I handed out a winning NFL DFS lineup for the Monday Night Football game a few days ago, so hopefully you had the luxury of cashing with my lineup. Maybe you even used some of my picks and mixed in your own to win even more money.
Either way, I’ll aim to keep the good times going come Turkey Day, when the NFL pushes three games out onto the holiday schedule. This is one of my favorite times of year and it’s fun for DFS fans, especially when you consider there are no NBA DFS contests to be had on Thursday.
The only thing better than great good and being in the presence of family is being able to gloat about your winnings at the end of the day. I think I have a team that can help make that happen.
As usual, feel free to use this lineup as it stands or make pivots to come up with your own variation of what you deem to be the “optimal” FanDuel Thanksgiving Day lineup:
QB: Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints ($9k)
Based on matchups and upside, the quarterback position is most likely down to Drew Brees or Matt Ryan. Brees has been lights out with 28+ fantasy points in each of his last three games, so this is an easy call for me here.
You can pivot to Ryan or try to save elsewhere with Matthew Stafford or Dak Prescott, but I’m not getting cute here. Brees has been ablaze at home (+9 fantasy points per game), while the Falcons rank 30th against fantasy passers in 2018.
I don’t see the point in trying to secure value via Chase Daniel or Colt McCoy, while Dak Prescott isn’t the Cowboy I’d be paying for on this slate. The $600 difference between Brees and Ryan isn’t enough to really get me thinking of going there and the $1.6k gap between Brees and Dak probably isn’t tempting enough, either.
RB: Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints ($8.9k)
If you’ve been tracking the NFL for the past several weeks, it’d be easy to note that the Saints have been quite arguably the best team in football. I don’t see that trend being interrupted against an under-performing Falcons team and Kamara is a pretty big reason why.
It’s entirely possible Mark Ingram ($7.4k) benefits just as much, but I want Kamara here. He’ll probably be chalky, but who cares when he’s putting up 23+ fantasy points most weeks. I’d think this is a nice spot for him to explode, too, considering Atlanta specifically struggles with pass-catching backs (most catches allowed, second most receiving yards allowed and 7th most receiving scores given up) and ranks 29th against the position on the year.
Ingram is a contrarian pivot to save cash, but I prefer Kamara on Turkey Day.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys ($8.7k)
Pairing the two Saints running backs together might not be crazy, while you probably have to consider Adrian Peterson, Tevin Coleman and the two Chicago running backs. I don’t really trust any of them and I also don’t think they match Zeke’s upside, so I won’t be going that route.
There is an opportunity to save more cash elsewhere, so I’ll pay for Elliott, who has smashed with 29+ fantasy points in each of his last two games. The formula for Dallas wins stems from Zeke dominating on the ground and I assume that carries over into a home date against the Redskins.
The Cowboys can take back the NFC East lead with a win on Thanksgiving Day and I bet Zeke will want to redeem himself for a poor performance the last time he battled Washington.
WR: Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints ($8.8k)
I’m Team Saints on this slate, as they have the best matchup on the board. A lot of people will feel like New Orleans is too chalky and/or they’ll seek out value, while Julio Jones is admittedly a pretty attractive pivot off of MT. I won’t be going that route, though, as Thomas has been a fiend lately and again has a favorable matchup at home.
Thomas has dropped in 17+ fantasy points in each of his last three outings and faces an Atlanta defense that ranks 28th against fantasy receivers on the year. Thomas goes how Brees goes, too, as he’s averaging +11 fantasy points at home compared to on the road.
WR: Trey Quinn – Washington Redskins ($4.8k)
I would much rather save cash via cheap wide receivers that fade the top quarterback, running backs and one of the top wide receivers. I think one good spot to save cash is Trey Quinn, who is a solid slot option and isn’t even $5k.
He performed decently (4 for 49) in his first ever start last week and the odds are good that Colt McCoy will lean on his tight ends, running backs and slot guys in his first start in quite some time.
Quinn carries obvious risk, but the role could be there for a respectable outing if Jamison Crowder is again sidelined with an injury. Considering Crowder (ankle) missed last week and there’s a short turnaround this week, Quinn is looking like a fine value pick.
If you don’t like Quinn and/or Crowder ends up starting, consider pivoting to Brandon Marshall or T.J. Jones. The Saints and Lions both have receivers who are banged up, so it’s possible one of those players could see a slightly enhanced role this week.
WR: Taylor Gabriel – Chicago Bears ($5.1k)
I could use the guys I just mentioned, but I’d rather take a shot at Gabriel this week. Mitchell Trubisky is doubtful to suit up on Thursday, so Chase Daniel is the logical start for the Bears. Whether he ends up throwing from behind on the road or operates the same system and utilized Gabriel on screens and short outs, I like this play.
Gabriel hauled in seven catches on nine targets last week, so we know the role is still there. Allen Robinson will probably be locked up by top Lions corner Darius Slay on the outside, too, so don’t be shocked if Gabriel and perhaps Anthony Miller are pretty active in this one.
TE: Trey Burton – Chicago Bears ($6.4k)
If Robinson is going to be locked up, there’s a good chance the Bears run a lot and/or dump the ball off like I suggested with Gabriel. That probably benefits top tight end Trey Burton, who may be due a big game after sacking out the past four weeks.
Burton is a good athlete with a solid role, but he simply doesn’t always get the targets he deserves. New Orleans, Washington and Atlanta all play the tight end position pretty well and I’m really only looking at Burton or Jordan Reed this week. Reed would save you some cash and he did look good last week, but I tend to prefer Burton’s upside in a slightly better matchup.
FLEX: Bruce Ellington – Detroit Lions ($5k)
Ellington was solid in his Lions debut last week, hauling in six grabs on nine targets. He got in some limited practice work this week, so it sounds like he’ll be a go against Chicago. The matchup isn’t amazing with the Bears, but he should get most of his work out of the slot and thanks to Marvin Jones being out again, looks like a fine sleeper:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 21, 2018
Michael Gallup, LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick all deserve a look as well, but I prefer Ellington if he’s active.
DEF: New Orleans Saints ($3.2k)
Chicago and Dallas feel like the best defenses and they’re certainly the most expensive, but how do we keep overlooking the Saints? Maybe it’s because the Falcons have so much offensive upside or because the Saints are amazing offensively as well, but let’s not ignore that their defense has been quite good for several weeks now.
The Saints specifically just got done embarrassing both the Eagles and Bengals and put up 15 fantasy points in Minnesota four games ago. This is a very capable defense hosting a Falcons team that not only has had issues on the road in general, but has not looked right the past couple of weeks.
If the Browns and Cowboys can contain this offense (under 20 points in each of the last two games), I don’t hate the Saints at this dirt cheap price.
I’m stacking the Saints and trying to cram in whatever value makes sense. I’m leaving some viable options on the table, but to be frank, the only offense I feel remotely weird about fading is Atlanta’s.
I really like the Saints defense in this spot, though. If my Saints stack is somehow contrarian, I’ll be super shocked and rather excited to close out the holiday.
Use this lineup or mix and match my NFL DFS picks with your own. Either way, I wish you luck and hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!