FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Thanksgiving Slate
Thanksgiving is a time for seeing family, eating overrated food and watching some football. It's also one of the cooler non-Sunday days of the year to take part in some action on FanDuel, where you can play in Thursday slate contests that cover all three of the Thanksgiving matchups.
The day starts with the Chicago Bears hitting the road to take on the Detroit Lions. Chicago is a 2.5-point favorite in what is the least appealing matchup of the day fantasy-wise as the game boasts a lowly 38.5-point total. The afternoon clash is a meeting between the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys, with Dallas a 6.5-point favorite in a game with a 45.5-point total. The best fantasy environment of the slate belongs to the New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons matchup as the Saints are 6.5-point favorites with the game carrying a 49.5-point total.
If you've got a long trip ahead of you, check out the Thanksgiving Slate Preview episode of the Heat Check Podcast.
Let's get to it!
Dak Prescott ($8,200) -- Dak is my favorite quarterback play on this slate, and our models agree as we project him for 21.1 FanDuel points. The Cowboys are 6.5-point home favorites, and while Buffalo is giving up just 12.2 FanDuel points per game to signal callers, the third-fewest, Prescott has been blowtorching foes at home, averaging 350 passing yards per game in five Jerry World outings in 2019. Plus, with just five other passers to choose from, we're going to have to overlook some blemishes regardless of who we plug into our quarterback slot. Dak's legs raise both his floor and his ceiling, and he could go a tad under-owned in this spot given the difficult matchup and his clunker last week.
Mitchell Trubisky ($6,800) -- Believe me, it's not fun to say this, but I don't hate using Trubisky on this slate. The matchup is great as the Lions are allowing 20.7 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks and sit in the bottom 10 in both pass defense and overall D, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. The downside is obvious as Trubisky is capable of imploding in any game. He has, however, had quality fantasy days lately in plum matchups versus the New York Giants (20.92) and these Lions (19.42), and he ran a season-high seven times in the Giants game last week. The salary -- he's the cheapest projected starter -- is great if you're trying to jam in top-shelf studs at receiver and running back, and Chicago offers some modestly priced stacking options.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,400) -- Zeke is a priority play on this slate in my eyes. Not only is Dallas a big home favorite, but they're also facing a run-funnel Bills defense (11th against the pass and 27th versus the run, per our metrics). Elliott's lack of targets lately -- just 10 across the past three weeks -- is a concern, but with Dallas favored by nearly a touchdown, Zeke should see plenty of rushing volume. If I'm paying up for only one top-priced back Thursday, it's Zeke.
Alvin Kamara ($8,300) -- We all know how good Kamara is and what he can do on a per-touch basis, but there are some reasons not to be sky high on him this week. The first is Terron Armstead's injury, which is a big negative for the entire Saints offense. On top of that, Kamara is averaging just 9.3 carries per game since the Saints' bye week, with Latavius Murray seeing 7.3 rush attempts per game in that span and scoring the only touchdown between the two of them. Touchdowns are a legit concern for Kamara, who has just two all year. He's gotten only seven carries inside the 10 along with eight red-zone targets. It's not ideal usage. With all that said, Kamara's pass-game volume (24.8% target share since Drew Brees came back) and big-play chops keep him firmly in play on any small slate. He's just not someone I'm going to be overweight on.
Devin Singletary ($6,600) -- Singletary has seen six targets in both of the games in which he's played and Buffalo has lost. On the season, he's got 25 targets to Frank Gore's 11, but Gore has just three looks over the last five games. Clearly, Singletary is the back we want here in a negative game script, and he even played 80.6% of the snaps last week in a win. He's easy to like given the situation and price.
David Montgomery ($5,900) -- Montgomery is a solid play, and his price makes him awfully appealing. More attractive in positive game scripts like this one, Montgomery is averaging 4.1 more rushing attempts per game in wins, though -- oddly -- four of his five rushing scores have come in losses. Our models project Montgomery as this slate's RB3, forecasting him for 12.1 FanDuel points, and he's coming off a 68.1% snap rate in last week's positive game script. If you're building with the idea that the Bears lose, then Tarik Cohen ($6,400) makes sense.
Devonta Freeman ($6,200) -- I wanted to touch on Freeman, who was listed as limited on Tuesday, giving him a shot to play. The Falcons haven't got much from Qadree Ollison and Brian Hill, and Freeman's pass-game skills could be put to use against the Saints, especially if Austin Hooper remains sidelined. The Saints have allowed the fewest rushing yards to backs this season, but they've surrendered the ninth-most targets and fifth-most catches to the position. If he plays but isn't expected to be 100%, Freeman is probably worth fading, especially since we may not know his status when the other games lock. But if he's expected to be full-go, he's not a bad option at this cost.
Michael Thomas ($9,200) -- Thomas is the second-best overall play on the slate, per our models, as we peg him to outscore every quarterback other than Dak. He's scored at least 12.9 FanDuel points in every game this year and has finished with between 21.1 and 21.8 FanDuel points in four straight outings. Thomas has accounted for 30.8% of the targets since Brees came back from injury. The price is steep, but expect the masses to find a way to jam him in.
Michael Gallup ($6,800) -- Amari Cooper ($7,900) may get some squeaky-wheel treatment after last week's donut, but with Cooper likely to see a lot of Tre'Davious White, Gallup could benefit in a big way. Since Dallas' bye, Gallup paces the team in target share (22%) and air yards share (29%), per AirYards.com. He's a great stacking partner with Dak, and if you want to roll out a game stack, Buffalo has a great piece for it in this next fella.
John Brown ($6,600) -- Brown is seeing elite usage. In six games since the Bills' bye, he has accounted for a massive 45% air yards share and 28% target share. He's ninth in the league in yards before catch per reception (12.0) and fourth in overall air yards. Brown and Josh Allen have a difficult matchup against a good Dallas D, but they do get to play this one indoors. In Buffalo's three losses, Brown has averaged 10 targets, and he's a great way to run it back if you stack Dallas.
Calvin Ridley ($6,500) -- As things stand now (Tuesday afternoon), there are two keys to Ridley's outlook this week, and that's the health of Julio Jones ($7,800) and Marshon Lattimore. If Jones and Lattimore both play, that could funnel some looks to Ridley. If Jones plays and Lattimore doesn't, Julio could feast. If Jones and Lattimore each sit, Ridley would be in line to be the top dog against a weakened pass D. If Lattimore plays and Jones sits, Ridley could see shadow coverage from a top corner. Got all that? We should have a better idea of the status for Julio and Lattimore by Wednesday. D.J. Moore (126 and two tuds) just showed us what is possible versus a Lattimore-less New Orleans defense, so stay tuned.
Anthony Miller ($5,300) -- Miller has returned from his early-season retirement and has gotten 20 combined targets across the past two weeks. With Taylor Gabriel likely out, Miller is a safe bet for good volume in a nice matchup versus Detroit. Allen Robinson ($7,700) is getting good volume, too, but A-Rob should see a lot of Darius Slay, the Lions' top corner. Miller offers a nice floor/ceiling combination at an easy-to-like price.
Dawson Knox ($4,500) -- Tight end usually stinks on full main slates, so this is predictably bad. Austin Hooper playing would help, but that doesn't look likely. In my view, it's worth paying down and taking a risk here if it helps you get the running backs and wideouts you want. Knox isn't a bad gamble with Buffalo a sizeable road 'dog. He's seen 11% of the Bills' targets over the last four games, and Knox was in on 87.3% of the snaps last week. Is the floor bottomless? You bet. But we have him projected for just 2.6 points fewer than Jared Cook, who is atop the position, and Knox is $2,200 cheaper.
Jaeden Graham ($4,900) -- As long as Hooper sits (and he was sidelined Tuesday), Graham is another decent punt play. Graham logged a 72.2% snap rate last week. He's seen only two targets in each of the last two games, but one of those went for a 53-yard gain. In a game in which Atlanta could see a negative game script and be without Julio and Hooper, Graham may be leaned on more than usual.
Chicago D/ST ($5,000) -- The most expensive D/ST on the board, the Bears are more of a GPP play since the masses likely won't spend up on defense. That could change, however, if Jeff Driskel, who was limited Monday, doesn't suit up. No Driskel would likely make the Bears considerably more popular. Our models have Chicago projected for 9.6 FanDuel points, and while sacks have dried up lately for this unit (one over their last two weeks), the Bears could eat against a less-than-100% Driskel behind an offensive line that ranks 12th-worst in adjusted sack rate.
Dallas D/ST ($4,200) -- Going with Dallas gets you access to a home favorite who is up against an erratic quarterback. The Bills have given up the third-fewest sacks on the season, due in part to Josh Allen's elite mobility, but Allen could have to go to the air more than the Bills would like in this one. He's tossed eight picks -- with 12 interceptable passes this year, per PlayerProfiler -- and has fumbled the ball 11 times. Yes, please.