FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 1 Monday Night (Broncos at Seahawks)
Week 1's final matchup probably wouldn't be our first choice for a primetime slot, but that's why we have single-game NFL DFS to spice things up. The Denver Broncos are 6.5-point road favorites over the Seattle Seahawks as Russell Wilson returns to his old stomping grounds to face his former team.
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.
According to numberFire's projections, it's Russell Wilson ($17,000) and then everyone else tonight. It wouldn't be the least bit surprising if he's the most popular overall play and MVP play by a fairly significant margin.
All indications are that we'll be getting the "Let Russ Cook" version of Wilson on the Broncos, as coach Nathaniel Hackett has said that he'll let his quarterback play as fast as he wants to this season.
While it remains to be seen whether Wilson will run much after a dramatic drop in rushes last year, he should be able to do plenty of damage through the air against what's expected to be a poor pass defense. PFF ranked Seattle's secondary 30th this offseason, and Sharp Football Anaylsis ranked the unit 25th.
Once we get past Wilson, considering the Broncos being nearly touchdown favorites, it's their other top playmakers who stand out as the top MVP alternatives between Javonte Williams ($13,500), Courtland Sutton ($12,000), and Jerry Jeudy ($11,000).
Williams' workload is tricky to predict due to the presence of veteran Melvin Gordon III ($10,000), and while Williams figures to be the lead back, it also wouldn't be surprising to see an even split in snaps as we did in 2021. Hackett has indicated that he could go with the dreaded "hot hand" approach at the position, too.
All that being said, there's no question that Williams is the more likely candidate to bust out for a big game, and he has the next-best median projection behind Wilson. Even with a 50/50 split last year, Williams averaged a solid 11.9 carries and 3.1 targets per game, and that figures to only go up in 2022.
Injuries to Denver's pass-catchers have left Sutton and Jeudy as the last men standing, so they'll be the clear top options for their new quarterback. They share similar projections this week, making both viable MVPs, but there are some indications that Sutton could emerge as Wilson's go-to target.
Smith will be up against it in a run-heavy offense that will be facing a borderline top-10 secondary, per PFF and Sharp Football Analysis, but a negative game script could force him to throw more than he otherwise would. Smith did notch 22.6 FanDuel points in one of his three starts last year, and he won't be lacking in weapons between D.K. Metcalf ($13,000) and Tyler Lockett ($11,500).
On the other hand, Penny could have the game script work against him, but if things stay close, he should have a hefty workload with Kenneth Walker III (hernia) looking iffy after missing practice all week. Penny went on a tear down the stretch last year, racking up 100-plus rushing yards in four of his last five games.
As always, all of the potential MVPs also make for great plays to roster in your flex slots while making logical correlations/stacks depending on the lineup build, such as pairing an MVP Wilson with Sutton and/or Jeudy.
On the Broncos' side, the aforementioned Gordon makes a lot of sense as a value play, as we're getting a $3,500 discount compared to Williams, and they could very well have similar workloads.
For a low-salaried Denver pass-catcher, we can also look to tight end Albert Okwuegbunam ($8,000), who is expected to have a promising role in this offense. He's projected for the third-most targets on the team behind Sutton and Jeudy.
New to this season, we can now roster defenses in single-game formats, so the Denver D/ST ($9,500) is firmly in play as the big favorite despite being on the road.
Outside of Smith and Penny, the obvious flex plays for the Seahawks have to be Metcalf and Lockett. In Geno's three starts last year, Lockett enjoyed a 31.9% target share and 45.3% air yards share, while Metcalf had marks of 25.0% and 32.6%.
Once we get past all these guys, we start to get into the fringe plays.
Denver's K.J. Hamler ($9,000) is expected to play, and he should function as the team's third wideout this season. However, he's coming off multiple surgeries and was limited in practice all week, so his initial role could be limited.
Travis Homer ($7,500) and DeeJay Dallas ($8,000) figure to get some looks at running back behind Penny, but we probably need a lucky touchdown for either one to crack the optimal lineup. Homer could have the slight edge as a pass-catcher if Seattle gets down early.
Finally, kickers Brandon McManus ($9,500) and Jason Myers ($8,500) can be included in the mix, with McManus being the preferred of the two. Note that kickers tend to be better plays in lower-scoring games, so keep that in mind.