FanDuel Thanksgiving Day Special - Footballguys

In this special edition, Bonnema dives into the Thanksgiving Day slate of FanDuel GPPs.

Welcome to the Thanksgiving Day Special! What follows is an in-depth look at all three games. We have a fun slate this week but most exposure figures to be clustered around the Saints vs. Falcons, with a few players scattered in lineups from the early games. Identifying chalk, and more importantly, identifying sharp pivots away from the chalk is the key to a successful slate.

As always, these small slates are tough to crack. So have fun but don’t violate your bankroll limits chasing what appears to be obvious plays and easy wins. With that caveat aside, let’s dig in!

The Bears' Quarterback Situation

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE

Mitchell Trubisky is likely going to miss this game. It’s unfortunate since he offered a solid pivot away from the two obvious chalk quarterbacks. His scratch creates a butterfly effect on this slate that goes as follows:

Chase Daniel will get the start. He has virtually no experience despite being in the league since 2010. He has only 78 regular season pass attempts, and one touchdown to one interception. He does, however, have familiarity with Matt Nagy’s system.

That’s interesting because Daniel is only $6,000 and his discount allows for some super tempting builds. We can apply at least 65% of whatever we expected from Trubisky to Daniel (the rushing yards hurt the most). And he probably helps Tarik Cohen’s ceiling as the quick check-down option. Jordan Howard should see additional carries if the Bears choose to hide their unproven quarterback. Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel also get a boost in this situation as “underneath” guys, while Robinson gets a slight downgrade.

This also makes the Lions’ defense and LeGarrette Blount interesting plays. Given Daniel’s lack of experience and short notice start, the Lions—at home—stand to benefit defensively and may finally generate some turnovers to go along with their fifth-ranked sack percentage. Blount isn’t a good running back but he’s the starter and obvious goal line hammer. For $4,600, he could be a slate-wrecker even if he fails to produce a bunch of yards. If running multiple lineups, be sure to build a few with Blount/Lions’ defense stacks.

QUARTERBACKS

Drew Brees - $9,000

Sure to register as the most popular quarterback of the slate, Brees enters Week 12 riding a historic offense that has scored 45, 51, and 48 points over its last three games. He has attempted only 30.3 passes per contest over that stretch but still ranks first in FanDuel points per game (30.3, oddly) thanks to 12 total touchdowns and a 75.8% completion rate. Put another the check in the W column for Team Efficiency over Team Volume.

Unlikely to test that efficiency, the Falcons’ defense crawls into this matchup having allowed the third most points per game, the third highest completion rate, and the fifth most yards to quarterbacks despite facing Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Baker Mayfield, and Dak Prescott over their last four. They’ve allowed six quarterbacks to throw for at least 300 yards, and six to throw at least three touchdowns on the year. Obviously, this is a smash-spot for Brees and Co., making it incredibly hard to find any reasons to fade him. The thought process behind fading him goes something like this:

  • The Saints backfield could score most of the touchdowns.
  • His efficiency can’t be maintained.
  • Matt Ryan is cheaper and has as good of a matchup.

Those three reasons barely weigh enough to offset his upside, especially if this game comes anywhere near its over/under of 59 points, which is easily the highest on the slate. As far as game theory is concerned, ownership percentages of quarterbacks barely matter in full slates, let alone slates that feature only three games.

Matt Ryan - $8,600

Up until last week’s disappointment, Ryan offered bankable high ceilings and floors. From Week 5 to Week 10, he ranked ninth in FanDuel points per game and was riding a four-game streak of at least 330 passing yards in each. His 41.6 passing attempts per game since Week 5 ranked second, and his 33.9 passing yards per game also ranked second. Those numbers took hit after managing 291 yards on 34 attempts against the Cowboys’ defense last week. It was his third-worst fantasy performance of the year.

Things look a bit rosier against the Saints, who managed to dismantle Carson Wentz last week but should return to their passer-friendly ways in what looks like a shootout. Despite permitting only 20.2 total FanDuel points over their last two games, the Saints rank fourth in FanDuel points per game on the season and have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for over 300 four times. Ryan blasted them for 374 yards and five touchdowns on only 34 attempts back in Week 3. We can’t expect that level of performance again, but we can expect him to bounce back this week. We can also expect Saints running backs stacked with Falcons quarterbacks and wide receivers as a common strategy this week.

But setting expectations on how much of a bounce-back Ryan provides is where we should be cautious. Many analysts assumed this would be one of the NFL’s best secondaries. That hasn’t panned out except for when facing inferior quarterbacks/offenses and Eli Apple’s addition was only a minor upgrade. Still, they seem to be improving when not facing the Rams:

Conversely, the Falcons seem to be getting worse. They can’t run the ball, they can’t stop the run, and they can’t simply rely on their quarterback to constantly pull them out of negative games scripts. Hence, a 4-6 record. All things being equal, if you’re going to take a chalky quarterback, it might as well be the guy that has 12 touchdowns, 974 yards, and zero turnovers in his last three games (Brees, if you weren’t sure).

Mitchell Trubisky - $7,900

Per Ian Rapoport, Trubisky is dealing with a shoulder injury and did not practice on Tuesday (11/20). Be sure to confirm his status before committing to him.

A solid pivot away from the obvious chalk, Trubisky enters the week with more booms than busts on the season. Even last week, with the Bears’ defense controlling the game and Trubisky throwing for only 165 yards, he still managed 16.9 FanDuel points (a pair of two-point conversions helped). His ability as a runner provides a reliable floor every week and his ability as a passer makes his ceiling worth chasing. From Week 5 to Week 10, he trailed only Patrick Mahomes II in points per game and trailed only Cam Newton in rushing yards among quarterbacks.

On 30 passing attempts, Trubisky set the Lions’ defense on fire a couple of weeks ago, logging four total touchdowns and 373 total yards. The Lions then turned around and allowed Newton to dump three scores and 357 passing yards on them. Since Week 5, only the Bengals and Rams (after getting smoked on MNF) have allowed more FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks, and only the Rams, Raiders, and Panthers have allowed more passing touchdowns. On a short week, it’s hard not to love the Bears’ offense in this matchup, but it’s even easier to love the Bears’ defense. Kerryon Johnson won’t be available, and it’s likely Marvin Jones Jr misses again, which pushes an already predictable, unreliable offense into a brutal situation. As such, Trubisky’s ceiling feels less like a contrarian slate-breaker and more like a low-volume play who needs a rushing score to hit value. That said, it is an enticing matchup, and he didn’t need much volume to plant 36 FanDuel points on this defense in Week 10. In fact, this game may be worth stacking heavy as a pivot from the ultra-chalky Falcons/Saints.

The Field

There aren’t many attractive options outside of Brees, Ryan, and Trubisky. You could consider Dak Prescott, who sort of offers the poor man’s version of Trubisky thanks to his rushing ability. But Washington, though vulnerable to passers, gave Deshaun Watson only 11 points last week and Ryan Fitzpatrick managed only 15.74 despite throwing for over 400 yards. Prescott isn’t going to push a ton of volume or provide many yards, so if you play him, you’re hoping he scores a rushing touchdown and hoping Washington’s broken offense somehow fixes itself on a short week. Neither feels like a good enough possibility to chase. For $500 more, you can lock into a much more exciting offense via Trubisky without going heavy chalk.

Matthew Stafford is your ultimate contrarian option. He hasn’t been great since they traded Golden Tate and struggled last week without Marvin Jones Jr, but he managed a respectable 17.8 FanDuel points against the Bears in Chicago two weeks ago, and now has no running game to lean on. The Bears field an excellent defense that the crowd is going to be all over. But we’ve seen them get beat up by lesser quarterbacks than Stafford, such as Brock Osweiler’s 380-yards, three-score day in Week 6. And it’s not like they’ve faced a murderer’s row of elite passers with the Cardinals, Jets, Dolphins, and Bills on their schedule. As risky as it may be, rostering Stafford and his $6,800 salary allows for some fat builds and automatically cuts your roster against the grain.

Colt McCoy is not a name you should see in your lineups.

RUNNING BACKS

Alvin Kamara - $8,900 and Mark Ingram II - $7,400

Sticking with tradition, the most vulnerable element of the Falcons’ busted defense is defending pass-catching running backs. They’ve allowed the second-most receiving yards to the position already this year, after allowing the sixth-most last year and the fifth-most in 2016. Injuries have only exacerbated things, but even health wouldn’t help against the hottest offense in the league that features one of the best pass-catching backs possibly ever.

When he faced this team in Week 3, Kamara parlayed 20(!) targets into 15 receptions and 124 receiving yards to go along with 66 rushing yards. He failed to score a touchdown yet finished as the week’s top scoring back (26.5 FanDuel points). Under no circumstances should we hope he draws 20 targets again (he saw only one last week), but we should expect a solid afternoon from him in what sets up as a great spot. Should the Falcons generate enough offense to push this game up near its over/under of 59 points, Kamara offers the highest upside of any player on the slate.

His downside, however, deserves some consideration. Until last week, Kamara’s fantasy production was highly touchdown dependent (81.6 yards per game since Week 5, 21st among running backs), which is fine in this offense, but we know touchdowns come and go on any given Sunday (or Thursday), especially with Ingram soaking up red zone opportunities. With the game script tilted in his favor, Ingram enjoyed a team-leading six such opportunities last week; Kamara saw only one. And let’s not forget that 1) Ingram is a solid pass-catcher himself. He just doesn’t get used in that manner as often as Kamara. And 2) the Falcons also struggle against the run (298 rushing yards permitted over their last two games, eighth-most yards per attempt on the season).

Ingram makes for a great pivot away from his teammates and offers multi-touchdown upside. But perhaps the best move here is to play both Kamara and Ingram while fading Brees (and starting Trubisky, Ryan, or Stafford). That strategy puts a lot of chalk in your lineup but less than if you played Kamara and Elliott, or Kamara and Brees, or Kamara, Brees and Michael Thomas. And you buy the entire backfield of the league’s best rushing offense in an elite matchup. You could also consider buying the entire offense by stacking Brees, Kamara, and Ingram. The soft pricing actually makes this a viable strategy. The soft pricing could also make it a popular strategy. The other way to stack this game is via the classic RB/DST. Ingram/Saints’ defense looks like a decent option considering what they did to the Eagles last week and with the Falcons offense struggling lately (34 total points over their last two games).

Ezekiel Elliott - $8,700

Likely to challenge Kamara as the most popular back of Thanksgiving, Elliott enters Week 12 fresh off of a monster game in which he converted 30 touches into 201 yards and a touchdown. He’ll have a harder time against a Washington defense that has effectively stymied nearly every backfield they’ve faced. In fact, Elliott’s worst game of the season came against this defense in Week 7. He managed only 5.2 FanDuel points in that game despite handling 17 touches. Other notable backs that have been stuffed by Washington:

PlayerWeekRshRshYDRshTDRecRecYdRecTDFantPtSalary
Lamar Miller 11 20 86 0 3 22 0 12.3 6400
Alfred Blue 11 8 46 0 0 0 0 4.6 4900
Jacquizz Rodgers 10 1 0 0 8 102 0 12.2 4500
Peyton Barber 10 13 61 0 1 5 0 7.1 5400
Shaun Wilson 10 2 7 0 1 -4 0 0.8 4500
Tevin Coleman 9 13 88 0 5 68 2 30.1 6600
Ito Smith 9 10 60 1 1 4 0 12.9 5600
Saquon Barkley 8 13 38 0 9 73 0 15.6 8900
Wayne Gallman 8 1 -1 0 0 0 0 -0.1 4600
Ezekiel Elliott 7 15 33 0 2 9 0 5.2 8400
Christian McCaffrey 6 8 20 0 7 46 0 10.1 8400
Mark Ingram II II 5 16 53 2 2 20 0 20.3 6100
Alvin Kamara 5 6 24 0 3 15 0 5.4 9100
Ty Montgomery 3 4 16 0 6 48 0 9.4 5100
Jamaal Williams 3 5 29 0 2 16 0 5.5 5500
Aaron Jones 3 6 42 0 1 5 0 5.2 5900
Jordan Wilkins 2 10 61 0 2 3 0 7.4 6000
Nyheim Hines 2 4 7 1 1 -2 0 7 5500
Marlon Mack 2 10 34 0 1 2 0 4.1 6000
David Johnson 1 9 37 1 5 30 0 15.2 8600
Chase Edmonds 1 4 24 0 4 24 0 6.8 5000

We can point to Ingram scoring a pair of touchdowns as hope, and Coleman’s impressive outing a few weeks ago shows Washington’s vulnerabilities. But most importantly, there seems to be a trend in which running backs catch passes against this defense. Since Week 8, only the Chiefs and Browns have allowed more receiving yards to the position. That’s good news for Elliott, who has 26 targets, 19 catches, and 175 receiving yards over his last four games. And even though this matchup sets up as low-volume, low-scoring affair, Elliott has survived those types of situations all year and has the most obvious road to points among all running backs on Thanksgiving. Elliott plus the Cowboys’ defense makes for a fine stack to build around. But note that his ceiling feels a lot lower this week than normal.

The Field

Both Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard make for intriguing plays. Cohen owns the obvious upside as the guy that can break off a big run or catch at any time. But the game script tends to filter touches to one back or the other. With a lead over the Vikings last week, Howard saw 19 touches to Cohen’s 10. Week 9 ushered in a similar split (14 for Howard, seven for Cohen) when the Bears crushed the Bills. Game theory suggests Howard is the play on Thursday with the Bears installed as decent favorites against a broken Lions’ offense that just lost its centerpiece in Johnson. Stacking Howard with the Bears’ defense makes a ton of sense. Rolling with a Cohen/Howard/Bears DST stack isn’t a terrible way to gain full access to their offense and defense either, but the floor is extremely low.

On the other side, none of the Lions’ backs offer much appeal. LeGarrette Blount has been terrible this season and Theo Riddick, though a great receiver, has seen more than 11 carries in a game only once in his career. With Jones out of the lineup, he did run 21 routes last week—ranking fourth among his teammates—and we could see more of those this week with no Johnson. But expecting him to return meaningful production also means expecting him to hit a few big plays. Blount figures to still earn most goal-line work, should the Lions actually make it near the goal line. And now with Trubisky out, Blount becomes a decent, if not solid, GPP option.

Tevin Coleman hasn’t offered much stability in either volume or fantasy points. After blowing up against Washington in Week 9, he has since logged fantasy scores of 7.8 and 10, which are more in line with his seasonal output. His second highest score on the year is 15.2 and he ranks as RB17 in points per game since Week 5. The appeal against the Saints only exists because we assume the Falcons will fall behind and assume they’ll be forced to throw and hope that Coleman gets involved as a receiver like he did in Week 9 when he saw a career-high seven targets. Banking on those assumptions at least gives you a risky contrarian option that could pay off in a big way.

Adrian Peterson is in play thanks to his predictable market share. He overcame a bad offense and busted up offensive line last week and saved fantasy players with a pair of touchdowns while averaging under 3.2 yards per carry. But the Cowboys defensive front is not to be trifled with and volume can’t be counted on. If, however, Chris Thompson makes a return, he becomes an interesting GPP dart that blends perfectly with McCoy’s predictable low average depth-of-target against a defense that has allowed a fair amount of receiving yards and the third highest catch-rate to running backs.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Julio Jones - $8,800 and Michael Thomas - $8,800

Jones has logged at least 96 yards in all but two of his 11 games this year and heads to New Orleans riding a long overdue touchdown-streak of three games. Since Week 6, no wide receiver has more targets, catches, or yards, and only three wide receivers have scored more FanDuel points. Over that same stretch, the Saints have allowed the third-most yards per game and the fourth most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers, and don’t have the manpower to remove all of the Falcons receiving weapons. He’s a lock to see double-digit targets for the seventh time this season, and a good bet to throw triple-digit yardage numbers on the board. He’s also a lock to draw the second-most exposure from the crowd.

Drawing the most exposure figures to be Thomas, who has crushed nearly every secondary he has faced, including the Falcons back in Week 3. They held him out of the end zone, but he caught all 10 of his targets for 129 yards. For the most part, however, Atlanta has been decent against wide receivers. They’ve allowed the elite-types, such as Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr, and A.J. Green to have decent games (Tyler Boyd as well), and Thomas fits that mold, but for all the hoopla about how bad this defense is, they rank 15th in FanDuel points allowed—mostly thanks to a high touchdown total (13, ninth most). None of this matters, of course, because he plays with an elite quarterback and the Falcons have no way of accounting for the Saints’ offense, which means busted plays are in order.

As always, both of these players offer tournament-swinging upside and both project to draw a ton of ownership from the crowd. The pricing is soft enough to roster both as well, which only stands to push their exposure percentage higher. Of the two, Jones has upside on his side considering the likely hood that Kamara and Ingram steal touchdowns from Thomas, while Coleman and other Falcons’ players are less likely to steal from Jones. Of course, Jones also has a less likely chance of scoring a pair of touchdowns than Thomas, which flips the upside back to Thomas’s favor. This is just a long way of saying, flip a coin if you’re not rostering both of them. It’s also a long way of saying “get at least one of these guys in your lineups”, but you were already planning on that.

Kenny Golladay - $7,200

With Marvin Jones Jr on the sideline, Golladay set career highs in targets, catches, and FanDuel points, and came up a couple of yards short of a career-high in receiving yards. He ranks fourth in targets per game among wide receivers since Week 9 and has drawn 27 over his last two. And believe it or not, the matchup against the Bears is a solid one. For all their strengths, they’ve allowed the most receptions, the seventh most yards, and the fourth most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers. Most recently, Stefon Diggs cut into them for 126 yards and one touchdown on 13 catches. Golladay managed 78 yards, and a score on six catches two weeks ago. And even Albert Wilson binked a huge game against this secondary with 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 6.

The pass-rush of the Bears is about the only thing that can derail a monster outing by Golladay. But even though they pestered the Vikings last week, Kirk Cousins was still able to complete 65% of his passes and connect with his top two receivers 20 times. We know Detroit will be forced to throw and we doubt they’ll have much success running the ball no matter what, so this spot looks great for Golladay. He deserves attention as one of your core players.

Allen Robinson - $7,000 and Anthony Miller - $5,600

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: With Trubisky unlikely, both Robinson and Miller become less attractive, while both Burton and Gabriel seem more likely to gain extra attention, assuming Daniel gets forced into short throws underneath.

It’s safe to wonder if Robinson will draw shadow coverage from Darius Slay. According to Pro Football Focus, Slay has manned slot coverage on fewer than 17% of his snaps this season. Robinson has played around 38% of his snaps from the slot, and it just so happens that the majority of his numbers from Week 10 came via the slot. The same was true for Anthony Miller, who files as Chicago’s main slot wide receiver. One of the two figures to have a big day against this secondary. The Lions have surrendered the second-most touchdowns to wide receivers on the season, and have allowed a healthy 72.1% catch-rate. All of that adds up to the ninth-friendliest secondary for the position from a FanDuel points per game standpoint. They’ve allowed the most points per target than any other team.

Taylor Gabriel could also steal the show and burn this secondary with a long score or two, but of the three, Robinson shakes out as the steady target-hog and big-body end zone option not named Trey Burton. If you feel strongly that Robinson does draw shadow coverage from Slay, and that Slay is effective with his coverage, or if you need the extra cap space, then by all means pivot to Miller here, but Robinson profiles as a solid bet to return tournament value and makes for a good stacking partner with Trubisky.

Mohamed Sanu - $5,300

Sanu registers as a great pivot from Jones. The Saints biggest weakest falls squarely on their inability to prevent slot receivers from producing. They’ve allowed the 15th most yards, six touchdowns, and the fifth-highest completion rate to the slot, where Sanu spends over 75% of his time. He’s a streaky player but has drawn 19 targets over his last three games, including last week where he parlayed six targets into four catches for 56 yards. All told, nothing about his season suggests he’s a locked-in tournament play. But if we’re playing along with the talking points that chatter up the Falcons falling behind early and throwing often, then Sanu deserves consideration as a solid contrarian play worthy of his salary.

The Field

You could easily swap in Amari Cooper for Sanu and have yourself a fine tournament option that will come in under-owned after disappointing the crowd last week. Since Week 6, Washington has allowed the most yards per game and the seventh most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers. Three of those weeks included the likes of DeAndre Hopkins (who they held to 12.1 points), Mike Evans (6.6 points), Julio Jones (21.6 points), and Odell Beckham Jr (17.6 points). That acumen and those results effectively suggest Cooper’s ceiling hovers somewhere between 10 and 15 points. And given the likelihood of a sloppy, low-scoring game, it’s hard to qualify him as a tournament play, even on a slate where contrarian plays are so important.

But don’t forget about Cole Beasley. The Cowboys just lost Geoff Swaim, who may not even be a name you care or know about, but he frees up eight targets from their last two games that should filter towards Beasley’s area of the field. He’s surrendered his market share of targets since Cooper’s arrival but has a firmer grip on this offense than his box scores suggest. Washington has permitted the 10th most yards to slot receivers this season, and even though they’ve been tough from a catch-rate standpoint (third-lowest completion percentage of all teams), Prescott trusts Beasley more than anyone. Should this game somehow require the Cowboys to pass, Beasley stands to benefit just as much as Cooper.

Elsewhere, Washington’s cast of wide receivers is almost untouchable. The game plan for them should be run the ball, dink-and-dunk, and punt. Maybe we’re underselling their desire to stay in the hunt here, but if they win on Thursday, they’ll do so via timely defensive plays (Washington’s defense registers as a solid contrarian option).

T.J. Jones and Bruce Ellington both qualify as better options than anyone that plays for Washington. Ellington ended up with better stats but mostly because Jones was forced outside into tough coverage. Of the two, Ellington played the fewest snaps last week and figures to draw the tougher matchup assuming he continues to play into decent slot coverage from Bryce Callahan.

TIGHT ENDS

There are three tight ends the crowd is going to chase. On the expensive end, you have Trey Burton and Jordan Reed. The former plays fourth fiddle to his teammates, while the latter oozes with upside and talent not yet realized by this version of Washington’s offense. Burton has a slightly better matchup while Reed has slightly more upside given his offense’s lack of options.

And then there’s Austin Hooper, who ranks second in team targets and third in team red zone opportunities. Unfortunately, he takes on a defense that has smothered tight ends all season and most recently laid to rest the ever-reliable Zach Ertz (two catches for 15 yards). No one on this slate offers more appeal than Reed, but there’s a general strategy at play here we should consider:

  1. Pay up for either Burton or Reed and see where our builds take us.
  2. Roster the floor of Hooper and not totally punt this position.
  3. Totally punt this position.

The last option feels like the best one and probably the least popular one. With Swaim out, Rico Gathers or, more likely, Blake Jarwin enter the fray as interesting punt options. But Washington has been elite despite facing these tight ends:

PlayerWeekRecRecYdRecTDFantPtSalary
Jordan Akins 11 2 42 0 5.2 4000
Jordan Thomas 11 1 11 0 1.6 4800
O.J. Howard 10 1 15 0 2 6500
Cameron Brate 10 1 14 0 1.9 4400
Austin Hooper 9 3 41 0 5.6 5900
Evan Engram 8 5 25 1 11 5800
Geoff Swaim 7 3 25 0 4 4600
Blake Jarwin 7 1 16 0 2.1 4000
Dalton Schultz 7 1 12 0 1.7 4000
Greg Olsen 6 4 48 0 6.8 5900
Chris Manhertz 6 1 2 0 0.7 4100
Josh Hill 5 2 24 1 9.4 4400
Ben Watson 5 4 30 0 5 5200
Jimmy Graham 3 5 45 0 7 6200
Eric Ebron 2 3 26 1 10.1 5500
Jack Doyle 2 2 20 0 3 5600
Ricky Seals-Jones 1 3 19 0 3.4 5100

That pretty much scratches off chasing whatever Dallas tight end earns Swaim’s spot. Moving on, the Cowboys have allowed the most points of the available defenses, but it’s hard to plug Reed as a worthy pay-up candidate considering he has scored 8.5 points or fewer in eight games this year. It is worth noting that, with McCoy under center, he did draw four targets and netted 34 yards and a score. Perhaps McCoy’s presence secures a better floor for Reed, and as mentioned, he has the highest upside. Chasing Vernon Davis, who hasn’t shown up on the stat sheet in two weeks, is ultra-risky but could pay off should something happen to Reed or should Davis get involved as a red zone option.

For other punts, you could consider Michael Roberts or Luke Willson if we get injury clarity on either. Jones's and Johnson's absence vacates 101 targets, most of which will filter to Riddick, Ellington, Jones (T.J.), and Golladay. But some should also get pushed to the middle of the field where Roberts and Willson operate. Of course, neither are exciting options and both could return zeros.

DEFENSES

Dallas Cowboys - $4,800

The Cowboys’ defense may draw as much exposure as Kamara or Elliott. They’re the obvious play against a Washington team that just lost its starting quarterback and has been fielding a mediocre group of receivers. They also own a pieced together offensive line who will be forced to protect a terrible quarterback. The Cowboys have generated nine sacks over their last three games and rank seventh in sack percentage on the season. They’ve produced only 10 turnovers, but that number should grow against Colt McCoy or, heaven forbid, Mark Sanchez. This is an obvious play at defense, but keep in mind that the Cowboys have a way of disappointing or stressing out their fans on Thanksgiving.

Chicago Bears - $4,700

If there’s a reason the Cowboys don’t end up as super chalk, it’s because the crowd has split their shares with the Bears, who have been one of the best defenses in the league. They rank first in turnovers, ninth in sack percentage, and have allowed the fourth-fewest points and third-fewest yards. Enter the Lions banged-up offense that’s average barely 16 points a game over their last four, and you have every reason to join the crowds and make the Bears one of your core plays.

The Field

If Trubisky is ruled out, the Lions become an intriguing option. They haven't generated many turnovers but rank fifth in sack percentage and gain a massive advantage over Chase Daniel, Trubisky's backup, on short notice. It's worth noting that Daniel has familiarity with Matt Nagy's system, so don't get too excited for the Lions' defense. But keep them in mind if you need some relief at salary.

We can eliminate the Falcons from our lists but should consider the Saints after their performance against the Eagles. For $3,200, you get a defense that has held opposing offenses to 20 points or fewer in six of their games. Those offenses don’t feature Ryan and Co., who dumped 374 yards and five touchdowns on this defense back in Week 3, but the Saints have improved since then while the Falcons have regressed. They’re a risky play but an interesting stack with Kamara, Ingram, or both.

Washington also deserves considerations as a contrarian pivot. That game has the lowest over/under of the day (40 points) and features two sluggish offenses and two good, possibly great, defenses. Coming into Week 12, Washington ranks fifth in FanDuel points scored, has generated the third-most turnovers, allowed the fifth-fewest points, and ranks 12th in sack percentage. Conversely, the Cowboys, though playing better lately, have generated the eighth-fewest points, the sixth fewest yards, and have allowed the third highest sack rate. Washington’s defense could swing the slate if they can convert a few turnovers into defensive scores.


More articles from Justin Bonnema

See all

More articles on: Daily FF

See all

More articles on: FanDuel

See all