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Raiders vs. Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Showdown Game Breakdown and NFL DFS Picks




Thanksgiving Day NFL DFS picks DraftKings FanDuel showdown daily fantasy football lineup optimizer optimal picks projections rankings today tonight schedule football games Raiders vs. Cowboys

Welcome to the special Thanksgiving Day NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Thanksgiving Day Football. Here we will provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Showdown lineups. Let’s dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Raiders vs. Cowboys Thanksgiving Day matchup.

Raiders vs. Cowboys Thanksgiving NFL DFS Showdown

The Raiders have lost three games in a row and now head to Dallas to take on a Cowboys squad that was stymied by a mediocre Chiefs defense in Week 10. Despite the Raiders ranking third in yards per pass attempt, they have dropped to 10th worst in the NFL in drive success rate and look equally poor in points per drive. Both teams could figure things out on offense, but on short rest these two teams have a high probability of falling flat which the 50.5 Vegas total does not suggest. While creating lineups for a passing-oriented shootout is not bad process by any means, it might be more advantageous to build lineups that suggest an alternative game flow.

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While most fantasy gamers are going to flock to the quarterbacks, particularly Dak Prescott ($11,200 DraftKings/$16,500 FanDuel), by far the highest-salary player on the slate, the Awesemo projections are pointing us in a slightly different direction when looking for top plays from this game. Josh Jacobs ($6,800 DraftKings/$12,000 FanDuel) has the best value score of any player with a double-digit projection, which suggests Jacobs, who has seen 16 opportunities in two of his last three starts, can serve as the foundational piece of cash game or small-field tournament lineup. At a steep discount from Prescott and even Derek Carr ($10,000 DraftKings/$15,000 FanDuel), who also happens to grade out better in our value rankings than the Cowboys primary options, Jacobs seems like a no-brainer pick on both DraftKings and FanDuel and represents the lowest-salary access to double-digit fantasy points of any skill player on the slate. Prescott’s salary in particular is exorbitantly high, especially with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb out, but he still has the highest median projection of any player on the slate and is worth taking shots on at Captain or MVP when playing multiple lineups in tournaments.

Ezekiel Elliott ($10,800 DraftKings/$14,000 FanDuel) has been playing through a knee injury for several weeks which has left him consistently sore this season, something he is admitted as much in recent interviews. While playing through the pain is admirable, it is suboptimal for fantasy gamers who still will need to pay Elliott’s typically high salary in order to acquire his services. Elliott’s snap share and touch share have been down, understandably, in recent weeks. Despite averaging 18.9 opportunities per game this season, Elliott saw just 15 opportunities in the Week 11 loss to the Chiefs, and just 13 opportunities in Week 9 versus the Broncos. He is earned under 80 total yards in four straight contests, and now ranks outside the top 25 running backs in yards created per touch, and just 20th in evaded tackles per touch. If Elliott is able to see 20-plus looks, he has been efficient enough on a per-touch basis to make him a worthwhile play, but with the recent volatility in opportunity, it seems sub-optimal to prioritize Elliott ahead of the aforementioned Jacobs or either of the starting quarterbacks. Our value rankings instead point to tight end Dalton Schultz ($7,600 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) as the top value option among the Cowboys primary weapons.

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The Raiders Darren Waller ($10,600 DraftKings/$13,000 FanDuel) saw eight targets in Week 11, which was just the fourth time in nine games that Waller had seen eight or more looks in a contest. And while Waller’s 8.8 targets per game, second among all tight ends, is nothing to scoff at, it is still below the mark a player like Waller (and a player with Waller’s extremely high salary) deserves. At the very least, Waller has been incredibly efficiency over the last three weeks. Clearly much healthier than earlier in the season, Waller has averaged an excellent 12.8 yards per reception since Week 9, and has caught seven passes, a feat he had only achieved one time all season prior to this stretch, twice in the last three weeks. Despite being rated mediocrely in our value metric, Waller’s median projection is on par with teammate Hunter Renfrow ($8,200 DraftKings/$10,500 FanDuel), who has between 30 and 77 yards receiving in every game this season, but Waller’s ceiling projection far outpaces all other Raiders players, making him the preferred piece from the Las Vegas passing attack wherever budget permits.

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With Cooper ruled out, and Lamb sidelined for much of Week 10, Michael Gallup ($8,800 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) ended up leading the Cowboys in target share, earning a look on 25% of the team’s pass attempts, and finishing with a season-high five catches on 113 air yards. With that elite opportunity in mind, Gallup’s 44 yards receiving, and 9.4 DraftKings points was a vast disappointment. But luckily for Gallup, he may get yet another chance to Prescott’s primary option, as Lamb faces an uphill battle to play . Should Lamb be in, Gallup’s salary would suddenly look much too high, but with Cooper already ruled out, Gallup should finish no worse than third on the Cowboys in target share but will likely need to catch multiple touchdowns in order to end up in the optimal lineup. Dallas should use plenty of three wide receiver looks, which means Cedrick Wilson ($5,400 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) and Noah Brown ($600 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel), who both played on 62.7% of the team’s snaps in Week 11, could be in line for surprisingly large workloads. The duo combined to receive nine targets last weekend.

Cowboys backup running back Tony Pollard ($7,000 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) has been by far the most efficient running back on the team this season on a per-touch basis. Pollard’s 40.9% evaded tackles per touch rate ranks third best among all running backs, and his 10% breakaway rush rate is tops in the NFL. Averaging 11.8 opportunities per game this season, Pollard gets more than enough opportunity to be a strong consideration in a one-game slate, and he is doing all of his damage on while playing on just 32% of the team’s snaps.

Outside of the previously discussed Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, the Raiders tertiary receiving options look wholly unappealing, especially with Dallas ranking towards the top of the NFL in defensive EPA allowed per play this season. In Week 11, Waller, Renfrow and running back Jacobs combined to receive 76% of Carr’s targets. Still, look to Zay Jones ($1,200 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel), who earned 35% of the Raiders air yards on just two targets a week ago. The Awesemo projections see Jones as a much better play, especially considering salary, compared to Bryan Edwards ($4,200 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel), who has faded from relevance in the Las Vegas offense of late.

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The Bottom Line

Dallas could be down their top two weapons on the outside, with Cooper already ruled out on the COVID-19 list, and Lamb facing an uphill battle to play. Even if he does play, he could be extremely limited, leaving the Dallas offense extremely short-handed despite having an excellent matchup on paper. The Raiders have disintegrated offensively after a strong start to the season, and now rank 18th in the NFL in points allowed per play, and 21st in EPA per play. They are also among the five worst teams in the NFL in rushing, which means, despite both defenses being exploitable for big plays, this game has a sneakily high probability of staying under its Vegas total.

Raiders vs. Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Prediction: Cowboys 25, Raiders 24

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View our DraftKings NFL ownership rankings and our FanDuel DFS NFL ownership rankings. Take a look at our depth charts for NFL games, NFL line-ups and inactive players. If you’re interested in other NFL DFS tips for multiple game slates, head over to NFL ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL daily fantasy football rankings, and NFL stacks. We also have FanDuel Single-Game slate tools and NFL single-game ownership projections.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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