DraftKings NFL: Thanksgiving Day Picks
DraftKings NFL: Thanksgiving Day Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

A limited three-game slate means we don't have nearly as many choices as we're used to having on a full Sunday, but there are a few different lineup constructions that can get there in cash games and enough stacks to build for GPP differentiation. The respective game totals rise with each corresponding time, as the Bears (-4.0) vs. Lions game starts us off with a low 37.0-point total, followed by 47.0 for Buffalo (+6.5) at Dallas and then the night cap of Saints (-6.5) at Atlanta at 49.0. A full game stack of the last game won't be easy because of salaries, and a three-game slate will lower expectations in terms of which players can make value enough to help with those high-cost players.

RUNNING BACKS

Alvin Kamara, NO at ATL ($8,100): The Saints have the highest implied total, and with the Falcons' overall struggles defensively this season, there's little doubt that Kamara will be one of the highest-owned players on the slate, especially in cash games. The rushing success of Latavius Murray ($5,600) last week, when he rushed seven times for 64 yards and a touchdown, could have some worried about Kamara's touches, but we have to acknowledge his work in the passing game, where he's gotten at least nine targets in three straight games. The Falcons have been decent against the run this season, at least in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs, but that isn't likely to push people away from Kamara, especially since pricing is soft enough where you can play him with the other high-floor options on the slate.

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. BUF ($7,400): Elliott is the second-most expensive running back on the slate, and third-most expensive player overall, but a combination of Kamara and Elliott will surely be the most popular running back duo in cash games. His rushing volume is significantly more stable than Kamara's, rushing at least 20 times in five of his last six games, but he also doesn't have the receiving looks, getting only eight targets in the past four games combined. Again, soft pricing allows the top two running backs to be played together pretty easily, so fading one or both makes more sense in GPPs.

Tarik Cohen, CHI at DET ($5,000): The third running back spot, if you use three running backs, is a tough one to fill since there's a dramatic drop off after the top two. Buffalo's Devin Singletary ($5,800) is the third-highest priced player at the position, and while he seems to finally have a firm hold on the backfield touches – he rushed 21 times for 106 yards last week – there's always a concern that Frank Gore ($3,900), or even quarterback Josh Allen, will get the goal-line touches, and Singletary only has three targets in the past two games. Focusing on the Bears vs. Lions game is a bit tough since it's the lowest total game on the day, but Cohen has shown enough recently, particularly in the passing game, to warrant consideration over David Montgomery ($5,400), who has been one of the least efficient running backs in the league with as many touches. With that said, he's not even getting that many recently, with at least 15 just once in his last four games. On the other side is Bo Scarbrough ($4,700), who doesn't get any work in the passing game but is likely to get a vast majority of the Lions' carries. Unfortunately, it's possible the Bears focus heavily on stopping the run because of the Lions' quarterback situation (more on that later), and if the Bears get out front, Scarbrough could be scripted out.

QUARTERBACKS

Dak Prescott, DAL vs. BUF ($5,700): Prescott's price seems quite low as a home favorite, with three quarterbacks priced ahead of him, including the other QB in his game, Josh Allen ($6,200). The reason for it is that his matchup is very tough, as the Bills' defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the position this season, including just two touchdowns in the past four games (then again, that span included games against Washington, Cleveland, who had the two, Miami and Denver). Playing Elliott could make it easier to not play Prescott, but his salary certainly makes it easier to pay up in some other spots. Allen has been surprisingly consistent despite some very aggressive play that can lead to poor completion percentages, but his rushing floor is the best on the slate and would normally make him a decent cash consideration. However, with other options, he's likely to be more of a GPP play.

Drew Brees, NO at ATL ($6,800): Brees is the most expensive quarterback on the slate, which isn't surprising given the Falcons have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season and the game has the highest implied total. Brees put up a dud against the Falcons in New Orleans just three games ago, passing for only 287 yards and zero touchdowns, but Jameis Winston got them for 313 and three just last weekend. Relying on Matt Ryan ($6,400) against the strong Saints defense isn't likely to be a popular move, particularly in cash games, and if the quarterbacks mentioned don't entice you, just know the two remaining ones come from the lowest total: Mitchell Trubisky ($5,300) and David Blough ($4,200), the latter of whom is expected to start if Jeff Driskel ($5,500) can't play because of a hamstring injury.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Michael Thomas, NO at ATL ($9,100): Thomas is the highest-floor wide receiver in the league, and being on a short slate should all but guarantee sky-high ownership. Only three teams in the NFL have given up more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Falcons, who allowed 152 receiving yards on 13 catches (14 targets) to Thomas in Week 10, a 26-9 Atlanta victory. There really isn't much more to say about Thomas, so the real question is whether fellow Saints wideouts Tre'Quan Smith ($3,500) and Ted Ginn ($3,800) are worth stacking in GPPs alongside Thomas and Brees, a strategy that's unlikely to be overlooked.

Russell Gage, ATL vs. NO ($4,500): On the other side of the game with the highest total is Gage, who was targeted 10 times last week, catching eight for 76 yards, an increase in usage because of the injury absence to tight end Austin Hooper, who has been ruled out again because of a knee injury. The Falcons' wide receiver conversation usually starts with Julio Jones ($7,300), but a shoulder injury officially has him questionable to play. If he's unable to go, Gage and Calvin Ridley ($6,600) could get a bunch of targets if they need to play catch-up with the normally high-powered Saints offense. If you're looking to pay down a bit further, the Bears' Anthony Miller ($3,900) is an interesting prospect, as he comes in with 20 targets in the past two games combined. The Bears' passing game has been pretty abysmal this season, and while Allen Robinson ($6,700) is their clear no. 1, Miller has out-targeted him in the past two games, catching 12 of those 20 targets for 131 yards, and he costs considerably less while facing a defense that's allowed the 11th-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

John Brown, BUF at DAL ($6,300): With many people expected to pay up for Kamara, Elliott and Thomas, the mid-range wide receivers could be overlooked due to a lack of salary. Brown has been the Bills' most consistent receiver, scoring at least 9.5 fantasy points in every game this season, including double-digit targets twice in his last three games and three touchdowns in his last two. The Cowboys' defense has been solid against wide receivers this season, though they've pushed back a little bit over the past two weeks. Meanwhile, the Bills' secondary is elite, which is likely to cause problems for Amari Cooper ($6,000) and, to a lesser extent, Michael Gallup ($5,500). The former has been surprisingly unproductive of late, while the latter has been targeted 29 times in the past three games. With those three guys garnering some attention in the group, the Lions' Kenny Golladay ($6,100) and Marvin Jones ($5,300) could really be forgotten, especially Golladay simply because the game logs haven't been good and he's more expensive.

TIGHT ENDS

Jared Cook, NO at ATL ($4,800): The tight end pool is really really light, which is understandable when there are just six teams to consider. It gets even shallower with Hooper ruled out, and it could be even worse if T.J. Hockenson ($3,400) isn't able to overcome his shoulder injury. Cook is the highest-priced player if we exclude Hooper, and he comes in with 20 targets in his last three games, including six catches on 10 targets for 74 yards against the Falcons in Week 10, the only time in his last five without a touchdown. The difficulty with Cook is that you're likely having to pay down at another spot to get him, even though he's not that expensive, so his ownership isn't likely to be high even though he has the highest raw projection at the position.

Jaeden Graham, ATL vs. NO ($3,100): Filling in for Hooper will be Graham, who has only gotten two targets in the past two games combined, though he's run routes on 94.7 percent of his snaps, which is actually higher than Hooper. You can't expect much from the tight end group Thursday, which is why many will pay down, a strategy that will also have people looking at Hockenson if he can play, as the Bears have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends, while the Bills' Dawson Knox ($2,900) will line up against a Cowboys defense that's allowed the eighth-most.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Bears at DET ($2,500): The Bears' defense hasn't been particularly good of late, scoring more than six fantasy points once in the past seven games, but a matchup against a Lions' offense that could be using a third-string quarterback provides some optimism. The one game above six points in that span happened to come against the Lions, and while they only reached 8.0, there's promise for more based on the injury situations. The Bears are actually dealing with some injury issues themselves, so it would be understandable to pay down to the bottom for the Bills ($2,200), who make more sense than the Falcons ($2,300) against the Saints despite scoring 10.0 fantasy points against them in Week 10.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Andrew M. Laird plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kingmorland, DraftKings: andrewmlaird, Yahoo: Lairdinho.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Head of DFS Content and Senior Soccer Editor. He is a seven-time FSWA award finalist, including twice for the Football Writer of the Year Award.
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