FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 8 Thursday Night
Week 8's Thursday night matchup pits the host Minnesota Vikings against Washington. The Vikings are 16.5-point favorites in this one, as you'd expect, and we forecast them to win by (roughly) 13 points.
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.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota ($15,500)
Well, Dalvin Cook is gonna be popular. The Vikings like to run the ball a lot, and they should see a game script that encourages the ground game. Cook has been a beast this season, scoring double-digit FanDuel points in every game while putting up at least 19 points in five of seven outings. This is obviously a blow-up spot for him, and we project him for a slate-best 21.5 FanDuel points.
On the flip side, you can dodge a ton of ownership by fading him, and if that proves to be the right move, you're in business. With the way the Vikings have been passing the ball of late, maybe Cook misses out on the touchdowns. And if Minnesota jumps out to a commanding lead, maybe they'll lighten his workload a bit on a short week.
This feels similar to the Thursday night slate we had in Week 2, when Christian McCaffrey was super popular at home versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. CMC ended up dudding that night with only 5.3 FanDuel points -- his lone game under 17.7 this year -- while seeing seven fewer touches than he's gotten in any other game in 2019.
If you're fading Cook, you can load up on the Vikes' passing game and/or use backup Alexander Mattison (who we'll look at in a minute).
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota ($15,000)
Kirk Cousins is on fire. He's ripped off games of 20.54, 27.32 and 29.18 FanDuel points over the last three, going for 300-plus yards and multiple scores in each, including four-tud days in the past two.
Fading Cook and being heavy on Cousins and the passing game is fully justifiable as this Washington D is the fifth-worst pass defense, per our schedule-adjusted numbers. Cousins has attempted at least 27 passes in each of the last three weeks, all of which were double-digit wins for the Vikings, so there should be decent volume here even if Minnesota does what oddsmakers expect.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota ($14,000)
Stefon Diggs has seen 19 targets over the past two weeks, racking up 14 catches, 309 yards and three scores in that span. With Adam Thielen ruled out, Diggs should be the key cog in this passing attack.
Washington has allowed the 10th-most FanDuel points per game to opposing wideouts, and as we touched on above, they check in as one of the league's worst pass defenses by our metrics.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota ($8,000)
If you're fading Cook, using Mattison makes sense unless you're going to plug in all the Vikings' pass-catchers. You could even use both Cook and Mattison for a unique build and hope Mike Zimmer gets his way and Minnesota runs it 40 times.
Like we talked about in the Cook section, it's not unreasonable to think Minnesota could give Cook a lighter load on a short week, especially if they get out to a commanding lead. Mattison has gotten decent work even with Dalvin amassing big-time volume. The rookie has logged at least seven carries in five games this year, and in those five, he's posted at least 49 rushing yards four times. He's shown some ability and could be used heavily late in the game if this one is a laugher.
Paul Richardson, WR, Washington ($6,500)
Terry McLaurin ($12,000) is clearly the best wideout play on Washington as he's accounted for 50% of their air yards, per AirYards.com. Heck, McLaurin might be the best overall play, Case Keenum included, on the Washington side tonight. But that's where ownership is going to be, and McLaurin has a hefty price tag. Plus, weird things happen on single-game slates, and McLaurin has just eight total receptions across the last three games.
So if you want to get weird, shifting to Paul Richardson has some appeal, and his salary allows you to jam in Cook, Diggs and Cousins and still have $9,000 to play with.
Richardson doesn't have a catch in either of the last two games, and he hasn't topped 14 yards in a game in four straight. Yay! But he owns a not-completely-awful 13% target share over the past four, and in a game in which Washington should have to throw plenty, maybe he hits for a big play. He should also avoid Xavier Rhodes for a lot of the game, assuming the Vikings' star corner is on McLaurin.