Daigle's Top NFL DFS Picks: Thanksgiving Slate
I begin my research for DFS tournaments every week by sifting through what our opponents are doing and engineering lineups backward from there.
These top plays, though viable for cash games (which will be noted throughout), are suggested specifically for tournaments and are weighted for ceiling projection, matchup, ownership, and value. I will include any thoughts on game theory within my reasoning for each player.
They are listed in order of descending price, not by my personal rankings
Dak Prescott, Cowboys ($6,200 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)
Our 4for4 Ceiling projections have Josh Allen prognosticated with nearly 10 more fantasy points (40) in his best-case scenario than the next closest quarterback (Prescott, 31.1), which will also undoubtedly leave Allen as the slate’s highest rostered player. And even though it’s a tough sell that will leave you sick to your stomach, we arguably gain our greatest leverage by simply being underweight on Allen since that will then allow us to late-swap onto the chalkiest and best plays in the remaining two games if he were to fail.
I prefer to be overweight on Prescott for those reasons, especially since (when micro-analyzing this spot) the Giants will be short its two starting cornerbacks on Thursday. Prescott also has the league’s fifth-highest completion rate against the blitz, which DC Wink Martindale has called at the league’s highest rate. I’m double-stacking Prescott (even with Tony Pollard) in this scenario since Dak being in winning lineups would likely entail Allen stacks failing and leaving the door wide open for any other offense, particularly one with the second-highest team total (27.5) on this slate.
Mac Jones, Patriots ($5,100 DK, $6,500 FD)
Jones has completed 71.4% of his passes inside the red zone but has only been afforded 21 attempts in that range since the Patriots rank 24th in red zone possessions per game. Fingers crossed, the Vikings elevate that latter mark with its league-high touchdown rate (71.4%) allowed inside the 20 and, furthermore, 28 points per game since returning from its Week 7 bye. If attempting to spend down at QB on this slate, Jones is my pick to go to war with (which also allows us to spend up with confidence everywhere else).
Saquon Barkley, Giants ($8,000 DK, $8,800 FD)
I genuinely don’t know how Barkley hits his ceiling with starting C Jon Feliciano (neck), RT Evan Neal (knee), LG Shane Lemieux (toe), and backup LG Josh Ezeudu (neck) all ruled out for Thursday; backup RT Tyre Phillips (neck) is also considered a game-time call. But there’s no doubt Barkley will go overlooked relative to Stefon Diggs and Justin Jefferson, naturally forcing tournament players to ignore an every-down back in being unable to jam him in. Dalvin Cook at the very least averaged 6.5 yards per carry in Sunday’s demolition to Dallas.
Tony Pollard, Cowboys ($6,600 DK, $8,500 FD)
Pollard was priced at $6,500 on DraftKings in Week 8 and responded as the overall RB4 with three touchdowns and 36.7 points. The site failed to budge his salary in the slightest against Green Bay, resulting in 25 touches for 24.8 points as the week’s RB6. Then in only being priced for $100 more ($6,600) in Week 10, Pollard scored a position-high 39.9 points with 189 total yards. In short: why the hell wouldn’t we roster him at that exact price again?
Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots ($6,400 DK, $7,200 FD)
Stevenson has registered a 24% target share over the last month, seeing at least six targets in every game in that span. He’s also totaled 13 catches in his last two appearances with Damien Harris. With the Vikings permitting 5.3 receptions per game to opposing runners, Stevenson is not only a terrific standalone option for Thursday’s slate but is more than viable as a stacking partner with Mac Jones.
Devin Singletary, Bills ($5,700 DK, $6,900 FD)
After Josh Allen completed just 56% of his passes (with several poor throws) in the first half against Cleveland, the Bills returned with a 13-10 lead in the third quarter and called 19 running-back carries to 12 dropbacks to close the game. That same approach with any large lead against Detroit would qualify Singletary, who out-touched James Cook 20-11 last week, as elite leverage off of the slate’s highest rostered quarterback/player.
CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($7,100 DK, $7,900 FD)
Martindale is on his bullshit again, continuing to send the house at the highest rate in the league; albeit against Cooper Rush, the Giants led the league in blitz rate in their first matchup against the Cowboys in Week 3. Having said that, Lamb fortuitously leads the league in targets and catches against the blitz, accruing targets on 35 targets against five-plus pass rushers (per Sports Info Solutions). I’m eating the chalk with CeeDee on Thursday whether I roster Prescott or not.
Gabe Davis, Bills ($5,300 DK, $7,200 FD)
Even if we are underweight Allen for leverage purposes, Davis pops as a standalone option on DK given his range of outcomes with at least 16.3 DK points in as many games (4) as he’s scored less than 7.0. Davis has also quietly soaked up 20% of Buffalo’s team targets in 3-of-4 games since its bye, a share he failed to reach in any start prior to Week 7.
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots ($5,100 DK, $6,700 FD)
DeVante Parker, Patriots ($3,900 DK, $5,400 FD)
With 25.4% of Mac Jones’ targets in his last three starts, I’m more than willing to stack Meyers in lineups with Mac. But with the Vikings ranking bottom-four in practically every metric—completion rate, yards per target, yards per game, yards per snap—to opposing receivers from the boundary, I’m additionally waiting out Parker’s questionable tag in hopes of playing him with Jones at single-digit rostership. Parker also leads the Patriots in yards per route run (with 25.8 yards per catch) against zone coverage, which Minnesota has schemed at the league’s second-highest rate.
Darius Slayton, Giants ($5,000 DK, $6,400 FD)
Slayton’s on-field opportunity continues to increase by default, recording a 23% target share since New York’s Week 9 bye and, with Wan’Dale Robinson (torn ACL) and Richie James (knee, questionable) injured, a team-high in routes participation (86%) against Detroit. Slayton also ranks eighth in YPRR against man coverage, which DC Dan Quinn has schemed at a top-five rate.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys ($3,800 DK, $5,800 FD)
Ignore last week’s letdown with 3/22 in the box score since Schultz has still averaged 7.2 targets and a 20.3% target share in four full games with Prescott this year. Schultz qualifies as a double-stacking option to soak up passing touchdowns with Prescott and Lamb.
Hunter Henry, Patriots ($3,100 DK, $4,900 FD)
Henry returned from New England's bye week with increased on-field reps, recording his highest route rate (76%) ahead of Jonnu Smith's (35%) since Week 6. Tied for the team lead in red zone targets (5) this year, Henry can easily catch T.J. Hockenson or Shultz on FD since the Vikings have permitted the league’s highest touchdown rate inside the 20.
Lawrence Cager, Giants ($2,700 DK)
Cager is listed as a WR on FD, so there’s no need to chase him there. But his near-minimum salary in an assumed blowout on DK is live after he usurped Tanner Hudson for a route on a season-high 73% of the team’s dropbacks. He’s more than viable in any game stacks across from Prescott stacks.