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FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Thanksgiving Slate

The Saints are rolling, and they get a delightful Superdome matchup with the Falcons. Where else should you look on Thursday's three-game slate?

Thanksgiving is a time for seeing family, eating too much, taking an afternoon nap and waking up at the end of the Lions game. It's also one of the cooler non-Sunday days of the year to take part in some action on FanDuel.

This season, the Thanksgiving slate gives us Chicago at Detroit, Washington at Dallas, and Atlanta at New Orleans. While oddsmakers aren't expecting many fireworks in the day games -- giving neither one an over/under of more than 45.0 points -- the evening clash between the Saints and Falcons has a week-high 59.5-point total, with New Orleans carrying a week-best 36.25-point implied total. So, yeah, people are going to flock to that Saints-Falcons game in DFS.

Here at numberFire, we offer great tools for premium members, and make sure you check out the Thanksgiving Slate edition of the Heat Check Podcast by Jim Sannes and Brandon Gdula. We want to help you. Keep in mind, however, that things can change drastically if an injury is announced, so make sure you're double-checking the tools and projections as close as possible to kickoff.

This helper is for the Thursday-only slate. Let's get to it!


Drew Brees ($9,000): With the Saints at home and boasting a massive 36.25-point implied total, New Orleans is in a dreamy spot against Atlanta. Brees is our top-projected overall player for Thursday as we forecast him to score 26.1 FanDuel points. He battered the Eagles in a Superdome game in Week 11, roasting the defending champs for 363 yards and 4 scores on his way to 30.52 FanDuel points, his third straight game with at least 28.9 points. Per our schedule-adjusted metrics, the Falcons have the league's worst overall defense, and they sit next to last against the pass. This game is going to be popular, but this is a ceiling spot for Brees and company. If you're looking for a pivot, Matt Ryan ($8,600) fits the bill, and our projections peg him for 22.7 FanDuel points, second-most among all players on the slate.

Dak Prescott ($7,400): Prescott has four rushing scores over his last five games, and that makes him worth peeping. However, despite the rushing production, Dak has posted more than 22 FanDuel points just once this season as he's been underwhelming through the air, with a season-best of 270 yards passing. Facing an Alex Smith-less Washington team, Dallas is a commanding 7.5-point favorite. While that could result in the Cowboys jumping ahead early, thereby limiting Dak's volume, Prescott has averaged 4.3 rushing attempts and 230.2 passing yards per game in wins over his career -- compared to 3.1 carries and 194.2 passing yards per game in losses. Outside of Matty Ice and Brees, Dak may have the best ceiling among this slate's signal callers.

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott ($8,700): Zeke is mighty appealing as no other back on the slate can touch his rushing floor. He's seen at least 15 carries in every game this season, and he's got 151 and 122 rushing yards over his last two outings. Oh, and he's also averaging 4.25 catches for 55.33 receiving yards over his last three games. So, yeah, he's good. We project him for 19.3 FanDuel points, which ranks second among backs on this slate. Washington is a run-funnel defense, sitting 3rd against the pass and 19th versus the run, per our numbers. Pairing Zeke with Dak should get you access to every Dallas touchdown if you're feeling a big day from Big D, and you can even run it back with one of Washington's pass-game weapons.

Alvin Kamara ($8,900): Kamara is the only back projected for more FanDuel points than Zeke, per our models, as we have him scoring 21.6 points, making Kamara our third-ranked overall player. He's got at least 17.3 FanDuel points in each of his last four games despite seeing more than 13 carries just once in that span. With New Orleans a whopping 13.0-point favorite, there is some reason to worry that this could turn into more of a Mark Ingram ($7,400) game if Sean Payton wants to give Kamara a breather. But Ingram had only three more carries than Kamara last week in a super positive game script against Philly, and the Falcons hemorrhage receptions to running backs. Kamara's big-play ability combined with a league-best (for backs) 16 red-zone catches make him capable of a monster game in any spot. It's costly to fit in both Zeke and Kamara, but you can make it work.

Theo Riddick ($4,800): With Kerryon Johnson ruled out, Riddick is a floor play, which is valuable on this slate, but it's hard to find any ceiling as he's been held under double-digit fantasy points in every game this year. Chicago ranks first in run defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics, which isn't a bad thing for Riddick since Detroit will likely try to air it out. Mitchell Trubisky looking doubtful dings Riddick's value a tad as it gives Detroit a better chance to see a positive game script. But if you're going with a contrarian game stack from the Lions-Bears matchup and running with the assumption of a Chicago win, Riddick makes a ton of sense.

Wide Receivers

Julio Jones ($8,800): Given this slate, you pretty much have to be heavy on the Saints-Falcons game unless you're playing for the score to be much lower than what oddsmakers are expecting, or you think one of the two day games end up being more of a shootout than what's anticipated. Good luck with either of those. Julio has been a monster this season, leading the league in air yards market share (48%) while ranking second in overall target share (28%). He's gone for at least 96 yards in all but two games. Michael Thomas ($8,800) is the exact same price, making things really interesting. Julio gets the nod for small-field contests due to his insane volume, but Thomas ticks off a few boxes for GPPs, even more so if Tre'Quan Smith ($6,400) -- who has missed practice to start the week -- sits out.

Kenny Golladay ($7,200): Golladay ate sans Marvin Jones last week, recording 8 catches, 113 yards and a score on 14 targets. Jones is also out for Week 12, so Golladay will likely be very popular. We may just have to swallow the chalk, though, given the volume Golladay should see without Jones. Our models have Golladay as the third-ranked wideout on the slate, and Detroit should have to go to the air often with Chicago boasting the league's best run defense.

Taylor Gabriel (5,100): While Anthony Miller ($5,900) has some appeal, it's Gabriel who has the better usage numbers of late. The production hasn't been there over the last three weeks, but Gabriel is seeing a 19% target share and team-high 33% air yards share in that span, per, compared to clips of 18% and 23%, respectively, for Miller. Gabriel has just one fewer red-zone catch (four) than Miller does this season, and outside of Miller's 122-yard eruption against Detroit two weeks ago, the rookie hasn't gone for more than 50 yards in a game this year. The masses may stay away from Chicago's passing game with Chase Daniel likely under center, giving Gabriel GPP appeal.

Michael Gallup ($4,900): Since Dallas traded for Amari Cooper ($6,500), Gallup has seen 15% of their overall targets and 43% of their deep looks. That makes him a fun dart throw on a small slate, especially given that Cooper should see a good bit of ownership due to his solid usage numbers with the 'Boys. Gallup -- who is expected to play despite a family tragedy -- has made exactly one grab in three of his last six games, so there's no floor to speak of. But you're dreaming on a big play, that's bound to hit eventually if he keeps seeing so many of Dallas' deep targets.

Tight Ends

Austin Hooper ($5,800): Let's not try to pretend Hooper is a great play, and there's definitely some merit to full-on punting at tight end if it allows you to get the studs you want elsewhere. In fact, a lot of people may do just that or opt for Jordan Reed ($6,000), which makes Hooper an awkward customer at his price. But Hooper has 19 total targets over the last two weeks, and for the year, his 16% market share is the second-best mark on Atlanta. The Falcons have a 23.25-point implied total, and if they see the expected negative game script, volume shouldn't be an issue for Hooper.

Dalton Schultz ($4,000): If you're not going Hooper, Reed, Trey Burton ($6,400) or Ben Watson ($5,600), you're punting. Geoff Swaim is out for Dallas, giving Schultz, Blake Jarwin ($4,000) and Rico Gathers ($4,000) a slight boost. While none of them are all that enticing, Schultz has seen two and three targets in his two games this season while neither Gathers nor Jarwin has logged more than two looks in a game. With any of Dallas' tight ends, you're really just saving salary and praying for a touchdown, so check the news Thursday to see which one is expected to start.


Dallas D/ST ($4,800): Facing Colt McCoy at home, Dallas is in a plum spot, and they're our top-projected defense. They'll likely be chalk, though, and their salary could be a wee bit restrictive depending on what you do elsewhere. Still, there's no denying the upside here if Dallas can jump out in front and force McCoy to throw a large number of passes to a group of weapons consisting of Reed, Maurice Harris, Josh Doctson, Trey Quinn, Michael Floyd, Vernon Davis and Kapri Bibbs.

New Orleans D/ST ($3,200): New Orleans is a 13.0-point favorite, yet their D/ST is the second-cheapest on the slate. In all likelihood, Atlanta is going to have to pass a bunch to stay in this game, and that means chances for picks and sacks for the Saints. And if they can get a few turnovers, there's a chance the Saints' D has a decent fantasy day even if they give up a bunch of points to the Falcons.

Austan Kas is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austan Kas also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username akas247. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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