Here’s a breakdown of the Thursday Night Football one-game DFS slate featuring the Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants at 8:20 p.m. ET on NFL Network and FOX.
New York Giants
Good Matchups & Values
The Eagles have been torched by wide receivers so far this season, allowing 24.6 DraftKings points, a +9.28 Plus/Minus and an 83% Consistency Rating to the six wideouts they’ve faced who have been projected for at least 50 receiving yards, according to our NFL Trends tool. The Giants have two receivers who are a match for that trend:
- Odell Beckham Jr. has always been at his best in front of a home crowd, averaging 22.7 DraftKings points, a +3.2 Plus/Minus, a 66% Consistency Rating and an 18% Upside Rating in New Jersey compared to 20.7 DraftKings points, a +1.2 Plus/Minus, a 51% Consistency Rating and a 3% Upside Rating in away games. The Eagles defense has been dismantled by opposing No. 1 wide receivers for 122.5 schedule-adjusted yards per game this season, which is 29.8 more than any other team in the league.
- Sterling Shepard’s average receiving line in the three games Evan Engram (out, knee) has missed is 6.3-74-0.66. The Eagles also rank 31st in Football Outsiders’ DVOA vs. No. 2 receivers, so Shepard has a nice matchup as well.
- The Eagles home/road splits vs. quarterbacks since 2016 essentially turn Tom Savage into Tom Brady: 15.1 DraftKings points at home vs. 21.3 on the road; -1.5 Plus/Minus at home vs. +4.3 on the road; 31% Consistency Rating at home vs. 68% on the road; and 0% Upside Rating at home vs. 18% on the road. Eli Manning’s median projection is fifth on the slate, but his floor and ceiling projections both crack the top three.
The Eagles have been so bad against opposing wideouts that even in an offense that’s been highly concentrated around Beckham, Shepard and Saquon Barkley, the Giants’ No. 3 and 4 wideouts have dart-throw appeal in large-field guaranteed prize pool tournaments.
- Cody Latimer was active last week but ran behind undrafted free-agent Jawill Davis, who looks like the higher-upside dart throw after drawing a cool four targets and 54 air yards on only 10 offensive snaps last week. Davis ran a 4.37-second 40 at his Pro Day and has returned five kickoffs over the past two weeks.
- Latimer is the more established pro, but the bar he has set has been low. Latimer managed only three catches for 56 yards in Weeks 1-3 despite a solid 16% air-yard share. That theoretical yardage potential and Russell Shepard’s absence are the only things keeping Latimer relevant on this slate.
- The Eagles defense generally does well against tight ends, but Scott Simonson has some salary-based dart-throw appeal on DraftKings. He played 16 snaps last week and could play more on Thursday depending on the health of Rhett Ellison (foot). He’d likely pay off if Manning is checking down vs. a prevent defense late in a blowout. UPDATE: Ellison is out, giving Simonson even more dart-throw appeal.
Especially with tackle Lane Johnson’s status in doubt due to an ankle injury, it’s worth noting that the Eagles have been generous to opposing fantasy defenses:
- Philadelphia is one of only two teams to allow opposing defenses to surpass their salary-based implied-point total on DraftKings in every game this season, allowing 8.6 DraftKings points and a +2.93 Plus/Minus, according to the Trends tool.
Tough Matchups & Fade Candidates
- That Saquon Barkley owns the top Projected Plus/Minus on the slate is a testament to his usage — he averages 14.2 carries and 6.2 catches per game — because the matchup is tough. The Eagles are allowing only 2.8 yards per carry to opposing running backs. Barkley is a better play on DraftKings, where he’s priced third at $10,400, than he is on FanDuel, where his $16,000 salary is tied with OBJ for highest on the slate.
- One reason the Eagles get lit up by wide receivers is because they’re good at covering tight ends. Even with Engram out, Ellison has drawn only 10% of Manning’s targets and has yet to get a look inside the 10-yard line. He’s a GPP-only contrarian play at best.
Good Matchups & Values
- Zach Ertz has been targeted 10-plus times in every game this season, and has 10 or more catches in three of the five. The Giants haven’t been as notoriously bad vs. tight ends as usual (they rank seventh in DVOA vs. the position), but their 54.4 schedule-adjusted yards allowed to tight ends is still more than they allow to No. 1 or 2 wide receivers.
- One Damon “Snacks” Harrison does not make a strong run defense, and the Giants rank 25th in DVOA vs. the run. Corey Clement is returning from a quad injury and is expected to share the load with Wendell Smallwood, who has been outplaying Clement. With the exact workload split unclear, pricing dictates their value to some extent: Clement is the better play on FanDuel at $8,000 compared to Smallwood’s $10,000 while Smallwood’s $3,800 salary on DraftKings gives him the edge over Clement at $4,400.
- On the basis of air yardage, Nelson Agholor has some unrealized upside: He’s tied with Ertz for second on the team with a 22% air-yard share over the past two weeks with Alshon Jeffery back.
- Shelton Gibson is on the dart-throw radar after parlaying one target into a 48-yard catch last week. His 48 air yards were good for 16% of Philly’s total, and his improvement was talked up by head coach Doug Pederson this week. Gibson could end up inheriting the Mike Wallace role in this offense, and it’s possible he carries lower ownership than fellow dart throws Jordan Matthews and Dallas Goedert.
- The Giants have allowed 9.8 DraftKings points and a +2.31 Plus/Minus on average to opposing defenses this season, allowing 80% of them to surpass salary-based expectations.
Tough Matchups & Fade Candidates
- Jeffery is being used more in the slot this season, and might need to line up there to get free against a defense that has limited plus-sized No. 1 receivers Michael Thomas (4-47-0) and Devin Funchess (4-53-0) over the past two weeks.
Roster Construction Notes
- Manning’s fantasy points have had ridiculously strong positive correlations with his WR1 (.84; Beckham) and RB1 (.83; Barkley) this season, according to our NFL Correlations tool. Beckham and Barkley’s correlation has been positive as well.
- The fantasy points of New York’s WR2 (Shepard) have been negatively correlated with the team’s QB (-.18), RB1 (-.54), WR1 (-.15) and TE (-.73); Shepard’s 8.2 average depth of target allows him to gobble up high-percentage looks at the expense of the rest of the team’s pass-catchers.
- Beckham returned four kicks last week, making him stackable with the Giants defense.
- The fantasy points of Philly’s RB1 have had a strong negative correlation (-.88) to those of its RB2 this season.
- The fantasy points of Philly’s QB have had strong positive correlation (.67) to the fantasy points of the opposing QB.
Cash Game Strategy
Beckham is the safest bet for the Captain slot on DraftKings, and even after paying 1.5 times his salary, there’s still enough left to gain exposure to both teams’ running and passing games via Barkley, Carson Wentz, Smallwood and Clement.
You can then round out the lineup with either the kicker or defense from the favored Eagles. Jake Elliott has the second-best Projected Plus/Minus on the slate and a higher median projection than the Eagles’ D, and he makes more sense from a correlation standpoint.
On FanDuel it’s more challenging, but the safest bet is locking in the top four members of the Giants offense — Beckham, Barkley, Shepard and Ellison — and taking advantage of the discount with Clement.
Considering Shepard’s price, he’ll likely be a popular stacking partner with Manning, but the correlation data shows a more +EV combination to build around is Manning-Barkley-Beckham (or simply Manning-Beckham).
Considering Barkley’s tough matchup and the correlation between opposing passers, fading him to fit Manning-Beckham and Wentz-Ertz stacks is another option on DraftKings.
And considering the lack of correlation of Shepard to the rest of the Giants offense, he makes for a sneaky Captain/MVP choice unstacked with Manning. He’s also the top option to bring it back with if you’re going with one-sided Eagles onslaught lineups.
The top leverage plays on the slate are Gibson and Davis due to their low price points and potential to pick up chunk plays, which would take away from the reception and yardage totals of other members of the passing game.
Both Smallwood and Clement are also high-leverage Captain plays on DraftKings because they both have a path to being the highest-scoring player on the slate if they end up parlaying the hot hand into a lion’s share of the backfield work (or if touchdown variance goes in one of their favors).
Despite the negative correlation of Eagles backs, I don’t think pairing Smallwood and Clement is completely unviable in a GPP, especially since you can run it back with members of the Giants passing game for a differentiated lineup that still plays to each team’s biggest weakness.
Also keep in mind that this is a division game on a short week and the over/under has dropped since open, so leaving money on the table and using the kickers/defense in tournaments is a better bet than usual this week.
Let’s get this shmoney!
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Chris Raybon is a Senior Editor at the Action Network and a co-host of “I’ll Take That Bet” on ESPN+. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2010 — even the kneel downs. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRaybon and read about how he quit his accounting job and got paid to watch sports.
Pictured above: Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, Jr.
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports