The Thanksgiving Slate has been combined into One slate writeup.
You will find the same information for all three games in their respective links.
however, if you’re looking for showdown strategy, xandamere provides his thoughts inside each game link
Slate Overview ::
By HILOW >>
- This slate involves three games that carry a likeliest scenario of being more slugfest than shootout, placing a high emphasis on touchdowns for separator fantasy scores (meaning a highly variant slate – discussed more below).
- Chicago’s notable injuries include quarterback Justin Fields, running back Damien Williams, wide receiver Allen Robinson II, and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.
- Detroit’s notable injuries include quarterback Jared Goff, outside linebacker Trey Flowers, right tackle Matt Nelson, and right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
- Everything the Bears try to do on offense lines up well with weaknesses in the Lions defense.
- The quarterback situation in Detroit is one to monitor, as it is likely to heavily influence the overall fantasy prospectus from the first game on the slate.
- Las Vegas is entirely broken, and I was almost hoping the game environment from last week would carry them into some level of production so we could gain solid leverage on this Thanksgiving slate by fading them.
- CeeDee Lamb is likely to miss with a concussion, while Ezekiel Elliott picked up a knee injury in Week 11 – expect Dallas to place a high emphasis on the run game here.
- Tremaine Edmunds returned to full practice for the Bills, while Star Lotulelei remains on the league’s COVID list.
- Alvin Kamara, Ryan Ramczyk, Adam Trautman, Marcus Davenport, and Landon Young failed to practice Monday for the Saints – significant hits to both sides of the ball.
- The last game of the day involves two teams who suddenly find themselves fighting for the final playoff spot in their respective conferences (both the Bills and Saints currently sit in the seventh spot in the AFC and NFC, respectively).
How LAS VEGAS Will Try To Win ::
As we uncovered last week (when it seemed Xandamere and I were the only ones off the Cincy / Vegas game), this Raiders offense is entirely broken in the absence of Dingle McNumbnuts (sorry, I still refuse to even put this dude’s name on the internet). In the three games played without their primary downfield threat, the Raiders have scored 16, 14, and 13 points. Derek Carr has failed to surpass 300 yards through the air after going over that mark in five of their first seven games. On top of that, Las Vegas still can’t run the ball effectively, with (insert Raiders running back) going over 100 yards only once all season, and that player was Peyton Barber in an overtime game way back in Week 3. In an attempt to make up for the loss of their downfield threat, the team went out and signed DeSean Jackson before their Week 9 contest, who has played 17% and 34% of the offensive snaps over the previous two games. On the season, Derek Carr ranks top ten in intended air yards per pass attempt, completed air yards per completion, and total air yards, indicating an offense that likes to attack the deep areas of the field but has largely been unable to do so with pass-catchers consisting of Bryan Edwards, Zay Jones, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller.
For as broken as the passing game is, this run game is in even worse shape. The Raiders offensive line has been completely unable to generate any push up front, leading to an offense averaging only 3.7 yards per carry on the season. The team went out and signed Kenyan Drake to be their (completely overpaid) change of pace and pass down back, and have proceeded to feed him 12 or fewer running back opportunities in four of the last five games. The matchup on the ground yields a slightly below average 4.22 net-adjusted line yards metric against a defense holding opposing backfields to only 21.8 fantasy points per game.
On top of all the recent struggles from this passing offense, you might be surprised to hear that Derek Carr hasn’t thrown for more than two touchdowns in any game this year. Dallas ranks above average in opponent completion rate allowed at 63.03% but has struggled with downfield passing, primarily due to an overly aggressive secondary (11.2 yards allowed per completion). Bryan Edwards and Zay Jones both operate in the deep areas of the field, with aDOTs of 15.7 and 19.2, respectively, but don’t possess the same separation ability as Dingle did in the deep passing game. Hunter Renfrow (5.7 aDOT) and Darren Waller (9.6 aDOT) round out the primary pass-catchers, creating an offense with very defined roles and route trees. The matchup sets up best for Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards (Dallas struggles over the short middle and deep right areas of the field, away from Trevon Diggs), while volume is most likely to flow through the lower upside of Renfrow and Darren Waller (Edwards has a season high of only six targets).
How DALLAS Will Try To Win ::
The Cowboys tentatively expect tackle Tyron Smith back from injury for Thanksgiving, providing a solid boost to the run game. The biggest news to follow for Dallas is the status of alpha wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who left Week 11 with a concussion. The Cowboys are already down Amari Cooper (who will miss this game on the COVID list), so CeeDee’s ability to pass through the league’s concussion protocols in time to play is of large significance to how we can expect this offense to look this week. I won’t call it impossible for a young player to pass the concussion protocol in only three days, but the odds are certainly against Lamb making it through in time. Should CeeDee miss (again, most likely scenario), we should see an offense built around Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in the backfield, with a primary pass-catching corps consisting of Michael Gallup and Noah Brown on the perimeter, Cedrick Wilson in the slot, and Dalton Schultz at tight end. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz as the only near every-down pass-catchers, with Malik Turner also on hand to rotate through.
While we should expect to see a larger than normal emphasis placed on the run game from the Cowboys here, we’re also unlikely to see lead back Ezekiel Elliott’s workload increase significantly, with the team instead electing to work Tony Pollard in more. We’ve seen the team hesitant to give Zeke more than 18-22 opportunities, and he is now coming off a game where he picked up a knee injury. I’d expect Pollard to see as many as 18-22 opportunities of his own here, considering all factors in play. The matchup yields a well above average 4.695 net-adjusted line yards metric against a defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields (27.7).
As explored last week, the Raiders filter the majority of opposing pass production to the middle of the field through tight ends and running backs, elevating the fantasy prospectus of every-down tight end Dalton Schultz and the running back duo. When we then consider the state of the Cowboys’ pass-catching corps (with Amari Cooper out and CeeDee Lamb unlikely to make it through concussion protocols in time), we’re left with a situation where the wide receivers must rely on outlier production through busted coverages and/or touchdowns to provide a score worthy of consideration, even on a short slate (more on this in the DFS+ Interpretation section).
Likeliest Game flow ::
We’re likeliest to see the Cowboys control the tempo, flow, and environment through their offensive and defensive lines, creating a game that is likely to be even more lopsided than the current spread of 7.5 points implies. Dallas should have no issue grinding out the game through the run and short passing, eating up time of possession and field position along the way. Although less than likely, Dallas has shown a tendency to be overly aggressive in the secondary, which opens up a small window for the Raiders, and their downfield-oriented offense, to strike fast. Should that happen (and it’ll only take one), this game has the makings to develop into the top game environment on the short slate – I just wouldn’t call it likely.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN NOTES
- Dallas is a heavy favorite and highly likely to lean on the run game if they can.
- As Hilow and I discussed in last week’s Saturday show, the Raiders are (somewhat quietly) one of the best defenses in the NFL at limiting wide receiver production (and hey, look at that, the Bengals passing attack flopped at pretty high ownership).
- The Cowboys want to be run-heavy as long as the game allows it (which it should), and their wide receivers have a bad matchup; there isn’t a lot to recommend Gallup here, though I expect he will be highly owned as the WR1 of the Dallas offense (assuming Lamb misses).
- Given the matchup and likeliest game flow, I’m okay playing Zeke and Pollard together.
- The Raiders are almost certain to have to win through the air if they’re going to win.
- The likeliest game flow is Dallas pushing on the ground, with the Raiders trying to keep up through the air, which means an easy contrarian “flip the script” setup is betting on the Raiders ground game and the Dallas passing attack.
- Noah Brown should be in a nearly full-time role at $600, making him the premier value play in this one.
- Don’t overlook DeSean Jackson in tourneys. D-Jax played 17% of the snaps in his first game with the Raiders, then 34% last week. Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards are not exactly high-confidence perimeter WRs, and D-Jax could supplant either as long as he remains healthy.
Some Groups to Consider
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain pass catchers with their QBs (or consider boosting the QB if using a captain receiver if you don’t want 100% exposure to this pairing – discussed in further detail in the 2020 update to my Advanced Showdowns course)
- If using an RB captain, apply a negative correlation to the opposing defense and kicker (you can see how to do so in my FantasyLabs tutorial video)
- Pair captain quarterbacks with at least 2 pass catchers
- At most 2 of Jones, Edwards, and Jackson
- If using Jacobs at captain, no Drake
- At most 1 of Brown and Turner