This Thanksgiving, DraftKings is featuring a three-game slate. Rather than writing about each contest individually, I thought it might be helpful to list the fantasy relevant players at the quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions as well as provide a few data points for each player and a few notes on the defenses they will be facing. This information can also be used for the full Thursday thru Monday slate as well.
On Thursday, Dallas will be taking on Washington while Detroit will be squaring off against Chicago. However, this slate also features an enticing Week 3 rematch between the Saints and Falcons. As each of these contests are divisional matchups, this will be the second time each of these teams have faced one another.
Due to positive matchups in each of these games, there are a number of players that can be used to create a variety of roster combinations. What follows will hopefully help you comb through some of the data to make solid lineup selections.
Before reviewing the possible fantasy options in this game, just a couple of quick notes beforehand.
All data and statistics included in this article are provided courtesy of FantasyData.com. All points allowed, points scored, and pricing is based on DraftKings (DK) data. In addition, all positional rankings and rankings for points allowed to each position is based on a points per game basis.
With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the fantasy relevant players in this matchup.
Atlanta (@ New Orleans): Julio Jones, $8300 (WR5); Calvin Ridley, $5400 (WR27); Mohamed Sanu, $4500 (WR48) – Game Total 60.5 (NO -13)
The Falcons feature a trio of capable pass catchers in Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Mohamed Sanu. Jones is the clear leader in this receiving corps and is averaging 7.3 receptions on 11.1 targets and 22.8 DK points per game. After starting the first seven games without catching a touchdown, he has been on the receiving end of touchdown toss in each of the last three games and has scored more than 21.0 DK points in five straight games.
Also factoring into the mix is Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu. Through the first ten games, Ridley is averaging 3.9 receptions, 5.3 targets, and 14.0 DK points per game. Mohamed Sanu rounds out this group with 3.8 receptions, 5.4 targets, and 10.7 DK points per game.
On the year, the Saints are allowing the 2nd most points to wide receivers at 46.8 per game. In their first matchup in Week 3, Jones scored 14.6 DK points, Ridley put up a whopping 43.5, and Sanu totaled 15.6. If this game mimics the first meeting between these two teams and turns into a scoring fest, these receivers are talented enough to put fantasy points on the board.
Chicago (@ Detroit): Allen Robinson, $5500 (WR30); Anthony Miller, $4400 (WR48); Taylor Gabriel, $3700 (WR42) – Game Total 44 (CHI -3)
Due to the popularity of three wide receiver sets in today’s NFL, each of the teams on this slate feature three pass catchers and the Bears are no exception. This group includes Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel. Due to the inventive play calling used by Head Coach Matt Nagy, trying to figure out which of these receivers will factor into the game plan can be tricky on a week-to-week basis.
With that being said, the fantasy points leader in the group is Allen Robinson. This season Robinson is averaging 4.3 receptions, 7.3 targets, and 13.3 DK points per game. Due to some minor injuries earlier in the year, Robinson has only eight of the Bears ten games, but in those contests, he has five outings with 10.0 or more DK points.
In addition to Robinson, Chicago also frequently uses rookie Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel. On the season, Gabriel is averaging 4.4 receptions, 6.1 targets, and 11.5 DK points. On a per game basis, Miller comes in third among this group with 2.9 receptions on 4.9 targets and 10.7 DK points per game. While Gabriel’s per game averages are better, Miller has outperformed Gabriel the past four weeks. Over this four-game span, Miller has averaged 15.2 DK points to Gabriel’s 7.7.
On Thursday, the group of pass catchers will be squaring off against the Lions who are allowing the 14th most points to opposing wide receivers at 39.0 fantasy points per game. In their first meeting in Week 10, Robinson had his best game of the year with 34.3 DK points, Miller totaled 26.2, and Gabriel had his worst outing of the year as he put up 0.0 fantasy points but did receive 3 targets.
Detroit (vs Chicago): Kenny Golladay, $6400 (WR22); Marvin Jones Jr., $5000 (WR31), Bruce Ellington, $3200 (WR71) – Game Total 44 (CHI -3)
Although Marvin Jones is listed above, he is currently questionable while dealing with a knee injury sustained in the Lions Week 10 matchup against the Bears. He wasn’t able to practice on Monday or Tuesday of this week, but hasn’t been officially ruled out. With such a short week to prepare, it would be surprising if he was able to suit up, but stranger things have happened this season. If he does somehow manage to play, on the year, Jones has averaged 3.9 receptions, 6.9 targets, and 13.2 DK points per game.
With questions surrounding Jones’ status in this contest, a much better option is available in the form of Kenny Golladay. With Jones injured the past two weeks, Golladay has received a total of 27 targets and has scored 19.8 and 28.3 DK points in each of those games. Over the entire season, however, Golladay has averaged 4.7 receptions, 7.5 targets, and 15.5 DK points per game. Golladay has also scored 17.0 or more DraftKings points in six out of ten games this season.
The third receiving option for the Lions is newcomer Bruce Ellington. After trading Golden Tate to the Eagles, the Lions signed Ellington off the free agent market. Ellington started off this season with the Texans and appeared in three games before being released. In those contests, he averaged 7.7 DK points while pulling in 2.6 receptions on 4 targets per game. Although it’s a small one game sample size, in his first game with the Lions (which coincided with Jones being out), he caught 6 passes on 9 targets for 11.2 DK points.
While the Bears defense as a whole has been solid this season, they are currently allowing the 8th most points to the wide receiver position at 41.8 per game. In Detroit’s first meeting with Chicago in Week 10, Golladay scored 19.8 DK points, Jones totaled 8.5 before leaving the game due to injury, and Ellington did not play as he was new to the team and had not logged enough practice time.
Dallas (vs. Washington): Amari Cooper, $5700 (WR44); Cole Beasley, $4200 (WR52); Michael Gallup, $3500 (WR109) – Game Total 40.5 (DAL -7.5)
With Ezekiel Elliott as the focal point, the Cowboys primary focus on offense is rushing the ball. Among QBs who have totaled at least 100 passing attempts this season, Prescott is only averaging 30.5 passes per game which is the 5th lowest total in the league. As a result, there just isn’t enough volume to typically support more than one large fantasy outing from the Cowboys wide receiver corps.
However, the clear leader of the Cowboys receiving options on the outside is Amari Cooper who they acquired from the Raiders prior to Week 9 in exchange for a first round draft pick. Since joining the Cowboys, Cooper has averaged 4.6 receptions, 7.6 targets and 12.3 DK points per game. His best outing with Dallas so far this season was in his first game with Dallas in Week 9 when he scored 16.8 fantasy points. Cooper is certainly talented enough to put up a solid fantasy outing if given the opportunity.
In addition, the Cowboys also utilize Cole Beasley and rookie Michael Gallup on passing plays. Mostly working out of the slot this season, Beasley has averaged 4.5 receptions, 5.9 targets and 10.5 DK points per game. The Cowboys third option is Michael Gallup who is pulling in 1.6 receptions on 3.6 targets and averaging 5.1 DK points per contest.
This season, Washington is allowing the 13th most DK points to wide receivers at 40.3 per game. Although Cooper wasn’t yet with Dallas for their first matchup against Washington in Week 7, in that contest, Beasley scored 12.6 DK points and Gallup totaled 17.1.
New Orleans (vs Atlanta): Michael Thomas, $8900 (WR3); Tre’Quan Smith, $4700 (WR68); Keith Kirkwood, $3200 (WR93) – Game Total 60.5 (NO -13)
For obvious reasons, this group of pass catchers is certain to be popular options on Thursday. The clear leader of the group is Michael Thomas who has been outstanding so far this season. On the year, Thomas is averaging 8.2 receptions, 9.1 targets, and 24.1 DK points per game. Thomas is also averaging 104.2 yards per game and has a total of 8 touchdowns on the year. In the Saints first ten games, Thomas has scored 19.0 or more DraftKings points in seven out of ten games and has topped 25.0 or more in five of ten.
Fellow wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith had a breakout performance last week against Philadelphia as he caught 10 passes on 13 targets, 1 touchdown, and scored 34.7 DK points. Prior to that outing, however, he had been averaging 1.3 receptions, 2.2 targets, and 6.0 DK points per game. While his breakout game against the Eagles would seemingly make him a popular option for this week’s matchup against the Falcons, Smith is currently dealing with a foot injury that has prevented him from practicing on both Monday and Tuesday and is currently questionable for this game. If you consider using him in your lineups this week, be sure to keep your eye on his injury status.
If Smith is unable to go, Keith Kirkwood could continue to work into the mix and potentially see a few more targets come his way. As we saw last week, Head Coach Sean Payton is afraid to get creative and utilize weapons that unknown to the masses. Kirkwood was pulled up from the practice squad a few weeks ago and in the two games in which he has appeared, he has averaged 2.5 receptions, 3.5 targets, and 6.4 DK points per game.
Although he isn’t listed above, the other player that could factor in this week is Brandon Marshall who the Saints signed two weeks ago. Marshall was inactive for last week’s game against the Eagles, but if Smith is ultimately ruled out, I wouldn’t put it past Payton to figure out a way to factor Marshall into this game in some capacity.
The Falcons are currently allowing the 7th most points to opposing wide receivers at 42.0 DK points per game. In their first meeting in Week 3, Thomas caught 10 passes for 129 yards and scored 25.9 fantasy points. Neither Smith nor Kirkwood were factors in that game and did not score any fantasy points in that contest.
Washington (@ Dallas): Josh Doctson, $4100 (WR87); Maurice Harris, $4000 (WR81); Trey Quinn, $3500 (WR113) – Game Total 40.5 (DAL -7.5)
Washington is currently dealing with a whole series of injuries that have plagued the entire offensive unit. They are dealing with numerous injuries to their offensive line, running backs, wide receivers, and they just lost starter Alex Smith for the season due to a broken leg he sustained last week against the Texans. Regardless, this is the NFL and so they still have to throw the ball and someone still needs to catch it, so here we are.
This week against the Cowboys, the three most healthy options are Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris, and Trey Quinn. While there is an opportunity to hit some value with one or more of these receivers based on their price, all three are certainly risky options. Given the injuries that Washington has dealt with this season, let’s take a look at just the past four games.
In those four contests, Doctson has averaged 3.8 receptions, 5.5 targets, and 10.7 DK points per game. Over the same span, Harris has averaged 4.5 receptions, 5.8 targets, and 10.6 DK points per game. Although their per game averages somewhat mirror each other, Doctson has been the more consistent of the two and his fantasy totals have ranged between 6.2 and 14.6 in those four contests. On the other hand, Harris has totaled between 2.3 to 25.4 in those same four matchups.
Also entering the mix last week was Trey Quinn. Although he appeared in Week 1, he did not register any catches or fantasy points. Last week, however, he caught 4 passes on 4 targets and logged 8.9 DK points. With Colt McCoy at quarterback this week, perhaps Quinn and McCoy will have some familiarity together since they most likely worked together frequently during practice to this point in the season. That said, that is totally just a guess at this point.
On Thanksgiving, they will be facing a Cowboys defense that is allowing the 2nd fewest points to opposing wide receivers at 31.1 per game. In their first meeting in Week 7, Doctson registered 7.2 Dk points and Harris put up 5.2. Quinn was not active for that game and didn’t log any statistics.
Best of luck with your lineups this week and I hope everyone has an incredible day full of friends, family, food, and football. Happy Thanksgiving!
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