DFS

Navigating Thanksgiving Games in DFS

Thanksgiving DFS

Three-game slates should be treated much differently than a full slate of games. Playing certain players against your defense becomes more acceptable, game stacking becomes a lot more significant and the decision on chalk has a lot more weight. The structure of this piece will go game by game with a player pool at the end.

I also have three articles for each of these games from a showdown perspective:

Bills vs. Lions

Giants vs. Cowboys

Patriots vs. Vikings

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Bills vs. Lions

Passing Game

Bills

The Lions’ defense has learned to stop the run because of their usage of stacking the box. Josh Allen hasn’t looked the same in recent weeks, but the coverages he has been facing have prevented him from pushing the ball down the field. The Lions have utilized a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 3 concepts, and Allen has been at his best playing both of these concepts. Allen will have a massive advantage here, as the Lions could be without Jeff Okudah and do not have a great defensive line up front.

I want to stack Allen with three pass catchers to help differentiate myself from the field and look to pay off his top-tier salary. There are five players I am considering for this Bills team: Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, Dawson Knox, and Quintin Morris.

Diggs and Davis have a 70% air yardage share against Cover 1 and 3. Diggs is coming off a week where his first target was with 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter, and I expect him to see a ton of volume. Davis is a deep target for this team, and the Lions have struggled with bigger-bodied wide receivers running down the field. The concern with Davis ties into Allen’s elbow and maybe not utilizing the deep play as much. McKenzie is the most intriguing play because he gets a ton of snaps in the slot and the Lions have allowed nine players over 60 yards receiving from the slot.

This past weekend, Wan’Dale Robinson had 94 yards receiving, while Darius Slayton managed to get over 60 yards receiving. If Allen’s elbow is still preventing the deep ball, they will need to attack the slot, and that is where McKenzie gets his full workload. Knox has had over 50 yards receiving in each of the last two games and has been a check down for Allen. The Lions have struggled to defend in-line tight ends and Knox will see snaps there. Quintin Morris has run 16 routes in the last two weeks and is an appealing punt play to Allen’s stacks.

Lions

Jared Goff is not in my pool this week and it’s due to the coverage of the Bills. The Bills’ primary coverage is Cover 2 and Cover 4. Goff, against these coverages, averages 6.5 yards per attempt. The Bills have allowed over 300 yards passing, but it has had a lot to do with the opposing teams passing volume, and their wide receivers have made a lot of contested plays. Outside of Amon-Ra St. Brown, I am not sure we see that in from the Lions.

Against the Bills’ primary coverages, St. Brown averages 2.95 yards per route run and gets targeted on 37% of his routes run. St. Brown is in line for a heavy workload and will lead this team in targets as always. The running backs get targeted on over 20% of their routes against these coverages.

Rushing Attack

Bills

Devin Singletary dominates the running room with a split between James Cook and Nyheim Hines. The Lions have been a good run defense in recent weeks; loading the box has worked for them. Singletary has had over 70% of the snaps in the last five weeks and has three touchdowns in the last two games. Singletary is their best goal-line running back, and Josh Allen has not had a rushing attempt inside the ten.

Lions

The Lions’ rushing attack is a headache to follow, Jamaal Williams is the goal-line running back that will see plenty of carries, and D’Andre Swift is getting out-snapped by Justin Jackson because of injuries. The Bills haven’t been a great run defense as of late, but they turned it around against the Cleveland Browns, and I believe they will continue that in this matchup. Swift has run the most routes out of the running backs since Week 9 and has ten targets. Swift has yet to see over 30 snaps since Week 8.

Giants vs. Cowboys

Passing Game

Giants

The only player of interest in the Giants’ passing game is Darius Slayton, Richie James Jr., and Lawrence Cager. The Cowboys are going to pressure Daniel Jones the entire game and put on a show against the Vikings last weekend. 

Cowboys

Dak Prescott is coming off his best game of the season and is in a matchup where he will have the advantage. The Giants play a lot of Cover 1 and attempt to pressure you before their coverage gets beat. They have multiple corners on the injury report, and the Cowboys will have a significant advantage with CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Against that coverage, Prescott is averaging 9.5 yards per attempt and against a blitz, he has a 73% completion percentage. 

The two main targets for the Cowboys will be CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Since returning from injury both of these players against the Giants’ primary coverage have been targeted on over 30% of their routes, and average over two yards per route run. Noah Brown only gets targeted on 11% of his routes against these coverages with Prescott. This game also features the news of Odell Beckham Jr. possibly joining the Cowboys, and I believe the Cowboys want to see what they have with Gallup in this matchup.

Rushing Attack

Giants

Saquon Barkley is the best playmaker on the Giants, and the only way this game stays close will be through him. The issue is that their entire offensive line is beaten up, and the Cowboys are a top defensive line. In the first matchup, Barkley had four receptions for 45 yards, and that will be a big part of his stat line. Another negative on Barkley is that Jones will utilize his legs near the goal line, and take away rushing touchdowns.

Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott is back and will take the short yardage away from Tony Pollard. Pollard has proven to be an explosive player and the Cowboys are going to get him more touches going forward. The Cowboys want both of these players to see over ten carries, and there is no reason we shouldn’t expect that going forward. The Giants are beaten up on the back end, and I expect Dallas to air it out. The Giants load the box and bring a ton of pressure.

Vikings vs. Patriots

Passing Game

Vikings

Primetime Kirk Cousins will be in full effect against the Patriots. The Patriots are fifth in the NFL in pressures, and one of the teams ahead of them is the Dallas Cowboys. Without Christian Darrisaw, I do not anticipate the Vikings blocking the Patriots enough, which will put a lot of pressure on Cousins. Cousins has also not played well against man coverage looks this season; that is largely due to Adam Thielen not being an impact against it. Thielen averages 1.03 yards per route run against man coverage and gets targeted less than KJ Osborn on a per-route basis.

 

 

Osborn is one of my favorite plays in this game because Justin Jefferson will be bracketed, and the coverage will be built for him. Justin Jefferson against man coverage has been the one that has won against it. The Patriots have utilized cover 3 when playing zone, and Jefferson has averaged 4.67 yards per route run against that coverage. Jefferson will never be a player to avoid, but the matchup does worry me against the Patriots. T.J. Hockenson has been a heavy target for the Vikings, but with Darrisaw, he will likely be a player that helps out in pass protection. 

Patriots

Mac Jones will be pressured way too much and doesn’t have a great enough ceiling to be considered. The Vikings play a shell style of coverage and attempt to keep everything in front of them. Against the primary coverages for the Vikings, the main targets for the Patriots have been Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, and Rhamondre Stevenson. The tight ends have not been utilized much, and with how poorly they blocked last weekend, I expect them to be helping protect Jones. This game will be slow, and the volume will not be there.

Rushing Attack

Vikings

Without Christian Darrisaw, the Vikings’ offensive line will have issues. Dalvin Cook will have a big workload ahead of him to try and slow down the pass rush of the Patriots. The Patriots have only struggled with the run game in two games this season, against the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, and the Green Bay Packers. Those two teams are much better rushing attacks than the Vikings. Cook is on a slate where the running back position is weak, but I am uncertain the Vikings move the ball effectively, and the Patriots are a slow pace team. 

Patriots

You can play both Stevenson and Damien Harris together. The Vikings have been a solid run defense this year, but we just saw the ability of two running backs getting there. Stevenson will control the passing game role, and against the Vikings, coverages will see plenty of targets. Harris has shown some burst as he’s worked his way back from injury and can get goal-line carries. The Patriots offensive line was not able to pass block at all this past weekend, and I expect a heavy dose of both of these players.

Player Pool

Player Pos Team Opp VegasPts DK Salary FD Salary
Josh Allen QB BUF @ DET 31.75 $8,000 $9,500
Dak Prescott QB DAL vs NYG 27.75 $6,200 $8,000
Saquon Barkley RB NYG @ DAL 17.75 $8,000 $8,800
Dalvin Cook RB MIN vs NE 22.25 $7,400 $7,800
Tony Pollard RB DAL vs NYG 27.75 $6,600 $8,500
Rhamondre Stevenson RB NE @ MIN 20.25 $6,400 $7,200
Jamaal Williams RB DET vs BUF 22.75 $5,900 $7,100
Ezekiel Elliott RB DAL vs NYG 27.75 $5,800 $7,000
Devin Singletary RB BUF @ DET 31.75 $5,700 $6,900
D’Andre Swift RB DET vs BUF 22.75 $5,600 $6,200
Damien Harris RB NE @ MIN 20.25 $5,500 $6,400
Justin Jefferson WR MIN vs NE 22.25 $8,200 $8,600
Stefon Diggs WR BUF @ DET 31.75 $8,000 $9,300
CeeDee Lamb WR DAL vs NYG 27.75 $7,100 $7,900
Amon-Ra St. Brown WR DET vs BUF 22.75 $6,600 $7,600
Gabriel Davis WR BUF @ DET 31.75 $5,300 $7,200
Jakobi Meyers WR NE @ MIN 20.25 $5,100 $6,700
Darius Slayton WR NYG @ DAL 17.75 $5,000 $6,400
Adam Thielen WR MIN vs NE 22.25 $4,900 $5,900
Michael Gallup WR DAL vs NYG 27.75 $4,600 $5,700
Josh Reynolds WR DET vs BUF 22.75 $4,200 $5,600
Isaiah McKenzie WR BUF @ DET 31.75 $4,000 $5,200
D.J. Chark WR DET vs BUF 22.75 $3,800 $5,000
K.J. Osborn WR MIN vs NE 22.25 $3,600 $5,300
Richie James WR NYG @ DAL 17.75 $3,400 $10,400
Nelson Agholor WR NE @ MIN 20.25 $3,100 $10,100
Khalil Shakir WR BUF @ DET 31.75 $3,000 $9,300
Marcus Johnson WR NYG @ DAL 17.75 $3,000 $9,400
Isaiah Hodgins WR NYG @ DAL 17.75 $3,000 $10,000
T.J. Hockenson TE MIN vs NE 22.25 $5,000 $6,300
Dalton Schultz TE DAL vs NYG 27.75 $3,800 $5,800
Dawson Knox TE BUF @ DET 31.75 $3,500 $5,500
Lawrence Cager TE NYG @ DAL 17.75 $2,700 $9,300
Jake Ferguson TE DAL vs NYG 27.75 $2,500 $8,700
Peyton Hendershot TE DAL vs NYG 27.75 $2,500 $8,700
Quintin Morris TE BUF @ DET 31.75 $2,500 $8,400
Cowboys DST DAL vs NYG 17.75 $3,700 $5,000
Bills DST BUF @ DET 22.75 $3,400 $4,400
Vikings DST MIN vs NE 20.25 $3,100 $4,000
Patriots DST NE @ MIN 22.25 $3,000 $4,200

 

WATCH MORE: Thanksgiving DFS Breakdown with Jordan Vanek and Ryan Reynolds.

 

 

 

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