FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Super Bowl LV
With FanDuel Sportsbook showing a hefty 55.5-point total for Super Bowl LV, we could have a fun game for both DFS and betting purposes!
Be sure to check out all our Super Bowl content from this week, but if you're planning to play FanDuel's single-game DFS slate, you've come to the right place.
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.
The Big Four MVP Options
Let's state the obvious first: Patrick Mahomes ($16,500) is going to be immensely popular. Mahomes easily tops numberFire's Super Bowl projections, and no one comes close to his per-game average of FanDuel points (25.1).
Mahomes' high draft percentage shouldn't deter us from rostering him in general, of course, but it arguably makes him a less desirable MVP in tournaments. Not only will he presumably be the highest-rostered MVP overall -- perhaps by a sizable margin -- but as Gdula's study shows, quarterbacks don't show up as the MVP in optimal single-game lineups (33.9%) as often as they are rostered there (49.9%).
Don't get me wrong -- he's still the most likely candidate to lead the slate in scoring, and this week's range-of-outcome simulations reflect that. Mahomes isn't just any quarterback. But you can gain leverage by going against the grain.
When accounting for roster percentages, it's Hill who could be the best MVP of the trio. Recency bias could boost Kelce's popularity -- he's coming off a 30.3-point outing in the AFC Championship Game -- so not only is it possible that Hill will be the least popular of KC's big three, but wide receivers aren't rostered at MVP (16.3%) nearly as often as quarterbacks despite being the optimal MVP 24.2% of the time. Hill's high-water mark is a ridiculous 51.4 FanDuel points this season, which came against Tampa Bay.
Tight ends are typically a poor MVP choice, but we should throw that out the window when it comes to Kelce. While Hill's big-play ability gives him the edge in raw ceiling, Kansas City's star tight end was the more consistent of the two from week to week this year, finishing with 18 or more FanDuel points in 12 of 17 games (8 of 17 for Hill). We're definitely going to want our share of MVP exposure to him, as well.
Moving over to Tampa Bay, Tom Brady ($15,000) should also be popular by default -- he has the second-best overall median projection after all -- but we should see a decent gap in draft percentage between him and Mahomes. While it's worth noting Brady played in two more games than Mahomes this season, the two actually posted the same number of games with 29-plus FanDuel points (5).
With Kansas City being the favored side with three obvious superstars, the most common lineup builds figure to revolve around at least two of Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill. Theoretically, this could cause Brady to be the MVP in fewer lineups than we might normally expect for a quarterback.
Overall, if I'm making just one tournament lineup, Hill is probably my favorite MVP, followed by Brady.
Contrarian MVP Plays
When multi-entering tournaments, we probably want to stick with that foursome at MVP in most lineups. However, if we want to shoot for the moon in large-field GPPs -- and give ourselves a chance at a unique winning lineup that won't be tied with as many people -- we're going to need to take some risks at MVP, too.
Let's face it -- these guys aren't likely to outperform all four of Mahomes, Brady, Kelce, and Hill on Sunday. In this week's simulations, they all have single-digit rates of being the highest-scoring player on the slate. To put things in perspective, Hill has the lowest chance of scoring the most points on this slate of the big four (11.0%), per the simulations, which is still higher than Fournette, Godwin, and Evan combined (9.8%).
With that in mind, you don't want to go crazy with your MVP exposure here, but funny things can happen in a single NFL game, and these three give you the best chances of hitting on a contrarian choice.
Of the group, Fournette might be the most desirable option. Running backs account for the optimal MVP at the highest rate at all positions (37.1%), which shouldn't be too surprising when we think of elite workhorse running backs. Fournette hardly fell under such a category this season, typically playing second-fiddle to Ronald Jones ($8,000), but his postseason workload has been very encouraging.
In three Bucs playoff games, Fournette has tallied 27, 29, and 26 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets), two of which had Jones active. For context, Derrick Henry averaged 27.5 adjusted opportunities per game this season. It sure looks like Fournette is the guy now, and a workload like this comes with plenty of upside.
Throw in a matchup against Kansas City's 32nd-ranked schedule-adjusted run defense, per numberFire's metrics, and Fournette could be a sneaky MVP. The main obstacles blocking his path to a big score are whether or not the Bucs can keep the game close and whether Jones regains some of the touches he saw during the regular season.
Godwin and Evans are the last two reasonable options to slot in for your multiplier. With the way Brady spreads the ball around, the odds are against either one posting an MVP-worthy result, but their season-high FanDuel performances show that it is possible. Godwin produced 27.8 points in Week 17 and Evans recorded 35.1 in Week 16.
Godwin has seen more targets than Evans this postseason (28 to 21), but it's Evans who was the bigger red-zone and deep threat overall this season.
Flex and Value Strategy
Naturally, everyone mentioned in the previous section should be considered as core flex options. All seven guys have more than a 40% chance of cracking the optimal lineup in the simulations -- there's a sizable drop for all players after that.
Mahomes, specifically, ought to be a mainstay in most of your builds. Despite concerns about his popularity as an MVP, that shouldn't deter us from getting exposure to his high floor (and ceiling) in general.
As always, correlation is the name of the game here -- pairing Kelce with Mahomes, Brady with Evans, etc. -- so every lineup should be built around different ways the game may play out, whether it's high-scoring, a blowout, close, and so on. Our Jim Sannes digs into this in this week's Situations to Monitor, so be sure to check that out, as well.
Of course, realistically, we can roster just three -- maybe four depending on inactives -- of these guys in a given lineup, so let's dig into the lower-salaried ranks.
Of players with five-figure salaries, the only one I've yet to mention is Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($10,000) -- and there's a good reason for that. In the AFC Championship, he and Darrel Williams ($9,000) split the snaps pretty evenly, and it was actually Williams who ultimately saw more adjusted opportunities (15-10). The Bucs are also the toughest adjusted run defense in the NFL, making this an unappealing spot for running backs in general.
Each player scored a touchdown in the AFC Championship, though, so we shouldn't disregard them completely. And for CEH in particular, there's always a chance the roles are reversed now that he's had a couple more weeks to further recover from the hip and ankle injuries he suffered in Week 15.
Given the higher salary and uncertain workload for Edwards-Helaire, he could see the lower draft percentage of the two, making him the more intriguing play.
Sticking with that same salary range, Antonio Brown ($9,500) was a full participant in Thursday's practice, so he should be active on Sunday. However, prior to missing the NFC Championship Game, he saw just three targets in each of the first two playoff rounds. His lackluster Divisional Round output could partially be blamed by his in-game knee injury, but Brown has now played fewer than half the snaps in four of his past six games.
He did blow up for 31.3 FanDuel points when Evans was injured in Week 17, but that's a tough scenario to bank on even if we knew he was 100% healthy. Ultimately, you can't totally write off Brown on a single-game slate -- he did crack double-digit points in 5 of 10 games this season (6 times if you round up his 9.8 points in Week 11) -- but he feels like a true wild card. For what it's worth, he projects for the ninth-most FanDuel points, right behind Edwards-Helaire.
Following this group, we really get into the value range, with everyone else at a salary of $8,500 or less.
That includes both kickers in Harrison Butker ($8,500) and Ryan Succop ($8,500). If you're multi-entering, they should be in your player pool, but kickers tend to be more useful in lower-scoring contests, so I don't think they're priority values unless you think this game falls under the total.
Ronald Jones is clearly behind Fournette since returning from injury, but he's still earned double-digit touches in both his playoff outings, and the salary is awfully intriguing at $8,000. Similar to the Edwards-Helaire/Williams situation, the extra time between games could improve Jones' chances of a bigger workload, and siding with Jones over Fournette is a viable strategy at what should be a lower draft percentage.
But the brunt of value will come from the secondary pass-catchers on both sides.
For the Chiefs, this revolves around the potential return of Sammy Watkins ($7,500). Specifically, if Watkins is out, it lets us utilize Byron Pringle ($6,000) and/or Demarcus Robinson ($5,500), who saw snap rates of 80.0% and 65.0%, respectively, in the AFC title game. Those snaps didn't amount to much in the box score, but rostering one of these two allows you to fit in four of our high-salaried core plays.
But if Watkins plays, he's still a solid value at his salary, and Mecole Hardman ($7,500) is also in play with or without Watkins. In Watkins' last five games, he and Hardman tied for the third-highest target share on the team (12%) behind Kelce and Hill, and as a deep threat, Hardman was third in air yards, as well. This isn't mind-blowing usage because Kelce and Hill have a near-monopoly in this passing attack, but Watkins and Hardman are our best ways to gain exposure on the cheap.
On the other side, Cameron Brate ($7,000) has emerged this postseason with the fourth-most targets (16) in the Bucs' three games behind Godwin (28), Evans (21), and Fournette (17), but we'll have to keep an eye on his status after being limited on Thursday. He's easy to like at this salary and seems to have passed Rob Gronkowski ($6,500) as Tampa Bay's primary pass-catcher at tight end.
Gronk certainly gets a boost if Brate is ultimately ruled out, but he's still led the Bucs in red-zone targets in the playoffs and was second behind Evans during the regular season. Even so, with a mere seven targets this postseason, he's literally a touchdown-or-bust option at this point.
Lastly, with Antonio Brown expected to be active, Scotty Miller ($6,500) is relegated to being a mere dart throw.