The Thanksgiving Day daily fantasy football slate is different than any other DFS slate. You can play a showdown or play the full slate, which is exactly three games, a DFS rarity.
And because it is different, I'm going to mix up the format a little. I will go through the Thanksgiving Day menu and pick a piece of my corresponding DFS lineup.
Is it hackneyed and cliché? Possibly, but so is Thanksgiving. If it weren't for football, I could actually do without this holiday. But because football is one of the universal traditions of this American holiday, it's definitely one of my favorites!
So happy Thanksgiving to all of you. And a personal thanks to my frequent readers. You help make this all possible.
Enough sentiments. Sit down and let's dig in!
Teams on bye: Arizona, Kansas City
Thanksgiving DFS Picks
Thanksgiving Morning Breakfast: The DST
Detroit Lions DST vs. Chicago Bears (DK $2400, FD $3700)
Many folks don't even discuss this part of Thanksgiving. But just like a DFS lineup, you can't just skip over it. 'Cause I don't know about you, but I need to have breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. I think I've had Thanksgiving meals everywhere from 12:30 to 7 at night, but there is no way I can wait that long to eat. So we start both the day and the DFS lineup with a necessity.
And yes, it's an eye-opener. But just like that cup of coffee, it will help get your day moving. It will save us plenty of salary so we can "load up our plate" on the good stuff. Besides being cheap, there's some value to be had here. You do realize how weak the Bears' offense has been, right? They have scored the fourth-fewest points this year. And with Justin Fields sidelined, the Bears will lack that dynamic element.
The Detroit D is a cost-saving, sneaky play. You can go with the chalkier plays, but I'm saving room for later in the day.
The Thanksgiving Day Early Drink/Appetizer: The Tight End
Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (DK $6400, FD $7300)
Perhaps they don't want to deal with their family while sober. Or they just know that the meal is going to be bad. So folks end up imbibing heavily or loading on the pre-Thanksgiving snacks. This comes with all kinds of possibilities. Whether spiked or unspiked, I love a good apple cider.
But for those going hard here, I'd go with Waller. He's a little light on the touchdowns this year, but he's been targeted at least five times every game, giving us a great floor. I don't foresee the 10 catches on 19 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown he had back in Week 1. But can he duplicate the seven catches for 116 yards he had last week?
Dallas is giving up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends this year. So I think the answer is "yes."
If you prefer something a little "lighter" to start your Thanksgiving picks, I'd give Dalton Schultz a long look. You can read more about why I like him here.
The Thanksgiving Day Turkey: The Running Back
We come to the "meat" of the slate as well as the meal. And I promise you — no Tofurky! Now, when it comes to turkey, the majority of folks like white meat, but there is a very large percentage like myself who prefer dark meat. You can think of them in similar ways to the cash and GPP options!
The White Meat Option: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (DK $6000, FD $7500)
Monty is going to be a popular pick. He doesn't have a super high ceiling. However, he gives us a very solid floor against the Detroit Lions, who are allowing 140.5 rushing yards game per game, the second-highest average in the league.
And his best game this year was earlier in the year against the Lions when he rushed 23 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns. That is not going to "break the slate," but I think we will all gladly accept a repeat performance.
The Dark Meat Option: Tony Pollard vs. Las Vegas Raiders (DK $5600, FD $5900)
I really like the idea of pivoting to a "backup" here. Despite some worrisome news earlier in the week, Ezekiel Elliott is expected to play. And he should "eat" like he often does. But despite Elliott being the first in line, Pollard has put up more than just scraps.
He's averaging double-digit PPR points a game this season. He's averaged 84 combined yards the last couple of weeks, and I see him having even more. The Raiders are allowing nearly 27 fantasy points per game to RBs. There is always at least one RB who has one of his best days of the season on Thanksgiving (remember Joique Bell?). Don't be surprised if that is Pollard.
The Thanksgiving Sides: The Wide Receivers
There are far more options here on the slate just as there are always far more options for Thanksgiving sides. Stuffing, (sweet) potatoes, mac and cheese, vegetables/salad, bread rolls ... whatever your pleasure, they are all good. We could be here for hours debating what the best or most important sides are. But the biggest universal side most unique to Thanksgiving seems to be some form of cranberries.
But even that is up for debate. My mom used to always make cranberry "relish" that had celery and a few other ingredients and spices in it that perfectly complemented the sweetness of the marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. However, she usually joins my sister's side for the holiday, and I am instead treated to the wonderfully sweet cranberry sauce of my wife's sister. I'm not dumb enough to say out loud whether it is better or worse than my mother's relish. I will simply speak the truth and say I like them both; they are each different but bring something tasty to the table. Just like the many WR options!
The Cranberry Relish Option: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints (DK $7900, FD $8300)
When I was growing up, whether we stayed home and hosted, went to my mom's side of the family, or went to my dad's side of the family, my mom's cranberry relish was a staple I knew I could rely on being there. So too for Diggs.
Despite not having the huge year he had in 2020, Diggs is still putting up decent numbers most weeks. He has half a dozen TDs and is averaging nearly 18 PPR points a game. He had his worst game of the season last week, but I think he bounces back against the Saints, who are allowing more than 36 fantasy points per game to WRs this year, which is just outside the top dozen in the league.
Mom's relish always had some crunch to it and Diggs should definitely give your lineup some bite!
The Cranberry Sauce Option: Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (DK $3900, FD $5300)
So the DFS Thanksgiving option here is a little loose. But Edwards is a Gamecock, and my eldest is now a freshman at South Carolina. Despite eating so few fruits and vegetables, she often will have her aunt's cranberry sauce on her plate. But if you have a few GPP entries, I'd make sure you take a helping of Edwards.
Edwards has been very boom-or-bust. Last week, he wasn't even targeted. However, the week before, he had his best game of the season, hauling in 88 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dallas is giving up the 12th-most receiving yards, so Edwards could be a sweet complimentary piece to your winning DFS entry.
The Thanksgiving Pies: The Quarterback
The most important part of Thanksgiving according to my kids is "Mimi's pies." If they have to miss out on their grandmother's pie(s), it is a bad Thanksgiving. So along those same lines, you have to get yourself a high-producing quarterback on the slate. "Mimi" always makes her popular chocolate-pecan pie, and you can bank on it being delicious.
The Chocolate Pecan Pie Option: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Las Vegas Raiders (DK $6900, FD $8200)
Prescott is averaging 284.1 yards along with more than two touchdown passes per game. Prescott missed the Thanksgiving game last year due to injury but averaged 322 passing yards the two holidays previous to that. Even if the Mrs. wasn't asking for help to prepare for Thanksgiving, I wouldn't give you much more detail here anyway. You know why Dak is a good pick on Thursday.
Here's hoping both your bellies and wallets are full by the end of Thanksgiving. Good luck!
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.