The Ambush - Thanksgiving DFS
THE AMBUSH - THANKSGIVING
Because Thanksgiving is a special holiday and we have three games, you are getting a variation of the AMBUSH for this wonderful holiday full of good food, good spirits, annoying relative conversations and probably some less than entertaining football. But yes, we have DFS and fantasy to capitalize on with that.
For the three games you'll have two different types of contests to look at this week. The usual MAIN type contests where you pick a full lineup and then of course the 'Showdown' slates. There are some secondary sites out there doing some other contests and I think that's kinda cool for the 3 game slate this weekend so my AMBUSH plays are going to focus on a player/theme from each game itself and then I'll do a full rankings at the bottom as usual.
The three games are fairly balanced this week with the TNF Saints-Falcons game having the highest total at 48.5 and the lowest being the Bears-Lions at 38.5. The totals will drive ownership and projections to some degree, but I really don't envision them being spot on with what we shall expect this week.
This is going to be a big topic for the MAIN slate this weekend and I will have a full breakdown of the lineup overlap that is going on (mostly on FD) for my MAIN article this weekend. Obviously with a short 3 game slate, we'll see duplicate lineups everywhere and high ownership -- it's the nature of the beast. Don't complain about that, but rather focus on where there is a smart pivot because the high ownership in this case can be 70-80%.
HIGHEST CHALK % PLAYS (FANDUEL)
QB ... Nobody will be heavy chalk here
You can pivot around where you see fit. I would suspect Brees and Ryan gain 15-20% ownership themselves with the game having the highest total and neither should blow you away if you do not have them.
RB ... Elliott, Kamara, Montgomery
WR ... Thomas, Miller, Ridley, Cooper, Gallup, Brown
TE ... Cook, Punts
DEF ... Bears, Cowboys
SAMPLE CHALKY LINEUP: Trubisky, Zeke, Kamara, Thomas, Miller, Ridley, Knox, Montgomery, Bears
THANKSGIVING TURKEY LEGS
CORN ON THE COBB
It's time to throw in some sides before the main course and this Bills-Cowboys game should really be a good one that you'll wanna go ahead and get stuffed up on before snoozing on the main course. Don't be that guy who tries to pace yourself at Thanksgiving dinner because you have a date later that night to go out shopping with some girl you want to impress. Screw the Black Friday nonsense man, you know they're just gonna order some shit on Amazon Prime because every better half feels like they are in a select club as an Amazon Prime member. Oh wait, side rant. Back to football!
Yes, the Cowboys/Bills game to me is a sneaky shootout and Amari Cooper now gets another top CB in Tre'davious White to deal with this week which will open up Michael Gallup for a good game but to me it also brings Randall Cobb onto our radar as a nice cheap secondary WR to pair with some high volume guys. And in that afternoon showdown slate, he's the perfect value spot to have a big game out of nowhere. Last Thanksgiving Cooper was a slate breaker, but I see Cobb being that guy for Dallas this week and would love a Dak-Zeke-Cobb stack to take down the Showdown in this game.
TURKEY LEG #1: Eat some Randall Cobb
SAINTS DEFENSE & ALVIN KAMARA
I fucking love the Saints Defense this week. Obviously I love them many weeks, but holy smokes this is setting up to be a complete dominant performance by their defense even on a short week off a game they had to play a ton of snaps. Outside of that, there's very little I can come up with as reasons they won't do well this week. Matt Ryan was pressured on about 75% of his drop backs last week vs the Bucs and while Tampa's front is good, the Saints front has been better at getting pressure and is perfectly healthy and deep. Im leaning that Marshon Lattimore sits again but as long as Austin Hooper remains out for Atlanta that won't matter because the Falcons have 2 receiver threats and the Saints have enough history to know how to handle Julio and Ridley with the guys remaining. They'll bracket coverage on Julio and lock down Ridley with Eli Apple as they have done the last two meetings, forcing Ryan to check down to nothing out of his backfield (Freeman wont hold up if he plays), chuck it into the stands or take a sack -- of which I project the Saints to get 5 sacks, force a fumble and pick him off twice. 28-3 Saints win.
Meanwhile, on offense -- last week doesn't matter. Just keep telling yourself that. Kamara's usage was a little shocking to me last week and in fact Kamara AND Murray both were having decent overall success in the ground game vs Carolina when the Saints went jumbo -- they just didn't do it enough. But Kamara was able to get some late 2 minute drill stats to atleast get his base good, however that big TD game still is looming out there. This week against Atlanta, they should be in a spot to try and ground and pound a ton to get in and get this game over as soon as possible so they can get a quick game out of the way, but it should feature plenty of short passes to Kamara as well. The Falcons continue to give up tons of passes to opposing running backs and with the Saints having their LT and LG out for this match-up I would suspect we see more swing and screen passes to combat the Atlanta pass rush which has improved of late.
The Saints path to winning this week is lock down defense and the running game.
TURKEY LEG #2: Go to bed and trust Kamara + Saints Defense in a lop-sided but low scoring game.
FULL AMBUSH RANKINGS
Allen is getting about 50 yards rushing every single week, it doesn't matter how the match-up is he will get the carries to get those 5 points. Then if he accounts for 2 TD he's got another 8-10 points and really doesn't have to throw for a ton of yardage to be in that 18-20 point range. With the short list of QB's and none popping off as being in 4 TD & 300 yard spots I would take Allen as your top QB this week
The best and most likely option to break the slate though could be Trubisky because of his price and projected ownership. He should come in around 20-25% right around Brees and Ryan as the popular choices and the Bears could have their way this weekend with a bad Lions team. I like him to account for 3 TD, I just don't see him getting the yardage that Allen will get.
I am going with a 2 RB approach mostly on this slate and using a WR in the FLEX position because there are only two guys I see getting 15+ points in Kamara and Zeke and I would rather take my shots at WR for a big day in the FLEX spot
Alvin Kamara ... Hard not to envision 65 yards rushing, 65 yards receiving, 6 to 7 receptions and yes a fricken Touchdown. It all adds up to a near 20 point evening safety net.
Ezekiel Elliott ... Like Kamara, he should be in line for a safe total 120 yards total and a touchdown. Similar boat to Kamara, these two anchors are gonna be 60-80% owned so you might as well take them both.
Tarik Cohen ... Cohen actually stands to benefit a ton if Gabriel is out and should present a huge problem for the Lions this week. He's a must in the Bears-Lions showdown match-up for me and is very tempting to make my main lineup if I don't go 4 WR.
This slate SCREAMS take mid range WR and play the TD variance game there. However, Thanksgiving history screams that one of the guys who appears to have just a good match-up but not an amazing spot will ball out. That guy could very well be Kenny Golladay or Marvin Jones, I love having one of them in the FLEX spot this week as a 4th WR.
Mike Thomas ... Not seeing a shootout personally limits MT, but he's 8 for 100 every week.
Randall Cobb ... With White likely Shadowing Cooper the Cowboys passing game opens up more for Cobb and Gallup, but I like Cobb to get more room to roam for big plays.
Anthony Miller ... If Gabriel is out then he probably becomes the highest owned WR on the slate.
John Brown ... I love him this week + Allen.
Marvin Jones / Kenny Golladay ... You should play a contrarian WR on this slate and my vote is for Kenny G and Marvin Jones to be one of those guys from the Lions in the early game.
Just a terrible position. Yeah, Jared Cook has looked good lately for the Saints and is from the ATL area, but I don't see New Orleans needing him a ton this week and so you pray the TD variance doesn't go to him. Bold call, the Saints will get a TD from one of the no namers, i.e. Jason Vander Laay
New Orleans ... Atlanta committed to the run in their upset of the Saints but will be without Freeman and also the loss of Austin Hooper is going to prove deadly this week for them. This is the biggest miss-match on the entire slate. I wouldn't play the TNF showdown without the Saints defense and love them as a captain play too.
AMBUSH Q&A / PIVOTS
A new section that I am bringing to my article each week. This is my sneaky way of providing thoughts on lots of the games without actually "touting" or recommending specific plays each week. It's for those of you who love to ask questions on Twitter, Slack or whatever other method you prefer.
With only three games how should I approach contest selection?
To me it's not so much about contest selection because choosing a contest isn't really as important with so few games, but obviously throwing a single bullet into a 150 max spot is gonna end fairly rough -- that said, I don't think you need more than 5 to 10 lineups to have a good shot to take those down on this slate. Be bold at a position like RB or WR and lock a certain player across all 10 lineups there. I would make a stand on QB and DEF and not have more than 2 players across the 10 lineups and then just mix and match. Worry less about game stacking as well.
Thanks for your favorite plays, but I wanna go opposite what likely happens and play contrarian -- where do I begin?
I think the hardest thing for folks to do this week is pivot off both Zeke and Kamara in a high $ tournament lineup. Both of these RB's will probably be over 60% owned on the field which means logically I would suspect that at most 10% of the lineups do not have either one of them because of a lack of trusted RB options. The most common pivot if going off both would be to play Montgomery AND Singletary or some might try to simply pivot off Kamara to Murray and play him with Zeke. But I would go full different at running back and play Tarik Cohen and Latavius Murray for example or some mix and match that has no Zeke and no AK41 in your lineup. It's ballsy, but that's the sharpest path to being different to finish 1st this Thanksgiving -- that and not playing Michael Thomas or Julio Jones just because they are "projected" to score an avg.
SHOWDOWN CONTEST THOUGHTS
There will be three showdown single game contests on Turkey Day as well and as folks dwindle into the night they'll be sure to want to do the afternoon and evening game showdown spots as well with the evening Falcons-Saints game being the biggest draw.
Below are some Captain and Sleeper picks for each game
Bears vs Lions
Captains: Anthony Miller, Kenny Golladay
Sleepers: Javon Wims, Lions Defense, Both Kickers
Bills vs Cowboys
Captains: Ezekiel Elliott, Josh Allen, Randall Cobb
Sleepers: Dawson Knox, Blake Jarwin
Saints vs Falcons
Captains: Saints Defense, Alvin Kamara, Wil Lutz
Sleepers: Jaeden Graham, Taysom Hill