NFL

FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Browns at Chiefs

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Kansas City Chiefs are overwhelming 10.0-point favorites over the Cleveland Browns. The total is a massive 57.0 points -- implying a 33.50-23.50 win for KC.

Per our oddsFire tool, the betting public likes the over despite the lofty total, as 75% of the money and 72% of the bets coming in on the over/under are taking the over. The spread is more of an even split, but Cleveland has been the preferred side, with 58% of the bets and 57% of the money backing the Browns to cover 10.0 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.

This past offseason, our Brandon Gdula did a deep dive on single-game strategy. It's worth checking out before you make your lineups.

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs ($17,000)

Like usual, Patrick Mahomes is a slam-dunk play. Going up against a Cleveland defense that our schedule-adjusted metrics have as the third-worst pass D and sixth-worst overall defense, Mahomes could go nuclear. The Browns permitted the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks in 2020 (20.6).

Our model projects Mahomes for a monster 26.1 FanDuel points. Not only is that 8.1 points clear of everyone else on the slate, but Mahomes is also the best point-per-dollar play by a huge margin, according to our algorithm, despite the hefty salary. We have Mahomes throwing for 302.3 yards and 2.9 touchdowns, and his rushing touchdown projection of 0.25 is nothing to scoff at.

The question isn't whether or not you should roster Mahomes -- you should -- it's whether or not he should be your MVP. While you can make a real simple case for using Mahomes in the multiplier spot, I'll mostly go with these next two guys as my primary MVP plays in order to miss the Mahomes MVP chalk.

Travis Kelce ($14,500) and Tyreek Hill ($13,500), Chiefs

This sets up as a smash spot for both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The Browns surrendered the third-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (12.6) and the eighth-most to receivers (33.0).

Kelce and Hill each see fantastic usage, and together they combined for 50% of Mahomes targets from Week 12 on, per AirYards.com. In that span, Kelce owns a team-best 27% target share with a 28% air yards share, while Hill's marks sit at 23% and 33%, respectively.

The higher floor belongs to Kelce, but Hill carries the slate-winning ceiling. Kelce has put up at least 18.8 FanDuel points in seven of his past eight games, but he has failed to top 23.6 FanDuel points in that time. Hill, meanwhile, has three games with 14.4 FanDuel points or fewer across his past four, but he went bonkers for 51.4 FanDuel points in the game right before that run.

We project Hill for 17.6 FanDuel points and Kelce for 16.9. While they're both viable MVP options, I'll chase Hill's ceiling and use him in the multiplier spot more than I do Kelce. You can roster all of Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill together; you'll just have to pinch pennies elsewhere.

Nick Chubb, Browns ($14,000)

In a game last week at the Pittsburgh Steelers in which the game script couldn't have been more favorable for Nick Chubb, he played just 58% of the snaps. That's not ideal for a player with a salary of $14,000.

Chubb has two things working for him, though -- the Browns' best path to a win might be running the ball (and keeping Mahomes on the sideline), and this is a good matchup for Cleveland's run game. Our metrics rank KC with the sixth-worst run defense, and the Chiefs gave up the ninth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs (22.7). And that's with most of Kansas City's opponents seeing a negative game script.

Chubb had 18 carries and 4 targets in the Wild Card win. He has hauled in multiple receptions in four of his last five games, including outings of four and five receptions across the last three weeks sandwiched around a zero-target game in Week 17. The uptick in receiving work will come in handy if the Browns do get behind big versus KC, and Chubb's big-play ability -- the second-most runs of 20-plus yards among all backs -- is perfect for single-game slates.

Our model has Chubb scoring 13.8 FanDuel points.

Darrel Williams, Chiefs ($8,500)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($11,500) didn't practice Thursday after getting in limited work on Wednesday. CEH is listed as questionable, and if the rookie doesn't play, Darrel Williams would stand to see an increased role.

When Edwards-Helaire sat in Week 16, Williams played 70% of the snaps while Le'Veon Bell ($9,000) was in on just 30% of KC's plays. We can't be sure that's how the snaps will be split up in a postseason game, but given that Kansas City is implied for 33.50 points, there's obviously a lot to like about Williams at this salary even if he splits things close to 50-50 with Bell.

As of Friday afternoon, our projections are assuming Edwards-Helaire misses this game, and we have Williams (7.7 FanDuel points) and Bell (8.0) about even. I lean toward Williams between the two.

If CEH does play and reports have him being full go, he's an enticing option, and his presence would squash the outlooks of Bell and Williams. The rook's roster percentage might be kind of low if there's any worry he's not 100% healthy, and his role was trending up prior to his injury, as he totaled 21 and 15 touches in his last two games.

Mecole Hardman ($7,500) and Demarcus Robinson ($8,000), Chiefs

Sammy Watkins is out, and his absence makes these two more viable.

Mecole Hardman has the big-play chops we crave on single-game slates. On the downside, he didn't get all that much run when Watkins was out earlier this season. Watkins missed six games in 2020, and Hardman was out-snapped by Demarcus Robinson in five of them -- usually by a lot. The big-play ability matters, though, and does make me lean toward Hardman over Robinson. We're looking to catch lightning in a bottle when we use Hardman.

In the six-game split sans Watkins, Robinson logged a snap rate of at least 81% four times and never fell below a 55% snap rate. He averaged five targets per game in that split, and he's a fine dart throw, too, as long as Watkins sits. He may not be all that popular, either, if the masses flock to the sexier Hardman.

Our model projects Hardman for 7.7 FanDuel points and Robinson for 6.3. We have Hardman as the best point-per-dollar play among those priced under $13,500.

Harrison Bryant ($6,000) and KhaDarel Hodge ($5,500), Browns

Harrison Bryant and KhaDarel Hodge have bottomless floors, but punting with one of them allows you to roster KC's big three of Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill alongside a fourth piece who isn't a total shot in the dark.

Hodge missed the win over Pittsburgh. Prior to that, he played 42% of the snaps in Week 17, the third-most among the team's wideouts, with Donovan Peoples-Jones ($9,000) playing only 21% of the snaps. Hodge getting decent run in what was a must-win game is something, and he could be out there plenty on Sunday if Cleveland is forced to air it out.

Bryant logged a season-high 83% snap rate in Week 16 before missing Week 17 and playing 33% of the snaps in the Wild Card round. David Njoku ($7,000) is looking iffy for this weekend after not practicing Wednesday and Thursday, so Bryant could see a boost in snaps on Sunday.