FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 1 Sunday Night
Antonio Brown news and distractions aside, tonight's Sunday Night Football matchup is an exciting showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. Following the main slate of action, fantasy enthusiasts can stay involved throughout the night by playing in FanDuel's Sunday Showdown contests.
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.
Bookmakers currently peg the Patriots as 5.5-point favorites with a 49-point over/under. With a projected high-scoring affair in store, here are the notable match-ups to target on this slate.
Ben Roethlisberger ($15,000) - Quarterbacks always make solid candidates for the MVP spot due to the high-scoring, consistent nature of the position. Given the matchup and price, this contest sets up slightly better for Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh currently sits as 5.5-point underdogs, implying game script should favor the pass for Roethlisberger. Last season, Big Ben attempted more passes than any other signal-caller in the NFL. While the New England secondary remains one of the league's better units, volume should drive Roethlisberger to a productive fantasy outing today.
James Conner ($14,000) - Similar to quarterbacks, bell-cow running backs provide plenty of value in the MVP slot on single-game slates. With New England employing a running back tandem, James Conner stands out as Sunday Night's lone workhorse option. When healthy last year, Conner averaged 16.6 rushing attempts per game while adding 5.5 targets per game. According to our schedule-adjusted metrics, New England is the fourth-best run defense to start the year. However, the Patriots did rank bottom-10 in receiving yards allowed to opposing running backs. With secure volume and a potential exploitable matchup through the air, Conner makes a solid MVP play.
Sony Michel ($13,000) - Unlike Conner, Sony Michel does not project to handle a full-complement of snaps on Sunday night. However, Michel should benefit from a run-friendly game script as a 5.5-point home favorite. Last year, New England ran the ball at the seventh-highest rate in the NFL. This allowed Michel to average 17.3 rushing attempts per game on the season. Pittsburgh's run defense ranks in the middle of the pack, per our metrics, but game script and projected volume keep Michel in consideration for FanDuel's MVP slot.
Vance McDonald ($9,500) - With tonight's slate pricing up running backs, a few pass catchers come in as value plays at a cheaper price and projected lower ownership. For the Steelers, Vance McDonald looks like one of these pass catchers at a price of just $9,500. After splitting time with Jesse James last year, McDonald now stands as the lone tight end in Pittsburgh. He showed awesome efficiency last year with 12.2 yards per reception. Last year, McDonald found the end zone against New England despite playing only 37 percent of the snaps. Without James in the fold and a projected pass-friendly game flow, McDonald is a sneaky value play tonight.
Donte Moncrief ($8,000) - Similar to McDonald, Donte Moncrief comes in as a value tonight after Antonio Brown left town in free agency. As a team, Pittsburgh is missing 240 targets from last season, and Moncrief earned a starting role next to JuJu Smith-Schuster through strong training camp and preseason play. While the Patriots remain a formidable pass defense, they have skewed coverage toward top wide receiver options in the pass. This could theoretically give Moncrief additional opportunities in the pass game. While speculative, an $8,000 price tag in a pass-first offense keeps Moncrief in play more than anything else. As it stands, he remains a solid bargain-bin option for tonight.
Phillip Dorsett ($6,500) - Looking all the way down to punts on this single-game slate, Phillip Dorsett stands out as a cheap attachment to Tom Brady. Antonio Brown cannot play tonight on such short notice, leaving Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman, and Dorsett to round out three-wide receiver sets. Notably, the Patriots project to play without a tight end of consequence tonight with Rob Gronkowski retired, Benjamin Watson suspended, and Matt LaCosse injured. Perhaps this raises New England's usage of 11-personnel and Dorsett's overall role. Even with the potential for higher usage, Dorsett remains a mere dart throw in tonight's game, but he's a solid salary-saver attached to Brady.
Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.