Happy Thanksgiving! One of my favorite NFL days of the year is here. Being a Detroit Lions fan, playing on Thanksgiving is a tradition I really enjoy. We’ve had some really bad years, but for the most part, the Lions always bring their best on turkey day.
I’m going to keep it short and sweet for this slate, because we only have three games and you really need to take a stand on this type of slate to have any chance of winning big. I have decided to play two teams on DraftKings for this three game slate and not play FanDuel. It just seem to like the roster construction is a little better. Let’s get to it.
Matt Ryan – Ryan is my favorite QB play on the slate, and he is going to have to throw the ball a lot. In a matchup against a stout run defense that scores a ton of points, Ryan should see somewhere between 40 and 50 pass attempts. He saw his four game 300 yard streak broken last week, when he only reached 291. Before that, he had thrown for less than 300 yards only once in his last seven, and that game was 285.
This defense has been better the last couple weeks, but they’re still allowing the fourth most fantasy points to the position on the year, therefore I’m not shying away from loading up on Ryan. I’d rather play the underdog quarterback in a potential shootout than any of the four QB’s in the other two “boring” games.
Matthew Stafford – My two rosters start with the Matt’s. I mean I have to build a roster with my favorite team’s players on it. In all seriousness though, I’m interested in this spot, because of the injury to Kerryon Johnson. The Bears have an elite defense, but volume should be there for Stafford. I don’t see Legarrette Blount suddenly finding running room against this Bears defense when he’s been horrible in good matchups. Last week he had something like seven carries for one yard.
What I also like about this offense is I think there will be a very narrow target distribution, meaning we’re more likely to hit the right pieces if Stafford has a big game. Stafford has traditionally had some really good games on Thanksgiving, which makes the play more appealing to me. Just take this play with a grain of salt, because there may be a little bias involved.
Theo Riddick – Riddick should be very involved with Johnson out. This is one of the places we’ll see Stafford’s throws go. He’ll probably get 5-7 carries and around 10 targets. At his price, he’s a solid play.
Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara – I mentioned in the opening above about taking stands. Here’s my stand. I’m playing both of these guys in both lineups. I think the Saints are going to exploit the Falcons weakness and that is defending running backs. They simply can’t do it. I’m fading Brees on this slate because I think we’ll see low volume from him and likely 30+ combined carries between Kamara and Ingram with 10+ catches. You can play either one alone, but I want them both to get all the offense here.
Tarik Cohen – Cohen is the other guy I have interest in. Matt Nagy has been quoted saying he wants Chase Daniels to get the ball to his playmakers, and who better to use than Cohen. A lot of times, running back check downs are the path of least resistance for the QB, and Cohen can do a lot of damage with the ball in his hands.
Julio Jones – He makes the perfect pair with Ryan. He is a monster in target share, air yards, etc. No reason to get cute here. I like him quite a bit more than Michael Thomas, who I will also be fading along with Brees because of the reasons mentioned above.
As I expect Ryan to be throwing a lot, I expect Julio to get a lot of volume. I also will probably have a share of Calvin Ridley. This game was his coming out party earlier in the year, and if the Saints try to shift coverage Julio’s way, Ridley may burn them again.
Kenny Golladay – Golladay might be the best overall play at the position, because he’s likely to see 12+ targets again here. I expect him to be the highest targeted player on the slate, and regardless of the somewhat tough matchup (on the short slate) you take the volume at his discounted price.
Surprisingly, the Bears have allowed quite a bit of wide receiver production over their last six games. If you throw out the two games against the Jets and Bills during that span, opposing wide receivers from the other four teams had really solid games.
Bruce Ellington – Ellington was just signed by the Lions and immediately made his mark among the depleted receiving corps. He is only $3,200 on DraftKings and saw nine targets last week. He rounds out the three Lions players that should have around 90% of the target share in this offense. He’ll be locked in my lineups at his price.
Anthony Miller – I don’t know what to expect with Chase Daniel throwing the ball, but Miller just had a smash game against these Lions a couple of games ago and I can vouch for how terrible the Lions slot corner is. He’s reeeeaaalllly bad. Not joking, maybe the worst in the league. He gets torched every single week.
Jordan Reed – Reed has been underwhelming all season long, but on this three game slate, we don’t have much to choose from. Colt McCoy hit him for a touchdown last week and I think he’ll be looking Reed’s way often.
Trey Burton – Burton is really the only other tight end on the slate that you can consider unless you want to get really risky. I like Reed a bit more, but don’t hate Burton against the Lions. The Lions don’t allow a lot of receptions to the tight ends, but it seems every few games, the opposing tight end gets loose for a couple big gains against them.
Detroit Lions – I’m loading up on my Lions in this spot! If Chase Daniels puts up a big game, then so be it, but I’m not going to worry about that on a three game slate. Damon Harrison has been a big addition to the run defense. Ezekiel Ansah is back healthy and he should be able to get pressure on Daniels. Pressure on a back up quarterback typically means turnovers.
Dallas Cowboys – This seems like a solid play and probably the highest owned defense. Colt McCoy and the banged up Redskins don’t pose the biggest threat in this slow-paced low scoring game.
That’s it for this week. If you have any input about what you like or don’t like about the format, feel free to let me know on twitter @mrclutchdfs. Best of luck this weekend!