FanDuel Picks: Thanksgiving Edition
Welcome to the Thanksgiving day edition of my weekly FanDuel DFS article. I’m even more enthusiastic than usual this week because the three-game Thanksgiving day slate is my favorite NFL DFS day of the entire year. Football is sacred on Thanksgiving and NFL DFS is sacred to me. It’s truly a beautiful combination. Now, enough foreplay already, let’s get straight to the action starting with my top Bonanza candidate.
Domination Bonanza Candidate: Pittsburgh Steelers blowing out the Indianapolis Colts
Top QB Plays
Ben Roethlisberger vs IND, $8,500
Touting Ben Roethlisberger on the road last week made me look silly but at least I can blame his disappointing performance on the bad weather right!? OK fine, you got me. Regardless, I’m going back to the well again with Roethlisberger on Thanksgiving. Big Ben leads all other Quarterbacks in this slate (Includes only the 5 other QBs playing on Thanksgiving – Andrew Luck is not included in these slate stats since he is not expected to play) in TD passes (20) and is second in passing yards per game. He gets a Colts defense giving up the most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 7th most pass TDs given up (19). Plus, with Luck in the concussion protocol and looking very unlikely to play, the Steelers should dominate the time of possession meaning Roethlisberger should have more opportunities to make big plays in primetime on Thursday night. I think he does just that.
Dak Prescott vs WAS, $8,000
Man this guy just continues to amaze doesn’t he? Dak Prescott is tied for 3rd in this slate in TD passes (17) and believe it or not, is tied for 2nd in this slate among all players in rush TDs (4). Prescott is a dual-threat Quarterback that gets to play at home in this one against an average Redskins pass defense. Washington is giving up the 15th most passing yards per game.
Top RB Plays
Le’Veon Bell vs IND, $9,500
Le’Veon Bell is 2nd in this slate in rushing yards per game and is 4th in this slate among all players in targets per game (9.3). He’s a stud dual-threat Running Back that should benefit from even more opportunities since it looks like the Colts will be forced to start Scott Tolzien at QB this week. The Tolzien experiment isn’t going to go well meaning the Steelers offense should dominate the time of possession and see more scoring opportunities. Plus, the matchup is a favorable one as the Colts are giving up the 10th most rushing yards per game. Le’Veon Bell in the three-game Thanksgiving day slate is what some in the industry call a “free square.” Play him without any hesitation and move on to figuring out the rest of your lineup.
Ezekiel Elliott vs WAS, $8,600
Ezekiel Elliott leads all RBs in this slate in rushing yards per game and rush TDs. He’s at home against a Redskins defense giving up the 12th most rushing yards per game and that is tied for the 2nd most rush TDs given up (13). He’s another “free square.” Clearly, the RB position isn’t very tough to figure out this week.
Cheap RB Salary To Be Thankful For
Rob Kelley vs DAL, $5,700
Rob Kelley is only the 7th highest priced RB on this slate despite rushing for 137 yards and 3 TDs last week on Sunday Night Football against the Packers. Even more, Kelley has seen at least 21 carries and ran for at least 87 yards in each of the past three games since he has become Washington’s starting RB. I wouldn’t expect a repeat of last week as the Cowboys defense has been very good against the run this season, but if you’re looking to save some money at the position, Kelley is who I would look to.
Top WR Plays
Antonio Brown vs IND, $8,800
Antonio Brown leads all players in this slate in targets per game (11.4) and Scott Tolzien starting for the Colts should mean Brown will see even more targets due to the Steelers offense dominating the time of possession. Brown is the best Wide Receiver in football and he gets a Colts defense giving up the most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 7th most pass TDs given up (19). The primetime game on Thanksgiving night is Brown’s time to shine (again).
Dez Bryant vs WAS, $8,000
Dez Bryant has recently developed a stereotype of being a very hit or miss performer. However, in his seven starts this season, Dez has really only had two bad games. He’s 6th in this slate in targets per game (8.3) and gets to play this one at home. Josh Norman on the other side is certainly a downgrade. However, it’s important to note Dez put up 7 for 102 on the Redskins back in Week 2.
Stefon Diggs vs DET, $6,600
Before last week, Stefon Diggs had seen an absurd 42 targets over a three-game stretch. Then, he ran into Patrick Peterson. Still, Diggs is 3rd in this slate in targets per game (9.8). Just a few weeks ago Diggs caught 13 passes for 80 yards against the Lions but it is important to note the Lions best Cornerback, Darius Slay, missed that game due to injury. Slay will play on Thanksgiving and his presence is a slight downgrade to Diggs. However, Diggs is too good to be shut down and the Lions are tied for the 4th most pass TDs given up (22).
Cheap WR Salaries To Be Thankful For
Golden Tate vs MIN, $6,000
Golden Tate is 7th in this slate in targets per game (7.8) yet he’s only priced as the 9th most expensive WR. After a slow start to the season, Tate’s usage has picked up. He has seen at least 9 targets in four out of his last five games and he just dropped 11 catches, 79 yards, and a TD on the Vikings back in Week 9.
Pierre Garcon vs DAL, $5,600
Pierre Garcon is 9th in this slate in targets per game (7.2) yet he’s only priced as the 12th most expensive WR. Garcon has seen 24 targets over his past three games and caught 6 passes in all of them. He’s turned those catches into at least 81 receiving yards in each of his last two games. Plus, he gets a Cowboys defense giving up the 12th most passing yards per game.
Eli Rogers vs IND, $5,400
The opportunities have been there for Eli Rogers as he has seen at least 5 targets in each of his last five games. The Steelers are a Domination Bonanza candidate and if they do end up blowing out the Scott Tolzien-led Colts, a role-player like Rogers should only benefit. He gets a Colts defense giving up the most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 7th most pass TDs given up (19).
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Plays
Cobi Hamilton vs IND, $4,500
With Markus Wheaton on Injured Reserve, Sammie Coates dealing with two broken fingers on the same hand, and Darrius Heyward-Bey looking iffy to play on Thursday, Cobi Hamilton has a chance to be a GPP winner for you. Despite Eli Rogers being the more well-known name, Hamilton and Rogers both saw almost the exact same playing time last week:
Steelers WR snap count today: Antonio Brown 69, Eli Rogers 45, Cobi Hamilton 44, Sammie Coates 1. Out of 69
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) November 20, 2016
Rogers (6) only saw one more target than Hamilton (5) as well. Nobody’s talking about Hamilton right now but that all could change come Black Friday.
Anquan Boldin vs MIN, $4,800
Anquan Boldin is averaging the 13th most FanDuel points per game out of all the WRs in this slate. Yet, he’s only priced as the 16th most expensive WR. He saw 9 targets last week and caught a TD the last time he faced the Vikings. Old man still has some game left in him and his cheap price puts him in play.
Top TE Plays
*I believe paying up at RB and to some extent WR is the way to go. Therefore, I won’t be writing about Jordan Reed because he is too expensive for my liking.*
Jason Witten vs WAS, $5,600
Jason Witten is tied for 10th in this slate in targets per game (7) and is $1,800 cheaper than Jordan Reed. That’s a significant difference for Witten who gets to play this game at home against a Redskins defense giving up the 15th most passing yards per game.
Eric Ebron vs MIN, $6,000
Eric Ebron has put up double-digit FanDuel points and had at least 70 receiving yards in each of his last three games since returning from injury. Back in Week 9, he caught 7 passes for 92 yards against the Vikings.
Cheap TE Salary To Be Thankful For
Kyle Rudolph vs DET, $5,300
Kyle Rudolph is 13th in this slate in targets per game (6.8) and he gets to face a Lions defense that has absolutely no idea how to cover the TE position. Rudolph caught a TD against the Lions back in Week 9. However, it was his only catch of the game. Still, the new offensive coordinator has shown he is still willing to feed Rudolph targets as he saw 8 back in Week 10.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar TE Play
Jesse James vs IND, $4,700
Ladarius Green is finally out on the field for the Steelers. However, his snap counts suggest he’s being brought along very slowly:
Steelers TE snap count: Jesse James 68(38 routes), David Johnson 21(6 routes), Ladarius Green 8(8 routes). Out of 69
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) November 20, 2016
Green only played 8 snaps. Meanwhile, Jesse James played 68 snaps and ran 30 more routes than Green did. Despite being the forgotten man, James has still seen 4 targets in each of the past three weeks. He could be the beneficiary of a big game from Ben Roethlisberger on Thanksgiving night. If he finds the end zone, his cheap salary will end up looking really good.
Top Kicker Plays
Chris Boswell vs IND, $4,700
Chris Boswell made all 3 of his field goal attempts last week and put up 10 points on FanDuel. I envision Boswell hitting double digits for the second week in a row on Thanksgiving night in a potential Domination Bonanza against the Scott Tolzien-led Colts.
Dan Bailey vs $4,900
Dan Bailey has hit at least 9 FanDuel points in four of his last five games and gets to play at home in an offense tied to red hot rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Top Defense Play
Pittsburgh Steelers vs IND, $4,300
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 21, 2016
This is really all you need to know. Scott Tolzien has only thrown 1 TD pass in his entire career compared to 5 INTs. The Colts offense is going to look drastically different on Thursday night and the Steelers defense should be a prime beneficiary. Lock the Steelers defense into your lineup and move on to other positions.