The Sunday after Thanksgiving is always a tricky slate because so much of the week’s focus was on Thursday’s 3-gamer. Furthermore, a lot of fantasy’s best players are not on the main slate because a whopping five games are islands. Our job is to maintain our weekly process despite the distractions.
The point of this column is to use the news, snap counts, usage, matchups and trends to both be a little contrarian and avoid whiffs. Note that I am discussing the DraftKings main slate only, aka the 11 Sunday day games.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Davante Adams against the GiantsNow two full months removed from his toe injury, we can consider Davante Adams 100% healthy. And for the first time since coming back, he gets a truly strong matchup. The Giants are 27th in pass defense DVOA and 31st in yards per pass attempt allowed. Janoris Jenkins is a middling 48th among 122 qualifiers in PFF’s CB grades and DeAndre Baker is dead last. Adams has seen at least 10 targets in all three of his games since returning, massive volume for anyone priced at $7,000 in a good matchup. Adams, of course, is attached to Aaron Rodgers ($6,500) and has All-Pro caliber talent.
2. Phillip Lindsay against the Chargers
Buried by injuries and downright poor play, the Chargers have sunk to 27th in run defense DVOA. Meanwhile, Phillip Lindsay has asserted himself as the clear 1A in the Broncos backfield. Since coming off bye two weeks ago, Lindsay has handled 29-of-40 running back carries (72%) and 4-of-10 running back targets. It’s far from elite usage, but Lindsay also comes in with a far from elite price tag at $5,000. Armed with big-play ability and a pass-game role, the floor/ceiling combo is there.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Sterling Shepard returning to slotGolden Tate (concussion) and Evan Engram (foot) will not be playing. That opens up the middle of the field for Sterling Shepard, which is his optimal position. Due to poor team-building from Dave Gettleman, of course, the Giants had three players whose best position was the slot. Shepard has exactly nine targets in four straight games, but has been held under 80 yards and hasn’t scored a touchdown in the last three. Armed with a capable Daniel Jones in a matchup with two offenses capable of producing a shootout, Shepard’s $4,900 tag is intriguing.
2. Mike Evans off three bad games
Has a total of 12 catches and zero touchdowns in his last three games. That’s despite some very good matchups and game environments against the Cardinals, Saints and Falcons. But as we’ve seen so many times before with Evans, his range of outcomes is as wide as any player in the league. He has a zero-catch game this year (Week 5) and also two games with more than 45 DKFP. On the season Evans still has 517 more Air Yards than Chris Godwin and a .62 weighted opportunity rating (WOPR) compared to Godwin’s .51. Evans’ matchup this week against the Jaguars is quietly one of the best in the league.
CONTRARIAN GPP STACKS
1. Nick Foles to Chris Conley and DJ CharkThe speedy and stout Bucs run defense projects to give Leonard Fournette a lot of efficiency problems. We should expect a pass-centric gameplan from the Jaguars, particularly with Nick Foles’ strength lying in the deep ball. That’s exactly where the Bucs struggle as they are 25th in pass defense DVOA, have allowed the 7th-most pass plays of 20+ yards and the 4th-most of 40+ yards. Despite the matchup, the Jaguars pass game projects to come in under-owned due to a lack of name recognition. Note that Chark has already flashed his ceiling with a pair of 33+ point games and Conley has at least seven targets in five straight games.
2. Andy Dalton to Tyler BoydAndy Dalton was not the reason the Bengals were winless, but he took the blame for it by getting benched. Now that Ryan Finley has failed miserably, the Bengals are back to Dalton. A serviceable but far from star quarterback, the Red Rocket immediately stabilizes this offense. That’s just in time for a matchup against the funneling Jets defense which continues to see big volume – they’ve faced the 7th-most pass attempts in the league. With AJ Green remaining sidelined, Tyler Boyd is the no-doubt No. 1 wideout for Dalton. In Dalton’s eight starts to open the season, Boyd averaged 10.3 targets per game and went over 100 yards twice.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.