FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 3 Monday Night (Cowboys at Giants)
Monday's Cowboys-Giants matchup comes in with an underwhelming 39.5 total, and the hometown team is favored by just one point. It's exactly that kind of contest that could use a single-game DFS slate to spice things up.
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.
Barkley's enjoyed one of the best running back workloads through two weeks, averaging 19.5 carries and 5.5 targets per game with an 84.4% snap rate and 20.8% target share. He blew up for 30.4 FanDuel points in Week 1, and it's difficult to see many players capable of that sort of ceiling tonight. He ought to be the most popular MVP and rightfully so.
Quarterbacks Daniel Jones ($15,000) and Cooper Rush ($14,000) follow Barkley as the next-best options, per numberFire's model. As their projections suggest, both players should be able to reach double-digit FanDuel points tonight, but they otherwise need a whole lot to go their way to emerge with a slate-best performance.
For Jones, that would likely mean a big night with his legs. He's rushed 6 and 10 times in the opening games, and while he hasn't exceeded 25 yards in either game, he's popped for the occasional spike week on the ground over his career. He's actually seen 36.4% of the team's red-zone carries behind Barkley (54.5%), too, which is an encouraging sign.
However, he'll have a tougher time getting there through the air. Jones hasn't cleared 200 passing yards in a game thus far, and as that production would suggest, his efficiency has been horrendous. He's averaged -0.30 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, meaning he's actually negatively impacting his team or often than not when attempting to pass.
The same goes for Rush (-0.40 Passing NEP per drop back), and in his case, he doesn't possess any semblance of running ability.
Given all of this, it isn't surprising that both teams are below average in pass rate over expectation, and this matchup rates as the fifth-worst game of the week in pass rate.
Considering quarterbacks tend to be popular MVPs, you might be better off looking elsewhere in single-entry lineups, but Jones' rushing upside definitely makes him the much more desirable MVP of the two.
Lamb hasn't popped in the box score yet, but if any wideout is going to on Monday, it's him. In Week 2 with Rush under center, he saw a 36.7% target share and 56.1% air yards share, and he rarely left the field (94.9% snap rate). He's arguably the best MVP candidate on the Cowboys.
Elliott and Pollard are splitting time pretty evenly, with Elliott getting more carries and Pollard seeing more looks in the passing game. When viewed through the lens of adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets), they're dead even at 16.5 per game over the two weeks (for context, Barkley's averaged 30.5 adjusted opportunities). Elliott does have the edge in snaps at 61.8% to 48.0%.
The Cowboys will want to lean on the run if they can, so one of these two could emerge as the top scorer if they find the end zone. Pollard could have added appeal as the more contrarian option.
Lastly, Sterling Shepard ($11,500) rounds out the likely MVP candidates. He's led the Giants in target share (26.4%) and air yards share (40.4%), and he saw his snap rate leap to 87.1% in Week 2. While he should be a popular flex play, he may not see a high roster percentage at MVP.
Checking out the best of the rest, with Giants wideouts Wan'Dale Robinson and Kadarius Toney both expected to be out, it's Richie James ($10,500) and David Sills V ($7,000) who should be the other relevant pass-catchers for Jones. Kenny Golladay ($7,500) has been a total afterthought under this new coaching staff, and even with the injuries, that looks unlikely to change.
James is second behind Shepard with a 22.6% target share and 35.0% air yards share through two weeks, though he only played 42.9% of the snaps in Week 2. The injuries should ensure that his playing time takes a significant leap.
On the other hand, Sills has an abysmal 7.5% target share for the season, but he has a full-time role after logging a team-high 91.4% snap rate and 97.3% route rate last week. He's easy to like as a value play.
For Dallas, Noah Brown ($8,000) has been the top guy behind Lamb in the early going. That's amounted to a 19.7% target share, 30.2% air yards share, 86.2% snap rate, and 88.5% route rate. He checks all the boxes at an appealing salary.
Michael Gallup ($11,000) is expected to be back, but he isn't expected to play a full complement of snaps right away, making him a tough sell at this salary. (UPDATE: Gallup will reportedly miss tonight's game, which should further solidify Brown's status as the Cowboy's number-two wideout.)
While Dalton Schultz ($9,500) is technically questionable, he isn't expected to play after only getting in a limited practice on Saturday. Given that Schultz has a 95.1% snap rate this year, backup tight end Jake Ferguson ($7,500) could see a significant uptick in snaps, giving him an outside shot at making some noise tonight.
In lineups that assume a particularly low-scoring game, kickers Graham Gano ($9,000) and Brett Maher ($9,000) deserve inclusion, and the same goes for the New York Giants D/ST ($9,500) and the Dallas D/ST ($8,500).
Given the quarterback play, you could even consider rolling with a defense as a contrarian MVP. The Giants will benefit from playing at home against a backup quarterback, while the Cowboys could take advantage of a weak opposing offensive line.