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NFL Prime Time Games: Showdown Week 6 Thursday Night Football (FREE)

Eric MacPherson



NFL DFS Matchups column: Cowboys vs. Patriots, looks at Ezekiel Elliott and Tom Brady for Week 12 fantasy football, DraftKings, FanDuel

Greetings Gamers! Welcome to the Awesemo NFL DFS Single Game Prime Time series for FanDuel and DraftKings showdown slates. For each of the featured games, typically Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, we will be providing a free analysis for the single-slate action. This will include team capsules as well as player rankings and comments for all your daily fantasy needs.

Tune into NFL Thursday Night Showdown Picks on Thursday at 12:30pm ET as Alex “Awesemo” Baker and Ben “Jazzraz” Rasa break down Thursday’s game for Showdown formats.


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New York Giants at New England Patriots -16.5 / 41.5

This will be the first time in pretty much forever that Eli Manning has not been under center against Tom Brady.

New York Giants 12.5 implied points


This is going to be a difficult matchup for Daniel Jones, both because it is on the road and because of the opponent. The Patriots have an experienced group of defensive backs (Stephon Gilmore seven seasons, Patrick Chung 10, Jason McCourty 10 and Devin McCourty nine) so they have seen it all. Jones has seen his production decrease each of his three weeks as a starter, but let’s not beat him up too much as he has been without Saquon Barkley for the last two games.

Sadly, the cavalry is not coming to the rescue this week with a host of New York skill position players unlikely to suit up.

Running Back

Saquon Barkley will not be taking the field for week 6. Wayne Gallman is in the concussion protocol and has already been ruled out for Thursday, leaving Jon Hilliman and Elijhaa Penny as the only healthy running backs. The Patriots have the third-best rushing DVOA and have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing ball carriers. Do not let young children watch this game as it may emotionally scar them. Heck, that probably goes for all of us, particularly Giants fans.

Wide Receiver

On a positive note, Golden Tate returned from his four week PED suspension. Unfortunately, Sterling Shepard suffered his second concussion of this season and may miss a few games. This leaves Cody Latimer and Darius Slayton as the next players up to the firing line. The biggest fear is how long will the inexperienced rookie under center have to find his options downfield against the team with the best adjusted sack rate.

[table id=1266 /]


Tight End

Yet another injury to a skill position player as it appears that Evan Engram (MCL sprain) will be out on Thursday. Raise your hand if you knew that Rhett Ellison was the the backup tight end for the Giants. You will not be shocked to learn that New England is allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season.

Defense/Special Teams

The most points we can lose as a result of Patriots scoring is negative four. Surprisingly, the Patriots have allowed eight sacks this season, including four last week to Washington. Tom Brady has thrown only three interceptions so it would be a lot to hope for to get a return touchdown. The New York Jets somehow managed two against New England in Week 3, so it is possible.

New England Patriots 29.0 implied points


It would seem that Tom Brady and company should be able to move the ball at will against the Giants. On the season, New York is allowing 25.0 points per game, which is ninth in the league, with the 23rd-overall DVOA. That slips to 29th when isolating their passing DVOA, which means that Brady will be able to do darn near anything he chooses. We could see 200/2, 300/3, 150/4 and much like in a casino, any number plays.  This unit allowed 405/4 to Dak Prescott in Week 1, 380/3 to Jameis Winston in Week 3 and 306/2 to Kirk Cousins last weekend.

Running Back

On a positive note, the Giants have not allowed a rushing touchdown in their last three games. However, eight of the 11 running backs with three-plus touches have topped 50 combined yards. Sony Michel will be quite popular and odds are he will top 100 yards and reach the end zone. It remains to be seen how coach Bill Belichick will infuriate fantasy gamers, but it is hard to believe that James White and/or Rex Burkhead are going to receive more than a nominal workload. Though either could have two first-half touchdowns, because that is how the Patriots roll.

Wide Receiver

Julian Edelman has been dealing with a chest injury, so it would be surprising to see him get much time on the field once the game is in hand. Josh Gordon still has a knack for big plays and we know he can get behind the defense on double moves. Phillip Dorsett is dealing with a hamstring injury, so his services may not be needed on Thursday.

[table id=1267 /]

Tight End

Ben Watson was waived after returning from suspension, so it will be Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo receiving the bulk of the snaps.

Defense/Special Teams

This is the best defense in the league going against a team that is not using a single skill position starter from their Week 1 lineup. Hammer the Patriots.

Thursday Strategy

Let’s be clear: we have not encountered a game quite like this one yet for prime time contests. Double-digit point spreads, yes… the best defense in the league, at home and facing backups at every key position. It is going to be very popular to have one New York player and the rest of your roster filled with Patriots. Just remember, fortune favors the bold.

Single Game Ranking (taking into account projected production, pricing and popularity)

Keep an eye on the weather, which should be in the 48-52 degree range, with an 85%+ chance of in-game rain and gusty conditions in the 20-35 mph range.

Top 10

  1. Tom Brady: this is the 20th season that Brady has been in the league. Ponder for a moment that a 42-year old can still compete in a brutal game at a high level.
  2. Sony Michel: just to reiterate, we will not be alone in the theory that he gets extra work. Beware of the Belichick curse.
  3. James White: keeping the weather in mind, I am okay looking to White who should be in line for a few short passes and a couple carries along with big play upside.
  4. Jon Hilliman: undrafted rookie will be the third starting running back used by the Giants this season.
  5. Daniel Jones: we know he can run the ball, he will probably be running for his life on Thursday night. A sloppy, slog of a game probably is in his favor as it may be tougher for the passing game and keep individual fantasy scores lower. So in that case, having someone with the ball in his hand on every play could be a difference maker.
  6. Julian Edelman: in a lot of matchups he would be in the top three. We are splitting hairs, but the lingering injury, potential blowout, weather and tougher opponents in the future count against him.
  7. Josh Gordon: relies a lot on the big play, conditions could mute that upside.
  8. Golden Tate: could see quite a few short targets which can add up, particularly with DraftKings full-PPR.
  9. New England D/ST: half a dozen combined sacks and turnovers with a 50/50 chance to score feels about right.
  10. Rhett Ellison: starting tight end for the Giants, he is just $200 on DraftKings and let’s us go with the full Patriots onslaught of our choosing.

Secondary Plays

  1. Mike Nugentthe only concern would be the weather conditions. Well, that, and getting more PATs than field goal opportunities.
  2. Rex Burkhead: sat out last week with a foot injury. It would not be a surprise if that happens again this week.
  3. Darius Slayton: over the last three weeks, he has a dozen targets for 10/157/1, which is not terrible. Will the Pats even bother “shadowing” any of the understudies in this game?
  4. Aldrick Rosas: he has made every kick this season. Sadly, he has only had four field goal attempts in the five games along with 10 extra points.
  5. Cody Latimer: returned from a concussion, but saw just one target in Week 5. Was okay in Weeks 1-2 with 12 targets for 6/104/0.

Lottery Tickets

  1. Brandon Bolden: the ultimate troll option for Belicheck. He also returns kickoffs.
  2. Elijhaa Penny: he is a fullback by trade with 19 games under his belt with the Giants. In that time, he has 15 carries for 55 yards and 10 targets for 9/59/0 through the air.
  3. Matt LaCosse: averaging three targets for 1.5 receptions and 27.5 yards per game.
  4. Ryan Izzo: the rookie got his first touchdown last week. He has seen five targets for 4/83/1 this year.
  5. Jakobi Meyers: should see time with the Patriots controlling the game, but weather and circumstance do not portend for much production.
  6. Jakob JohnsonNew England’s James Devlin injury replacement.
  7. New York D/ST: they could always get a return score or two…. the Jets did, after all.
  8. Gunner Olszeski: returns punts for the Patriots.
  9. Dinner Reservations: this is a good night to dedicate to your family or significant other—we still have another three months of glorious football until the playoffs!!!

As always, you can reach out to me in Premium Slack or Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing

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