The NFL DFS Thanksgiving slate lost a third of its player pool with the Steelers/Ravens game getting postponed to Sunday due to COVID-19 concerns. The ownership is now condensing around a few individual plays like the center of a neutron star on DraftKings. This slate is shaping up to be similar to a showdown slate in that finding ways to build lineups that aren’t duplicated is going to be a key to making money. Playing the obvious options is a great way to guarantee that if you win, you will be splitting the first-place prize with dozens of other DFS players. If that is the ceiling of your lineup, it’s going to be very difficult to be a long-term profitable player. That means it’s going to be crucial to find leverage off the chalk on this slate. Here, we’ll go over some DraftKings advice for how to make some pivot NFL DFS Picks and be unique with your lineup builds.
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NFL DFS Picks: Thanksgiving DFS Leverage Plays | DraftKings Advice
Defense vs. Quarterback
The ceiling for defenses typically comes via touchdowns, sacks and interceptions. Playing a team that is going to pass a lot gives a defense more pulls at the turnover and touchdown lever. Passing volume isn’t the easiest path for a quarterback to hit their ceiling but it is an option. Showdown slates aren’t a perfect corollary for this slate but it’s an interesting point to reference. Over the past two years, a defense has been used against a captain from the opposing team in 5% of lineups. With Deshaun Watson being the most expensive play on the slate, he serves as a decent parallel to a captain.
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For lineups using Watson, who is projected for 61.1% ownership, getting unique is going to be difficult. Doing so by opting for a negatively correlated play in the Lions defense will be unpopular but isn’t drawing dead to be in the optimal construction. Watson is only averaging an interception on 1.5% of his dropbacks but he still takes sacks at an absurd, 7.1% rate. Watson versus the Lions should be reserved for the largest of tournaments where getting a non-duplicated lineup is most difficult but the same rule applies
Use Weird Texans
Two thirds or more of the field are going to be playing one of the Texans’ top-two wideouts. Whether you are using Watson or not, opting for a pass-catcher that isn’t Will Fuller or Brandin Cooks. Keke Coutee is the No. 3 receiver for Houston with Kenny Stills and Randall Cobb out. He ran 30 routes last week. Jordan Akins ran 26 routes and the Texans ran 2TE sets on 26% of their plays last week.
Double Tight End
Playing two tight ends is typically taboo in large-field tournaments but this isn’t your typical week. With so many DFS players entering the chalk plays into their lineups, using two tight ends will be by far the least popular approach to the flex position. Our ownership has roughly 10% of lineups opting for two tight ends.
Gibson is projected to be the least-popular starting running back on the main slate. Since Week 1, Washington has two wins. In those two games, Gibson is averaging 111 rushing yards on 18 carries. For large tournaments, it’s even viable to play Gibson with J.D. McKissic. McKissic has five games of five or more targets this year. He can cede the entirety of the rushing role to Gibson and still have a day worthy of making the optimal lineup.
Low-Owned Leverage Plays
Gallup has three games with six or more targets since Dak Prescott went down and his targets are generally going to have a higher ceiling because of his 13.2 aDOT. With Ezekiel Elliott coming in as the most popular running back, Gallup destroying drives with long catches could be inversely correlated with a big day from Elliott.
Pollard is quietly averaging nearly 50 yards on eight touches per game since Prescott went down. He’s at the minimum price on DraftKings and is likely to be extremely negatively correlated with Elliott.
Inman opened the year averaging 4.5 targets per game before suffering a hamstring injury. He is expected to return and can be stacked with Alex Smith in the only non-Houston stack with a higher top stack percentage than its ownership.
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