FanDuel Thanksgiving Day Special: Plays and Stay Aways

Each week I plan to give you what I feel are the best FanDuel plays at each position, as well as the plays that I am staying away from. My DFS methodology is a little different than the typical player. I don’t make separate cash and tournament lineups. I simply make the best possible lineup that I can, period. I feel like it distracts me too much to make different lineups for different contest types. I end up splitting up plays I really like for the sake of qualifying a guy as cash or tourney. Therefore, I put together the best lineup I can with the best plays, and that’s what you will see reflected in this article. With that said, I primarily enter GPPs, with anywhere from one to four lineups each week on with a mix of my core plays.

Thanksgiving Day NFL FanDuel Plays


Thanksgiving is already upon us, signaling the start of the end to the NFL regular season. We only have six more weeks of daily fantasy football, and it all starts with a three game Thanksgiving Day slate. As a die-hard Detroit Lions fan I’m always excited to watch football on Thanksgiving. This year that excitement is magnetized as the Lions are playing for the division lead. It’s going to be a fun day of football.

There are some good FanDuel contests out there, so let’s jump into who I think we should play, and who I think we should stay away from. Due to a limited slate, we’ll keep this short and sweet and try to narrow down the best plays.


There are going to be some high owned quarterbacks this week, starting with Kirk Cousins ($7,400). Cousins destroyed the Packers on Sunday night and his price actually went down. He has a great matchup again this week, and I expect him to play well and end the day with a great fantasy output. Considering the small slate size and Cousins expected ownership, I think I’ll probably end up elsewhere.

Let me tell you about that “elsewhere”. Take a look at a certain QB’s game logs (yards-touchdown-interceptions). 337-5-0, 390-2-0, 330-3-2, and 441-2-0. Hello Matthew Stafford ($7,900). Those are his last four Thanksgiving Day games. Call me a homer, but Stafford is where I think I will be starting my lineups. I think he will be the 5th highest owned QB and could definitely finish as the top scorer. People will see his game logs and move along. The masses will flock to Cousins at $500 cheaper. This is an excellent opportunity to be contrarian on a short slate.

Running Back

LeVeon Bell ($9,500) will be chalky and he’s expensive. Since I’ll be on a lower owned QB, I’m willing to eat that chalk with Bell. He is a bell cow running back and sees as many targets as the top receivers on the slate. There is no way around playing him in this excellent matchup.

If it works out, I’m also fine paying for Ezekiel Elliott ($8,600). Not sure if there is enough salary to pair him with Bell and make it work while not completely punting multiple positions. I am going to try my darndest though.

One guy I’m giving a strong look at is Frank Gore ($6,500). Gore has been very consistent, and with Andrew Luck probably sitting this one out, the Colts should try their best to get Gore going to carry the offense. If Gore can plug his way down the field successfully, that will also help keep the Steelers off the field and give the Colts the best chance to win.

Wide Receiver

If I’m paying up at wide receiver it will be for Dez Bryant ($8,000). I’d like to try and get Elliott at running back which will prevent this, but if I go down to Gore, I’ll have Bryant. The thought of Josh Norman shadowing Bryant has crossed my mind, but he had seven catches for 102 yards earlier in the year against the Redskins.

Because I’m strongly considering paying up at both RB spots, I’ve got a few cheaper receivers that I’m giving a strong look to. The first is Stefon Diggs ($6,600). Diggs came back down to earth last week, but that was a little expected against the shadow defense of Patrick Peterson. He should bounce back against this week against the Lions who he carved up for 13-80-0 a few weeks back. [UPDATE: IT’S LOOKING LIKE DIGGS WILL SIT THIS ONE OUT]

With Diggs looking unlikely to suit up on Thanksgiving, we can go ahead and fire up Adam Thielen ($6,200) in his place. He has been Sam Bradford’s second favorite target and he’s prime to get 10 looks this week. Not sure we have anywhere to go with the extra $400, but just moving Diggs to Thielen and leaving your extra money on the table is actually a smart move on a short slate like this.

The next tier of guys I’m interested in starts with Jamison Crowder ($6,300). Crowder has emerged as a big play receiver, and for this price he’s close to a must play on this slate. I’m willing to eat the chalk here.

I’m fine pairing Golden Tate ($6,000) with Stafford. I really wish I had the cojones to roll the dice on Marvin Jones ($5,700) instead, but that’s very risky since I’m only playing one lineup. However, if he were to re-emerge it would be a huge boost to your lineups with chalky options at other positions.

Tight End

There’s only one guy I’m considering at tight end this week and that’s Eric Ebron ($6,000). You heard it here first, it’s a double TD game for Ebron. Ebron hasn’t caught a touchdown in over two months, but he’s been heavily involved. If Stafford’s going to have a huge game like in Thanksgiving’s past, Ebron will be the guy I expect to feast.

Defense/Special Teams

There are no great matchups that stand out for defenses. I am actually leaning towards rostering the Lions ($4,700). Everyone is going to be on the other side of that matchup, but since I’m rolling out the Lions offense, I won’t have the Vikings defense. Besides that, it’s a crap shoot.

I’m also considering the Steelers ($4,300). If Luck is out I will probably go this route. On a slate this short, sometimes you have to play a player against your defense. I haven’t decided if I would do that with Gore or not. If I go Steelers, I’ll probably try to pay up at both RB spots.


Just pick a kicker you can afford and hope he is the high scorer on the day. You have a one in six chance!

Thanksgiving Day Stay Aways

Ben Roethlisberger ($8,500) is in a great spot, but he’s on the road, which lowers his ceiling. He had eight points last week, for the exact reason I pointed out in my Week 11 article. They didn’t need him to do much. Control the game, get the ball to Bell, and win the game. This game has a little more shootout potential, but with Luck possibly being out, this game could play out similar to last week’s with Big Ben just controlling the game and getting the Steelers out of Indy with the win.

With Roethlisberger goes Antonio Brown ($8,800). Brown only had 11 points in that same game last week. For the reasons above, I’ll be staying away from him as well.

Rob Kelley ($5,700) should be uber chalk this week. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been great and is the most underpriced player on the slate. However, against a ball control team like the Cowboys, I see a possible scenario where he gets 15-20 carries and ends up with 70-80 yards without a touchdown. He’s not going to be involved in the passing game so we’re not getting the upside there. I don’t love being on the other side of Kelley, but if he flops, we’re well ahead of the pack.

I don’t know how popular TY Hilton ($8,100) and Donte Moncrief ($6,900) will be if Luck is out, but I know I won’t be the one targeting them. If Tolzien is somewhat popular, as I expect he may be, I would assume Hilton and Moncrief will be as well. I think we should just play it safe and stay away from the unknown.


That will do it for Thursday’s slate. I sincerely want to wish you all a very wonderful Thanksgiving. I am truly thankful for everyone who reads this article (all three of you) and I hope it has helped you in one way or another. Be sure to follow me on twitter at @mrclutchdfs in case I change my mind on any of these plays leading up to lock.

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Eric S

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Eric has played fantasy football for nearly 20 years now and is primarily a GPP player in DFS. He estimates he enters lineups in football, basketball, baseball, golf, MMA, and Nascar contests roughly 350 days a year. As primarily a DFS tournament player, Eric is currently ranked inside the top 2% in Rotogrinders Tournament Player of the Year rankings. His favorite teams include the Detroit Lions, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and the Atlanta Braves.