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Thanksgiving DEEP Dive

Each week I’ll bring you a mix of DFS value plays that I like for cash and tournament games. I won’t be focusing too much on the elite plays such as Christian McCaffery, Lamar Jackson and Michael Thomas instead, I’ll look for value in matchups that have the potential to be high scoring and return good points to dollar ratio. If we can find that we can open up our lineups to be built better. Through the season I’ll also review my previous weeks plays so you can judge for yourself how good my takes are. 

Tom Strachan

@BestBallUKNFL

Week 11 Review

Week 11 was a tricky slate to navigate and even if you hit on some players it seemed there were enough duds out there to potentially ruin your lineups. I got very lucky with my cash game lineup and squeaked into the paid places by about 1-2 points in most places. That was partly down to my homer based belief in Lamar Jackson when I should have followed the chalk and taken Taysom Hill. Still, profit is profit!

The column showed out well with just the one terrible play in Hayden Hurst. Hurst picked up a stone-cold zero in a matchup that looked to be okay. Not managing a catch on either of his two targets. Thankfully returns of triple points to dollar ratios put Andy Dalton, Mike Davis, Antonio Gibson, Justin Jefferson, Curtis Samuel and Mark Andrews all into the excellent play awards. I also mentioned how much I liked Adam Thielen whilst talking about Jefferson, so hopefully, you kept that in mind. Alex Smith, James Conner, Damien Harris, Salvon Ahmed and Will Fuller all hit around the 2x points to dollar ratio, which isn’t terrible and at their prices hopefully didn’t destroy your lineups. Austin Hooper fell victim to the neverending bad weather in Cleveland and thankfully they have back to back road trips in warmer areas for the next two weeks to keep him playable. 

Plays so far (based on price to points ratios):

Great plays: 44

Good plays: 38

Bad plays: 26

Thanksgiving Slate Special

Join our $3 contest for this slate – Thanksgiving slate – It’s a 40 person contest – Top 3 get paid! – dkng.co/TDTips for a free $10 when you open a new account and deposit $10.

The thanksgiving slate is quite different to the normal set of games we’d have to pick from and as such, we need to make sure we approach it correctly. With three games, back to back, to pick from, no lineup should be dead after one game. If you find your players failing to meet expectations early on and you can tell you won’t have a unique enough lineup to make money, swap out some of the likely higher owned players from the later games, for more high risk, high potential players. Late swap is a massively underused side of DFS and can rescue a dead line up. 

Instead of my usual deep dive for value, for this slate, I’m going to write up every fantasy-relevant player with a couple of facts and stats and then give them a value rating in my opinion. Feel free to reach out on Twitter, @bestballUKNFL, if you have any questions as the day goes on. 

*Betting lines correct as of 2000 GMT – 24/11/2020

Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions 5:30 pm UK 

Texans favourites at -3; Total – 51.5 

Houston

Deshaun Watson $7400

Watson is the most expensive quarterback on the slate and deservedly so in this non-intimidating matchup. If we take out week 10’s monsoon matchup in Cleveland, Watson hasn’t scored less than 23.9 points since week 3. The only path I see to Watson not returning a value is if the Texan’s decide to go run-heavy, but without David Johnson, that seems unlikely. 

Value: Strong

Duke Johnson $5700

Johnson has waited through his NFL career for a workhorse opportunity and since David Johnson went down early against Jacksonville, he has failed to take the shot. In those three games, he has rushed 40 times for 110 yards and one touchdown. Duke’s niche has always been pass-catching but over those three games, he has only managed 7/52. Fortunately for him, he gets a great matchup against the worst run defence in the league and coming off letdown games maybe he sees reduced ownership.

Value: reasonable

Will Fuller $6400

Allowing for the week 10 matchup in Cleveland’s adverse weather, Fuller has been very consistent as a top-end wide receiver this year. Seemingly putting his injury worries behind him. Averaging 16.6 fantasy points per game on the season, Fuller is a strong bet for 100 yards or/and a touchdown each week. 

Value: Strong

si.com

Brandin Cooks $5300 

Since a week 4 matchup where Cooks returned zero points, he’s been consistently a reliable receiver in fantasy, averaging 17.9 fppg in that spell. Averaging over six catches per game in that time, which is a great floor for full PPR scoring. 

Value: Strong

Keke Coutee $3400

With Randall Cobb suffering a toe injury Coutee found himself a slightly larger than usual against New England. Catching two of four targets, for 10 yards and a TD. Those 4 targets represented a season-high and the first targets he’d received since a week 2 matchup in Baltimore that Will Fuller missed much of. This play will likely be a boom or bust type scenario. I imagine he will come with low ownership with people opting to punt on options later in the day. 

Value: Boom or Bust GPP play

Kenny Stills $3000

Another player who saw a chance for more opportunity with Cobb injured, but unfortunately for Stills, he got injured and left the game on Sunday after one target, caught for six yards. Stills has yet to see more than four targets or 40 yards in any game and with an injury on a short week, it’s not an appealing play. 

Value: Low

Jordan Akins/Darren Fells $2900/2700

I’ve lumped these two together as it’s been very hard to separate them through the year. Akins returned from injury this last week and saw more snaps turning them into 5-83. At other times Fells has been the preferred target. Particularly around the red zone. Both represent low owned dart throws. 

Value: Low owned, medium upside, dart throws. 

Detroit

Matthew Stafford $5800

In what seemed like a good matchup against the Panthers, Stafford put up just 7.6 points as the Lions were held without a single point. It can be safely assumed this is partly down to his thumb injury and it’s hard to know how soon he’ll be over the partially torn ligaments that saw him go 18-33 for 178. The Texans are not a good defence, giving up an average of 266 yards through the air per game. Without Golladay, the Lions are a far worse attack, but there is the potential for Stafford to rack up points as most people opt for other options on the slate.

Value: A differential with reasonable upside.

D’Andre Swift $6500

Tuesday’s practice report listed Swift as a limited participant giving him a glimmer of hope to play. If he can play and the Lions return to his pre concussion usage, I believe he has the best matchup on the slate. The Texan’s are a bad defence and especially bad against the run, giving up the most yards per game (186) as well as 13 touchdowns to the position. You have to keep an eye on the news for this one and wednesday’s practice report will be integral to the decision.  

Value: potentially very strong.

Kerryon Johnson $4300

Johnson saw the majority of running back snaps with Swift ruled out. Johnson 39/56, Peterson 17/56. Like Duke Johnson on the other side of the ball, Kerryon gets a very nice matchup here, facing the 2nd worst run defence in the league, who allow an average of 5.2 yards per carry. Johnson projects better in the passing game than Peterson. After a poor performance on Sunday, ownership might be lower than you’d expect.

Value: Reasonable

Adrian Peterson $4700

Peterson like Johnson comes in off a poor game. He could easily lead the team for rushing attempts. It’s a difficult decision if you want to use either. Peterson hasn’t totalled over 40 yards since week 3.

Value: Murky.

Marvin Jones $5500

Jones and fellow receivers pick up a nice matchup against the 26th worst defence against the position. If Golladay and Amendola don’t play, he’s the clear best choice and will pick up the ownership. Jones came a penalty away from topping 100 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers and he could easily bounce back here. 

Value: Good

Marvin Hall $3900

Hall has been reliable when others are injured, picking up 18 targets in his last four games. He’s shown the ability to make big plays and could be a slate breaker. 

Value: Strong upside, middling floor.

Quintez Cephus $3100

Averaging two targets per game in his last three outings Cephus is a real dart throw. He started the season with back to back games over 40 yards but has since failed to top 30. 

Value: Boom or bust GPP play.

Mohamed Sanu $3000

Sanu has bounced around since being released by New England in training camp and failed to hold onto a spot so far. On Sunday he played 15 snaps, failing to receive a target or anything of note. 

Value: Boom or bust GPP play

T.J Hockenson $4700

Hockenson has quietly had a very good season, currently the TE4 in PPR. Unfortunately for the last couple of weeks, he’s dealt with injuries that have held him back. The Texan’s rank middle of the pack against the position allowing 54.7 yards per game to tight ends. With that said, they haven’t faced many strong tight ends lately. I like the play and with many people keen to either pay down or take the slightly more expensive Mark Andrews, there could be a real upside. 

Value: Good

Washington @ Dallas 9:30 pm UK

Cowboys -3 favourites; Total – 46

Cowboys

Andy Dalton $5600

Dalton faces a nasty looking pass rush and will be grateful the Cowboys offensive line is starting to look not-terrible again. Completing 22-32 against the Vikings with 3 touchdowns, Dalton surprised a few people. His weapons are so good that it’s hard not to find him appealing in what looks like a very tough matchup. The Washington football team surrender the 8th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and 2nd fewest to wide receivers. So despite me being keen on his weapons, I’ll probably stay away. 

Value: potential trap spot.

Ezekiel Elliott $6800/Tony Pollard $4000

Both running backs had productive days on Sunday going for 22.4 and 12 points respectively, and both scoring a touchdown. Zeke will catch a lot of ownership at the highest price for the position and it is very affordable compared with a normal slate. Pollard is priced at the stone minimum and could be a good differential but it’s very hard to predict. Zeke is a much safer play against the 11th best defence against the position. It’ll be hard not to play him and the options around might force your hand, but I don’t view Zeke as a must-play.

Value: Zeke – good. Pollard – Boom or bust.

Cooper $5700/Lamb $5400/Gallup $3500

In games with Andy Dalton Cooper and Lamb have managed to stay fairly good fantasy plays. Meanwhile, Gallup saw his best production with DiNucci under centre. Gallup remains a big-play threat, but Cooper and Lamb’s route trees keep them more involved consistently for higher receptions. For me, I would rank them as Lamb, Cooper and Gallup. I prefer Lamb slightly, but hopefully, they move him around as Washington are particularly good at guarding the slot. I would expect ownership to be reasonable as casual fans favour ‘America’s team’ assuming Washington are a bad defence because they’re a bad team. We know better. 

Value: Cooper and Lamb can get to good value through volume alone, Gallup remains boom or bust with a floor of around 4 points. 

Dalton Schultz $3800

Schultz has been reasonably decent at a terrible position. Turning 39 receptions into 408 yards and 3 touchdowns, which is good enough for TE11 on the year. Seeing steady volume regardless of quarterback, he has seen 30 targets in his last 5 games. The one area of defence Washington are particularly poor at is versus the tight end, ranking 25th in the league. Schultz may be the key to opening this slate.

Value: Strong

proffootballnetwork.com

Washington Football Team

Alex Smith $5400

As the cheapest quarterback on the slate Smith might catch higher than expected ownership and for good reasons too. The Cowboys are the 28th worst defence against the position and are coming into the game fresh off giving Kirk Cousins his second-best fantasy performance of the season. The Dallas defence has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, but with Smith getting more comfortable each week I’m not afraid to play him. Against the Bengals Smith made several strong throws trusting the receivers to make a play and against this weak secondary, I like his chances. 

Value: Strong

Antonio Gibson $6000/ J.D McKissic $5100/ Peyton Barber $4000

RB11 on the season Antonio Gibson has shown he can handle the load as the teams lead back. Averaging 15 DraftKings points per game on the season, with at least 13.5 in his last four. This matchup slightly favours him as the Cowboys give up a 31st worst in the league, 126 yards per game on the ground whilst allowing the second-fewest receptions, 3.30 per game, to the position. McKissic can get there through volume alone, having seen 33 targets in 3 games, with 29 of them coming in two matchups. On Sunday he only saw 4 but the game was put to bed early on when the Bengals were reduced to playing Ryan Findley at QB. Peyton Barber did have 8 rushing attempts for 28 yards at the weekend, but this was likely due to game-script as the Bengals were so far out of the game. 

Value: Gibson – Strong. McKissic – Good. Barber – Low floor, low ceiling. 

Terry McLaurin $7000/ Cam Sims $3300/ Dontrelle Inman $3100

McLaurin has obvious appeal in a very strong spot, facing the 31st worst team against the position. Allowing a league-worst 1.9 touchdowns per game to the position. Last time the teams faced each other in week 7 he went 7/90 and a touchdown. I consider him to be one of the strongest plays of the slate. Sims and Inman both retain upside as dart throws, with neither averaging over 3 receptions in their last 3 games and with neither having consistently been targeted in the red zone. I believe the pricing is good enough across the slate to not need these plays. 

Value: McLaurin – Strong. Sims/Inman – Low, with very low floors. 

Logan Thomas – $3500

Thomas has established himself as the clear 3rd target, behind McLaurin and McKissic. With a steady 20 targets over the last four games and averaging 10 yards per reception across the season, Thomas can offer a reasonable floor without a clear path to a slate busting score. 

Value: Reasonably safe floor. 

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers 1:20 am Friday UK time

POSTPONED UNTIL SUNDAY EVENING – 6:15 pm KO

Due to multiple positive covid tests this game has been postponed until 6:15pm (UK time) Sunday. The Ravens will be without several key players and the Steelers will have more time to get CB Joe Haden & WR JuJu Smith-Schuster healthy. I’ll add the plays I like into my normal column, out Thursday.

Editor note: It’s tough on the Steelers as home-field advantage on a short week is a good boost, and it’s not the first time this year they’ve had their game moved around on short notice, but I feel it’s the right move by the league. These were positive tests, not false positives, not close contacts, but players who tested positive, the delay gives the league time to continue testing and find out if anyone else has it and it’s going around the stadium or whether people are safe to play.

It sucks, but it is what it is. I’m grateful this season has gone as smoothly as it has so far to be honest. The positive Ravens players will still all be out, so it still gives the Steelers a load of backups to beat up on, if they can see through the tears of injustice.

Defences 

Steelers $4200

Washington $3700

Ravens $3100

Cowboys $2800

Texans $2700

Lions $2200

I loathe paying up for defences but the last time the Steelers played Baltimore they had four turnovers, so if you end up with the money to spare they’re as safe as bet as any taking on a poor offensive line. Personally, I prefer the value in the Cowboys and Texans. Both teams taking on poor offensive lines with reasonable pass rushes, against immobile quarterbacks. Sacks make a big difference when choosing a defence and I’m confident in these. 

Strongest Plays

Deshaun Watson

Alex Smith

Antonio Gibson

Will Fuller

Brandin Cooks

Marvin Jones

Terry McLaurin

Dalton Schultz

Remember to follow @BestBallUKNFL on twitter for updates if there’s more COVID news, and just follow him anyway, it’s great stuff.

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