higgins ($11,500). This might be where we find the sweet spot between upside and roster percentage, as wide receivers tend to be less popular at MVP than they should be.
Of the two, Chase will probably garner more eyeballs; his ridiculous 50.1-point outburst in Week 17 is still fresh in everyone's mind. But let's not forget that Higgins was also a monster in that game (37.4 points), and this duo has split targets right down the middle in their 14 games together, each recording a 23.9% share.
Finally, Darren Waller ($10,500) deserves a quick mention as a contrarian choice.
Admittedly, there's a myriad of reasons to avoid him as your MVP. Tight ends rarely lead single-game slates in scoring, Waller's coming off a largely disappointing campaign, and this will be just his second game back following a lengthy absence.
That being said, he saw a team-high 9 targets in his first game back (27.3% share), and while it didn't amount to much in the box score, he still appears to be the top option in this Vegas offense. For what it's worth, when these two teams faced each other in November, Waller caught 7-of-8 targets for 116 yards.
Although Renfrow has the highest projection of the trio and enjoyed some standout performances while Waller was sidelined, his targets and snaps have dwindled down the stretch. He hauled in a pair of touchdowns in Week 18 but otherwise only caught 4-of-5 targets for 13 yards with a 15.2% target share and 62.2% snap rate. Waller, Jones, and Edwards all played more snaps.
While I wouldn't write off Renfrow completely, he seems over-salaried relative to his present role.
Instead, it's Jones whose usage had increased lately, seeing 9, 8, 10, and 8 targets over his last four games. Even with Waller back last week, Jones' 8 looks were good for a 24.2% target share, and he led all pass-catchers with an 89.2% snap rate. He's a solid value at this salary.
In Week 18, Edwards out-snapped Renfrow for the second straight week (73.0%) but saw the same number of targets. Even with a dwindling role of late, Renfrow has been the far more productive player all season, as Edwards hasn't cracked double-digit FanDuel points since Week 10. Edwards feels like a secondary play at best.
Of the remaining Las Vegas players, Foster Moreau ($8,000), Jalen Richard ($6,500), and DeSean Jackson ($7,500) are mere dart throws if you're mass multi-entering. None of them will see many opportunities, so you're really just banking on a lucky touchdown.
Moreau played 59.5% of the snaps in Waller's return, which is encouraging, though he also only saw two targets. Richard got a slight bump in playing time but it only amounted to six adjusted opportunities. Jackson is an especially thin play after only logging a handful of snaps last week without a single target.
Really, if you need a salary-saver, Daniel Carlson ($8,500) is the safer bet. Rostering kickers is never exciting, but Carlson's been a consistent producer this season, making 40-of-43 field goals. In fact, no other kicker has more fantasy points this year. It's worth noting that kickers tend to have a better shot at the optimal lineup in low-scoring games, though, and this will be an outdoor game in Cincy.
Boyd is a distant third in the wideout pecking order behind Chase and Higgins, sporting a 16.7% target share in games with all three active. His targets also tend to be of the shorter variety, with his air yards share (16.1%) being less than half of what the other two see.
Still, if Burrow has another explosive performance, Boyd could be along for the ride, too, and his not-so-low salary will likely keep his roster percentage far lower than Chase's and Higgins'.
Uzomah is arguably the best value play on Cincinnati despite fairly modest fantasy outputs in the second half. When all three wide receivers are active, he's the only other player with a double-digit target share (12.1%). The yardage isn't likely to be great, but he can hit value if he finds the end zone.
Like Carlson, Evan McPherson ($9,000) has been about as reliable as you can hope for a kicker, with his 9.6 FanDuel points per game ranking as one of the better marks at the position. He's made the most of his opportunities lately, scoring double-digit FanDuel points in six of the last seven games.
Samaje Perine ($8,000) is perhaps the one other Cincinnati player to keep in your multi-entry pool as a long shot. He should get a handful of touches backing up Mixon, though keep in mind that he was a complete non-factor in the last two games he played, with Mixon dominating backfield work in Weeks 16 and 17.