FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Wild Card Sunday (49ers at Cowboys)
The Dallas Cowboys host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at 4 p.m. EST in an NFC Wild Card clash.
On NFL odds, the Cowboys are 3.0-point favorites in a game with a 51.0-point total. That makes the implied score 27-24 in favor of Dallas.
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.
Our model has three players projected for at least 14.0 FanDuel points -- Dak Prescott ($16,500 on FanDuel), Deebo Samuel ($15,000), and Jimmy Garoppolo ($14,500).
Prescott leads the way with a projection of 20.6 FanDuel points, which is 2.2 clear of the field. Given the Cowboys' status as 3.0-point favorites and Dak's finish to the year, Prescott figures to be the chalk MVP play.
Dak closed out the campaign with FanDuel outputs of 31.30, 23.04, and 31.8 FanDuel points -- with the two 30 burgers coming in island games. Everyone saw them. He'll be popular.
What people might forget, though, is that Prescott had a meh ceiling for most of the year. Those two 30-point outbursts were his two highest-scoring games of the season. Prior to the three-game tear, Dak had scored 12.22 or fewer in four of his previous five games. He's run for more than 20 yards just three times all season, dinging his floor and ceiling. I'll likely be light on Dak at MVP.
Samuel is projected for 18.4 FanDuel points, and he's coming off a breakout season in which he thrived as a runner and receiver. Even with Elijah Mitchell ($13,000) back, Deebo has maintained a role as a running back, notching eight and seven carries the last two weeks. Heck, he even threw a tuddie in Week 18. The guy can do it all, and over the last eight games, he's scored at least 12.4 FanDuel points every time out, including four games of 20-plus.
I'm always interested in any quarterback who might not be all that popular of an MVP play. Jimmy G fits that mold on this slate. The ceiling is definitely a legit concern as the only time he's topped 20 FanDuel points across his last eight contests was a 20.14-point game. But San Fran's 24.00-point implied total is a solid mark, and Garoppolo threw for 54.2 more yards per game on the road this year than at home.
On some single-game slates, we're really hurting for justifiable MVP choices. Not this one. Mitchell, Ezekiel Elliott ($13,500), CeeDee Lamb ($12,000), George Kittle ($11,000) and Amari Cooper ($12,000) are all projected for at least 11.4 FanDuel points.
Of that group, Mitchell and Lamb are my favorite plays.
Lamb -- who our algorithm projects for 12.7 FanDuel points -- faded down the stretch with Cooper's role growing, but I'm betting on that evening out and hoping the masses are worried by Lamb's 13% target share and 11% air yards share over the last three weeks. Those are bad numbers, but it may be small-sample noise. If we run the sample to Dallas' last six games, Lamb checks in with a team-best 19% target share as well as a 22% air yards share that's tied for the team lead.
As for Mitchell, he's got 21 carries in each of his two games since returning from injury. San Fran is the fourth-most run-heavy team in the league. Mitchell is best suited for positive game scripts as he's seen just two total targets over those two games while playing only 58% and 53% of the snaps. He's going to see good volume, but if the 49ers play with a lead, they could really ride him. We project Mitchell for 13.9 FanDuel points.
All the players listed above are quality flex options, as well.
Among guys we've yet to mention, Brandon Aiyuk ($11,500) stands out in my eyes. If you're building under the assumption that the 49ers see a negative game script, Aiyuk makes a lot of sense, and with Kittle available for $500 less, Aiyuk should be a contrarian pick. He's logged a snap rate of at least 90% in 10 straight games and has combined for 13 targets, 10 catches, and 201 yards over the last two weeks.
Staying with the 49ers Jauan Jennings ($8,000) will garner some popularity after his 94-yard, 2-tud day in a huge spot last week, but that was an outlier game. His previous season-best yardage total was 48, and he saw seven total targets across Weeks 16 and 17 before getting seven looks in Week 18. Even in the Week 18 game, Jennings was in on just 63% of the snaps. I'll stay away.
Kyle Juszczyk ($7,000) is a better real-life player than fantasy asset, but he's got a low salary and has played at least half the snaps in eight of San Francisco's last nine games. While he's mostly just a dart throw at a touchdown, the low salary is handy.
On the Dallas side, Dalton Schultz ($10,500) has re-emerged while Cedrick Wilson ($9,500) has thrived with Michael Gallup out.
Wilson and Prescott have shown good chemistry all season when Wilson has been given opportunities -- including seven catches for 104 yards on Thanksgiving -- and they hooked up for a pair of scores and 119 yards in the season finale. It's hard to deny their rapport, but Wilson might be more popular than he should be following his Week 18 eruption.
After fading to the background for much of the second half of the campaign, Schultz finished on a high note, scoring at least 8.4 FanDuel points in four straight to close the year. Our model forecasts him for 9.7 FanDuel points.
Tony Pollard ($10,000) is expected to play after sitting out last week. His snap share has been capped at roughly 40% in most games. Despite that, he's shown the big-play juice to warrant consideration on this slate, and if Dallas gets behind, Pollard could do work in the passing game as he averaged 32.4 receiving yards per game in defeats, compared to 17.5 in wins.
Kickers are best suited for lower-scoring games. Although the 51.0-point total hurts their chances of being in the optimal lineup, this game being played indoors is a plus. We have Greg Zuerlein ($9,500) and Robbie Gould ($9,000) pegged for 9.9 and 9.8 FanDuel points, respectively. They project as the two best point-per-dollar picks among players with a four-digit salary.