Thanksgiving is one of the best days for football and, in turn, one of the best days for fantasy football contests. DraftKings is hosting a $600K Wishbone as the featured tournament with a series of other tournaments that can turn your Thanksgiving day into a profitable one. With that in mind, let’s take a look at each position for the Thanksgiving Day games and try to pick out studs, duds and high-upside plays.
We’ll break this down into two segments – first we have the “Kings of Thanksgiving” with DK Pro Peter Jennings’ top 5 studs for Thanksgiving day contests on DraftKings. After that, you can view a few targets I’ve listed at each position as well:
KINGS OF THANKSGIVING w/ CSURAM88
MORE TURKEY DAY TARGETS
SAFE PLAY – Mark Sanchez vs. DAL ($6800) – Sanchez has been relatively consistent in his three starts since Nick Foles went down, posting totals of 24, 20 and 17 fantasy points. Anytime you’re an underdog in a game with an over/under over 50 points, things are looking pretty good for QB fantasy points as well. The real kicker here is the recent decline of the Dallas defense. Over the last 5 weeks the Cowboys are allowing the 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs and the quality of opponent has been wanting at best:
- Week 7 vs. Eli Manning – 248 PaYd, 3 PaTD, 0 INT
- Week 8 vs. Colt McCoy – 299 PaYd, 0 PaTD, 1 INT
- Week 9 vs. Carson Palmer – 249 PaYd, 3 PaTD, 1 INT
- Week 10 vs. Blake Bortles – 290 PaYd, 0 PaTD, 1 INT
- Week 12 vs. Eli Manning – 338 PaYd, 3 PaTD, 1 INT
The only two QBs they’ve held under 250 passing yards in that span each had 3 passing touchdowns and, as noted above, this hasn’t been a tough stretch for their defense in terms of opposing offensive quality. All 5 of their opponents in that span (NYG two times) have ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in points per game this season. Sanchez should be a safe play to contribute about 20 fantasy points.
TOURNAMENT PLAY – Matthew Stafford vs. CHI ($7200) – I’ll assume the majority of the field will abandon ship on Stafford after watching him combine for 17 fantasy points and 0 passing touchdowns over the past two weeks but don’t ignore the matchup variable here. New England and Arizona were both top-12 teams in terms of FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks and his opponent on Thursday, the Bears, have allowed the 2nd most FPPG to opposing QBs on the season. In the last four weeks, three of the four QBs they’ve faced have tallied over 300 passing yards and two of those four had 5+ passing touchdown efforts. This is a secondary in shambles and Stafford has weapons in both Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson at his disposal. Stafford has 30 fantasy point upside at home on Turkey Day.
SAFE PLAY – DeMarco Murray vs. PHI ($8400) – Murray’s price tag has dipped a bit and it could be a good time to pounce in a high-scoring affair with the Eagles. The Eagles are allowing the 13th most FPPG to opposing running backs on the season and the 8th most over the last three weeks. Also intriguing is the potential value that Murray will have in the passing game, as the Eagles have allowed receiving touchdowns to opposing backs in consecutive weeks. His workload is always safe with at least 19 carries in every game this season and remarkably he’s only missed that 100+ rushing yard bonus on DraftKings once in the first 11 games for the Cowboys. The biggest risk on Murray is an injury, but that’s not something you should be working into your cash game thought process.
ALL PURPOSE PLAY – LeSean McCoy vs. DAL ($7400) – Put me on the record as saying this Dallas defense is an absolute fraud. They’re in the top half of the NFL in FPPG allowed to opposing running backs on the season but their true colors have begun showing in recent weeks as they’ve dropped to 25th in FPPG allowed to RBs over the last 5 weeks. McCoy has been disappointing overall this season, but he’s had 20+ carries in three of his last four games with Sanchez at the helm so it’s pretty clear that there’s a increased focus on the run game. Shady had 82 rushing yards on 16 touches in the only game he played vs. DAL a year ago and I’d fully expect him to reach the 100 yard mark with a touchdown and a few catches on Thursday.
TOURNAMENT PLAY – Theo Riddick vs. CHI ($3800) – Riddick could fall into the category of ‘value’ or tournament play but he comes with huge risk so I decided to put him in the tournament play grouping. Riddick has a ton of value in the full point PPR format as a guy who’s seen 6 targets out of the backfield in each of the last two weeks with Reggie Bush sidelined. Bush is expected to return this week which makes Riddick even more riskier but I can definitely see Bush being very limited and Bell/Riddick continuing to see about 80% of snaps combined in this game.
SAFE PLAY – Dez Bryant vs. PHI ($7900) – It’s no surprise that yet another safe-play is coming from the game with the highest over/under, but I also think there’s inherent risk with almost every single wide receiver going today. Very few guys are considered ‘possession receivers’ and almost all of the WR options today are big-play reliant. Dez falls into this category as well but his 62 fantasy points over the last two Cowboys games are enough to get me to bite on him as the safest option between him, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall. Bryant also has a tasty matchup with Cary Williams who is allowing 1.90 fantasy points per target on the season for that Eagles secondary.
TOURNAMENT PLAY – Calvin Johnson vs. CHI ($7000) – Megatron has been quiet since his return from injury, but I expect that to change this weekend against the Bears. Between Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings on the outside, no one in the Bears secondary has the size to match up against Calvin. Despite some relatively disappointing numbers in recent weeks, Megatron has seen 22 targets in two games and continues to be the safety blanket for Stafford. Last week when Stafford was under pressure, he found himself throwing wrecklessly in Calvin’s direction. That’s bad news against a solid secondary with Revis and Browner but against a softer Bears defense expect Calvin to take advantage.
VALUE PLAY – Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse vs. SF ($4000 and $3000) – Having action in the late game is going to be tough since these two teams are both built on defense and the running game. That makes Baldwin and Kearse solid options as cheap punts in tournaments. Last week, they each only saw 2 targets in an easy win over the Cardinals. This week, I expect the game to be much closer and Wilson should be forced to throw a lot. In weeks where the Seahawks are passing more, Baldwin and Kearse see between 7 and 9 targets each. Baldwin has converted a pair of 15+ fantasy point games already in recent weeks and Kearse has that big play potential you want to target for tournaments on a short slate. Neither would be on my radar in a full weekend of games, but given the situation you could do worse than taking a flyer on Kearse or Baldwin.
SAFE PLAY – Martellus Bennett vs. DET ($4000) – We saw what the Patriots were able to do with Tim Wright last week when Detroit was forced to focus on Rob Gronkowski. The plans of the Bears offense aren’t too far from what New England does with Gronk, except instead of Gronk, Lafell and Edelman the Bears will draw the most attention to their two stud receivers – Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall – along with their RB Matt Forte in the passing game as well. All three guys figure to be higher priority for the Detroit secondary and linebacking corps, leaving Bennett in a nice spot to have a ‘Tim-Wright-esque’ game (can’t believe I just wrote those words). Also worth noting is that only one other team in the NFL is allowing more FPPG to opposing tight ends over the last three weeks than the Lions.
TOURNAMENT PLAY – Eric Ebron vs. CHI ($3200) – I don’t think Ebron could have possibly looked worse last week against the Patriots. He was targeted 7 times and managed just 2 catches for 23 yards. He was also responsible for a bad misthrow thrown by Stafford where he just didn’t turn around on his route and the defenders were able to jump it. He was terrible no doubt, but the 7 targets despite both Calvin and Tate playing were extremely encouraging. Also encouraging is the matchup with Da Bears, who are allowing the 2nd most FPPG to opposing tight ends on the season. Ebron is the opposite of safe and has some really bad drops early in his career, but both the talent and matchup are there – making him a viable cheap option for the Thanksgiving day games.