DraftKings NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Thanksgiving (2020)
It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and that means a bonus three-game NFL slate on the holiday. Below, I’ve selected my favorite stud, an intriguing field-stretching wideout as my favorite value play, and a two-man stack with an add-on option rounding things out as my favorite stack.
Editor’s note: The game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed to Sunday.
Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS): $6,000 at Cowboys
McLaurin was a non-participant in practice on Monday and a limited participant in Tuesday’s practice, but given the lack of concern exhibited regarding his availability for this week’s game, it’s likely a matter of managing his workload on a short week. On a three-game slate lacking high-priced studs, McLaurin’s the most expensive non-quarterback on the slate and well worth his salary for rostering in GPPs.
No matter the quarterback in Washington’s carousel of signal-callers, McLaurin’s performed at a high level while also offering week-to-week consistency. He’s been targeted at least seven times in all 10 games this year, caught five or more passes in eight games with a respectable season-low reception total of three back in Week 5, and 70-plus receiving yards in eight games. He’s riding a four-game streak of 80-plus yards from scrimmage, and, for the year, he ranks sixth in targets (93), 13th in receptions (62), fifth in receiving yards per game (87.1), and 32nd in yards per target (9.4) among qualified pass-catchers, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
Predictably, McLaurin is also an Air Yards monster, ranking 13th in Intended Air Yards (891), per Sports Info Solutions. This week, he faces a Cowboys defense that gets trounced by wide receivers. The Cowboys have yielded the second-most DraftKings points per game to the position, according to Pro-Football-Reference. Dallas also struggles with coughing up big plays to receivers, ranking tied for the fourth-highest average explosive play rate ceded this year at 10%, per Sharp Football Stats. Back in Week 7, McLaurin made the most of this cushy matchup and posted a 7-90-1 line on 11 targets, and he should eat again against the suspect secondary of the Cowboys.
Favorite Value Play
Marvin Hall (WR – DET): $3,900 vs. Texans
Big plays are an underlying theme of this piece, and Hall fits the theme as a big-play dependent option who could fly a bit below the radar — at least as much as one can on a three-game slate. While the Texans’ defense is much maligned for their struggles against the run, they’re also no strangers to coughing up big plays through the air. They’ve yielded an average explosive pass rate of 9% this year, tied for the eighth-highest mark.
Additionally, they’ve been rather giving to receivers. They’ve allowed the 10th-most DraftKings points per game to the position. The statuses of wideouts Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola are up in the air, and tight end T.J. Hockenson is also banged up. If any or all of them are out, that would raise the profile of Hall a bit and bump the percentage of rosters he’s on up. Truthfully, if any or all of the trio are healthy and active, it would add to the volatile profile of Hall, but it would be beneficial from the perspective of the number of rosters he’s on. Regardless, his usage makes him worth a few stabs in this matchup no matter which of the Lions banged up pass-catchers are active.
Elaborating on his usage, Hall’s a vertical threat. He has a career 11.4 yards per target mark and is totaling 10.5 yards per target this year. Further, among receivers and tight ends targeted at least 25 times this year, his average depth of target of 18.2 yards downfield is the second-highest mark to Henry Ruggs’ 18.7 yards, per Sports Info Solutions. He just needs to haul in one deep ball to be a difference-making player on this slate.
- Deshaun Watson (QB – HOU): $7,400 at Lions
- Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU): $5,300 at Lions
- Add on: Jordan Akins (TE – HOU): $2,900 at Lions
This stack should be rather chalky, but running it back with Hall from above and/or tacking on Akins will offer some uniqueness relative to the chalk stack of Watson/Cooks. The matchup is too good to ignore for the talented combo of Watson and Cooks, though.
The Lions rank in just the middle of the pack in DraftKings points allowed per game to quarterbacks, but they’re tied for the fourth-most actual points allowed to the opposition (28.7 points). Additionally, they struggle mightily to generate pressure on the quarterback. Pro-Football-Reference credits them with the fifth-lowest pressure percentage at just 19.0%. Watson should have little trouble picking apart a defense that’s incapable of getting in his face.
That’s good news for Cooks in a matchup with a Lions defense that’s coughed up the 12th-most DraftKings points per game to wideouts. Cooks leads the team in targets (73), is tied for the team lead in receptions (47), ranks second in receiving yards per game (63.4), and is tied for second on the team with three touchdown receptions. He and teammate Will Fuller — who also has a strong case for usage on this slate — are both vertical options Fuller totaling 796 Intended Air Yards with an average depth of target of 11.7 yards downfield with Cooks nipping at his heels with 740 Intended Air Yards and an average depth of target of 10.1 yards downfield.
The usage of Watson’s receivers should pose problems for a Lions defense that’s been rocked by big passing plays. In fact, while the aforementioned Cowboys are notoriously giving through the air, the Lions are actually tied with them for the fourth-highest average explosive pass rate allowed at 10%. I’ll gladly attack them with Watson and Cooks on all of my rosters while mixing in Akins and Fuller on some, too.
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