This article serves as a primer to the three-game NFL DFS Thanksgiving slate on Thursday, November 22. The games start at 12:30pm ET, so be sure to set your lineups before sitting down to a plate full of turkey.
Here are the odds associated with each matchup:
Chicago (-3) at Detroit – Total: 44
Washington at Dallas (-7.5) – Total: 40.5
Atlanta at New Orleans (-13) – Total: 60
Colt McCoy – Washington (at Dallas)
This recommendation is more about strategy than outright fantasy expectations. Taking Colt McCoy at quarterback for a bargain basement salary allows you to stack the other spots on your lineup. For example: Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Golladay are able to coexist on the same squad. By selecting McCoy, you are essentially hoping he can piece together a respectable performance. It’s nice to know he has some running upside, as he’ll likely put that to use with a shaky offensive line in front of him. I’m essentially hoping he can approach the neighborhood of 17 fantasy points while Drew Brees and Matt Ryan have otherwise tame performances.
Additional Notes: Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are undoubtedly the top QB picks on Thursday – listed in the order of preference. You’ll likely need to sacrifice at another position in order to roster either of these guys, so keep that in mind. Downgrading Kenny Golladay to teammate Bruce Ellington (more on them later) or Anthony Miller is an example of the trade-off needed to make either QB work. It’s a matter of personal preference from there, but taking Brees or Ryan is probably a better cash game strategy, then crossing your fingers with McCoy in tournaments.
Alvin Kamara – New Orleans (vs Atlanta)
Kamara doesn’t really need much explanation, as he is “1a” to Ezekiel Elliott’s “1b” of all skill players on this slate. Kamara has a fantastic matchup as well, facing an Atlanta team that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Keep in mind that the Falcons have surrendered the most receptions to the running back position as well. Kamara contributed to that mark with 15 grabs (!) against them earlier this season, going for 27 FanDuel points. Even though Mark Ingram is back to his productive ways, there should be room for both to contribute in this shootout. Kamara is a great building block through all formats while Ingram is a tournament pivot.
Theo Riddick – Detroit (vs Chicago)
Riddick is an intriguing FLEX bargain that will help you roster Kamara and Elliott in the same lineup. He is dirt cheap while looking at plenty of work with Kerryon Johnson doubtful and Marvin Jones highly questionable. Riddick was able to post an amicable performance with 6 catches for 60 yards against the Bears two weeks ago, and there’s a great chance he’ll expand on that with more snaps, targets, and overall touches this time around.
Additional Notes: It goes without saying that Ezekiel Elliott is a foundation piece in this three-game Thanksgiving slate. He’s playing his best football of the season, and the Cowboys check in as seven point home favorites. I’ll be doing everything in my power to stack Kamara and Zeke in the same lineup … I like Tarik Cohen in tournaments, especially on a full PPR site like DraftKings. The Bears’ RB has flopped in two of his past three games, but he put up a respectable showing against the Lions a few weeks ago. Detroit has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and there’s a chance that backup QB Chase Daniel will lean on him in the short passing game.
Michael Thomas – New Orleans (vs Atlanta)
One of the biggest debates in this slate is Michael Thomas vs Julio Jones at wide receiver. Odds are that you only have room for one of them in your lineup. My vote goes to the Brees-Thomas connection as a near two touchdown favorite in the Superdome. Thomas hauled in 10 catches for 129 yards earlier in the season at Atlanta, and there’s a good chance he can replicate that performance.
Kenny Golladay – Detroit (vs Chicago)
This is a key decision point when assembling Thanksgiving lineups. Kenny Golladay undoubtedly has upside as the best (healthy) playmaker for Detroit. He has seen 13+ targets in each of the past two weeks, and there’s a good chance that will keep trending upward. He’s a great play in a vacuum, but you’ll likely have to sacrifice one of Kamara, Elliott, Thomas/Julio, or Brees/Ryan in order to squeeze him into your lineup. If you are not willing to do that, falling back on cheaper options like Ellington, Miller, Sanu, or Beasley is the alternative.
Additional Notes: Don’t forget about Bruce Ellington as a cheap value filler if you need to save some cap space. If Marvin Jones Jr misses Thursday’s game, Ellington will be locked into a prominent role that translated to nine targets, six receptions, and 52 yards last week … Anthony Miller has been heating up in recent weeks, and he posted a rewarding 5-122-1 line against the Lions on November 11. However, we need to scale back the optimism with Chase Daniel taking over QB duties for Chicago on Thursday. I still believe Miller is an “okay” option if he’s the final piece to your lineup, but expectations should be tempered … Tre’Quan Smith, Allen Robinson II, and Mohamed Sanu are on my list of tournament diversifiers.
Jordan Reed – Washington (at Dallas)
Reed will likely be popular on this Thanksgiving slate, as the tight end position doesn’t have much to offer. The Washington TE is coming off his best game of the season, showing a clear connection with Colt McCoy as the new starting QB. Reed is certainly capable of replicating his 7-71-1 line from last Sunday, and he’ll see plenty of volume to get there. It helps that the Cowboys’ defense is missing LB Sean Lee.
Additional Notes: There’s really not much to see here. Maybe Austin Hooper can see a healthy number of targets if the game flow goes according to plan in this game. Even if that’s the case, it’s tough to get excited about a matchup against this New Orleans defense that has allowed the second-least fantasy points to opposing tight ends … Benjamin Watson is a potential “dart throw” if you are looking to stack another pass catcher with Brees.