FanDuel Fantasy Football: Optimized Thanksgiving Lineup

By Matt Johnson on Thursday, November 23rd 2017
FanDuel Fantasy Football: Optimized Thanksgiving Lineup

It's that special time of year. The day where you gather around with family, fill your plate with food and watch some football. FanDuel is now a part of the Thanksgiving day tradition with some great contests to make your Thursday even better. Three games on the contest may seem like a reduced amount of options, but with value plays at the right spots, we can build our optimal lineup so Thursday can be filled with mashed potatoes, turkey and cash.


Case Keenum, MIN @ DET, ($7,500)

While Keenum may not carry the great name appeal, he represents the gravy of the Thanksgiving slate. We've seen Keenum step up to a new level since the Minnesota Vikings activated Teddy Bridgewater and when debate started about his potential return to the lineup. In his two starts since, Keenum completed over 71 percent of his passes for five passing touchdowns and 584 passing yards.

The Detroit Lions are fully capable of limiting Stefon Diggs, one of the game's better wide receivers. Fortunately, Minnesota boasts the best wide receiver duo in the league and slot receiver Adam Thielen established as a top-10 receiver this season. Detroit's top cornerback Darius Slay will shadow Diggs, while Thielen will take advantage of the Lions' slot cornerback. As Keenum's favorite receiver, Thielen and tight end Kyle Rudolph should help Thielen put up some strong fantasy numbers and Thanksgiving. When you add that to the value he offers, he makes for the perfect play.

Running Back:

Melvin Gordon, LAC @ DAL, ($8,400)

In the Dallas Cowboys last four games, a run defense that once held up well now encountered issues. The Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards over the last four weeks and now face a Los Angeles Chargers offense that relies heavily on Melvin Gordon, who is now healthy after battling through some foot problems earlier in the year.

While Gordon is the most expensive running back on the slate, it's well worth the price on Thanksgiving. He should be a lock for 20-plus touches in this game and with 883 total yards, DFS users can feel comfortable with Gordon's ability to find the end zone as a pass-catching back or just carrying the football. Be sure to get some Gordon shares in your lineup.

Alfred Morris, DAL v. LAC, ($6,100)

The suspension of Ezekiel Elliott opened the door for Morris to put his talents on display. While he saw a limited workload in his first start, Morris' two starts combined showed much of the same talent that allowed him to thrive in Washington as a 1,000-yard back. In those two starts, Morris averaged 5.14 yards per carry and looked great in Week 11 with 91 rushing yards on 17 carries.

While it's a gamble to start two backs from the same game, this is worth it given Morris' price. He is locked in for 15-plus touches and with the likely return of left tackle Tyron Smith, even more running lanes should open up for Morris. While the Chargers' front seven is improving against the run and went from one of the league's worst statistically to middle of the pack, Thursday represents a great opportunity for Morris.

Wide Receivers 

Adam Thielen, MIN @ DET, ($8,300)

Keenan Allen, LAC @ DAL, ($8,000)

Josh Doctson, NYG @ WAS, ($6,600)

Thielen is an obvious top-five play this week and naturally the top wide receiver on the slate. Detroit ranks 24th in the NFL in DVOA ranks for passes against the middle. While that's only a small part of Thielen's game, given his ability to run a variety of routes to the outside, it is further evidence of the quality matchup Thielen will see this week. He is expensive, but given the standard cost of elite wide receivers in great matchups, this is easily a price worth paying out.

Allen's 2017 season started to leave many feeling disappointed. Before Week 11, Allen posted some low-end WR2 numbers with five straight games below 70 receiving yards and without a single touchdown. Then as all hope seemed lost, he exploded in a great matchup against the Buffalo Bills with 12 receptions for 159 receiving yards and two touchdowns. 

Now Allen faces the Cowboys' secondary ranks 19th in the NFL against No.1 WRs in Football Outsiders' DVOA and 23rd in DVOA against passes over the middle. Allen is a lock for seven=plus targets per game and with the matchup, that could jump up to 10 targets. Allen is a top-10 WR play this week and makes for an outstanding WR2 for Thanksgiving.

Doctson's emergence in this offense is taking longer than most expected, but the time might have finally arrived. In his last two games, Kirk Cousins targeted Doctson seven times in each of them. As a result, Doctson started to gain more confidence and it paid off with an 81-yard game against the New Orleans Saints. Now Washington faces a Giants' secondary that is sixth-worst against No.2 wide receivers.

With Chris Thompson sidelined for the season, Doctson should see even more targets and this could be the breakout performance we've all waited for.

Tight End:

In his last three starts, Davis saw six-plus targets and posted 65-plus receiving yards. He’ll face a Giants’ defense that allowed the third-most receiving yards (710), second-most targets (85) and the most touchdowns (nine) to opposing tight ends in 10 games. Davis comes in $1,200 cheaper than Evan Engram and frankly, the matchup is even greater for Davis. THe matchup is right for Davis to turn in an excellent performance and easily finish as the top tight end on Thursday.

Defense/Special Teams:

Los Angeles Chargers D/ST @ Dallas, ($4,200)


Aldrick Rosas, NYG @ WAS, ($4,500)

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