Happy Thanksgiving! Thursday features a three-game slate starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Quarterback Picks
Josh Allen is head and shoulders above the rest of Thursday’s quarterbacks. He hasn’t played his best football of late – he has two touchdown passes and four interceptions in the past three weeks – but he’s still been outstanding all season. He’s scored at least 24.52 DraftKings points in all but two games, and he’s cracked 30 fantasy points in five of them.
Allen is in a prime bounce-back spot vs. the Lions. Their defense has been a fantasy goldmine this season, ranking dead last in both points and yards per game allowed. They don’t grade out quite as poorly in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA, but the fact that their offense is good actually hurts them a bit. They’re capable of putting plenty of points on the scoreboard, so opposing offenses typically attack them for the full four quarters.
That sets up an ideal game script for Allen, which is reflected in the Vegas data. The total on this game sits at a whopping 54.5 points, which is one of the highest marks of the season. It’s the top mark on this slate by nearly 10 full points, and the Bills are implied for a massive 32.0 points.
Allen is expensive, but it’s going to be tough to avoid him. He leads all quarterbacks in THE BLITZ in median and ceiling projections, as well as projected Plus/Minus.
If you’re not going up for Allen, Dak Prescott is probably your next best choice. He’s still the second-most expensive quarterback on the slate, but he does provide a solid bit of savings compared to the Bills’ signal-caller. He’s -$1,800 cheaper on DraftKings and -$1,500 cheaper on FanDuel, and those savings can be impactful at other positions.
Prescott wasn’t really needed last week vs. the Vikings, attempting just 25 passes in a 40-3 rout. However, he was hyper-efficient with his opportunities, posting an 88% completion percentage with 276 yards and two scores.
Prescott could take to the air a bit more against the Giants, especially considering their current injury situation. They’ve already ruled out two members of their secondary, including top cornerback Adoree Jackson. Starting safety Xavier McKinney was already sidelined, and two additional members of the secondary are listed as questionable. The Giants’ pass defense wasn’t particularly intimidating to begin with, but Prescott could have a field day if the Cowboys let him air it out in this spot.
Prescott will also take the field as a home favorite, which is a situation he has historically relished. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.00 in that split, and that number increases to +7.46 when favored by double-digits (per the Trends tool).
Mac Jones is the cheapest passer on the DraftKings slate, and he’s coming off a game where he led his team to just three points on offense. However, the Jets’ defense is outstanding, and he still completed 85.2% of his passes for 246 yards. The Vikings rank 19th in pass defense DVOA, so he’ll have a significantly easier matchup on Thursday.
Jared Goff and the Lions are massive home underdogs against the Bills, which sets up a scenario where Goff has plenty of garbage time. He hasn’t exactly crushed for fantasy purposes this year, but the Lions have run for the third-most touchdowns in football. If the team scores through the air this week, Goff could put together a strong performance.
Kirk Cousins and Daniel Jones round out the position, and they’re facing two of the toughest pass defenses in football. They’re not going to command much ownership – which is appealing on a three-game slate – but they have minimal upside in their respective matchups.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
If the Giants are going to have any success moving the football on Thursday, they’re going to need to do it with their running game. For starters, the team has virtually no receivers left standing, with Wan’Dale Robinson becoming the latest player to go down with an injury. The Cowboys also boast the top pass rush in football, and the Giants have the potential to be decimated on the offensive line. They’ve already ruled out two linemen, and two more are listed as questionable.
A weakened offensive line against the Cowboys is a scary proposition, but you can run on this unit. The Cowboys are 10th in rush defense DVOA, and the Packers ran for more than 200 yards against them two weeks ago.
Fortunately, the Giants still have Saquon Barkley. He got off to a ridiculously good start this season, scoring at least 21.2 DraftKings points in three of his first four games. He’s slowed down a bit of late, but he did rack up 152 yards on 35 carries in an exploitable matchup vs. the Panthers.
Barkley is also a threat in the passing game, and he should be plenty involved as a receiver with the Giants’ pass-catchers dropping like flies. Barkley could also command less ownership than expected if DFS players choose to prioritize the stud receivers on this slate.
Rhamondre Stevenson is the clear best per-dollar option at the position on DraftKings. He has fully taken over in the Patriots’ backfield, even with Damien Harris back in the lineup. Stevenson played on 78% of the team’s snaps last week, and while he had just 52% of the rushing attempts, he dominated in the areas that truly matter. He posted a 79% route participation and a 22% target share, so he has plenty of value as a pass-catcher. He also saw 100% of the short-yardage work, so he has some touchdown upside as well.
Ultimately, Stevenson has posted an average Plus/Minus of +6.78 over the past 10 weeks, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in eight straight games. He’s scored at least 20.1 DraftKings points in five of those contests, so he’s simply too cheap at his current salary.
Tony Pollard’s ownership on this slate is going to be fascinating. He’s moved up to $8,500 on FanDuel, making him the second-most expensive back on the slate, but he’s still in a timeshare with Ezekiel Elliott. That didn’t matter last week – both players saw plenty of work in the blowout victory – but it’s still a long-term concern. However, Pollard has proven that he doesn’t need a bell-cow workload to be successful, and he was targeted on 32% of his routes last week. If he continues to get that much work in the passing game, it’s not going to matter if he loses some carries to Zeke.
Dalvin Cook stands out as a strong option on FanDuel, where his $7,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 90%. He was essentially played off the field by the Cowboys last week, but he could be busy against the Patriots. They have the best pass defense in football in DVOA, but they’ve been more susceptible against the run.
James Cook has started to play a bit more in recent weeks, but Devin Singletary remains the Bills’ clear top running back. He played on 72% of the snaps last week and racked up 55% of the carries. He also saw an 81% route participation, giving him some PPR upside as well. He’s the most viable cheap option at the position for cash games.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
This slate has plenty of strong receiving options at the top, but it’s hard to look past Stefon Diggs as the top overall option. He was quiet last week, finishing with just 14.8 DraftKings points, but that stands out as a clear outlier. He had racked up at least 25.8 DraftKings points in four of his previous five games, and Allen is not going to throw for only 197 yards in most weeks.
Not only does Diggs play for one of the best offenses in the league, but he’s also one of the most involved receivers. His 28.7% target share is the seventh-highest mark in the league, while his 37.9% air yards share ranks 12th. Diggs has also racked up 17 red zone targets this season, which is the same amount as the rest of the Bills’ receivers combined.
Diggs should be able to do some serious damage against a Lions’ squad that has surrendered some massive games to the position. Tyreek Hill torched them for 12 receptions and 188 yards, DK Metcalf had seven receptions for 149 yards, and A.J. Brown had 10 catches for 155 yards. They did do a decent job against Justin Jefferson, but it’s hard to envision Diggs having another down performance. Pro Football Focus qualifies this as an “excellent” matchup, and Diggs leads the position with an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.3 on DraftKings.
The Patriots are surprisingly deep at receiver, but Jakobi Meyers has been their one constant. He led the team with a 97% route participation last week, and no other receiver was above 65%. Meyers leads the team in targets and air yards for the year, and he’s been a consistent performer all year. He’s scored at least 8.4 DraftKings points in all eight games, and he’s cracked double-digits in six of them. That gives him a solid floor at just $5,100 on DraftKings, where his price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 83%.
While Diggs owns the highest ceiling at the position, Amon-Ra St. Brown might be the best pure value. He leads the position in projected DraftKings Plus/Minus per THE BLITZ, and he’s posted a massive target share over the past four weeks. Overall, he’s been targeted on 34.1% of his routes run, which puts him above guys like Tyreek Hill (33.8%) and Cooper Kupp (31.7%). In other words, he has the volume of a true alpha receiver, but he’s not priced that way currently.
Loading up on the Bills should be a popular strategy on Thursday, and Gabe Davis stands out as an elite value on DraftKings. His $5,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%, and he’s one of the top big play threats in the league. He leads all players with an average of 21.1 yards per reception, giving him considerable upside for his price tag.
When the Giants are forced to pass this week, Darius Slayton should be heavily involved. He had 10 targets last week, and that was with Robinson siphoning off 13 targets of his own. He’s the clear WR1 for a team that might be facing a lot of garbage time in the fourth quarter.
CeeDee Lamb wasn’t really needed vs. the Vikings, playing on just 47 of 70 snaps. However, he was on the field for nearly every snap the week prior, and he racked up 15 targets and 41.0 DraftKings points. He has excellent potential against the Giants, making him another strong WR option to pay up for.
NFL DFS Tight End Picks
If you’re looking to pay up at tight end, T.J. Hockenson is really your only option. However, he’s a pretty good one. He’s seen a massive role since arriving in Minnesota, racking up 28 targets through his first three games. He’s yet to find the end zone, but that kind of target upside is hard to ignore at a relatively weak position.
The Patriots are a tough matchup – they rank fifth in DVOA vs. the position – but Hockenson has a nice ceiling for his price tag.
Dalton Schultz stands out as a tremendous value on DraftKings, where his $3,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%. Schultz has had a resurgence with Prescott under center, posting a positive Plus/Minus in three of his past four games. The two have connected for one touchdown in that stretch, and they hooked up for eight touchdowns last season. That gives him some room for growth moving forward.
Schultz also draws a fantastic matchup this week vs. the Giants, who have historically been very weak against opposing tight ends. They rank 30th in DVOA vs. the position this season, and Schultz leads all tight ends in projected DraftKings Plus/Minus.
Dawson Knox is another fantastic value on DraftKings. He also has a Bargain Rating of 95%, and using him and Schultz together is a nice way to free up salary. You’re going to need to find some savings if you want to load up on the studs, and the dual TE strategy is one way to do it. Knox hasn’t been a prominent part of the Bills’ passing attack this season, but he has at least six targets in back-to-back games.
If you need to go even cheaper at TE, Brock Wright is a possibility. He had a touchdown two weeks ago and has played on most of the snaps since Hockenson was traded. The game environment also sets up well for him since tight ends are so reliant on touchdowns for fantasy production.