As anyone who follows pro football closely knows, the NFL seems to be bent on making sure to always schedule the least interesting matchups on Thursday nights. We often see low total games between sub-par teams and defensive slog-fests. Due to this, you will often hear DFSers decry that these are “bad games” and have less interest from a DFS perspective.
This is honestly a big mistake as these games can actually be the most profitable from a large field GPP perspective. Low-scoring affairs devoid of prominent star players can lead to unusual constructions winning out over the most apparent chalky lineups.
Tomorrow’s game between the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team is no exception to this rule. This game features a scarce total of 40.5, questionable quarterbacks, and a general lack of offensive firepower. This is a great game to get weird in our large-field tournaments, such as the million-dollar up top affair offered by DraftKings. These showdown contests, particularly for the Thursday games, may see prize pools shrink as the year goes on. Now is the time to get in on these Milly-Maker showdowns.
Giants Offensive Overview
The Giants come into this game as +3.5 point dogs, having struggled mightily in their first game of the season on Sunday. The short week doesn’t help. While Daniel Jones failed to impress at QB, per usual, the Giants could not get anything going in the running game. Saquon Barkley still doesn’t appear to be himself, and Devontae Booker as his backup didn’t fare much better out of the backfield. Barkley is a risky option on this showdown slate especially considering the Football Team’s stout rush defense. He also comes with a Q tag at the moment, and I don’t see New York being anxious to give him a maximum snap-share on this short week coming back from injury.
Sterling Shepard was a surprise on the receiving end in week one, leading the team in targets and receiving yards over Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton. It may be too late to buy at low ownership, considering that the rest of the field is aware of this and target shares have been adjusted in ownership projections across the industry. Still, we may gain a bit of an edge in recognizing that Shepard may actually be the alpha over Golladay in New York.
Kyle Rudolph will be handling tight end for another week with Evan Engram still on the shelf. We shouldn’t expect a huge target share, but a touchdown is certainly not out of the question. At $3200 on DK in what projects to be a low-scoring affair, one TD could be all you need to contribute to a tournament-winning lineup.
Washington Offensive Overview
Washington’s offensive outlook is in a good bit of flux and question with the loss of Ryan Fitzpatrick in week one. They appeared in that game to be heavily reliant on Antonio Gibson out of the backfield, and I would only anticipate that dependence increasing with the loss of the veteran quarterback. The Giants run defense struggled against Denver in their first game and may stand to be gashed by Gibson. Backup RB J..D. McKissic may have some utility on passing downs and comes in at a paltry $2200 price tag on DK.
Manning quarterback in Fitzpatrick’s stead will be Taylor Heinicke. He has not been terrible in his limited NFL experience and may even be on par with Daniel Jones on the other side of the ball. He does have some rushing upside which we particularly look for in DFS.
Terry McLaurin’s receiving outlook might be somewhat hamstrung by the quarterback situation and the Giants’ decent secondary. We would expect to see a run-heavy approach in general for the Football Team. The touted rookie Dyami Brown does appear to be the clear WR2 for Washington based on game one and comes in at a meager $1400 price tag. He should be one of the most popular players on the slate.
We can expect a full-time snap share for Logan Thomas at the tight end position based on week one. This makes him one of the few genuinely high-upside reliable TE plays in DFS. A generally conservative game plan from Washington considering that Heinicke will be at the helm should be anticipated. This could further benefit the short passing game and Thomas’ DFS outlook.
DFS Tournament Strategy
In running hundreds of optimal lineups using projections throughout the industry, the apparent chalk construction is evident. It will use the severely underpriced Dyami Brown to jam in all the best expensive plays on the slate. Many people will even use him at Captain and then play all the best players around him with the salary savings.
To fade Brown entirely would be an option here to get different in large-field contests. One could also roll with the lower owned Kyle Rudolph or J.D. McKissic as alternative salary relief options.
I also see clear paths to playing Brown in a more leveraged manner. He is ridiculously underpriced for a WR2. Rather than using him as a means of fitting in all of the other expensive plays, leaving tons of salary in Brown lineups is likely the way to go. This is if you are looking for leveraged tournament-winning builds. This is all the more a viable approach considering the generally low-scoring anticipated game environment. If we only expect a limited number of touchdowns in this game, they could come from anywhere, and simply nailing them might be the key.
The one recommendation for GPP leverage is to avoid using Brown in lineups that use most of your salary and the highest-owned players (QBs, Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Logan Thomas). These lineups are the most apparent optimal constructions and will be heavily duplicated and lack the uniqueness needed to reach the top without sharing it with all of your friends. Leaving salary and/or playing some lower-owned plays will be highly necessary for optimal GPP strategy.