FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 5 Thursday Night (Colts at Broncos)
On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Broncos are 3.5-point favorites in a game with a 42.5-point total. That makes the implied score 23.0-19.5 in favor of Denver.
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.
We're hurting for high-upside plays on this single-game slate. We have only two players projected for more than 13.0 FanDuel points, and it's the two quarterbacks -- Russell Wilson ($16,500 on FanDuel) and Matt Ryan ($15,000).
Let's start with Wilson, whose Denver career is off to a slow start. He's averaging 16.5 FanDuel points per game for the year and has surpassed 18.0 FanDuel points just once (26.98 in Week 1). His running ability has been nonexistent the past two games as he's amassed just five rushing yards in that time. It's hard to get excited about using him as your multiplier, especially since he'll likely be a chalky MVP.
However, by default -- because Jonathan Taylor is out and the other quarterback is Matt Ryan -- Russ projects as the premier MVP play on this slate. The Colts' D has been right around the league average by our numbers, and they're a neutral matchup for signal-callers through four weeks. We project Wilson for 17.9 FanDuel points -- 3.7 more than anyone else.
Ryan has been pretty miserable so far. The passing volume has been there as he's thrown at least 37 passes in three of four games. The problem is Matty Ice looks washed, and the whole Colts' offense has been a mess. Playing on the road on a short week against a Denver defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (11.6), Ryan has a lot working against him.
While Ryan might have an awful game and doesn't project well (14.2 FanDuel points), I'm always at least somewhat intrigued by any quarterback who won't be a popular MVP play, and the Colts are just 3.5-point road 'dogs. Oddsmakers think Indy will make a game of it.
Gordon is expected to see plenty of work with Javonte Williams out, and the Colts have been an average defense against running backs this year. The volume alone makes Gordon an intriguing MVP play, and it helps that the Colts will be sans Shaq Leonard. We have Gordon going for 12.6 FanDuel points. I give him the nod over Sutton.
As for Sutton, he's run as the number-one wideout in the Broncos' offense. Sutton's 26% target share and 39% air yards share run circles around the 16% target share and 23% air yards share that Jerry Jeudy ($12,000) has amassed. He's scored between 13.7 and 16.2 FanDuel points in three straight games. The reason I prefer Gordon to Sutton is that Indianapolis has been stingy against wideouts, permitting the fourth-fewest FanDuel points per game to the position (20.5).
With Taylor out, there's a lot of volume up for grabs for Indy. Taylor was averaging 20.3 carries and 2.3 catches per game. Nyheim Hines ($11,000) has been the number-two back, but he's more of a pass-game specialist than a between-the-tackles runner, meaning it might be either Phillip Lindsay ($7,500) or Deon Jackson ($9,500) who sees the biggest bump in usage. With that said, our model likes Hines. We forecast him to produce 11.2 FanDuel points, compared to 5.8 for Jackson and 5.6 for Lindsay.
We'll have to stay in tune with what beat reporters are saying, but as of Wednesday afternoon, I think it's Lindsay who intrigues me the most. We've seen him handle heavy volume before, and he's capable as both a runner and receiver. Plus, the salary is easy to like. If you think the Colts get smoked, Hines makes a lot of sense as a run-back piece to Denver stacks, but the salary is up there for a guy who still has an uncertain role despite JT's absence.
Given the salary, Pittman is really hard to get behind in such a tough matchup. The best thing I can say about him is that he profiles as a savvy game-theory play since I'm guessing the masses stay away. Pierce has looked decent when he's played. He's posted 7.6 and 10.0 FanDuel points in his last two games, but he's consistently played a low amount of snaps, logging snap rates of 45% and 46% as the number-three receiver in those past two, although he'll likely surpass cardio star Parris Campbell ($7,000) sooner rather than later.
Mo Alie-Cox ($8,000) should garner some popularity after a two-score, 23.5-point game in Week 4. He had a combined 6.4 FanDuel points in the three games before last week's explosion, so I wouldn't get carried away. But he did play 68% of the snaps last week in a negative game script, so he could be out there a good amount if the Colts are once again trying to dig out of a hole.
On the Denver side, Jeudy is the best of the rest. As we laid out when talking about Sutton, Jeudy has been a clear number-two for the Broncos. He's posted 1.7 and 2.7 FanDuel points in the two games in which he didn't score a touchdown. But volatility isn't a bad thing for single-game contests, and with this likely to be a low-scoring slate, Jeudy's big-play ability gives him a chance to get into the optimal lineup on one snap.
Mike Boone ($9,000) got three targets out of the backfield last week and figures to get some run behind Gordon. Latavius Murray, who Denver signed earlier this week, isn't in the player pool on FanDuel as of Wednesday. K.J. Hamler ($7,000) has big-play juice. Eric Saubert ($5,000) led the Broncos' tight ends in snaps last week at a noteworthy 75% snap rate. He was targeted just twice and finished with 3.0 FanDuel points, but the $5,000 salary is easy to like.
We've seen defenses be big factors in some of the island games this year, and the San Francisco D/ST just led the slate in scoring on Sunday night. The Denver D/ST ($10,000) could have a field day in this spot. The Colts have been sacked 13 total times across the last three weeks, and if Ryan and company see a negative game script, the Denver D could feast. We project them to score 7.4 FanDuel points.
Kickers Brandon McManus ($9,000) and Chase McLaughlin ($8,500) both project fairly well as our model has them generating 8.3 and 7.5 FanDuel points, respectively. As a home favorite playing in thin air, McManus has a path to double-digit FanDuel points if the Broncos' offense struggles in the red zone.