FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Divisional Round (Bengals at Bills)

In what could be the best game of the weekend, the Buffalo Bills host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at 3:00 pm ET in a rematch of Week 17’s canceled game. On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Bills are 5.5-point favorites, and the over/under is set at 48.5. According to numberFire’s metrics, both teams are top 5 in schedule-adjusted offense and top 10 in adjusted defense.

For those unfamiliar, single-game slates feature five flex spots with identical scoring to main slates. 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.

MVP Candidates

Let’s state the obvious right off the bat. Josh Allen ($17,500) is a no-brainer play as either an MVP or FLEX, and he’ll be featured in the majority of lineups.

Allen was one of just three players in the NFL to average over 25 FanDuel points per game in the regular season, and he’s projected for nearly that many in numberFire’s model this week — roughly five or more points than anyone else. Despite throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble last week, Allen still reached 24.1 FanDuel points. The only thing preventing us from mindlessly locking him in at MVP is that he’ll more than likely be the most popular choice by a wide margin.

Unsurprisingly, Allen’s counterpart, Joe Burrow ($16,000), is projected for the next most points after finishing as the QB4 this season. Burrow cracked 25 FanDuel points six times this year, and three of those went for 30-plus. He typically relies more on his arm for those spike weeks, but a slate-high score is absolutely in the realm of possibilities if this game shoots out.

If we assume the two signal-callers will be in most lineups at the multiplier slot, the rest should primarily be spread between Ja’Marr Chase ($14,500), Stefon Diggs ($13,500), Joe Mixon ($12,000), and Tee Higgins ($11,000).

Chase and Diggs are logical MVPs as the top pass-catchers on each side, and they’re projected for the third- and fourth-most FanDuel points.

Including the wild card round, Chase has averaged 11.2 targets per game with a 29.9% target share and 38.9% air yards share in the games he’s played, while Diggs has averaged 9.6 targets with a 27.7% target share and 34.0% air yards share. Although the volume favors Chase, Diggs arguably gets the better matchup versus a defense that’s 27th in adjusted fantasy points per target allowed to wideouts.

Mixon is also projected for double-digit points, and he’ll probably draw less attention at MVP following a quiet game against the Ravens last week. Since returning in Week 14, he’s averaged 23.0 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) over the last five games, which is one of the better marks in the Divisional Round. However, he’s playing just 56.7% of the snaps, is in a tough matchup, and has exceeded 17 FanDuel points once all year, perhaps making him better suited as a FLEX.

Therefore, my preferred contrarian MVP is Higgins, who was mostly ignored in the multiplier slot last week. He’s coming off back-to-back clunkers against Baltimore, but in his full games with Chase active this year, Higgins has earned a 21.1% target share and 31.3% air yards share, averaging 7.8 targets per game. Not so long ago, he hit 22.8 FanDuel points against New England in Week 16, so we shouldn’t underestimate his upside.

Flex Breakdown

Buffalo’s Gabe Davis ($11,500) is one other player projected for double-digit points in numberFire’s model, but his 18.4% target share leaves him slightly behind the other top wideouts. That being said, he also boasts a 30.5% air yards share, averaging 4.6 downfield targets (10-plus air yards) per game, putting him on par with Chase in that department (4.7). His big-play ability makes him an appealing play in tournaments, and you might even consider sprinkling him in at MVP.

Sticking with the Bills, the other notable names are running backs James Cook ($9,500) and Devin Singletary ($10,000) and tight end Dawson Knox ($10,500).

This backfield isn’t necessarily one to avoid, but it’s become rather unpredictable since Cook’s snaps went up in Week 13. In the last six games, Singletary still has the edge in adjusted opportunities per game (14.5) and snap rate (51.9%), but it’s by a slim margin, with Cook averaging 13.8 and 40.8%. They’re both splitting red zone rushes with each other and Josh Allen, too. I’m not sure either one is a priority, but they should remain in our player pool in case one finds paydirt.

While Knox’s season numbers don’t pop, he’s scored a touchdown in five straight games alongside the team’s third-best target share (17.1%) and second-best red zone target share (25.0%). He’s a little over-salaried but is projected for the fifth-most targets across all pass-catchers on the slate.

Isaiah McKenzie ($6,500) is practicing in full, so he should return to his usual slot role, giving him some punt value. He logged a 12.8% target share this season and is projected for roughly 3-4 targets. That leaves Khalil Shakir ($6,000), Cole Beasley ($6,000), and John Brown ($5,500) in dart-throw territory and nothing more.

The value plays on Cincinnati could be a little more reliable between Tyler Boyd ($8,000), Hayden Hurst ($7,500), and Samaje Perine ($7,000).

Boyd and Hurst are both projected for over five targets, which falls in line with how they’ve been used all season. Boyd has the higher yardage ceiling, but both players are more like touchdown-or-bust options.

Perine has logged 43.6% of the snaps with Mixon back, but it’s only amounted to 9.4 adjusted opportunities per game. However, Perine actually saw a few more snaps than Mixon last week, so the playing time remains closely split. You could do worse than take the plunge at this salary with the hopes of more touches.

Kickers Tyler Bass ($9,000) and Evan McPherson ($8,500) are possibilities but more so if you think this game hits the under and turns into a more defensive struggle. Bass naturally has the higher projection on the favored side.

Likewise, while the defenses aren’t top priorities, these are pass-happy offenses, so even these two elite quarterbacks will have their share of turnovers. The Buffalo D/ST ($9,000) has the better projection than the Cincinnati D/ST ($8,500), but rostering one or the other has more to do with lineup construction than anything else.

This content was originally published here.

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