Thursday Morning UPdate:
First, I just want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. 2020 has been an unprecedented and difficult year for all, and I hope you're able to spend some time with your family even if it is virtual and just relax amongst the chaos. If you're reading this, the staff at Footballguys is extremely thankful for you continuing to be a part of the Footballguys family even during these trying times.
This slate just continues to get worse. with D'Andre Swift looking like he is going to miss this game with a concussion, it makes cash games very difficult due to the amount of overlap this week. The three running backs that will be in nearly every lineup will be Ezekiel Elliott, Duke Johnson Jr, and Antonio Gibson. Deviating from those in cash games seems like a mistake. At the quarterback and tight end positions you will have extreme popularity in Deshaun Watson and T.J. Hockenson this week leaving this week entirely up to wide receivers and defense which best case makes it a 4 v 4, but realistically likely a 2 v 2. Whether you play cash games or not is entirely up to you, I would recommend scaling it back a little bit this week compared to what I was originally intending to do. There will be a good number of people who try a wide receiver in a flex which is likely sub-optimal in cash.
Thursday Cash Game Lineup
If you have a head-to-head with an identical lineup as your opponent, email FanDuel support and they will refund your rake if you're nice to them. My email typically is similar to this, "in the past you have refunded my rake for identical H2H contests, please see the link, can you please refund the rake for this contest"
For GPP's, the strategy that I'm going with is a four wide receiver build instead of a three running back build in the flex position. This allows for the greatest number of variations as well as getting a little bit unique away from the Gibson, Elliott, Johnson builds. I don't love GPP's this week, mostly because the odds of a shared top prize are extremely high, but I will have a couple of lineups out there this week.
Game Stacks can work on a slate like this, so don't be afraid to do something that puts Will Fuller V and Brandin Cooks in the same lineup. Get creative, there really isn't a bad lineup this week in a GPP format.
SHOULD YOU PLAY CASH GAMES?
The Thanksgiving slate is one of the more fun slates of the year typically. Personally, as someone who gets extremely invested in my lineups, cash games work perfectly for me, as I’m not sweating over every touchdown like I do in a GPP format.
Thanksgiving typically brings out a lot of players who may have played early on in the season and had either given up or taken a break and therefore the competition is typically lighter. I am going to try not to play very many contests above $5 this week. You can enter 1,500 contests that are sub-$10, so for me, that is the route I’ll be going is probably entering several hundred 1,2,5 contests. Historically this move has been one of my bests of the year.
Avoid entering cash games early as much as possible on this slate. The reasoning for it is that the weakest competition will likely not look at anything DFS related until Thursday morning and then join contests.
Update: With the Baltimore/Pittsburgh game cancelled, the outlook on cash games is beginning to look bleak. The decision will largely be based on what you think of the running back position. With how poorly I have rated Duke Johnson Jr, I’ll still be playing, but the margin of error on this slate is razer thin. If you can build a lineup you really like, it can work out, but typically a two-game slate is not optimal for cash game due to the amount of overlap between you and your opponents lineup.
Update #2 Ignore Update #1 and look at the Sunday Morning Update
Stacking has become such a huge part of DFS and I think that this week is no other. Find a game script that you believe in and create a few stacks around those narratives. There is a difference between having a contrarian stack and making too many sub-optimal stacks such as fourth wide receivers, backup tight ends, etc. While this could work out in the rare instance, most of the time it is a losing proposition to do so.
If you’re worried about overlap, one thing you may want to do is leave some salary on the table in some lineups. Instead of spending every dollar, leave $500-$800 on the table and it will increase your chances of having a unique lineup.
Understanding Late Swap
With only two games in a day and minimal to no overlap between them, late swap can be your biggest advantage this week if used properly. We will talk about the highest rostered players in cash games down below, but reverse-engineering your opponents lineup particularly in H2H or smaller 50/50’s can pay wonders in cash game scenarios. For example, if you had a poor start to the day in the first game and are behind, you may want to consider taking either Ezekiel Elliott or Antonio Gibson out of your lineup with how popular they will be.
Make sure to keep your latest starting running back in the flex so it gives you opportunities to move off of that player just in case.
Injuries and Covid Watch
Update: The Baltimore Pittsburgh game has been cancelled. Be sure not to play any players from this contest.
D’Andre Swift is questionable with a concussion this week. It appears that he is going to play, and is in a great matchup, the only question will be whether he is a full-go this week.
Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola are both going to miss this week which puts TJ Hockenson as one of the top tight end plays on this slate. Other beneficiaries could be Marvin Hall as a deep threat or Marvin Jones Jr although Jones has had plenty of opportunities to pay off as a number one receiver, so it is difficult to trust him at the moment.
Baltimore is ravaged by Covid issues which has put the game in jeopardy. Mark Ingram II and JK Dobbins both will miss this week due to Covid related issues, which puts Gus Edwards into a premier spot this week as the cheap option to provide a cost savings. He will be popular in GPP’s, and there is some risk with Baltimore’s
On the defensive side of the ball, Brandon Williams and Pernell McPhee look like they will miss due to Covid related issues and Matthew Judon, Calais Campbell, and Jimmy Smith are all questionable this week. This Baltimore defense has been shredded on the ground the last two weeks allowing 133 yards to Derrick Henry and 121 yards to Damien Harris.
Cash Game Core and Lineups
This cash game slate has really turned into a nightmare.
This week, the choice at the quarterback position seems to either be spending up at Deshaun Watson or going down to Matthew Stafford. The trust factor with Watson just wins out this week in terms of lineup construction on just a two game slate. He will be by far the most popular player and with not a lot of must-play top end talent, spending up on the quarterback position seems to make a lot of sense in this game.
At the running back position, there essentially are five players to consider this week. Based on value, Antonio Gibson ranks out as the top play this week going up against a Dallas defense that he ran for over 120 yards earlier this season. Gibson has scored four touchdowns in his last three contests and has been on an absolute tear recently.
Duke Johnson Jr has major concerns for me even though he will be popular facing a Lions defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. The issue is that Johnson just is not a great player averaging just 2.8 yards-per-carry and has faced two favorable matchups against the Jaguars and Patriots in two of the last three weeks. This for me is the sole reason that I’m still playing cash games this week.
Two players are must starts for me in cash games this week at the wide receiver position. That is Amari Cooper and Brandin Cooks. Both players are the safest on the board this week outside of Terry McLaurin who while I would love to have in the lineup is just not something that can work based on the salary and wanting to spend up at the running back position as well as the tight end position with T.J. Hockenson.
Cash Game LINEUP
On a two-game slate, GPP’s become much more difficult as you need to convince yourself to play players who may not be the greatest player.
Leaving salary on the table:
Leaving salary on the table could be a great idea this week to differentiate your lineups in a week that there is expected to be significant overlap. The question that you need to ask is how much should you leave on the table? Somewhere between $500-$1000 seems safe, but going above that is likely not advisable as there are not a lot of great value plays on this slate.
- Antonio Gibson
- Ezekiel Elliott
- D’Andre Swift
- JD McKissic- Based on Value and Roster Percentage
- Duke Johnson Jr
- Brandin Cooks
- Ceedee Lamb
- Amari Cooper
- Will Fuller V
- Marvin Jones Jr Jr.
- Terry McLaurin- Expensive and lack of touchdown equity
- Michael Gallup
- Marvin Hall
- Cam Sims
- Keke Coutee