FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 2 Thursday Night (Chargers at Chiefs)

We're in for a treat as the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers square off Thursday at Arrowhead.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Chiefs are 4.5-point favorites -- a spread that has moved toward Kansas City from 3.5 earlier in the week -- in a game with a 54.5-point total. That makes the implied score 29.5-25.0 in favor of KC.

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

Going by our projections, there's a clear top five, and you should get your MVP from that group. It starts with the signal-callers -- Patrick Mahomes ($17,000 on FanDuel) and Justin Herbert ($15,500).

After blowtorching the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, Mahomes will surely be the chalk MVP play. He went for 360 yards and 5 scores in that one, quickly quieting any concerns we may have had about him and this offense sans Tyreek Hill. He smashed the Chargers for 410 yards and 3 scores in their most recent meeting in 2021. We project him for a slate-leading 23.2 FanDuel points.

But there are reasons to pump the brakes. Arizona's defense might be awful, and the Bolts' D looked really good against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1. Plus, with a few other high-upside options on the slate, I don't love the idea of swallowing chalk at MVP.

That pushes me to Herbert, who threw for an efficient 279 yards and 3 tuds in Week 1. He totaled 30.84 and 24.04 FanDuel points in the two meetings with the Chiefs in 2021, and he's capable of adding a little juice as a runner. Projected for 20.6 FanDuel points, Herbert probably won't see as much MVP love as Mahomes, and he has gobs of upside in a game in which the Chargers should have to go to the air plenty.

My favorite MVP option is Austin Ekeler ($14,500). Yes, Ekeler played just 50.7% of the snaps in Week 1, and that's obviously concerning. But he didn't see massive snap rates last year, going over the 75% clip in only one game, and that didn't stop him from having a monster fantasy season. Plus, I think there's a chance the low snap rate last week was done with the short Thursday turnaround in mind.

Ekeler posted 19.7 and 16.2 FanDuel points against KC a year ago. One of the best all-around backs in the game, Ekeler projects for 17.7 FanDuel points and isn't going to see an MVP draft percentage close to Mahomes' or Herbert's.

Travis Kelce ($14,000) and Mike Williams ($12,500) round out the top five I mentioned at the start.

Kelce did Kelce stuff in Week 1, turning 9 targets into 8 receptions, 121 yards and a touchdown (22.1 FanDuel points). He's one of the very few tight ends who is MVP viable, and he nuked the Chargers in their second meeting last season, going off for 10 catches, 191 yards and 2 tuddies (36.1 FanDuel points). We see him totaling 15.7 FanDuel points, and like Ekeler, Kelce won't be nearly as popular of an MVP play as the quarterbacks are.

Williams busted in Week 1 as one of the main slate's most popular wideouts. That could suppress his draft percentage a tad on Thursday; I'm guessing it won't. With Keenan Allen looking extremely unlikely to play (as of early Wednesday afternoon), Williams becomes Herbert's clear top receiver. That didn't result in much in Week 1 as Herbert spread the ball around, giving Williams only four targets. Williams should be more involved in this one -- we project him for 9.2 looks -- and his big-play chops are super appealing on a single-game slate. We forecast him to amass 13.6 FanDuel points.

Flex Breakdown

While it feels point-chasey to roster Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($12,000) after his two-tud game in Week 1, this is a good matchup for him. The Chargers' run D stunk a year ago, and that resulted in them permitting the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs (24.2). We have CEH pegged to score 9.4 FanDuel points, the most outside of the aforementioned top five.

I'm more interested in getting pieces of KC's passing game -- namely JuJu Smith-Schuster ($11,000) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($10,000).

MVS led Kansas City's wideouts in snaps (74.2%) while JuJu (65.1%) wasn't far behind. JuJu led the team's receivers in targets with eight while MVS saw only four. This pair operated as the Chiefs' top two receivers, and both would've likely gotten more action if the game stayed close. MVS has the wheels and deep-ball prowess to pop in any game, and I want lots of exposure to both of these guys. Stacking them with Mahomes gives you significant upside.

After Williams and Ekeler, things are kind of up in the air on the Chargers' side. One standout is Josh Palmer ($7,000), and his salary is super handy. Palmer was in on 76.9% of the snaps in Week 1, running as the clear number-two wideout behind Williams once Allen went down. He saw four looks and hauled in three of them but racked up just five yards. Assuming his high snap rate sticks, he's hard to pass on at this bargain salary.

Tight ends Tre' McKitty ($6,000) and Gerald Everett ($9,500) were fairly active in Week 1, playing 66.1% and 58.5% of the snaps, respectively. They each got four targets. Everett did a lot more with his chances, catching 3 for 54 yards and a score while McKitty finished with 3 grabs for 24 yards. Both are viable, and McKitty isn't a bad dart throw in a stars-and-scrubs build where you're jamming in both quarterbacks.

DeAndre Carter ($8,500) was the 51st Charger with exactly four targets in Week 1, and he managed 3 catches for 64 yards and a score while playing 38.4% of the snaps. The low snap rate makes him fairly unappealing, particularly with better plays at lower salaries.

The top darts on the Chiefs are Mecole Hardman ($7,500) and Jerick McKinnon ($6,500). Hardman scored a tuddie in Week 1 but ran behind MVS and JuJu, logging a 54.5% snap rate. Hardman can strike for a big play, but I have a lot more interest in McKinnon.

The Chiefs' number-two back played 39.4% of the snaps and recorded seven total touches (four carries and three catches). McKinnon is a quality value option who might have seen more work in Week 1 if not for the blowout. We rate him as the best point-per-dollar play on the slate among those with a salary under $14,500.

In what's expected to be a shootout, the kickers could put up a solid score if enough drives result in field goals instead of touchdowns. Harrison Butker has been ruled out. Replacement Matt Ammendola ($9,500) projects for 7.5 FanDuel points while LA's Dustin Hopkins ($9,000) is projected to score 8.2.

Our model isn't a fan of either D/ST, projecting the Kansas City D/ST ($8,500) for 6.1 FanDuel points and the Los Angeles Chargers D/ST (8,000) for 4.1.