Noto’s NFL Positional Breakdown & Expert Plays: Thanksgiving Slate

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Updates

This section will be updated if there are any injuries or any changes to my thoughts on the slate.

Turkey Day Slate

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

This might be my favorite slate of the year. The stakes are higher once we get into the playoffs, but there is nothing better than sweating football games on Thanksgiving. I’ll never understand those that don’t like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all the other goods that come with Thanksgiving dinner, but to each their own. This is a holiday about giving thanks and I am truly grateful for what I do on a daily basis. I am thankful for my friends, my family, and everyone here at RotoGrinders.

Clearly, I am thankful for DFS, betting, and football!

This article won’t be as lengthy as the full slate breakdown, but I’ll cover my favorite targets at each position and give some thoughts on where you can differentiate in large-field tournaments. Perhaps the biggest piece of advice that I can give is to utilize the late swap feature for every lineup that you build. You will have a good idea of where each lineup stands after each game and you should make adjustments accordingly. If you get off to a fast start, don’t hesitate to play chalk in the next two games. If you have a player or two that struggles early, don’t be afraid to pivot off of the chalk in the later games. You should maximize each lineup’s chances to cash with these decisions. Everyone knows this in theory, but very few actually use the late swap feature on Thanksgiving.

As always, I’m around to answer any and all questions. My Twitter and Discord DMs are always open. I may not give the correct answer each time, but I will do my best. I love talking football and lineup strategy with many of you each week.

Quarterback

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

In the early days of DFS, Allen would be low-owned after a dud as the highest-owned quarterback of the slate. However, the field is far too sharp to let that happen on a three-game slate. Allen will be extremely chalky once again, but he’s the only quarterback with a ceiling that could actually break the slate. This doesn’t mean he’s automatically going to be on the optimal lineup, but if he scores 35+ fantasy points, it will be tough for the other five quarterbacks to out-pace him. The Lions are 23rd in DVOA against the pass, 27th in DVOA against the run, and dead last in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. The Bills have a massive team total (32 points) and Allen accounts for a higher percentage of his team’s touchdowns than any other quarterback in the NFL. Fade him at your own risk.

Tier 2

My plan is to spend up at the quarterback position. Daniel Jones and Kirk Cousins are facing the two best pass defenses in football, Mac Jones is a game manager with very little upside, and Jared Goff isn’t quite cheap enough to warrant consideration. The Cowboys aren’t asking Prescott to do as much this season (largely because their defense is playing so well), but he has topped 20 fantasy points in three straight games. He is playing at home and he draws an exploitable matchup against the Giants, who are ranked 24th in DVOA against the pass. I do prefer getting up to Allen if possible, but Prescott deserves consideration in all formats.

Running Back

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

The decisions at running back are interesting for a three-game slate. Given the fact that I am playing as much Allen as possible at quarterback, I plan to save a little at the running back position. Even with Damien Harris back from injury, Stevenson has been the feature back for the Patriots. He has recorded 23, 22, and 21 opportunities (carries + targets) over the last three games. He’s a big part of the passing game and we all saw what the Cowboys running backs were able to do against the Vikings last week. The Patriots are live to pull off the upset here, but even if they fall behind, that’s good news for Stevenson. He’s certainly the best pass-catcher in this backfield and he has seen 20 targets over the last three games combined.

I expect Allen to be the highest-owned quarterback on the slate and I expect many to use Singletary as leverage against him. I’m interested to see how many will pair Allen and Singletary in the same lineup. The thought behind the pairing is that you can potentially capture all of the offensive touchdowns for the Bills if you roster Allen and Singletary. If the Bills score four or five touchdowns and all of them come from these two players, we are in serious business. Singletary has dominated the snap share in this backfield over the last five games and they are starting to give him more carries down near the goal line. The perfect scenario would be Singletary catching a touchdown pass from Allen.

Tier 2

I made Barkley an Expert Play last week and he tanked my lineups. The Giants offense stalled as a whole, which is a concern on a weekly basis. They now have to go on the road to face the Cowboys, who have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Dallas is a little worse against the run than they are against the pass, but this is still a tough matchup. Additionally, the Giants are 9.5-point underdogs which could force them to abandon the run early. Obviously, Barkley is still a strong play in the context of a three-game slate. He’s a talented back, he dominates touches in this backfield, and this game is indoors. However, I wanted to point out the reasons why he’s down in Tier 2 and not included in Tier 1.

The Vikings have played four games since their bye and during that stretch, Cook has played on 77% of the snaps. The Vikings used Alexander Mattison a lot earlier in the season, but have essentially turned the keys over to Cook since the trade deadline. His success rate is lower than those priced around him at the running back position, but very few have the ability to break off big plays like he does. The Vikings will look to establish the run early in hopes to limit the pass rush for the Patriots. Cook is affordable and I do like the three running back builds, but I have him ranked behind Stevenson and Singletary in terms of priority.

We heard the Cowboys planned to give Pollard more touches than Ezekiel Elliott last week. It didn’t appear to be the case on the first drive, but it did come to fruition. Pollard played on 54% of the snaps and turned 21 touches into 189 yards and two touchdowns. As large home favorites against the Giants, there is certainly a game script where the Cowboys running backs split 30-35 touches. If the split is 60/40 in favor of Pollard, there’s a small chance he can get to 20 touches again. He’s a weapon in the passing game (can pair him with Prescott) and he’s taking on a team that is 28th in DVOA against the run.

Wide Receiver

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

  • Stefon Diggs: $8,000 DraftKings / $9,300 FanDuel
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown: $6,600 DraftKings / $7,600 FanDuel

You aren’t going to get any hot takes from me at receiver this week, at least not when it comes to my Expert Play tags. Diggs has a massive target share, a massive air yards share, he’s one of the most talented receivers in the league, and he has Allen as his quarterback. Did I mention he is facing the Lions in a dome? This one isn’t complicated — Diggs has the best matchup and the best projection of any receiver on the slate. I am also a fan of Gabe Davis and plan to build a number of different Bills stacks.

With the Bills being my favorite stack of the slate, I naturally want to bring it back with a player or two from the Lions. Jamaal Williams leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns and has been their feature back, but it doesn’t feel sustainable. D’Andre Swift still has a role and now Justin Jackson is getting snaps. I’ll go back to St. Brown again, who should have some serious touchdown regression coming his way. The last time I noted a player due for touchdown regression, Joe Mixon went off for five touchdowns. St. Brown seems to get tackled on the one or two-yard line every week. The Bills are still missing key pieces in their secondary and St. Brown has soaked up a 30%+ target share since the Lions traded T.J. Hockenson.

Tier 2

You’ll notice I don’t have Justin Jefferson in this section. I have no qualms with using Jefferson in any format, but he doesn’t seem to fit my builds as well as the other wideouts. For that reason, I am going to be underweight. Lamb has struggled with consistency this season, but we’ve all seen the type of upside he brings to the table (11/150/2 against the Packers two weeks ago). The Giants can’t sell out to stop any single piece on the Cowboys offense, as they don’t have enough playmakers on defense. It’s a good spot for the running game and the passing game. Lamb gets the nod for me over Jefferson due to the discount in price on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Meyers doesn’t play in a pass-happy offense, but has commanded a 25% target share and a 30% air yards share this season. That only equates to seven targets and 67 air yards per game, but he’s clearly the number one option for Jones in this passing attack. He’s affordable and offers a high floor this week against the Vikings, who have allowed the third most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. The Patriots have had a string of bad weather games, but we won’t have to worry about that in Minnesota.

Wan’Dale Robinson has been placed on injured reserve, which means the Giants are down another wideout. You can make a case for the punts here, but I’ll take my chances with the one and only proven receiver in this offense. Despite missing time, Slayton has racked up a 20% target share and a 24% air yards share this season. Those are massive compared to those of Kenny Golladay, Isaiah Hodgins, and Richie James. The Giants are likely going to be trailing and will likely have to air it out.

Tight End

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

  • Dalton Schultz: $3,800 DraftKings / $5,800 FanDuel
  • Dawson Knox: $3,500 DraftKings / $5,500 FanDuel
  • Lawrence Cager: $2,700 DraftKings

At the tight end position, we are looking for touchdowns. I will try to get exposure to T.J. Hockenson here as well, as he’s racked up 28 targets in his first three games with the Vikings. However, the easy route is to pair my quarterback with his tight end. On my Allen lineups, that means Dawson Knox. On my Prescott lineups, that means Schultz. Both have good matchups and both are weapons in the redzone. If you are looking for a pure punt on DraftKings, Lawrence Cager has played on 70% of the snaps over the last two games and is a cheap way to get exposure to the Giants.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy the turkey, enjoy time with your family, and enjoy the football. If you are traveling like me, stay safe out there.

Image Credit: Imagn

This DFS content is a part of our Premium Content Schedule and designed to help you build better lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo!, SuperDraft, and other daily fantasy contest providers. Access NFL Projections, Expert Rankings, Projected Ownership, NFL DFS Picks, and other Data Tools using this content hub. For our world-class optimizer that offers a suite of tools and information designed to help you crush the competition, please head to LineupHQ!

Thursday Morning Updates

This section will be updated if there are any injuries or any changes to my thoughts on the slate.

Turkey Day Slate

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

This honestly might be my favorite slate of the year. The stakes are higher once we get into the playoffs, but there is nothing better than sweating football games while surrounded by your loved ones and eating a delicious meal. I’ll never understand those that don’t like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all the other goodies that come with Thanksgiving, but to each their own. This is a holiday about giving thanks and I am truly grateful for what I do for a living. I love my family, I love my friends, and I love all of the members here at RotoGrinders.

This article won’t be as lengthy as the full slate breakdown, but I’ll cover my favorite targets at each position and give some thoughts on where you can differentiate in large-field tournaments. Perhaps the biggest piece of advice that I can give is to utilize the late swap feature for every lineup that you build. You will have a good idea of where each lineup stands after each game and you should make adjustments accordingly. If you get off to a fast start, don’t hesitate to play chalk in the next two games. If you have a player or two that struggles early, don’t be afraid to pivot off of the chalk in the later games. Everyone knows this in theory, but very few actually use the late swap feature.

As always, I’m around to answer any and all questions. My Twitter and Discord DMs are always open. I may not give you the right answer to your questions, but I will do my best. I love chatting with many of you each week.

Quarterback

Tier 1 (Expert Plays)

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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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