FantasySavvy 2020: Thanksgiving Day Breakdown

Thanksgiving is a great time to sit back, relax, enjoy great food, watch Football and spend time with your family and friends. A time to reflect on your life, be grateful, feel joy and just enjoy and be thankful for all you have and being alive. As we get ready for the Fantasy Playoffs, make sure you are leaving no stone unturned and are on top of everything you are doing so you can finish the season strong.

I went back and watched all four games these teams played last week (HOU/NE, DET/CAR, WAS/CIN, DAL/MIN) and my notes are below, along with what I believe will carry over and how they will match up in their respective Thanksgiving game.

Texans vs Patriots (Week 11)

Watson was throwing darts all over the field, looking like one of the best QB’s in the league, which he is.  Cooks, Fuller, looked excellent catching his Beebe’s. Jordan Akins played well and maybe he is the new #1 TE? He certainly is their most athletic and fastest TE. Their run blocking created no holes and Duke J didn’t really show any explosiveness either. C.J. Prosise mixed in some as well, but showed nothing of note.

Lions @ Panthers (Week 11)

Matthew Stafford missed a few throws, but his thumb didn’t seem to bother him too much. They did seem to try to limit his throws downfield however with a lot run plays that went absolutely nowhere, and screens and other short throws. The Biggest concern was the Lions OL which opened up 0 holes for the runners and allowed 5 sacks with constant pressure on Stafford. Matt Prater also missed a 51 YD fg wide left by about 40 feet. The Lions also had a running into the Kicker penalty and an offsides which created a 4th and inches enabling the Panthers to get the 1st down the next play. A horrid game all around by the Lions.

Texans @ Lions (+3) O/U 51 1230 PM Thanksgiving Day

With Deshaun Watson coming to town for Thanksgiving, this Lions offense will need to put up at least 24-30 points to stay with the Texans. D’Andre Swift’s return will certainly help but I still have concerns about their Oline based on how they blocked for Peterson and Johnson last week vs the Panthers. Swift is going to be a game time decision coming back from his concussion, but I would expect him to suit up.

Watson, Cooks, and Fuller, are all excellent strong plays that can go nuts here. Watson is playing at an elite level right now. Jordan Akins is a good streamer at TE and Keke Coutee is cheap DFS option and decent play with Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills both OUT for this game. Perhaps Darren Fells is a decent DFS play if the Texans decide to use two TE sets more often. Despite the juicy matchup, I still don’t trust Duke Johnson, he’s not getting many holes to run through and they don’t throw to him enough in the passing game. Maybe Prosise mixes in more this week. The Texans will get their LT tackle Laremy Tunsil back, which is big.

Stafford is hard to trust because it does seem that the finger on his throwing hand must be effecting him, otherwise why would the Lions call so many short passing throws for a strong armed QB. Just four days later, I’m not sure much changes, although Stafford may tell them to take the kid gloves off. The return of Swift will certainly help but Galladay’s (OUT) continued absence is debilitating. He is a game changer. Swift will be a solid DFS and seasonal play if he goes. I still prefer Zeke and Gibson over him however. Danny Amendola will also miss this game. Marvin Jones and Hockenson are Detroit’s best receiving options, but just decent for fantasy purposes, more so Hockenson due to the lack at the TE position. Jones did have a TD in the Panthers game on a beautifully thrown ball by Stafford off a flea flicker, but it was called back due to illegal motion by the Lions. Another bonehead play by them. Marvin Hall would be for DFS only and Kerryon and AP are passes. The Lions also just signed Mohammed Sanu off their practice squad, but he played last week and did not have a catch. Jamal Agnew is another option, pass. Quintez Cephus should also play a fair amount, but he inspires little confidence and is a shot in the dark DFS play. He’s had one game over 50 yards all season.

Fairbahm is a good streaming Kicker this week and I am passing on Prater after he missed wildly last week, although the week before he was excellent and hit the game winner from 50 yards. Returning home could certainly help, but there are other options to use at Kicker and I rather do that. The Texans Defense is a streaming play since the Panthers just had 5 sacks and Justin Reid is a good IDP play for the Texans as he blitzes off the edge a lot. 

If Swift plays which seems likely, I think the Texans still win this game by at least seven points. I would put the over under at 47, with the Texans scoring about 31 and the Lions 17. The Contrarain DFS strategy here is stacking Stafford with Jones, Hall/Swift/Hockenson, but how do you have any confidence in that coming off a doughnut against Carolina?

Game Picks

Texans -3, Lean Under 51. Two team teaser Texans and Under seems very sound.

Player Props

Watson over 2.5 TD’s +168

Duke Johnson Under 50.5 yards

Brandin Cooks over 68.5 yards, Will Fuller O 73.5 yards, Jordan Akins 0 30.5 yards

Showdown Lineup.

Cincy @ Washington (Week 11)

Alex Smith was doing his dinking and dunking with the occasional deep ball to Terry McClaurin, they did connect on the first drive, a bomb for 42 yards. Other than that it was a lot of quick outs, screens, curl routes, etc. After Burrow got hurt, the Skins took a decent lead and were running a lot with Gibson and Mckissic. Gibson ran well, scored a TD and has been a nice add for the Skins this year. Cam Sims is playing around 90% of the snaps the last two weeks, but just isn’t getting the targets with Smith checking down so much and spreading it out to McClaurin, Steve Sims, Logan Thomas, Mckissic and Gibson. 

Dallas @ Minnesota 

I thought Dalton played well overall, considering he was returning from two disastrous games against Washington and Arizona, while returning from a concussion and a covid diagnosis. He looked much more comfortable in the pocket and was making a lot of quick decisions and throws. He did however throw a pick to Vikings LB Eric Kendricks and almost threw another one to him later in the game. Also before his Game winning TD throw to Shultz, he almost threw a Int on a slant route to Shultz that was well covered. That would have been game over. Certainly he still very turnover prone and is going to be facing a fierce pass rush once again in Washington who had their way with Dallas’ OL last game.

Zeke had his first 100 yard rushing game of the season finishing with 103 yards on 21 carries, good for his highest YPC (4.9) this yr. Tony Pollard had five carries but broke one of them for a TD. In a short week, it will be interesting to see if they use Pollard more. CeeDee Lamb displayed his incredible athleticism on his TD catch, adjusting to Dalton’s poorly thrown ball to grab it for a TD. Gallup had multiple drops in this game as his nightmare season continues. Amari Cooper and Dalton were connecting on a lot of slants and and also connected on a Deep Out for a huge 4th down conversion as well as a corner route where Cooper nearly scored. Schultz is a solid Tight End, when targeted he does his job.

Washington @ Dallas (-3) O/U 46 430 PM Thanksgiving Day

Washington won this game on Defense last time winning 25-3, sacking Dalton six times and holding him to 75 yards throwing on 9/19 passing, picking him off once. It’s important to note that Zack Martin did not play in this game. He moved to RT last game against the Vikings and that would match him up with Wash DE Montez Sweat who had two sacks last time these two teams faced.

The Skins held Zeke to 45 yards on 12 carries and only Amari Cooper had a good receiving day finishing with seven catches for 80 yards. Antonio Gibson had 128 yards rushing on 20 carries and Terry McLaurin had seven catches for 90 yards.

I think Dalton will fare better this time around, playing at home, with Zack Martin back and a better grasp of this offense. He is going to need to get the ball out early because this Washington pass rush will be coming. As most of us saw, they caused havoc on Burrow and Ryan Finley last week and will certainly cause pressure on Dalton again. Let’s see how he handles it the 2nd time around. I think Zeke will also fare much better here and will likely find the endzone. I don’t expect Pollard to play much more just because of the short week, but it’s possible. He’s a decent DFS and a low end flex play in seasonal. I think Amari will have another solid game, you would just like to see him get in the endzone as he only has two TD”s this season. CeeDee is also reliable again, and Gallup is a contrarian DFS play, who few will have in their lineups. I’m not Crazy about Gallup in this game because Washington has been good against the Deep Ball this year allowing the 4th fewest passes past 20 yards. Ronald Darby is a solid corner for them. Dalton Schultz is a decent but capable TE play. I feel pretty good about him in this game and for the rest of the season

On paper this is certainly a good matchup for Alex Smith, but he still has only thrown one TD in the last three weeks and dinks and dunks his way down the field. There isn’t a lot of upside with him and he does not run like he used to. Terry is as consistent as they come, but like Amari you would like to see him score as well as he only has 3 TD’s. Cam Sims is playing a ton, but not getting the targets, just 2 last week. Steve Sims Jr. also can’t be relied upon. Dontrelle Inman will return for this game further clouding this WR core. These guys are all DFS dart throws, if picking one, I would go Cam Sims, the former Alabama WR. Logan Thomas had 4-60 in the first matchup, he’s not a terrible play, but he’s underwhelming, not explosive, and doesn’t make any big plays. I rather start Schultz. Antonio Gibson continues to get better and better as the season goes on as he has adjusts from playing WR in college to RB in the NFL. He is very reliable and should have another good game here. J.D. Mckissic is in a perfect situation with Captain of all Captain Checkdowns Alex Smith. Expect him to catch another 4-8 balls or so as he has been doing every single week.

Greg Zuerlein is a decent streamer at K and so are both defenses, as I expect a near double digit sacks combined.

I think Dallas, at home, has the slight edge here. The spread is where it should be, so nothing strong there for me, although I lean Dallas. It’s possible Washington gets it all going on offense, but not likely and the Dallas D has been playing a bit better the last two games. Washington will also give Dalton some issues, if he throws a couple INT’s or fumbles, the Footall Team will likely win. It’s cliche, but in this one, whoever turns it over the least wins. I think the under is a decent pick, not strong but I will roll it.

Game Picks

Under 46, Lean Cowboys -3

Player Props

Antonio Gibson O 54.5 Yds Rushing -130

Zeke O 70.5 Yds Rushing -115

Showdown Lineup

Both Games

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