FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 7 Monday Night (Bears at Patriots)
As 8.5-point home favorites, the Patriots are expected to take care of business against the Bears on Monday night. However, fantasy points could be hard to come by. The total sits at just 40.5, and this game projects as the most run-heavy game of the week, all of which points to a low-scoring affair.
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.
Bailey Zappe has filled in admirably at quarterback for the Patriots, but "Zappe Fever" appears to be going on hiatus with the expected return of Mac Jones ($14,500) tonight. Jones tops numberFire's projections by a fair amount, and he's the conventional way to go at MVP.
However, he hasn't exactly lit it up this season, averaging 0.00 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back over his three starts. For context, that mark is on par with Cooper Rush and Russell Wilson, and it's well below the 2022 league average (0.06).
And yet, if New England rolls as expected, it's easy to see Jones emerging as the top scorer if he tosses a couple of touchdowns, particularly given how the Patriots spread the ball around on offense.
But those scores could also come through the running game, and Chicago is weak against the run, ranking 27th in adjusted rush defense, per numberFire's metrics. Rhamondre Stevenson ($14,000) is the best candidate to take advantage, but the return of Damien Harris ($12,500) will make things tricky.
Over the last three full games together, Stevenson has averaged a 59.9% snap rate, 11.7 rushes, and 4.0 targets, while Harris has averaged a 40.6% snap rate, 14.7 carries, and 2.0 targets.
Stevenson figures to have the edge in this committee after playing well as a workhorse back the past couple of weeks, but either one could wind up in the end zone, which is enough to put both in the MVP conversation. You could even consider rostering the two together under the assumption that the Pats lean on the run all night.
Chicago's offense figures to have its work cut out for them, but Justin Fields ($15,000) still possesses upside through his rushing ability.
While Fields is averaging just 144.9 passing yards on 19.2 attempts per game, he's also averaging 9.0 carries and 47.0 rushing yards. Despite scoring just one rushing touchdown, he's even seeing 29.6% of the Bears' red zone carries.
Fields should be a popular play by default, but with the Bears a significant underdog, it's possible his MVP roster level doesn't get out of hand.
David Montgomery ($13,500) also deserves a mention as an MVP who could go overlooked.
Since missing Week 4 due to injury, Montgomery has played on 75.9% of the snaps while averaging 13.5 rushes and 2.5 targets over the past two weeks. While I don't like his chances of putting up a big score in a negative game script, he's a way to be contrarian if this matchup doesn't play out as expected.
Given that all of the above candidates have some very real paths to failure, this is absolutely the type of game where the New England D/ST ($10,000) could emerge with the best score.
While we typically want our D/ST to face pass attempts so it can generate sacks and turnovers, Fields has still managed to get sacked 23 times with a league-high 16.7% sack rate despite how little Chicago throws, and he has 5 interceptions and 7 fumbles. New England ranks fifth in adjusted total defense and is one of the league's top teams at generating pressure.
If this is the run-heavy contest that we all expect, tonight's pass-catchers will have a tough time putting up fantasy points. But if anyone is going to do it, it'll likely be Jakobi Meyers ($12,000) and Darnell Mooney ($11,000).
In Meyers' two games with Mac Jones this year, he's seen a 29.7% target share and 36.9% air yards share, and he's recorded a 27.0% target share and 37.5% air yards share overall. No one else on the team comes anywhere close to those marks, and you might even consider Meyers as a fringe MVP.
Similarly, Mooney has a 29.7% target share and 44.3% air yards share for Chicago. On this low-volume offense, he's averaging just 5.5 targets per game, though he did see a season-high 12 targets in Week 6.
Things get a bit murkier after those two. But if Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne sit out, that leaves DeVante Parker ($8,500), Tyquan Thornton ($9,000), and Hunter Henry ($8,000) as the other viable pass-catchers for the Patriots.
In Week 6, Parker was second among Pats wideouts in snaps (76.9%) and had an identical route rate to Meyers' (91.7%). Injuries also opened up increased snaps for the rookie Thornton (55.4%), who could be a true wild card after bursting onto the scene with two touchdowns in that game.
Adding a much-needed speed element to this offense, it's possible that Thornton earns an increased role moving forward, and it's a promising sign that he was given three carries, one of which led to a touchdown.
Henry has seen his snaps rise to 97.5% over the last two weeks, and perhaps he and Jones will rekindle the connection that led to nine touchdowns for the tight end in 2021.
Kmet rarely leaves the field but has yet to exceed 4 targets or 50 yards in a game. Over the last two games, St. Brown and Pettis have played roughly 60% of the snaps and run routes at around the same clip. For what it's worth, after being held to zero catches in four straight games, Pettis did emerge with 7 targets (26.9%) last week.
Running back Khalil Herbert ($10,000) has performed well when he's been given opportunities, but he's merely a dart throw, as well, as he's played below 30% of the snaps with Montgomery back.
Finally, we could see the kickers get more work in this one, so Nick Folk ($9,000) and Cairo Santos ($9,000) deserve more attention than usual. Both kickers have cracked double-digit FanDuel points twice this season.