FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 8 Thursday Night (Ravens at Buccaneers)

Two of the league's better teams tangle on Thursday night as both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens sit in the top seven of our nERD-based power rankings.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Bucs are 1.5-point home favorites in a game with a 45.5-point total. That makes the implied score 23.5-22.0 in favor of Tampa Bay.

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

On pretty much every single-game slate the Ravens are on, Lamar Jackson ($17,500 on FanDuel) is going to rate out as the best MVP play and also be the chalk MVP. That figures to be the case for this one as we project Jackson to score 20.4 FanDuel points, 2.1 clear of the rest of the slate. But Jackson is salaried like the clear-cut top option, listed at $2,500 more than anyone else.

The appeal with Lamar is obvious. Jackson is averaging 72.9 rushing yards per game and has a pair of rushing scores this year. The running ability gives him a sturdy floor and a massive ceiling. While Tampa Bay has a good defense overall, they'll be sans starting corners Sean Murphy-Bunting and Carlton Davis, and after years of being an elite run defense, the Bucs rate out as just a middle-of-the-pack run D this year, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. Jackson could go nuts.

Lamar is always an easy sell as an MVP play. With that said, he's failed to top 17.10 FanDuel points in four straight games, and if you want to dodge Jackson's MVP popularity, there are some quality alternatives.

Despite what you've seen from him lately, Tom Brady ($15,000) is one such quality pivot. Public perception is super low on TB12 right now, and it might result in him going somewhat overlooked at MVP. Both Brady and this entire Tampa Bay offense have stunk lately, so I get it. But Brady had outputs of 19.74 and 25.40 FanDuel points prior to the past two games, and his final Week 7 line would look better had Mike Evans ($14,000) held onto what would've likely been a long touchdown.

The Ravens sit just 15th in pass defense, per our numbers, and have permitted the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to signal-callers (20.2). This could be a get-right spot for Brady and the Bucs' offense. We project Brady for 18.3 FanDuel points, and if it seems like he's going to see a low draft percentage at MVP, I'll be all in. If Brady is expected to be a popular MVP play, I'll look to his weapons in my multiplier spot.

Using Leonard Fournette ($13,000), Chris Godwin ($12,500) or the aforementioned Evans at MVP is a way to bank on a Bucs rebound while being a little different. I'm more interested in the wideouts than I am Fournette. Lenny's snap rate fell to 60% last week as the Bucs continue to struggle to run the ball, though we do have Fournette scoring 15.0 FanDuel points, tops among non-quarterbacks.

Godwin has seen 25 total targets across the last two games while Evans has been targeted 19 times in that span. But it's Evans who gets the high-leverage looks. Over the last four games (since Godwin returned from injury), Evans owns a 38% air yards share to Godwin's 23%. Despite our model projecting them fairly similarly -- 14.2 for Evans and 12.6 for Godwin -- I much prefer to take a shot on Evans' big-play upside at MVP.

Outside of Jackson, Mark Andrews ($13,500) is the only other Raven we project for double-digit FanDuel points (13.4). Andrews seemed legitimately questionable last week before playing and turning in his worst line of the season en route to 0.4 FanDuel points. Andrews didn't practice on Tuesday or Wednesday but is listed as questionable. A fully healthy Andrews is a viable MVP play, but given his lack of practice this week, the short turnaround and what we saw from him last time out, Andrews is riskier than usual.

Flex Breakdown

The result of Fournette's snap rate dropping last week was a season-best snap share for Rachaad White ($7,500). The rookie was in on 44% of the snaps and turned seven touches (six carries) into 32 total yards. If you buy into this being more of a 60/40 timeshare moving forward, White is a nice value play. But we saw Fournette post snap rates in the low 60% range in both Week 4 and Week 5 before playing 82% of the snaps in Week 6, so it's far from a lock that Fournette's low Week 7 snap rate is a sign of things to come.

Cade Otton ($8,000) makes sense as a value piece. Cameron Brate has been ruled out for this one, which means we'll see a good amount of Otton. Brate has missed two games this season, including last week, and Otton's snap rates in those games have been 81% and 94%. The rookie has hauled in 10 of 12 targets for 107 yards across those two outings, putting up 7.3 and 8.4 FanDuel points. That's pretty solid production and volume.

On the Baltimore side, Rashod Bateman ($11,000) has been the standout receiver. In the five games in which he's played, Bateman has amassed a 30% air yards share and 19% target share. Devin Duvernay ($10,000) has just a 14% air yards share and 12% target share in those games. Both could be more involved if Andrews sits.

Speaking of Andrews sitting, if he does, that would put Isaiah Likely ($7,000) and/or Josh Oliver ($6,000) in line for a boost in volume. Likely generated buzz this offseason and has the better ceiling of the two. Even with Andrews in the fold, Likely has been targeted at least four times in three separate games this season. Oliver has out-snapped Likely in three straight contests but is mostly a blocking tight end, garnering only five looks over the past three weeks.

The Baltimore backfield was a three-headed mess last week, making it really tough to get behind any of the Ravens' backs. Gus Edwards ($12,000) made his season debut and paced the position in snaps at a 36% clip, but Kenyan Drake ($8,500) and Justice Hill ($7,500) played 27% and 31% of the snaps, respectively. Yuck. I won't prioritize getting a piece of the Ravens' backfield.

Both kickers project really well, per our model. We have Justin Tucker ($9,500) scoring 9.2 FanDuel points and Ryan Succop ($9,000) at 9.3. Succop rates out as the best point-per-dollar option among players salaried under $13,000.

Neither defense looks all that appealing. We project the Tampa Bay D/ST ($9,000) to record 6.6 FanDuel points and forecast the Baltimore D/ST ($9,500) for 5.1 points. Lamar has thrown five total picks over his previous five games, and the Ravens' passing game might be a shell of itself if Andrews is out, adding to the appeal of the Bucs' D/ST.