Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving Week? Not only are you prepping your belly for one of the best eating days of the year, but we’ve got some serious DFS NFL action to get ready for beginning tonight!

Our friends over at FanDuel have stuck with their usual plan and are running a two-game slate with Monday Night Football’s Seahawks/Falcons game and the first Thanksgiving game which is Vikings/Lions. Draft Kings, however, has decided to turn the Monday-Thursday slate in a four-game slate which is going to make today’s Optimal Lineups a bit more in-depth. I will be doing a special DFS Playbook and Optimal Lineups for just the Thanksgiving Day slate, so look for those Wednesday night. In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’m thinking for contests on the Monday-Thursday Slate:

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks

This could have been the perfect example of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object as the Falcons offense was loaded with promise and the Seattle defense was one of the best in the business. Unfortunately, we’re not even close as the Falcons are without Devonta Freeman and their passing attack has been a major bust in comparison to expectations. But they’re not alone in the disappointment department as injuries have ravaged the Seahawks’ secondary. Add to it Seattle’s lack of a running game and the Falcons’ depressing defensive numbers and suddenly we just might be looking at the over in a game with an O/U of 46.

Players You Can Use:


Matt Ryan, QB – The Seahawks haven’t been giving up a lot of passing yardage, but with no Richard Sherman and no Kam Chancellor, the coverage is not even remotely what it was. Ryan has thrown for two touchdowns in each of his last three games, has one 300-yard game in that span and is actually coming off his most efficient passing game of the season with a 75.9% completion rate against the Cowboys. If he can find a happy medium between what Deshaun Watson and Kirk Cousins did in the last two of Seattle’s home games, he’ll be worth the pick.

Tevin Coleman, RB – Seattle is allowing an average of 101 rushing yards per game (4.0 YPC) this season and have allowed eight rushing touchdowns. With no Devonta Freeman, Coleman is expected to see the lion’s share of the work tonight with Terron Ward serving as a complementary back. Coleman can take it between the tackles and has also proven to be a solid pass-catcher as well. The Seahawks may rank second overall against running back pass plays, but again, that was because of different personnel. The linebackers are no longer able to leave the secondary to do their own thing and are going to have to lend support.

Julio Jones, WR – He’ll match up with Shaquill Griffin and, according to coverage numbers, it’s a positive one for Jones. Seattle ranks 20th in the league against the opposing WR1 and are allowing an average of 8.1 catches for 69.0 yards per game to them. As long as Jones doesn’t bail with yet another injury, this could be a huge game for him.

Taylor Gabriel, WR – The Falcons rank 25th in coverage against the WR2 on the right side and while the yardage numbers don’t look big, the touchdowns against are what’s driving that rank down. Gabriel has been lining up here almost 45% of the time while Mohamed Sanu works mostly out of the slot and should be able to use his speed to gain separation from Jeremy Lane.

Matt Bryant, K – He’s been one of the best for years now and he’s still one of the most reliable this season. If the Falcons are putting points up on the board, he’s going to get involved in the action, for sure.


Russell Wilson, QB – Over the last four games, Wilson has thrown 11 touchdowns and thrown just three interceptions and averaged just over 330 passing yards. The Falcons pass defense ranks 20th against the pass and while they’ve only allowed 198 passing yards per game, they’ve given up 11 touchdowns through the air and have just two picks on the entire season. With no running game and a suspect offensive line, Wilson is going to have the ball in his hands all night and should lead this team up and down the field with his legs and his arm.

J.D. McKissic, RB – Eddie Lacy may be considered the lead back, but with the offensive line losing the battle at the line of scrimmage regularly, the Seahawks may have to rely more heavily on passes out of the backfield. The Falcons rank 19th against running back pass plays and are allowing 51.1 yards per game to them. If the Seahawks work out of more of a hurry-up offense, McKissic might be a nice surprise this week.

Doug Baldwin, WR – I’ll list Baldwin here because of his overall talent level and his match-up out of the slot with Brian Poole grades out in his favor. He’s recovered from the groin issue that plagued him last week and has seen double-digit targets in three of his last four. Wilson still looks for him often, so if he can break away from Poole, he could have a strong showing.

Tyler Lockett, WR – Before last week’s miserable two-target game, Lockett had been average eight per game over the previous three. The match-up with Desmond Trufant is not a great one, but overall, the Falcons rank 30th against the WR2 on the right side and are allowing 55.5 yards per game to them. We’ve seen Wilson look deep for Lockett plenty of times and will likely take plenty of shots downfield in this one.

Jimmy Graham, TE – The Falcons rank 21st in coverage against the tight end position and are allowing an average of 7.7 passes for almost 50 yards per game. The big stats for Graham to look at here are the five touchdowns and 11 red zone targets over the last four games.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Players You Can Use:


Latavius Murray, RB – The Lions’ run defense ranks 18th overall right now but it’s been on the downturn over the last several weeks. They allow 114.2 rushing yards per game (4.4 YPC) and have given up 12 rushing touchdowns thus far. He still hasn’t seen as many snaps as Jerick McKinnon has, but with the Lions doing so well against running back pass plays, I like Murray taking it between the tackles more. Despite the split in snaps, Murray has seen at least 15 carries in each of the last five games and has four touchdowns in his last four contests.

Adam Thielen, WR – He’s a must-start in all formats. A MUST-START! He’s averaged 129 receiving yards over his last three games and has found the end zone in each and every one of them. With an average of almost 12 targets per game over the last five shows you he is clearly Case Keenum’s No. 1 guys out there and he’ll continue to kill it this week against a Detroit defense that ranks 15th against the slot and gives up almost 60 yards per game to them this season.

Kyle Rudolph, TE – We just witnessed Bears rookie Adam Shaheen beat the Lions for 41 yards and a touchdown on four catches Sunday and now it’s going to be Rudolph’s turn this week. The Lions rank 29th in the league in coverage against the tight end position and are giving up almost 65 yards per game to them. Rudolph has seen seven targets per game over his last four and that number could go up if Darius Slay takes Stefon Diggs out of the equation Thursday.

Kai Forbath, K – I mean, come on. The guy gets mad field goal attempts and he’s been one of the most reliable in the fantasy realm this season.

Vikings Defense – They’re a fierce unit that can help you with turnovers and stuff the run, but keep an eye on Xavier Rhodes and his practice schedule. He did not practice Monday due to the calf injury, but even if he sits, the Vikings can offer up safety help to his side of the field since they aren’t going to have to work too hard against the run.


Marvin Jones/Golden Tate, WR – I like both of them, especially with Xavier Rhodes dealing with a calf injury. I’m not ready to open it up to Matthew Stafford as a DFS pick here, but even if he has a mediocre game, both receivers have the potential to do well. Jones continues to be a favorite red zone target for Stafford and he’s got three touchdowns in his last three games. Meanwhile, Golden Tate has bounce-back written all over him as the Vikings rank just 16th against the slot in coverage and allow almost 60 yards per game to them. Track the health of Rhodes this week and see how the Vikings handle their secondary. If they’re without him, both of these receivers could shine.

Matt Prater, K – He’s obviously one of the best and he’s top three in fantasy scoring at his position. If the Vikings defense holds their own, he could see plenty of opportunities following stalled red zone drives.

Lions Defense – It is Case Keenum still, isn’t it? The other shoe could drop at any time and given how opportunistic the Lions defense has been in the turnover department, they could be a nice play.

Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys

Players You Can Use:


Philip Rivers, QB – Rivers might not be lighting up defenses for 300 yards per game, but he’s proven to be extremely efficient recently, including this past Sunday with 251 yards and two touchdowns after spending the week in the league’s concussion protocol. The Dallas defense is in rough shape right now and they’ve been burnt in recent weeks by Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan and even Alex Smith. We like for Rivers to continue do what he’s doing and follow these quarterbacks in their winning ways. Ok, Smith lost, but he still did damage against them.

Melvin Gordon, RB – He’s a phenomenal runner and he rebounded from a horrible Week 10 to put the hurt on the Bills this past Sunday. The concern is whether or not he’ll follow what’s happened to top running backs coming off a short week as LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray have all faltered in the last three Thursday night games. But there’s definite hope as the work by Austin Ekeler recently has lightened some of Gordon’s load and he finished the game with his shoulder pads off as the Chargers completed their blow out. With Dallas’ run defense struggling without Sean Lee and them ranking 20th against running back pass plays, Gordon could provide you with a strong follow-up.

Austin Ekeler, RB – You have to give him a look on the short slate, though it probably won’t be too contrarian as Ekeler’s three touchdowns in his last two games has him on everyone’s radar for helping open up costs at other positions. If the Chargers can take a strong lead, Ekeler could see that increase in touches continue.

Keenan Allen, WR – The Cowboys did a good job of containing Nelson Agholor in the slot Sunday night, but Allen is also coming off his biggest game of the season and is carrying some serious momentum into the short week. The Cowboys rank 19th against slot coverage and matching up with Orlando Scandrick should be a positive one for Allen. And don’t forget, Agholor had a touchdown taken away from his when replay showed his knee down at the one-yard line. Allen should see plenty of opportunities this week.

Tyrell Williams, WR – How about a deep dive here? He’s been a serious disappointment this season, but after watching Alshon Jeffery take Jourdan Lewis to school Sunday, there’s definite potential for Williams to take advantage of the physical match-up here. He lines up on the left when Allen is in the slot and could become a factor if Rivers takes it to the air early.

Travis Benjamin, WR – The Cowboys rank 23rd against the WR2 on the right side and we all know Benjamin has great big-play ability. He did leave early with an abdominal issue Sunday, so if he misses the game, look for rookie Mike Williams to step in and be a potential dumpster-dive. That could also mean an increase in looks for Tyrell Williams.

Hunter Henry, TE – He’s been a MASSIVE disappointment this season, but this could be the match-up he needs to jump-start the rest of his season. The Cowboys did contain Zach Ertz on Sunday, but they still ranked 28th in the league against the tight end walking into the game. It’s a vulnerable spot for the Cowboys defense and while they had it covered this week, there’s no guarantee they do it here.

Chargers Defense – Just take a look at what they did to the Bills. The Dallas offensive line is in disarray right now and the pass protection was horrible this week. With Joey Bosa wreaking havoc up front and Casey Hayward doing the same in the secondary, this might be one of the best plays on the slate.

Nick Novak, K – He was 4-for-5 on field goal attempts Sunday and this match-up against a withering Dallas defense could mean even more opportunities.


Rod Smith, RB – He out-snapped Alfred Morris on Sunday and could do so again this week if the Cowboys are forced to play from behind. His pass-blocking is obviously in need of more work, but he’s still probably a better option than Alfred Morris. The Chargers run defense is bad – ranked 22nd in the league – and they’re giving up just over 55 yards per game to running back pass plays. There’s some obvious risk involved here, but that might just be what separates you from the rest of the herd in contests for this slate.

Cole Beasley, WR – The Cowboys have seen the piss-poor pass-protection so they’re going to have to step it up this week and get Prescott on the quick-release. That should be more work for Beasley. The Chargers rank 22nd In the league against the slot receivers and Desmond King could have his hands full with the speedy Beasley.

Jason Witten, TE – Along the same lines as Beasley, the short-quick passes should favor Witten’s usage this week. The Chargers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position this season, but they still rank 19th in coverage. If he gets the volume, he won’t disappoint.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins

Players You Can Use:


Kirk Cousins, QB – Despite holding down Alex Smith in heavy winds, the Giants still allow the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. Cousins, despite not have an elite wideout to throw to has now thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last two with four touchdowns and just one interception. He’s got some decent targets to get the ball to and despite the Janoris Jenkins-led secondary being so highly touted, the G-Men have allowed the fourth-most passing yards this season with 20 touchdowns allowed through the air. And don’t forget the fact that opposing quarterbacks have posted a rock-solid 96.6 passer rating against New York this season.

Samaje Perine, RB – He really came into his own this week after Chris Thompson went down with a broken leg and he seems to be ready to continue shouldering the load. So long as he’s licked his early-season fumble-it is, he should be considered a very strong play for this slate. The Giants are allowing 132.7 rushing yards per game and have given up six touchdowns on the ground. If the Redskins just keep giving Perine the rock, he should rack up yardage by the boatload and find his way into the end zone.

Jameson Crowder, WR – He’s finally back in the fold and has now averaged just over 10 targets per game over his last three. We’d like to see more red zone looks come his way and that could certainly be this week as the Giants rank 21st in the league against the slot receiver. There are going to be a lot of targets to be had and a lot of yards to rack up so look for Crowder to be heavily involved.

Ryan Grant, WR – While Josh Doctson deals with Janoris Jenkins all game, Grant will be lined up against Eli Apple in what should be a positive match-up. The Giants rank 30th in coverage against the opposing WR2 on the right side and are likely to struggle in coverage at times. Grant is a little more of a deep dive, but the match-up looks like it could be a winner for him and his owners.

Vernon Davis, TE – With the short week, it’s doubtful we see Jordan Reed on the field. That means Davis is going to FEAST on Thanksgiving going up against the team that gives up the most fantasy points per game to the tight end position. Yeah, the Giants are HORRIBLE at covering the tight end and even in a winning effort against the Chiefs in heavy winds, Travis Kelce still burnt them for over 100 yards. Davis will be my top play for this slate.

Nick Rose, K – This could be a high point total for Washington which puts Rose right in line for a heavy workload this week.

Redskins Defense – How do they not get a look with the way the Giants have played? They’re not a strong play most weeks, but this primetime game could be the stage they are looking for to shine.


Eli Manning, QB – This should be one of your cheaper options as the Giants are likely to be playing from behind most of the night. If Sterling Shepard returns, he’ll have the targets he needs to feed and take advantage of a pass defense that allows 249 passing yards per game and 18 touchdowns through the air. It ain’t pretty, but it could get the job done for DFS purposes.

Orleans Darkwa, RB – If the Giants can push the run early, Darkwa could find success against a run defense that allows 114.2 rushing yards per game and has given up eight rushing touchdowns. I wouldn’t expect huge totals, but enough to make him a usable RB2.

Evan Engram, TE – This might be a great time to use a two-TE set in your DFS lineups on Draft Kings as the Redskins rank 22nd in the league against the position and give up the third most fantasy points per game to them. Engram is a serious threat inside the red zone and Eli has shown a heavy reliance on him when he needs an outlet. He may be pricey, but with this match-up, he’s definitely worth it.

Monday-Thursday Example Lineups:

Keep in mind, and I cannot stress this enough -- Don't be lazy. These lineups are not intended for you to just take and plug in as your own. These should serve as templates as I work off the Playbook. If you have other plays you prefer, then use them. Weave them in to these, if you can. There's nothing worse than hearing someone come back to say they took your lineup, plugged into some contest they probably shouldn't have entered and then complain about it afterewards. We are about teaching the process, not lineup selling.

 Fanduel Example GPP     Draft Kings Example GPP   
PosPlayerTeamOppSalary PosPlayerTeamOppSalary
QBMatt RyanATLSEA$7,400 QBKirk CousinsWASNYG$6,800
RBLatavius MurrayMINDET$6,800 RBMelvin GordonLACDAL$7,900
RBTevin ColemanATLSEA$6,500 RBSamaje PerineWASNYG$3,900
WRJulio JonesATLSEA$7,800 WRAdam ThielenMINDET$7,000
WRAdam ThielenMINDET$7,900 WRJameson CrowderWASNYG$5,000
WRTyler LockettSEAATL$5,600 WRTyler LockettSEAATL$4,500
TEJimmy GrahamSEAATL$7,500 TEJimmy GrahamSEAATL$6,200
KMatt PraterDETMIN$5,100 FlexVernon DavisWASNYG$5,500
DEFMinnesota VikingsMINDET$4,700 DEFLos Angeles ChargersLACDAL$2,900
   Remaining:$700    Remaining:$300