FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 8 Monday Night (Bengals at Browns)
Week 8 wraps up with the Cincinnati Bengals visiting the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. While these appear to be two teams trending in opposite directions, the Bengals are just 3.5-point road favorites, per FanDuel Sportsbook, so this game could be closer than many expect.
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.
Burrow has left a slow start to the season in the dust and has now scored 30-plus FanDuel points in back-to-back weeks. Not only is he averaging the fourth-most passing yards per game (299.6), but he's running a bit more, chipping in an average of 4.3 carries and 18.6 yards on the ground.
The Bengals have been happy to rely on Burrow's arm, ranking third in pass rate over expectation. He shouldn't have any trouble carving up a Browns secondary that ranks 27th in adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics, and is dealing with injuries.
Perhaps the only thing preventing Burrow from having a big night is if his running back steals away all the touchdowns. While Mixon hasn't had a monster game yet, his workload has been fantastic, as he's averaging a 74.0% snap rate, 17.3 carries, and 5.0 targets per game. Despite having just two rushing touchdowns, he's also enjoyed a prominent red zone role, logging a 74.2% rush share inside the 20.
The matchup doesn't get much better for a running back. The Browns are 31st in adjusted rush defense, and they've allowed the third-most FanDuel points per game to opposing backfields.
The only downside to rostering Burrow or Mixon at MVP is that they could both see high roster percentages.
Therefore, it could be worth considering Tee Higgins ($13,500) or Tyler Boyd ($12,500) at MVP in some tournament lineups. The absence of Ja'Marr Chase means that others will have to fill his 27.7% target share and 36.2% air yards share, and both Higgins and Boyd are the best candidates to do so.
Higgins has dealt with injury issues this season, but in games where he's played over half the snaps, he's seen Cincy's second-highest target share (23.9%) and air yards share (32.2%) behind Chase. He should be the top wideout while Chase is out.
Boyd has a modest 14.2% target share over his seven games, but he's also logged an 80.6% snap rate and 87.8% route rate. He's coming off a 25.5-point FanDuel performance that came with Chase still healthy, so we shouldn't underestimate his upside as a contrarian MVP.
While Chubb has an underwhelming 53.6% snap rate, this is a run-heavy Cleveland offense, and he still averages 115.3 scrimmage yards, 18.0 rushes, and 2.0 targets per game. He also gets roughly half of the red zone carries (49.0%). The Bengals haven't given up a ton of fantasy points to running backs so far, but they're just 16th in adjusted rush defense. Chubb could have a big game if this matchup remains close.
Despite his high median projection, Brissett is a tougher sell at MVP unless you're using him there for strictly game theory reasons. He hasn't exceeded 18 FanDuel points in any game this season and has thrown for multiple scores just once in seven games.
Amari Cooper ($11,000) is the one other guy projected for double-digit points. Cooper leads the Browns' pass-catchers with a 26.6% target share and 38.0% air yards share, but his results have been inconsistent with Brissett at the helm. Still, he's scored touchdowns in four of seven games and has two 100-yard outings, so he's on the radar as a potential under-the-radar MVP.
Hurst owns a respectable 14.6% target share and has cracked double-digit FanDuel points a couple of times this year. He's surpassed 50 yards just once, though, so he'll likely need a touchdown to be in the optimal lineup.
Thomas could see the biggest uptick in snaps with Chase out as he'll likely be the number-three wideout. While he's seen just eight total targets this season, he played 68.6% of the snaps in the two games where Higgins missed significant time, so this is a golden opportunity for him to make an impact -- and he's barely above the minimum salary.
Peoples-Jones is tied with tight end David Njoku for the second-highest target share (18.9%), but Njoku is sidelined, perhaps leading to more looks for DPJ.
Bryant will be the biggest beneficiary, though, as he's set to fill Njoku's role as the team's top tight end. Njoku was playing 84.6% of the snaps, so Bryant figures to see a significant jump from his 50.4% snap rate.
Hunt is splitting backfield snaps with Chubb, but he's been fairly quiet in the box score, hitting double-digit FanDuel points just once all year. Over the last two weeks, he's seen just a combined nine carries and three targets despite playing 43.9% of the snaps. He's a risky play but one who may not see a high roster percentage, either.
This game doesn't rate as one where we'll need to rely on kickers or defenses to fill out lineups, but Evan McPherson ($9,000) projects well as the kicker for the favored team. He's scored double-digit FanDuel points three times in 2022.