FanDuel & DraftKings NFL DFS Thanksgiving Slate GPP Breakdown
On a short slate like Thanksgiving, it’s usually wise to favor GPPs and avoid or limit cash games. With so few players on the slate, there is more overlap between lineups than on the main slate, which leads to much more variance—exactly what we are trying to avoid when grinding cash games.
For those used to playing full slates, consider these potential adjustments or listen to this DFS MVP theory segment on playing short slates:
- Short slates are not all about value - With so few players in the pool, there will inevitably be a ton of overlap in lineups which naturally leads to a high variance slate. For this reason, it makes sense to focus on GPPs. (Putting your tournament lineups in small 50/50s or multipliers, however, can be a nice way to give your lineups a floor). Rather than building lineups with all of the best point-per-dollar plays, consider game flow scenarios and build lineups that follow a logical narrative relative to those scripts—strategies such as full onslaughts are very much in play.
- Consider non-traditional lineup builds - On short slates, there are some lineup construction strategies to consider that would never make sense on a full slate. Some examples are playing more than one running back from the same game or team in a lineup, rostering one or two players against your defense, and leaving salary on the table. It’s going to be tough to find contrarian stand-alone players—look for other ways to be unique.
- There is leverage to be had at the “onesies” - Full slates will rarely have any quarterback, tight end, or defense in more than 15%–20% of lineups in large-field GPPs. On slates such as this one, players at those positions could approach 50% ownership in even the largest fields. This presents a rare opportunity to be contrarian at positions where ownership is usually quite flat.
- Stick to a (relatively) small player pool - It’s tempting to try to cover all of your bases when the player pool is so small but that will only dilute your good reads. Narrow in on a small core with your favorite off-the-board plays and be way overweight on those players. Coupled with strong correlation plays, this is how to build a profitable portfolio on a short slate.
- Don’t forget about late swaps - With no overlap between games, this slate may offer the biggest edge of the year when it comes to late swap. Teams that are contrarian early have an especially big edge with the ability to swap off of popular players in late games if they are doing poorly or stay on chalky players if their early contrarian plays hit. For more information on late swap theory, listen to this DFS MVP segment.
Bills (-9.5) @ Lions; O/U 54.5
- Buffalo has the highest team total on the slate (32) and this game total is nine points higher than any other game.
- The Lions haven’t allowed a running back to score double-digit half-PPR points in a game since Week 7. When adjusted for strength of schedule, Detroit ranks 29th or worse in fantasy points allowed to every position except running back where they are 12th.
- Stefon Diggs Projects as the top value across all positions on both sites while Josh Allen is the top value at quarterback.
- There are 91 players with at least 40 targets this year and none have a higher average target depth than Gabe Davis (16.2). The Lions allow the eighth-highest EPA per play on passes 15+ yards downfield.
- Since trading away T.J. Hockenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown has accounted for 38% of the Lions' targets, 18% have gone to Kalif Raymond and 14% have gone to D’Andre Swift—D.J. Chark saw just one target on 16% of snaps in his first game back from injury.
- Over the last six weeks, the Lions have posted the sixth-highest pass EPA per play while the Bills rank 26th in pass EPA per play allowed and 27th in explosive pass rate allowed.
- The Bills have allowed the fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to tight ends but rank 19th against running backs and 20th against wide receivers.
Ownership and Leverage
- Buffalo projects as the most popular offense on both sites with five players on their offense likely coming in above 25% ownership.
- Salaries on both sites allow for a lot of lineup flexibility, meaning that full onslaughts of this game are affordable.
- James Cook has yet to hit a 30% snap share this year but he did tie a season-high with 11 carries in Week 11. Cook makes sense as a contrarian piece to lineups built around a Buffalo blowout narrative, including as a mini-correlation with the Bills defense in lineups that use an alternative game stack.
- Pairing Jared Goff with at least one of his pass-catchers and bringing back multiple Buffalo players is a way to access this game in a way that lowers the cumulative ownership of a lineup. Allen’s ownership could as much as five times that of Goff.
- Swift’s huge passing-game role could make him a slate-breaker if his snap share returns to the 50%+ rate he was seeing before his injury.
Cowboys (-9.5) vs Giants; O.U 45.5
- Dallas is tied as the biggest favorite on the slate but their team total (27.5) is notably lower than Buffalo’s. New York’s 18-point total is the lowest on the slate.
- Since Dak Prescott’s return from injury, the Cowboys offense ranks fifth in total EPA per play and first in scoring. The Giants have allowed the sixth-highest explosive pass rate this season and the fifth-highest explosive run rate.
- In Ezekiel Elliott’s first game back since Week 7, Tony Pollard maintained the playing time edge.
- With Prescott back since Week 7, CeeDee Lamb has averaged 8.2 targets per game (27% target share), Dalton Schultz 6.2 per (20%), and Michael Gallup 4.8 per (15%) with 44% of end zone targets going to Schultz.
- Schultz is 4for4’s top tight end value on both sites.
- The Giants run at the fourth-highest rate relative to expectation and Dallas faces the second-highest rush rate compared to expectation.
- New York lost Wandale Robinson and could be without Richie James. Over the last month, Darius Slayton has accounted for 23% of the Giants’ targets, averaging 6.7 per game.
Ownership and Leverage
- Dallas is projecting for the second-highest cumulative ownership on both sites with the Giants coming in as the least-popular offense on the slate.
- CeeDee Lamb could be the most popular receiver on the slate while Schultz is likely to see lower ownership than Dawson Knox despite projecting as a better value.
- Dallas onslaughts won’t be quite as popular as Bills onslaughts but they can get to potential sub-20% plays such as Michael Gallup or even Noah brown in the largest fields.
- Lineups that are heavy on early chalk can use Zeke as a contrarian play with the Dallas defense, especially on FanDuel where he can get there on touchdowns alone.
Vikings (-2.5) vs Patriots; O/U 42.5
- Minnesota is one of two defenses ranked outside the top in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to every position. They are allowing the third-highest explosive pass rate this season.
- New England ranks first in pass EPA per play allowed and has surrendered the fewest schedule-adjusted points to running backs.
- Since joining the Vikings, T.J. Hockenson is averaging 9.3 targets per game, third among all tight ends. In that span, Justin Jefferson has still managed 11.3 targets per game, second among wide receivers.
- After averaging over seven targets per game over the first eight weeks of the season, Adam Thielen’s per-game target average has dropped to 5.7 over the last three weeks and he has just one end zone target in those games.
- With DeVante Parker back in action last week, Jakobi Meyers was the only Patriots receiver to play at least 60% of snaps. When active, Parker is averaging nearly as many air yards per game as Meyers on roughly half the volume, propped up by Parker’s 16.3-yard average target depth.
- Damien Harris played just 24% of snaps last week compared to 78& for Rhamondre Stevenson.
Ownership and Leverage
- Stevenson is projecting as the most popular player on both sites but all other Patriots skill players come in at sub-20%.
- Both of these defenses should be used heavily. Anyone rostering a chalky Patriots defense should consider Harris in a mini-stack as a contrarian FanDuel option.
- As low-owned salary-savers, the Patriots pass-catchers are in play as one-off plays or in mini-correlations but Parker stands out as the most likely candidate for a couple of quick-hitting plays that could break the slate.
- While this game isn’t the best for stacking, it can be used heavily in late swap for lineups that get off to a slow start. Among top-tier receivers, Justin Jefferson should be the least popular and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Thielen come in at his floor ownership projection.
- High-volume backs in “bad” matchups are usually great targets on small slates. Dalvin Cook offers huge leverage off of Stevenson at significantly lower ownership.