Thanksgiving Day Fanduel Lineups
Alfred Morris and Jerick McKinnon are similarly priced on Fanduel and DK this week. Alfred Morris is an intriguing player on this Thanksgiving Day slate. The Chargers defense has given up 4.9 yards per carry to running backs on the season, a total of 8 rushing touchdowns, 12 runs of 20+ yards and 4 runs of 40+ yards which is the most in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, the Cowboys offensive line has a huge advantage over the Chargers defensive line in the run blocking department. Morris ran for 4.8 yards per carry against the Falcons in week 10 and 5.4 yards per carry against the Eagles last week. The problem with Morris is that if the Cowboys fall behind, Morris will likely give way to Rod Smith who plays on passing downs.
Initially I thought Jerick McKinnon was going to be the clear running back play this week, but then I looked at the numbers and I am not quite sure. Yes, McKinnon is a home run threat any time he touches the ball, but over his last 4 games he has averaged less than 4 yards per carry. Yes, McKinnon is involved in the passing game, but at the end of the day, this Vikings offense goes through Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. According to Pro Football Focus, Minnesota and Detroit have an even matchup in the run blocking/run defense department which isn’t comforting. Over the last 2 games, Latavius Murray has at least 15 carries in each game he’s played and ran for 4.0 and 6.3 yards per carry, scoring 3 touchdowns over that span. With the emergence of Murray as of late, and considering the matchup, I am going to play Alfred Morris over Jerick McKinnon in daily this week.
Lineup #1: Case Keenum, Alfred Morris, Melvin Gordon, Adam Thielen, Golden Tate, Josh Doctson, Vernon Davis, Matt Prater, LA Chargers
If you don’t mind rolling the dice on a risky, lower priced QB, roll with Keenum and stack your lineup with other high end guys like Melvin Gordon, Adam Thielen and Golden Tate. Over the last 3 weeks, the Lions defense has given up 18 points to Brett Hundley, 24 points to DeShone Kizer and 14 to Mitch Trubisky, so Keenum can definitely get it done here by the matchup. Tate is likely to avoid Xavier Rhodes for most of the game, if Rhodes even plays, and Thielen is likely to move around the formation and avoid Darius Slay for the most part. Melvin Gordon is likely to be the chalk play at running back for the slate, and that’s fine, get him out there because the Cowboys got run on badly against the Eagles last week, and it’s likely to happen again on Thursday. It looks like Tyron Smith is set to play on Thursday, so Dak Prescott could come through, or at least not be running for his life, but it’s just hard to trust him after that stinker against the Eagles on Sunday night. Even with Smith back, I am not sure how much success the Cowboys receivers will have against the Chargers secondary which has been pretty solid lately.
Lineup #2: Kurt Cousins, Alfred Morris, Theo Riddick, Adam Thielen, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Nick Novak, LA Chargers
If you want to take less risk at the QB position, then pay up for Kurt Cousins against the struggling Giants defense who have given up the most fantasy points to the QB position on the season. By swapping out Keenum for Cousins, you will no longer be able to afford Melvin Gordon, so I recommend replacing him with Theo Riddick because the Lions aren’t likely to have success running the ball against the Vikings who give up only 3.3 yards per carry on the season meaning Riddick should get some check downs. Back in week 4, Ameer Abdullah did run for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings, but over their last 4 games, the most yards rushing the Vikings have surrendered to a single runner is 37 to Todd Gurley. You will have some budget left over, so you can upgrade from Vernon Davis to Evan Engram and Josh Doctson to Sterling Shepard as long as Shepard plays. If Shepard doesn’t play, stay put with Doctson or roll with Jamison Crowder. Go Doctson if you want higher upside and don’t mind the risk, and go Crowder if you want a safer play with a higher floor.
Thanksgiving Day DK Lineup
Kurt Cousins, Alfred Morris, Samaje Perine, Adam Thielen, Golden Tate, Josh Doctson, Evan Engram, Latavius Murray, Washington Redskins
By avoiding the highest priced running back on the slate, Melvin Gordon, you can pay up for Evan Engram and several other mid priced viable options. As I said in the Fanduel write up above, if you are a risk taker, then throw Doctson in there, if you are a more risk averse person, then go with Crowder who has the higher floor.
Moving on to the Weekend…
Russell Wilson @ San Francisco 49ers – $8,600 Fanduel – $7,000 DK – Through week 11, Russell Wilson is now the #1 fantasy quarterback in standard scoring leagues. Wilson is fully over the ankle issue that slowed him in 2016, and he’s come through this year with 2,801 yards passing and 21 TD’s, adding 376 yards and 2 TD’s with his legs. Basically, Wilson has similar passing stats as Tom Brady, only he can run. October 8th is the last time Wilson was held to a single touchdown in a game. The 49ers have given up the 6th most fantasy points to the quarterback position on the year and they have given up multiple touchdowns to quarterbacks in each of their last 5 games. Wilson has been on absolute fire lately and he should continue to roll against the 49ers this week, especially given the Seahawks difficulties in the running game.
Marcus Mariota @ Indianapolis Colts – $7,800 Fanduel – $6,300 DK – Back in week 6 Mariota threw for 306 and a touchdown against the Colts in his first game back from a bad hamstring. In that week 6 Monday Night Football matchup, Mariota was extremely cautious on his legs and simply didn’t run like he customarily does. Now without limitations and coming off 10 days of rest since his last game, Mariota is primed for a breakout, ready to tear up the Colts defense which is allowing the 9th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
Matt Ryan vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $7,600 Fanduel – $6,400 DK – The Bucs have given up over 250 yards passing in each of their last 3 games and multiple touchdown passes in 2 of their last 3 games. Matt Ryan has been up and down on the season, but there’s little doubt he will come through against the Bucs who simply can’t stop anybody.
Andy Dalton vs Cleveland Browns – $7,200 Fanduel – $6,000 DK – Dalton had 286 yards passing and 4 TD’s in their prior matchup and the Browns continue to dominate against the run, allowing a league best 3.1 yards per carry. Joe Mixon simply can’t get it going behind that horrid Bengals offensive line so Dalton should come through in a big way as long as the Bengals defense doesn’t hang too many points on the Browns while taking DeShone Kizer interceptions to the house. I will be at the game with a Browns fan this weekend, so if I am wrong I’m sure I will hear about it.
Jared Cook vs Denver – $5,500 Fanduel – $4,800 DK – The Broncos play a lot of man defense which is problematic for these Raiders wide receivers meaning Jared Cook may be the focal point of the Raiders passing game. The Broncos have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to the tight end position on the year and have given up a touchdown to tight ends in 5 of their last 6 games. Back on October 1st Jared Cook was targeted 8 times against the Broncos and he should see similar target volume this weekend. Cook was targeted in the endzone in the first matchup and should have scored but he let the ball bounce off his hands.
Greg Olsen @ NY Jets – $6,400 Fanduel – $4,800 DK – I don’t care if Greg Olsen hasn’t played since week 2, Olsen is the man and he should be Cam Newton’s favorite passing target moving forward. As long as the practice reports are positive out of Carolina this week, I am rolling him out there with confidence against a Jets team giving up the 8th most points to tight ends on the year.
Delanie Walker @ Indianapolis Colts – $5,900 Fanduel – $5,000 DK – Walker came up extremely small against the Colts earlier in the year but to be fair, he was dealing with an injury around that time, and lately, he’s been extremely involved in the passing game. Walker has yet to score a TD this year, so he’s due, and he has seen 5, 9 and 9 targets in his last 3 games. Walker seems to be healthy and looks good out there. It also helps that Walker has a plus matchup against Colts Safety, Mathias Farley.
Tyler Kroft vs Cleveland Browns – $5,700 Fanduel – $3,900 DK – Everybody has been getting it done against the Browns this year who have surrendered the 3rd most points to tight ends on the year. Opposing tight ends have scored on the Browns in each of the last 3 games, including the likes of Eric Ebron and Mercedes Lewis. If Ebron and Lewis can come through and score against the Browns, then anybody can, even David Morgan from the Vikings. Kroft did hurt his hand or wrist against the Broncos this week and was sporting some sort of cast during and after the game, so if he cannot play, feel confident rolling CJ Uzomah out there. Uzomah isn’t the most explosive option in the world, but he is competent at the position.
“Big Rigg” QB/TE Stack of the Week
This week, I am going to roll Andy Dalton and either Tyler Kroft or CJ Uzomah out there against the Cleveland Browns. Monitor the injury report because if Kroft can’t play, Uzomah can be inserted into your lineup. I was weighing whether to recommend Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham as the stack of the week, but those guys together are a little high priced and they are obvious plays. Dalton always comes through against the Browns and there’s no reason to doubt he won’t this week. Kroft isn’t likely to get big yardage in this one, but he’s a solid bet to come down with a score.
Follow me on Twitter @Coachriggall