Here we are once again, and Thanksgiving is upon us. For us DFSers, this means a three-game NFL slate in the middle of the week with massive prize pools on DraftKings and FanDuel. These slates are always exciting and can be compared to afternoon-only slates on Sundays. The approach on a three-game slate is entirely different than a full Sunday selection of games. The staggered start times on Thanksgiving make these slates genuinely unique since you have so much opportunity to late-swap in your lineups based on how they are doing between games. We’ll also have some excellent showdown contests for each of these games, and I’ll touch on that as well.
CHI (22.5) @ DET (19)
This game looks like the worst of the bunch for fantasy production. One thing to keep in mind is that many casual fantasy players will roster players from this game simply to have early action. There is some benefit to taking advantage of this dynamic and steering clear of this game entirely. This also gives you more late-swap optionality in the later games.
If you play players from this game, the defenses stand out since there shouldn’t be much offensive production here. Particularly Chicago against a particularly putrid Lions offense, all the more if Jared Goff can’t suit up. Both running backs are among the better plays on the slate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see David Montgomery/Bears pairings and D’Andre Swift/Lions pairings be popular. Normally rostering two running backs from the same game is not super advisable. However, you are always trying to get different on these three gamers, and I could see the benefit in using both.
The tight ends on both sides of the game, Cole Kmet and T.J. Hockenson are decent plays. Darnell Mooney (questionable) has become a factor for the Bears in the passing game over the last two weeks. He would be a good option, particularly if Allen Robinson misses the game. Robinson himself is viable if he does suit up. Andy Dalton under center should improve the passing outlook for Chicago.
I likely wouldn’t dip below the players I’ve mentioned on the main slate unless just going for an ultra-low-owned punt in large-field GPPs. Fringe plays like Jamaal Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, and Marquise Goodwin could be considered in showdown contests.
LV (21.5) @ DAL (29)
This one should be a lot more popular for fantasy and has some potential to turn into a shootout. Derek Carr is an excellent value at QB, particularly at his DK price of just $5,900. Anchoring your lineup with Carr over Allen or Prescott enables you to spend up elsewhere. He should also be lower-owned than his high-end counterparts. Dak Prescott is also a fine play on this slate, with Dallas’ team total approaching 30.
The running backs on both sides of the ball in Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Jacobs are top priority plays here. It is worth noting that Elliott is currently questionable. If he misses, Tony Pollard becomes relevant on the main slate. CeeDee Lamb (questionable), Michael Gallup, and Hunter Renfrow are all totally in play at WR, and Darren Waller and Dalton Schultz are the top two TEs on the slate. Outside of that, you’re mostly looking at fringe showdown options like Bryan Edwards, Cedrick Wilson, Kenyan Drake, and Tony Pollard.
This is definitely a good game environment with many top plays that should gain a good bit of ownership. I think targeting Carr in this game and pairing him with Waller and/or Renfrow may be an excellent way to get a little different at quarterback on this slate. You save your salary to spend up elsewhere and still gain access to this game for game-stacking. I’m sure that Carr will gain plenty of ownership, but most QB ownership should go to Josh Allen and Dak Prescott.
BUF (25.25) @ NO (21.25)
DFS players love playing Josh Allen, and this Thanksgiving slate should be no exception to the rule. He’ll be the top raw projected quarterback of the week, even despite a technically tough matchup against New Orleans. We did just see Jalen Hurts put up a good game against the Saints’ defense. Josh Allen should be able to employ a similar game plan.
With Buffalo’s high passing volume, Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley (questionable), and Emmanuel Sanders are all highly viable on this slate, with Diggs leading the charge as the Bills’ WR1. Dawson Knox is playable in Allen stacks to fill the tight end spot. Neither Bills running back is particularly relevant considering their pass-heavy offense and the time split between Zack Moss and Devin Singletary. In showdown contests, you could play either.
There isn’t much to love on the New Orleans side, and in fact, the Bills’ defense may be in play against this Trevor Siemian led Saints squad. The chalky way to stack this game will be to play the only genuinely relevant New Orleans piece in Alvin Kamara. He is currently questionable, and if he sits, Mark Ingram II will be in play. However, he also comes with a Q tag. If neither suits up, we’ll have an interesting situation at RB for New Orleans.
A person could take a shot on Tre’Quan Smith or Marquez Callaway, but the Saints passing game is nothing to write home about. If they come in very low-owned, I don’t mind either in large-field tournaments. They are definitely relevant in a showdown format. Juwan Johnson should be a somewhat popular cheap tight end here at $2,600 on DraftKings.
This game is interesting in that Buffalo is the second-best team to target on the slate after Dallas. Yet, it appears that it might be a one-sided affair that could cap their upside. They have, however, shown willingness to keep the pedal to the metal even when up big. They’ve also shown chinks in their armor of late, and this game may go in a very unexpected direction.
This is a three-game slate, and NFL football is far more unpredictable than we often give it credit for. So much of the ownership will land on the Cowboys and Bills, so we have a lot of opportunities to get different elsewhere. In these types of contests in large-field tournaments, it is essential to get outside the norm and not play the most apparent lineups. We’ll definitely want to get some lower-owned, lower-probability plays into our rosters. Even with the scarcity of games, we have an excellent opportunity to do so because so much ownership will congregate on a few spots.