Thanksgiving – DFS Stud & Value Plays

Thanksgiving – DFS Stud & Value Plays

Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the daily fantasy season for NFL fans. There’s a three game slate that spans the duration of the holiday. So gather around the cornucopia, get another scoop of stuffing onto your dinner plate, and fire up some lineups in contests on the site of your choice.

We have three servings of NFL football to choose from: Minnesota versus Detroit, the LA Chargers head to Dallas, and the NY Giants head to the District to face Washington.

Here are my favorite stud and value plays at each position on the three game slate (spoiler alert, I love Minnesota and Washington a lot):


Stud – Kirk Cousins (vs. NY Giants)

Cousins has a date with a Giants defense that is 29th in the league in yards allowed and in DVOA against the passing game in 2017. The Giants allow opponents to throw 35 times a game on average, so Cousins has a real chance to threaten 300 yards if things break right this Thursday given his 8.1 yards per attempt this season. As if that wasn’t enough, the Giants are also allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season, a trend Cousins should continue to exploit this week.

Value – Case Keenum (@ Detroit)

Keenum’s price is depressed on a thin slate, and there’s a real good chance he gets overlooked for fan favorites like Cousins, Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers and Matt Stafford as players look to set their lineups for Thursday’s contests. This would be a tremendous mistake, as Keenum draws the league’s 20th ranked defense in yards allowed this week. Keenum’s Vikings are the 4th best pass offense in DVOA this season, and the best on the entire Thanksgiving slate. This Vikings team has a chance to announce they are for real with a win over a tough division opponent on the road this Thursday.

Running Back

Stud – Melvin Gordon (@ Dallas)

Melvin Gordon is basically the lone stud back on this short slate by default, so his ownership percentage ought to be through the roof. There’s a lot to like for Gordon here, however, given that the Cowboys rank 26th in DVOA against the rush and 20th in DVOA against pass catching RBs. The biggest threat to Gordon’s productivity is right behind him in the lineup in Austin Ekeler, who saw a season high 43% of snaps in Week 11. This might not be a cause for concern, however, as the Chargers probably rested their bell cow in their blowout win against Buffalo. Gordon should be an easy plug and play on this slate.

Value – Orleans Darkwa (@ Washington)

Darkwa has been one of the most efficient tailbacks in the NFL this season, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He’s been getting the majority of the snaps in Ben McAdoo’s backfield lately, and was in on 43% of snaps in Week 11 compared to Shane Vereen’s 33% and Wayne Gallman’s 23%. Washington allows the tenth most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season; they rank 20th in yards allowed on the ground, and 12th in DVOA against the rush. Darkwa’s received 14+ carries in the last three weeks, a trend that should continue on Thanksgiving if the Giants hope to find any success in D.C.

Wide Receiver

Stud – Adam Thielen (@ Detroit)

Adam Thielen’s come a long way from his days as an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State University in 2013. He’s owns a 28% target share in the Vikings offense this season, which is good for just shy of 10 targets a game on average. The Lions are 15th in DVOA against slot routes, a spot Thielen thrives on the field. It’s not the easiest matchup, but it’s not particularly difficult, either. Thielen’s received 10+ targets for four consecutive weeks; I’ve got a Thielen that Case Keenum should continue to look for his favorite receiver this Thursday.

Value – Jamison Crowder (vs. NY Giants)

The New York football Giants cannot defend, period. They are allowing the 12th most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, and are particularly bad against WR2’s and slot receivers – the two spots on the field Jamison Crowder lives for this Washington offense. Crowder has received 8+ targets for the last three weeks, while failing to earn more than 6 looks in the five weeks prior to that. With Chris Thompson and Terrelle Pryor officially out for the season, and star TE Jordan Reed still banged up, Crowder has quickly emerged as a reliable target for Kirk Cousins to hone in on. He should have a great chance to perform in prime time.

Tight End

Stud – Vernon Davis (vs. NY Giants)

I’m going back to the well for what’s worked throughout 2017, starting a tight end against the New York Giants. While the touchdown streak is over, the Giants are still allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Davis’ role in the offense should be relatively stable given the injuries mentioned above in my Crowder analysis, but also because he’s been so effective in recent weeks. Davis has earned the second most targets on the season (behind Crowder) for Washington, and runs routes deeper down the field given his team high 15.97 yards per reception. His usage should continue to be high on Thursday, particularly if Reed misses another game.

Value – Kyle Rudolph (@ Detroit)

These Lions rank 29th in DVOA against opposing tight ends, and that’s without having had a particularly tough opponent at the position in recent weeks. Chicago’s Adam Shaheen found paydirt last week against these Lions, while Cleveland’s Seth DeValve was able to haul in 4 catches for 70 yards the week before that. Rudolph’s seen 7+ targets for the last five weeks, and should be someone Keenum looks for as an option in the redzone with Darius Slay looming in that Lions’ secondary.

Best of the Rest

QB – Philip Rivers, Eli Manning
RB – Samaje Perine, Ameer Abdullah, Latavius Murray
WR – Stefon Diggs, Sterling Shepard, Keenan Allen, Josh Doctson
TE – Evan Engram, Hunter Henry
K – Aldrick Rosas, Nick Rose
D/ST – Vikings, Chargers


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