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DraftKings NFL Cash Games Lineup Advice: Thanksgiving

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Nov 25, 2020

I’m serving as a pinch-hitter for the Thanksgiving Day NFL Cash Games Lineup Advice piece, and on just a three-game slate, there’s some overlap between my favorite options in GPPs. Also, given the small slate size, I’ve specifically honed in on my top quarterback, running back, top two receivers, favorite tight end (with a few alternates), and top defense as well as a cheaper pivot. Additionally, I’ll break a rule of thumb by featuring a running back and his opposing defense — on smaller slates, these things are bound to happen.

Editor’s note: The game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed to Sunday.

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Quarterback

Deshaun Watson (HOU): $7,400 at Lions
The Texans are three-point favorites in the game with the highest over/under total on the slate at 51.5 points, per the consensus line at BettingPros. A little back of the napkin math reveals their implied total of 27.25 points is the highest on the slate, too, and Watson is the trigger man, which makes him an appealing option from the gambler’s perspective. A matchup with Detroit’s vulnerable defense is a plus, too.

The Lions are tied for the fourth-worst scoring defense, yielding 28.7 points per game to their opposition, according to Pro-Football-Reference. In addition to the favorable matchup, Watson is easily the highest-scoring quarterback on this slate, as he averages 24.4 DraftKings points per game, besting the 20.9 points sported by Lamar Jackson and 20.5 points amassed per game by Ben Roethlisberger. Watson offers a combination of a high floor and high ceiling, making him the easy pick for top cash games quarterback.

Running Back

Gus Edwards (BAL): $4,000 at Steelers
Volume is king at running back, and Edwards should see all the touches he can handle with both J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He’ll be backed up by second-year back Justice Hill, but Edwards is the clear-cut top back and is still healthy. Interestingly, Edwards set season highs in rushes (16) and rushing yards (87) while reaching pay dirt one time the last time the Ravens played the Steelers back in Week 8.

Edwards’ lack of receiving chops isn’t ideal, but at the minimum salary with a projected sizable workload, he should be extremely chalky on this three-game slate. The bar’s low for him to return value, and the opportunity cost of using him is low, as there aren’t any bulletproof stud alternatives at the position. Go ahead, plug him in and eat the chalk.

Wide Receivers

Terry McLaurin (WAS): $7,000 at Cowboys
Brandin Cooks (HOU): $5,300 at Lions
Both McLaurin and Cooks are carryovers from my DraftKings NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Thanksgiving piece. You can check out my analysis for why I like both players here. Regarding cash games specifically, since that’s the focus of this piece, both players should be extremely chalky and are worth rostering in cash leagues. Like Edwards, they’re good chalk to eat.

Tight End

Logan Thomas (WAS): $3,500 at Cowboys
The tight end position doesn’t quite boil down to Travis Kelce and a bunch of inconsistent next-best options, but it’s not far off from that. Mark Andrews is the biggest-name option on the slate, and he is coming off of a big performance with a 5-96-1 line on seven targets last week. He’s a viable option, as his appearance in the others considered section below indicates, but I don’t believe it’s necessary to pony up for him in a tough matchup against a Steelers defense that held him to a 3-32-0 line on six targets in Week 8.

Now, that leaves a mix of ho-hum options, which puts Thomas in play on the cheap despite his dreadful showing last week. Thomas continues to check theoretically fantasy-friendly boxes, as he ranks first among tight ends in slot snaps, second in routes run, third in route participation percentage, and ninth in targets, according to PlayerProfiler. He’s a receiving tight end, even when the production doesn’t match his usage.

He’ll look to continue his trend of alternating useful fantasy performances in a bounce-back spot this week. When facing the Cowboys in Week 7, he hauled in all four of his targets for 60 receiving yards and a score. As a whole, the Cowboys have been a middle of the pack defense against tight ends this year. That said, it’s eye-catching that they’ve coughed up 44 receptions on only 58 targets, good for a robust 75.9% reception rate on targets this year. Even after being burned by touting him in GPPs last week, I’ll go back to the well this week in all formats.

Others Considered:

Defense/Special Teams

Steelers D/ST: $4,200 vs. Ravens
Usually, paying up for a defense/special teams isn’t a high priority in cash games. But the dearth of high-priced running backs and receivers opens the door for rostering both the highest-priced quarterback (Watson) and highest-priced defense/special teams (Steelers). If, however, you opt to spend up at tight end and need some savings on defense, the Texans are a defensible option that’s included below.

As for the Steelers, they’re the biggest favorites on the slate with a five-point advantage. Further, the game’s over/under total of 44.5 points is the lowest on the slate, too. Preventing points is a small part of the scoring equation, however, and forcing turnovers and racking up sacks is most important. No one’s forced more turnovers this year than the 21 the Steelers have forced, and their 38 sacks also lead the way.

Intuitively, Lamar Jackson’s running ability would seem to make him a tough player to sack. That’s not the case, though. His 8.0 sack percentage is the seventh-highest mark among qualified quarterbacks this year. The havoc-wreaking defense of the Steelers has reached double-digit fantasy points in three of their last four games, including a whopping 18 fantasy points in Baltimore against the Ravens in Week 8.

Other Consideration: Texans D/ST: $2,700 at Lions

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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