It’s that time of the year again where there are ruthless arguments about what foods belong at Thanksgiving. Despite what Matthew Judon of the New England Patriots said this week, mac and cheese is an elite side at Thanksgiving as long as it is made correctly. Turkey is fine on Thanksgiving if you make sauce or gravy with it, and ham does provide more of a savory flavor. Green bean casserole can just remove itself from the menu entirely and I’m not going to go out of my way to eat cranberry sauce. Now that you’ve come to my TED talk, let’s get into the other exciting part of Thanksgiving: football.
To have more fun while stuffing your face full of food, you can partake in NFL DFS. Some people enjoy the Thanksgiving slate due to it being a three-game slate where taking risks is encouraged. Stacking isn’t absolutely necessary on a small slate like this, but it is one way you could differentiate yourself from other people who are playing random guys at each position. While I’ll be stacking certain players, I wanted to give you a few players at each position that I’m liking on Thursday’s main slate on Thanksgiving.
Josh Allen ($7,800)
The highest-priced quarterback on Thursday’s slate is Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills. Allen has been inconsistent this season, but he does give us some upside with his legs. Also, the New Orleans Saints have a pass-funneling defense, and the Bills don’t run the ball often anyways, setting Allen up for a busy night on Thursday. There isn’t a team in the league that has given up more points to QBs in the past four weeks than the Saints. Allen has thrown multiple touchdowns in all but two games this season, giving us a solid floor through the air. A couple of passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown could make Allen the highest-scoring quarterback on Thanksgiving. If you’re going to use Allen, you’ll need to save salary throughout your lineup as he’s $900 more expensive than the next most expensive quarterback.
Dak Prescott ($6,900)
Dak Prescott comes in as the second-highest priced quarterback at $6,900 on DraftKings. Prescott is coming off of a woeful performance in Week 11 where he finished with a season-worst 5.6 DraftKings points against the Kansas City Chiefs. To be fair, the offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys was atrocious sans Tyron Smith, and the Cowboys were without Amari Cooper for the entire game and CeeDee Lamb for the second half. Given that Prescott is one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, I expect him to bounce back in Week 12 against the Las Vegas Raiders. While I like Prescott a lot on Thanksgiving, he gets even more of a boost if Lamb can clear the league’s concussion protocol in time for Thursday’s contest.
Andy Dalton ($5,500)
Yeah, it’s never pretty starting Andy Dalton in any form of fantasy football. However, if you're someone that wants to save salary at quarterback, Dalton appears to be the best option for under $6,000. Justin Fields has been ruled out for the Chicago Bears on Thursday after suffering a ribs injury in Week 11. In relief of Fields last week, Dalton recorded 16 DraftKings points versus the Baltimore Ravens. Even though he wasn’t efficient in Week 11 (completing 11 of his 23 attempts), Dalton does get the putrid Detroit Lions defense on Thanksgiving. In what could be an ugly contest, making Dalton your quarterback in your lineups is one way to create some excitement for a game between the Bears and the Lions.
David Montgomery ($6,000)
The most popular running back on Thursday is likely going to be David Montgomery — and for good reason. In his first two games back from injured reserve, Montgomery has carried the ball a total of 27 times against two tough defenses in the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Montgomery now gets a Lions team that is surrendering the third-most points to running backs on DraftKings. Also, Montgomery hasn’t found the end zone in his first two games back from injury, which I expect to change on Thursday. His last touchdown came in Week 4 versus Detroit, where he rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Tony Pollard ($5,600)
During last week’s dismal showing versus the Chiefs, Ezekiel Elliott got a little banged up after being tackled awkwardly to the ground, injuring his knee. Elliott says that he’ll be able to play through the injury, but on a short week, the Cowboys may elect to use his running mate a bit more in Week 12. Tony Pollard is a capable running back himself, and he also provides value in the passing game. Elliott is the most expensive running back at $8,000 and I wouldn’t fault anyone for playing him with his touchdown upside. However, Pollard is a nice way to pivot off of Elliott as he can return value with his receiving and ability to break off big runs. The Raiders allow the seventh-most DraftKings points to running backs this season so the opportunity presents itself for both Elliott and Pollard to be viable on Thursday, especially if Lamb is ruled out.
Tony Jones Jr. ($4,000)
At the time this article is being written, Alvin Kamara has been ruled out for the Saints, while Mark Ingram holds a questionable tag. If Kamara and Ingram are both sidelined on Thursday night, then Tony Jones Jr. would be the next man up for New Orleans. Playing running backs against the Bills hasn’t been a consistently fruitful endeavor this season, but the Indianapolis Colts just showed with Jonathan Taylor that if you can stay close with Buffalo, you can have success running the ball. While Jones isn’t nearly the talent that Taylor is, we don’t need him to be at only $4,000. Even if the Saints do find themselves playing from behind, Jones will be in line for a fair share of targets from Trevor Siemian.
Stefon Diggs ($7,900)
It’s safe to say that Stefon Diggs has gotten out of his lull from earlier in the season. Diggs has scored five touchdowns in his past five games, with 5+ receptions in four out of his last five games as well. While people could be nervous with Marshon Lattimore potentially shadowing Diggs, the Saints have allowed the ninth-most DraftKings points per game to wide receivers this season. Once again, New Orleans has a strong run defense and Buffalo doesn’t run the ball consistently, so Diggs should be busy on Thursday night. If you’re someone that wants to be different from those that stack Diggs with Allen, you could use one or more of Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, or Dawson Knox instead.
Michael Gallup/Cedrick Wilson ($5,900/$3,500)
In a quick turn of events, the Cowboys are now optimistic that Lamb suits up on Thursday versus the Raiders. Lamb sustained a concussion on Sunday against Kansas City, but he was able to practice for Dallas on Wednesday. While we await the official word of Lamb’s status, I still like Michael Gallup quite a lot at his price. Gallup will operate as either the No. 1 or No. 2 wideout in the offense with Cooper still out for the Cowboys. I might like Gallup even more if Lamb is in as the Raiders could focus their attention on the second-year standout. And if you’re someone that loves to take fliers on guys, Cedrick Wilson will be either the No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver for Dallas depending on Lamb’s official status on Thursday.
Darnell Mooney ($5,700)
Besides Fields being ruled out, the other notable news out of Chicago is that Allen Robinson is doubtful for Thursday’s contest. Robinson is trending toward missing his second straight game, which makes Darnell Mooney a massive value at his current price. Mooney stepped into the No. 1 role for the Bears in Week 11, where he hauled in five of his team-high 16 targets for 121 yards and a touchdown. While you hope that he can bring in more of his targets, it’s nice to see him have a large target share — along with big-play ability — regardless of what quarterback is operating the offense. Mooney is going to be among the highest-owned wide receivers, so Marquise Goodwin is someone you could pivot to if you need the salary relief.
Amon-Ra St. Brown ($4,200)
I have a feeling that one of the wide receivers on the Saints could explode and be the screaming value on the slate. However, there’s also Amon-Ra St. Brown, who should be in a positive game script most weeks. St. Brown has seen a more consistent role in recent weeks with 22 targets in his past four games. Regardless of how you feel about Jared Goff, he’s an upgrade over Tim Boyle. Goff is going to return on Thursday after missing last week’s contest against the Cleveland Browns. The Lions could very well be playing from behind versus the Bears, which bodes well for St. Brown. The rookie wideout has yet to score a touchdown in the NFL, but what better time to achieve your first touchdown than on Thanksgiving?
Darren Waller ($6,400)
Darren Waller had his second-best output of the season in Week 11 with 21.6 points on DraftKings against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the most points he’s scored since Week 1 when he recorded 29.5 points versus the Ravens. With Henry Ruggs no longer in the picture, Waller and Hunter Renfrow are now seeing a massive uptick in usage in recent weeks. The Cowboys allow the 10th most points per game to tight ends on DraftKings, so the matchup is a favorable one. If Dallas jumps out to an early lead or the game remains close, then Waller could be in for one of his extremely productive games on Thanksgiving.
Dalton Schultz ($5,300)
A lot of people are going to stack the Cowboys wide receivers with Prescott or use Elliott/Pollard to get exposure to the run game. However, my favorite way to be a bit different on a three-game slate is to use Dalton Schultz. Schultz has carved out a consistent role in Dallas’ offense, earning 5+ targets in all but two games this season. On top of that, the Raiders are the third-worst team to tight ends on the green site, allowing 16.8 points per game. One touchdown from Schultz that doesn’t go to a wide receiver or running back of the Cowboys can give you the edge in tournaments.
Dawson Knox ($4,400)
It was a positive sign to see Dawson Knox return to his usual role for the Bills in Week 11. Knox saw 10 targets against the Colts, bringing in six of them for 80 yards. Allen loves to target Knox down the field as the young tight end has been much improved as a receiver this season. Even though Knox spent three weeks on injured reserve, he’s still third on the team in red-zone targets. So if the Bills can find themselves having multiple possessions in the red zone, then Knox is a prime candidate to score. Using Knox is a viable way to be different from those that use Diggs.