FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 3 Thursday Night (Giants at 49ers)

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 3 Thursday Night (Giants at 49ers)

Week 3 kicks off with a Thursday matchup that isn't expected to be close. The San Francisco 49ers are 10.5-point home favorites over a New York Giants team that has struggled thus far and will be without star running back Saquon Barkley.

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.

FanDuel Research's Brandon Gdula has done a deep dive on single-game strategy, and numberFire has projections if you select the game from the slate tab. It's worth checking out both before making your lineups.

MVP Candidates

Christian McCaffrey ($18,000) has scored 24.4 and 21.0 FanDuel points across the opening weeks, and he's the obvious chalk play at MVP. He's averaged 21.0 rushes and 4.0 targets per game while playing 91.7% of the snaps.

If you're looking for a reason to fade him in the multiplier slot, head coach Kyle Shanahan hinted at wanting to rotate backup running back Elijah Mitchell ($6,500) more often moving forward. If this game turns into a blowout, it's certainly possible that the 49ers decide to ease up on CMC's workload late -- though it's possible he will have already inflicted plenty of damage by then anyway.

Per numberFire's model, quarterbacks Daniel Jones ($16,000) and Brock Purdy ($14,500) are projected for the next-most FanDuel points after McCaffrey.

Jones' rushing upside makes him the more appealing option to lead the slate in scoring. Through two games, he's averaged 11.0 carries and 51.0 rushing yards per game, and he already has a rushing touchdown. In 2022, he was one of just five quarterbacks to rush for over 700 yards.

But he's just as much a risk to bust against a tough San Francisco defense. We've seen both sides of the coin already in 2023, with Jones face-planting for 6.5 FanDuel points in Week 1 but then following that up with 31.8 points last week.

This is in contrast to Purdy, who's a solid floor play but isn't necessarily the best MVP candidate. Despite being flush with weapons, Purdy's unlikely to throw for 300-plus yards in this run-heavy offense, and he doesn't use his legs enough to make up for it. Over the first two weeks, the 49ers have the fifth-highest rushing play percentage (51.7%), and that's something they'll continue to lean into if they get out to a big lead as expected.

Still, Purdy did pop for 332 passing yards and 3 scores in last year's playoffs, so he can't be written off entirely. Entering Thursday, the Giants have the 27th-ranked adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics. Purdy also probably won't be as popular at MVP compared to most QBs on single-game slates.

Deebo Samuel ($13,500) is the one other player projected for double-digit FanDuel points, and his outlook could be further enhanced because fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk ($12,000) is questionable.

Samuel's role has been excellent across the board to begin the season. He's logged an 89.2% snap rate and 100.0% route rate, and that's helped him to a 30.8% target share and 29.7% air yards share. Throw in his added rushing role -- he already has seven carries and a rushing score -- and we can see multiple paths toward a ceiling performance.

George Kittle ($9,000) and the San Francisco D/ST ($10,000) are other viable MVPs.

Kittle has done little thus far but is always a threat to go ballistic when called upon. In 2022, Kittle scored multiple touchdowns four times, and he exceeded 20 FanDuel points on three occasions.

Fantasy defenses have dominated in several single-game slates this year, with the Pittsburgh D/ST being the most recent example after going off for 26 FanDuel points on Monday night. The Dallas D/ST obliterated the Giants in Week 1, and the 49ers' defense is capable of doing the same. San Francisco is numberFire's fifth-best overall adjusted defense through two weeks, and they also have the fifth-best pressure rate.

Flex Breakdown

If the aforementioned Aiyuk is able to play, he's a plenty viable play, albeit one who comes with risk in case he's on a limited snap count or utilized as a decoy. But if the pre-game reports sound positive, we'll be getting access to a guy who boasts a 26.9% target share and 42.0% air yards share with MVP-level upside.

On the Giants' side, Darren Waller ($11,500), Matt Breida ($11,000), and Darius Slayton ($8,500) are the best options outside of Daniel Jones.

Waller leads the offense with a 20.3% target share and ranks second in air yards share (22.8%). He paced the G-Men with eight targets in their come-from-behind win over the Arizona Cardinals last week.

Breida is expected to be the lead back with Saquon Barkley out, though this will presumably be a committee backfield alongside Gary Brightwell ($7,500) and Eric Gray ($6,000). While the assumed negative game script limits the overall appeal of this trio, Breida is projected for double-digit opportunities. He saw a whopping eight targets in a Week 18 spot start last season, which is encouraging.

Slayton's team-high 36.4% air yards share immediately leaps off the page, and he also leads the team in route rate (79.2%). While it hasn't translated to much in fantasy yet, his usage makes him incredibly appealing at this salary.

Following Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins ($10,500) and Parris Campbell ($8,000) are the other top New York wideouts. Both players have played over 65% of the snaps and are projected to see roughly 4-5 targets. For fantasy purposes, they're probably touchdown-or-bust plays.

Flipping back over to San Francisco, Jauan Jennings ($7,000) could see a larger role if Aiyuk is out, and Elijah Mitchell is a potential dart throw if we believe the coachspeak that he'll play more.

Jennings typically hasn't done much when he's seen an increase in snaps, but he did crack double-digit FanDuel points once in 2022. Much like Hodgins and Campbell, Jennings and Mitchell probably need to find the end zone to have any shot at the optimal lineup.

Given how iffy most of the options below $10,000 are looking, kicker Jake Moody ($9,500) is firmly in play on the double-digit home favorite. He's scored 14 FanDuel points in back-to-back weeks behind this potent 49ers offense.

Interested in playing NFL DFS? Head over to FanDuel’s daily fantasy football lobby to see all the offerings for this week's slates.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.