While there are a variety of ways to bet on the Big Game, there is arguably no more fun way to get action down than with single-game daily fantasy sports contests for the Super Bowl. No matter how many bets you string together on your parlay ticket, it will be nearly impossible to turn a $4.44 investment into one million dollars. Luckily, our friends at FanDuel are offering you the opportunity to do just that with their $3.55M Big Game Bowl paying $1M to first place. The back and forth action causes huge swings on the leaderboards, and if you’re truly lucky like I was last year, you’ll have the opportunity to lose $50,000 due to Patrick Mahomes kneel-downs. Still, I do know a thing or two about single-game fantasy, having amassed more than $500,000 in profit. Here are the key considerations for the FanDuel single-game contest.
The start of each lineup is the MVP pick. The MVP receives a 1.5X point multiplier on their fantasy point total, meaning if they score 20 FanDuel points, they’ll receive a 30 point score at the MPV position and 20 in FLEX. Given this criteria, nailing the highest scoring player relative to their salary is an extremely important consideration. The obvious starting point for many lineups will be with Patrick Mahomes, and rightfully so, as he is the highest projected player by four points in the DailyRoto projections. The issue with Mahomes and Tom Brady is that they will be exceedingly popular, and trying to navigate through 900,000 opponents lineups is a big challenge. NumberFire laid out a case for not rostering QB at MVP, knowing that on average, they are rostered by half of the field at MVP, but they only land as the optimal MVP one-third of the time.
Odds to Finish as the Highest Scoring Player
- Patrick Mahomes – 30.2 percent
- Tyreek Hill – 21.0 percent
- Travis Kelce – 11.6 percent
- Tom Brady 10.9 percent
The opportunities to generate leverage are typically found at running back and wide receiver. Both teams operate in split backfields, however, with Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones splitting the carries for Tampa Bay and Darrell Williams and Clyde-Edwards Helaire splitting carries for Kansas City. If you are building just a single team, it is hard to hitch your success or failure to either backfield. However, if you are building 20 (or 150 teams) using the DailyRoto optimizer, there is at least some small probability that one of the backs can capture a two touchdown game and land as the leading scorer. These are high risk options that most of the time will result in you finishing close to last place, but if they do come through could land a solo million-dollar win.
This leads us to the best MVP options when considering both risk and reward: Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Mike Evans. Evans falls into a medium risk bucket, but the appeal of him is that your opponents will be off of him after a string of mediocre game logs. However, he faced tough CB matchups with Marshon Lattimore and Jaire Alexander and now draws better matchups while still leading the team in red-zone targets to go along with 11 touchdowns. For a FanDuel scoring format that rewards TDs far greater than catches, Evans is a compelling player that will not be popular with the field.
The case for Hill and Kelce is simple, the majority of the field will struggle to pick one player and instead will default to rostering Mahomes. If either Kelce or Hill is able to capture the majority of Mahomes production, they can put up a similar score at a cheaper cost and allow you to spend on better FLEX candidates or even outscore Mahomes’ raw production as they’ve both done multiple times this season. Considering probabilities and ownership, Tyreek Hill is our favorite MVP selection for the Super Bowl.
After you pick your MVP, the most important thing to think about is what story that will tell about the rest of your lineup. Patrick Mahomes MVP? If he is tossing three or four touchdowns, chances are that at least one of his wide receivers or tight ends is going to have a great game. Similarly, the odds of Ronald Jones returning value in a negative game script for Tampa Bay are a lot lower than Leonard Fournette, who plays the two-minute drills and pass-catching role in the backfield.
Some simple rules to follow:
- If you are using QB at CPT, play at least one and probably two pass catchers from their team.
- If you are using a WR or TE at CPT, pair them with their QB
- If a RB is CPT, it is unlikely that another RB from that team will be a winning FLEX play.
Make sure to bake correlation into your single-game lineup and have your lineup tell a story.
Believe it or not, it will be hard to navigate through a field of 900,000 people to win $1,000,000 no matter how much time you put into your lineups — randomness rules in the NFL — and if you simply plug in the “best” plays, chances are that when you “win,” you’ll actually be tying with thousands of other people and won’t maximize your upside. Earlier in this article, we discussed ways that you can generate leverage at the MVP position as part of your lineup building process. But whether you get contrarian at MVP or at FLEX, it will be important to incorporate some unique aspects into your lineups, particularly if you’re planning to roster the exceedingly popular Patrick Mahomes at MVP. As a rule of thumb, you should make at least one, and possibly two, distinct contrarian elements for every lineup in a single game Showdown. Here are a few of my quick-hitting favorites.
Over the past two weeks, Chris Godwin has been 3-4x as popular as Mike Evans in single-game contests as people chase the security of Godwin’s target share. However, Evans’ touchdown upside is as high as any non-QB on the slate, and he profiles as a premier contrarian option in the FLEX position. The DailyRoto simulations show that while both players have similar odds to be one of the six highest-scoring players, Evans has slightly greater upside.
Most fantasy players will chase what has happened over the previous two weeks, where Darrell Williams and Leonard Fournette have led their respective backfields. However, Clyde Edwards Helaire maintained more than a 50 percent share of the Chiefs carries before getting injured. With an extra week to rest and heal, it is possible that Helaire ends up regaining his role as the lead back. While Ronald Jones is unlikely to be the lead back, he is still involved in the timeshare, and the touchdown heavy nature of FanDuel makes it possible that he can usurp Fournette with the right red-zone touchdown variance. Both Edwards Helaire and Jones are likely to be lower owned on FanDuel than their optimal lineup probabilities suggest that they should be.
For Patrick Mahomes MVP teams, the obvious stacking options are to include at least one of Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill. Those are great, high upside options. However, Mahomes will likely need to throw 3-4 TDs to generate a winning MVP score, and if that does happen, there is a high probability that one of Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, or Demarcus Robinson is on the receiving end. Consider mixing in at least one of these three contrarian Chiefs wide receivers onto your Patrick Mahomes MVP stacks.
If you are looking to build 150 lineups with advanced lineup optimizer tools used by DFS players like myself, feel free to check out DailyRoto. Otherwise, head over to FanDuel for the $3.55M Big Game Bowl, and your shot at turning $4.44 into a $1M first place prize.