Welcome back to week 12 of the Thursday DFS Lineup Build here at Aaron Torres Online. This week, we have a special treat for Thanksgiving Thursday as we have 3 games to build a lineup around. Normally, I come to you weekly with a column specifically focused on one type of DFS contest, the Showdown style on DraftKings. This week, we get to use all 3 games and build out a full lineup that we can enjoy and sweat with all through the Thanksgiving holiday.
Instead of our usual article where we talk about who to use in the Captain Spot and who to use as our flex options, this week we can go position by position and build out a winning DFS lineup with the 3-game slate. Before we get started, remember to check out my “DFS Flash” podcast, a quick whip around DFS show, that’s only 15-20 minutes and gets you ready for the full Sunday DFS slate ahead. It’s been delivering winners every week so don’t miss out! Make sure to subscribe here or listen below.
With that, let’s build out our week 12 Thanksgiving Thursday Lineup!
At quarterback, with 3 games on the slate, we have 6 options to choose from. I will immediately toss out the Chicago and Detroit options as I have no desire to start a banged-up Jared Goff or a dusty Andy Dalton. Trevor Siemian has had a couple of decent fantasy performances over the last 2 weeks, but I’m not interested in starting him against the Buffalo defense. After a solid start to the season, Derek Carr has struggled of late and has had 3 straight games under 20 fantasy points as Las Vegas struggles to adjust their offense. Facing Trevon Diggs and the Dallas defense who has recorded 5 turnovers in their last 2 games, I likely won’t be using Carr either. This leaves us with having to pay up at quarterback and deciding between Dak Prescott and Josh Allen.
Dak Prescott is coming off of his worst fantasy performance of the season. He threw 2 interceptions and no touchdowns last week against Kansas City. His wide receivers didn’t do him any favors as they were dropping passes left and right. Amari Cooper is still on the Covid list and will miss this game and CeeDee Lamb left Sunday’s game with a concussion and would have to clear concussion protocol to play. I don’t believe Lamb will be out there and without his 2 top receiving weapons it is hard to put my faith in Prescott.
Josh Allen is also coming off a down performance where he also threw 2 interceptions against Indianapolis last week. His 60% completion percentage last week was his lowest in his last 5 games and Buffalo looked shell shocked in a blowout loss to Indy. While New Orleans ranks 10th in total team defense, they rank 22nd against the pass and allow over 250 passing yards per game. Allen is the highest salaried quarterback on the slate, but at $7,800 he can return us 2.5-3 times his value with a solid bounce back performance. As long as he can curb the turnovers, I see Allen throwing for over 250 yards and getting us multiple touchdowns to give us a nice return on investment and make it worth paying up for him.
Of the running backs available to us on this slate, 3 of the top 4 options all carry injury designations and question marks coming into the Thursday games. New Orleans duo Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are both listed as questionable and neither participated in Tuesdays practice. It looks like Kamara will miss his 3rd straight game and even if Ingram does play, he will be banged up and facing a good Buffalo defense so I will not be paying up for either of them. Ezekiel Elliot is the highest salaried back on the slate, and while he also carries a questionable tag, he is expected to play. Elliot reaggravated his knee injury last week and Dallas may choose to limit his reps on a short week to protect him for the playoff stretch, especially with a capable back in Tony Pollard behind him. As much as I like Zeke, I am not going to pay up for him with the chance of him having a limited workload.
In the Chicago/Detroit game, both running backs are solid options this week. D’Andre Swift is coming off a nice game where he rushed for 136 yards on 14 carries. He led the Detroit backfield and Jamaal Williams didn’t do much in his return from a 2-game absence due to a leg injury. David Montgomery is the lead dog in the Chicago backfield and is the clear workhorse back. Last week, he didn’t put up much on the stat line in a stinker of a game, but it was encouraging to see he got 15 of the 16 running back touches. It will be hard to pay up for both backs, especially if we are paying up for quarterback, so we will likely have to decide between the 2. Swift is the more explosive back, but I am a bit concerned that Williams will have an increased role this week, on a short week, and another week removed from his injury. Montgomery really doesn’t have much competition for touches in the Chicago backfield and he faces a Detroit defense that ranks 31st against the run. With those factors in consideration, and a $1,300 difference in price tag, if I had to choose one of these backs I will lean Montgomery.
If we want to put a value option in our lineup, which I will look to do, there are a few options we could go with. I don’t trust the Buffalo or Las Vegas backfields enough to confidently put any of them in my lineup, so the guys I’d be looking to here are both “backup” running backs who could have an increased role this week. Tony Pollard is a guy I mentioned before and his role could increase this week with a gimpy Elliot. Pollard is usually a part of the Dallas gameplan anyway and gets involved as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. If Dallas limits Elliot, Pollard could pay off value, but his $5,600 price tag is a little higher than Id like. If you have the extra funds, he could be a nice option. If you want to really pay down, you could look at Tony Jones Jr at only $4,000. If Kamara and Ingram were to miss this game, Jones would likely lead the New Orleans backfield. It is a tough matchup, but volume is key and if the 2 guys ahead of him are out then he could get the volume we need for him to be productive.
Stefon Diggs leads the way with the highest salary on the slate. He scored 2 touchdowns last week and can do that on any given day. He could draw the shadow from Lattimore this week and that could limit his production. If you have the money to spend up for him, he is always an option. Amari Cooper will be out, and CeeDee Lamb is trending towards out, so Michael Gallup at $5,900 will be a popular play. He was clearly Prescott’s most trusted target last week and should be force fed targets again this week. Darnell Mooney at $5,700 has emerged as the leading receiver in Chicago and should also be popular this week. He is coming off back to back 20+ point games and gets an exploitable Detroit defense to take advantage of. Hunter Renfrow at $5,600 is an intriguing option. He broke his streak of 3 straight double digit fantasy point games last week, but with Dallas having strong outside corner play, Carr may have to rely on his trusty slot man this week.
The wide receivers under the $5,000 mark is where your Thanksgiving rolls are going to be buttered on this slate. The Buffalo duo of Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley are both in play at $4,800 and $4,500 respectively. After a hot start, Sanders has faded a bit after the bye, but if Diggs gets the Lattimore shadow it could open things up for Sanders. Beasley is having his workload ramped back up after a rib injury and is a target monster in this offense. I remember using him in the Thanksgiving slate last year against Dallas and he had a great game for me. I will likely go back to that well this year again. Tre’Quan Smith has 15 targets over the last 2 games and is emerging as the favorite target of Trevor Siemien. At only $4,400 he is a solid value play on this slate, even in a tough matchup. Cedrick Wilson at $3,500 may be the best value on the slate with an increased workload expected in the absence of Gallup and Lamb.
The decision at tight end for this set of games will come down to how much salary you have to spend at the position. Darren Waller, Dalton Schultz and TJ Hockenson are your pay up options and are all very much usable. Waller and Hockenson are the top targets on their team’s passing offense and Schultz should also see an increase in target share with the Dallas receivers missing this game. Volume should be there for all of them if you have the funds to pay up. Dawson Knox comes in next at a $4,400 salary and is coming off a game where he saw 10 targets. He is a solid option if you want to be in the mid range of tight ends and could cap off a nice Buffalo stack with Allen and a wide receiver.
In the bargain area at tight end there are 2 plays that I like if you want to spend down at the position. Cole Kmet had a bad game last week, but we can throw that one out since that game was ugly all together. Before last week, Kmet has been more involved in the offense with at least 5 targets in the 5 games prior to last week. We have already seen Dalton have a connection with him earlier in the season and he could step up as the number 2 receiving option in Chicago.
My super value option at tight end is Juwan Johnson in New Orleans. Starting tight end Adam Troutman will be out with a knee injury and this will give Johnson an opportunity to step up. The converted wide receiver is a red zone weapon and has 3 touchdowns on the season in limited work. With an increased role this week, a backup quarterback, and a shaky wide receiver corps, Johnson could easily find the endzone again and pay off bigtime in your lineups. If you are paying up at other positions, he could be the perfect salary saver for your lineup.
The only defenses I would really consider are Dallas, Buffalo and Chicago. Chicago gets to face a banged-up Jared Goff and a weak Detroit offense. They only average about 6 fantasy points per game but get a good matchup. Dallas and Buffalo are the highest priced options and both average about 10 fantasy points per game. Dallas is the highest priced defense at $3,300 and Buffalo is right behind them at $3,100.
I prefer Buffalo, coming off an embarrassing game last week and coming out with something to prove. They face New Orleans with a backup quarterback and possibly without their 2 top running backs. At only $3,100 they could get over 3 times their salary value by just getting to their season average.
JB’s Week 12 Thanksgiving Thursday Lineup
QB – Josh Allen
RB – David Montgomery
RB – D’Andre Swift (could pivot down if you want to pay up for at WR or flex)
WR – Darnell Mooney
WR – Michael Gallup
WR – Cedrick Wilson or Tre’Quan Smith
TE – TJ Hockenson (could pivot down if you want to pay up at WR or Flex)
Flex – Cole Beasley (could pivot up if you want to pay down for tight end)
DST - Buffalo
Follow JB on Twitter @FantasyCoachJB
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