For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, we will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 11 Thursday Night Football slate featuring the New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons.
NFL DFS Showdown: Week 11 Thursday Night Football
New England should have Damien Harris (concussion) available and starting tonight. Brandon Bolden (hip) and Jonnu Smith (shoulder) are among the 14 Patriots listed as questionable. Bolden’s status is key, as his absence would bolster the production for the other running backs. Smith was a late scratch last week, and if he is out again, Hunter Henry improves as a fantasy option. Atlanta will be without Hayden Hurst (ankle), and Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle) has been limited in practice on the short week and there is a good chance he will be inactive tonight. Calvin Ridley (personal) is still away from the team.
The upside of rookie Mac Jones has been tempered this season, as the team is trying to stick with a conservative approach. This has led to 30 or fewer passing attempts in four games, including just 41 combined in his last two starts. Jones does not have much rushing upside, and in his time at Alabama he had 54 carries for 42 yards and two touchdown. Keep in mind that yardage lost via sacks in college is counted against quarterback rushing stats.
Atlanta has been a disaster against the pass, with the No. 30 passing DVOA. Six different quarterbacks have had multi-touchdown games, including Taylor Heinicke (290 yards, three touchdowns), Tua Tagovailoa (291 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions) and Trevor Siemian (249 yards, two touchdowns). The Falcons have only three interceptions this season, which is ahead of only the lowly Jets.
Damien Harris is out of the concussion protocol and expected to be available tonight. There is some question about the availability of Brandon Bolden (hip), and coach Bill Belichick likes to be vague with injury reports. Last week rookie Rhamondre Stevenson rolled up 100 yards on 20 carries with a pair of touchdowns while also bringing in four of his five targets for another 14 yards. This is a great matchup against a bottom-five run DVOA, though it would be better from a fantasy perspective if there were two options instead of three.
The Patriots backfield is always a bit of a mess, but it is even cloudier this week trying to decipher who will get most of the run. Matt Savoca has a more in-depth breakdown of the Patriots running back committee and who to expect to carry most of the load in his Week 11 Thursday Night Football Showdown Matchup Breakdown.
The trickledown effect of the conservative game plan is very evident with the New England receiving corps, which has not had a 100-yard performance yet this season. Last week Kendrick Bourne had 98 yards with a touchdown while also getting three carries for 43 yards. Bourne also had 96 yards on six catches in Week 3, which is the second-highest yardage mark for New England.
Jakobi Meyers logged his first career touchdown catch, and back in Week 2 he had 94 yards on nine receptions, which is the third-highest total this year. Nelson Agholor is third in the pecking order, though he has not surpassed three catches since the season opener.
Hunter Henry has been outstanding in the red zone, and he has seven touchdowns receiving, including two on Sunday when Smith was out. Although the targets have been close, with 42 for Henry in 10 games and 34 for Smith in nine outings, Smith has only one score and has been over 30 yards once since Week 1.
Atlanta is allowing just shy of two sacks per game, while New England is collecting just over 2.5 per game. Turnovers are a similar story, with the Patriots getting just over 1.5 takeaways per game, while the Falcons have ceded 14 through nine games.
This is not going to be an easy matchup for Matt Ryan, as the Patriots boast the fifth-best pass DVOA. Only Dak Prescott (445), Davis Mills (312) and Tom Brady (269) have surpassed 225 yards in a game. Ryan has at least 335 yards passing in three of his last five games, but he has failed to top 150 in two of the last three.
Cordarrelle Patterson is questionable at best, and if he is out, then Mike Davis and Wayne Gallman will be the featured backs. Over the last five games, Patterson is leading the team in carries with 50, while Davis is at 39 and Gallman 17. Even if Patterson is out, it is hard to see more than half a dozen targets going to Davis and Gallman, and they will likely split the 18 to 22 rushing attempts.
If the running backs seemed dismal, the remaining receiving corps will look like a nightmare. Calvin Ridley (personal) is away from the team, leaving Russell Gage as the most experienced option in the offense, yet he has been blanked in two of the last three games. That includes Week 8, where he did not see a single target. Gage has 11 targets in the last three weeks, which is tied with Olamide Zaccheaus, and Tajae Sharpe is next with eight, though he has just one in each of the last two games.
Rookie Kyle Pitts has 20 targets in the last three games, while Hayden Hurst has six. Lee Smith should get more time on the field with Hurst out, but he has only nine targets on the year.
Atlanta has only 10 takeaways in nine games and a league-worst 11 sacks. Even against a rookie quarterback, they are not an enticing option by any stretch of the imagination.
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Thursday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
Week 11 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Damien Harris: If he is starting, then he gets the nod — though between his concussion and Stevenson’s excellent showing last week, he needs a touchdown or two in a 60/40 split.
- Mac Jones: Has topped 20 fantasy points only once, which makes him tough to be excited about tonight.
- Matt Ryan: If anything is going to happen with the Falcons offense, he should have a hand in it.
- Kyle Pitts: New England will make it a priority to blanket him; hard to see anyone else stepping up.
- Cordarrelle Patterson: Even if he plays, it is unlikely he is more than 70-80% healthy.
- Kendrick Bourne: Can score from anywhere on the field.
- Jakobi Meyers: Finally got his touchdown after 32 games halfway into his third season.
- Rhamondre Stevenson: Becomes top option if Harris is out.
- Hunter Henry: Clearly a red-zone favorite of Belichick.
- Russell Gage: Even as the last veteran option, he is likely to only get a couple targets.
Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- New England D/ST: DraftKings has goosed their salary to $5,600 for this matchup.
- Nick Folk: Extra points are a lock; could get a couple field goal attempts as well if New England stalls out in the red zone.
- Younghoe Koo: Last week he was the only Falcon to score points in 43-3 loss to Dallas.
- Brandon Bolden: When has the Patriots backfield not been crowded under Belichick?
- Nelson Agholor: Last season with the Raiders looking more and more like an outlier.
Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Olamide Zaccheaus: Garbage-time option, and garbage time could be the entire second half.
- Tajae Sharpe: One target each of the last two weeks despite the paucity of options.
- Mike Davis: This would be the perfect time for him to troll all his detractors, which is just about the entire DFS community at this point.
- Wayne Gallman: If Patterson is out, then Gallman and Davis move above the Atlanta receivers in this section.
- Jonnu Smith: Even when healthy he has been an afterthought in this uber-conservative offense.
- Atlanta D/ST: They will be on the field a lot.
- Lee Smith: Even at the minimum on DraftKings, there is not much utility in one or two short targets.
- Brian Hoyer: He has seen mop-up duty in two of the last three games.
- N’Keal Harry, Parker Hesse, Christian Black, Jakob Johnson, Christian Blake: They will be active though at the very bottom of the pecking order.
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