This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Football series.
I'm doing two different pieces this week with this one focusing on the two-game Thanksgiving slate and a second one later in the week for Sunday's games. Set your lineups before the tryptophan kicks in!
Deshaun Watson ($8,700) has been fantastic this year even after losing DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals. This is a good matchup against the Lions, who rank as league-average against opposing quarterbacks. Watson has scored at least 21.7 fantasy points in all but two games this season — one was a weather game in Cleveland and the other was against the Ravens. He's my pick for cash games, as there'll be enough value at the other positions.
The long shot for this slate is Captain Checkdown, otherwise known as Alex Smith ($6,700). On paper, he has the best matchup of the three Thursday games, facing a Cowboys' defense that has struggled all season. Smith has thrown for more than 300 yards in two of his last three games, scoring 19.9 and 20.3 fantasy points in those two contests.
I love when the fantasy community clashes with strong opinions about a player. That has happened in the last week with Duke Johnson ($6,100). Despite the absence of David Johnson, Duke has put up only five and 5.4 fantasy points in his last two games. I wouldn't be writing about him, but he has the best matchup on paper against a Lions team that has surrendered 31.63 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. If Duke can't get it done with this matchup, he'll never be an option.
I think the other option for cash games is to pay up for D'Andre Swift ($7,200), provided he's active for the game. The Lions appeared ready to let him take the lead role before the injury, giving him 21 touches (149 yards from scrimmage, one touchdown) against a tough Washington Football team defense. The matchup against the Texans is the second-best in football, as they allow 28.49 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Terry McLaurin ($7,900) is worth paying up for this week given his matchup. Vegas has his over/under at 73.5, one of the highest marks on this three-game slate. There's also a 40 percent chance he scores a touchdown, further adding to his value. I don't love this pick, but I'll sprinkle him in a few tournament lineups.
Brandin Cooks ($6,500) is my favorite player considering his cost and upside. His over/under for receiving yards is 68.5 yards, and he's just under a 50/50 prospect to score a touchdown. Using him, even in cash with Deshaun Watson, makes a ton of sense. Teammate Will Fuller ($7,400) has a healthy over/under of 70.5 yards, and a stack with these two plus Watson makes a lot of sense in GPPs (think single-entry).
Here is the position that's the toughest to figure out, as T.J. Hockenson ($6,200) and Dalton Schultz ($5,300) are all in play. I listed them purposely in that order, as I think that's my order of preference. Hockenson gets a ton of red zone targets and he's the safety blanket for Matthew Stafford. Schultz benefits from having an elite trio of wide receivers to give them softer coverage and allow them to work over the middle of the field.
I wouldn't blame anyone for choosing the Washington Football team ($4,800) given their matchup. However, my lean here is to go cheaper and use the Dallas Cowboys ($3,300). Have they been terrible on defense this year? Yes. Have they scored minimal fantasy points as a result? Yes. All of that being said, I don't exactly expect the Washington Football team to put up a big number, and Dallas is at home.