2023 Thanksgiving Day NFL DFS Breakdown

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2023 Thanksgiving Day NFL DFS Breakdown

Outside of the Super Bowl, Thanksgiving Day football is arguably the best day of the year for football fans. Food, family, beer, and, well, football! And every year, DFS players attempt to grind out any and all possible edges in this annual three-game slate of games. In essence, that’s the purpose of this article. Discussing every angle and every edge of the Thanksgiving slate, leaving no stone unturned. I’ll be discussing every relevant play on both FanDuel and DraftKings for Thanksgiving Day, grouped by position, and ranked in descending order in the TLDR.

This article is going to be long, but ideally, it should be all you need to be a profitable DFS player on Thanksgiving day.

But before we dig too deep into the specific players on this slate, I did want to mention three important notes this week:

1) On a typical full-game slate, you’ll want to feel comfortable with every player you’re rostering. Ideally, even your punt plays are strong values with good upside. On a shorter slate like this (three games, six teams) it’s OK to roster a relatively “gross” name if you feel they give you a stronger lineup overall – allowing you to pay up elsewhere.

2) Late swap is of crucial importance on these smaller slates. If you have any tournament lineups that, after a bad game or two, seem unlikely to cash, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by adding exposure to some “riskier” lower-owned players.

3) All references to pricing are for DraftKings unless otherwise stated.

TLDR: Too Long, Didn’t Read (AKA Rankings)

Note: These are the best plays of the slate in order of value (according to me); ownership is not considered here… But Wednesday’s Cashing Points show will cover every possible tournament angle.

QB

Dak Prescott ($6,800) – Prescott is one of the easiest clicks on the slate at any position. He’s the QB1 by DraftKings FPG (28.9) since Week 7, averaging 317.8 passing YPG and 3.3 TD passes per game over that stretch. He’s benefitted massively from the Cowboys’ recent, borderline Air Raid approach. Dallas is 2nd in pass rate over expectation (PROE) over the last month (+11.3%), and it’s massively encouraging they continued that trend in Week 11 against a top-5 run funnel in Carolina – posting the 2nd-highest PROE (+10%) of the week.

And there may not be a better team to throw on than Washington. The Commanders are the top-3 pass funnel over the last month (+8.7% PROE), and rank as the single-softest schedule-adjusted passing matchup for opposing QBs (+6.9 FPG). This is the perfect spot for Prescott, who profiles as a cash game must-play and the most popular QB in tournaments.

Jared Goff ($6,300) – Goff is always a compelling fantasy asset when he’s at home, and the holiday won’t change that. Since 2022, Goff has averaged +7.3 more FPG at home (23.8) than on the road (16.5). The Lions are implied for 27.25 points (2nd-highest on the slate), and Goff averages 24.1 DraftKings FPG when the Lions implied team total is 25.0 or higher (10 instances), scoring over 20.0 DraftKings points in 70% of those games. For perspective, 24.9 DraftKings FPG is 19% better than Dak Prescott this year, but Goff is $500 cheaper on DraftKings and $700 cheaper on FanDuel.

This is a near-perfect spot for Goff, with the matchup being a clear exception. Green Bay is a bottom-5 schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing QBs through the air (-4.2 passing FPG). So, Prescott is a stronger play overall, but Goff is still a fantastic tournament option, thanks to his consistent fantasy prowess at home.

Sam Howell ($6,200) – Howell is a bet on passing volume, and a pretty great one at that. He’s currently on pace for over 800 dropbacks (would be an NFL record), and is 4th in odds (8-1) to lead the NFL in passing yards. Washington is determined to throw the ball in every conceivable scenario, and Howell has been an impressive fantasy asset as a result. Howell has 9 games with 17.0 or more DraftKings points (1st among all QBs), and is averaging 21.6 DraftKings FPG (1st among slate-eligible QBs) if we exclude his disastrous Week 3 outing against Buffalo.

Washington’s absurd pass volume gives Howell a comparable floor to Dak Prescott and Jared Goff, but the matchup here is a serious obstacle. Dallas is the 8th-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing QBs (-1.9 FPG), allowing the 2nd-fewest passing YPG (177.6) and 6th-fewest YPA (6.3). Pressure and efficiency will be major issues, but Howell will almost certainly drop back 50 or more times as an 11.0-point underdog. He’s a strong, volume-based tournament play (especially on FanDuel).

Brock Purdy ($6,100) – Purdy has been a great value on nearly every slate this season, but he won’t stand out on a three-game slate with condensed QB prices. That’s not to say he’s a bad play – he’s exceeded 23.8 DraftKings points in three straight games and commands the league’s 2nd-most efficient offense by yards per play (6.4). But it’s easy to see Purdy going overlooked in favor of some of these other QBs in tournaments, as there just isn’t much about him that stands out. Seattle has been a neutral on-paper matchup for opposing QBs since Week 5. They’ve allowed the 4th-most schedule-adjusted rushing FPG to RBs over their last five games (modest run funnel), and San Francisco (25.0) touts a notably lower implied total than Detroit and Dallas.

Compared to these other Thanksgiving QBs, Purdy’s upside appears overrated. He’s scored over 26.5 DraftKings points in just 11% of his career starts, and San Francisco runs the ball at the NFL’s 5th-highest rate in the red zone (55%). From a median perspective, Purdy feels similar to both Goff and Howell, but in tournaments (where upside is everything), Purdy lacks the same juice as the QBs listed above him. If Purdy is the 2nd-highest owned QB after Prescott (which appears more likely than not), then Purdy is a subpar tournament play in this less-than-ideal matchup.

Geno Smith ($5,600) – Smith (elbow) is injured, as HC Pete Carroll noted he won’t practice until Wednesday at the earliest but is still expected to play. Caroll is tough to trust on injury news, but Smith (or Drew Lock) is equally difficult to trust in a bottom-7 schedule-adjusted matchup. Smith has only exceeded 16.5 DraftKings points just twice this year, and both games were in high total games against defenses that rank among the five softest-schedule-adjusted defenses for opposing QBs. So, this is far from the ideal spot to roster Smith. But I imagine the vast majority of the field will line up with that thinking, and – if Smith is sub-10% owned – he can be played in tournaments as leverage.

Jordan Love ($5,500) – Love has played poorly for the purposes of real football, but he’s been surprisingly solid for fantasy, posting as many games with 20 or more DraftKings points (4) as Jared Goff and Dak Prescott. Sure, he’s lacked upside, but he also hasn’t played in a game with a total higher than 45.5 (47.0 this week), nor has he played in a game as an underdog of 4.0 or more points (GB +7.0 this week). And that’s probably the best argument for Love in tournaments (outside of low ownership) – he will likely need to throw a ton in a strong offensive environment. I’d consider Love a stronger tournament play than Brock Purdy and Geno Smith, but only barely.

RB

Christian McCaffrey ($8,700) – McCaffrey continues to be the best flex-eligible player alive, leading the slate in DraftKings FPG (25.3) and XFP/G (20.2). But he isn’t quite priced like it – nearly $500 cheaper than his average DraftKings salary this season and only $200 more expensive than the slate’s WR2 (Amon-Ra St. Brown).

And he draws a near-perfect matchup. Seattle is a run funnel (-1.3% PROE allowed since Week 7), and the 2nd-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for RBs through the air (+3.5 FPG). Keep in mind that McCaffrey is averaging 10.9 receiving FPG – which would rank 12th-best among all flex players on this slate, on top of another ~17 carries per game. Not to mention his league-leading red zone role; McCaffrey has earned 52% of San Francisco’s team XFP in the red zone since Week 5 (most among flex players by 13%).

McCaffrey is the overall best play (from both a floor and ceiling perspective) among the trio of flex players priced over $7,000 on this slate.

Jahmyr Gibbs ($6,800) – Since returning from injury in Week 7, Jahmyr Gibbs leads all RBs in FPG (26.3). Over the last two weeks (with David Montgomery back), Gibbs has played on 22 additional snaps (70 to 48) while seeing 9 additional targets (11 to 2) and 2 fewer carries (22 to 24). Interestingly, inside the 10-yard line, Gibbs has twice as many snaps and twice as many opportunities as Montgomery. Add it all up, and Gibbs is averaging 19.9 XFP/G over this span (4th-most among all RBs), good for a 63% share of the backfield. That might not seem like a lot, but that’s massive on a team like the Lions. Because Detroit leads the league in combined backfield XFP/G (27.2), if Gibbs had held a 63% backfield XFP share all season, he’d be averaging 17.1 XFP/G, which would rank 6th-most among all RBs. Gibbs is a great play – and I outright prefer him over the similarly-priced Tony Pollard.

Tony Pollard ($6,700) – Nobody wants to hear this, but Tony Pollard is technically the top XFP-based value at the position (2.52X). His usage hasn’t been great since Dallas turned more pass-heavy in Week 8 (13.4 XFP/G), but he’s still earning an 80% snap share when the game is within 14 points, which would match Christian McCaffrey for 3rd-best among RBs over the full season. Really, if Pollard had just scored TDs as expected, he’d average +3.0 more FPG, and we’d be talking about him in a completely different light. But his efficiency has been almost league-worst (although much improved in recent weeks), and the Cowboys are faced with one of the more obvious pass funnels in the NFL. Pollard can still win you a tournament with a multi-TD performance, but he’s not as strong of a play as Jahmyr Gibbs on this slate.

David Montgomery ($6,300) – Montgomery is playing second-fiddle to Jahmyr Gibbs, capturing just 37% of backfield usage and inside the 10 snaps since coming back from injury in Week 10. But don’t let Montgomery’s secondary role in a committee backfield scare you off in tournaments. This is the 3rd-most productive backfield in fantasy (30.6 FPG), and Montgomery has still averaged more XTD/G (0.96) over his last two games than Tony Pollard (0.8) has over the full season. Given the Lions’ 27.25 implied team total and the 7.5-point spread, there is more than enough room for both RBs to have a big game. Montgomery is a solid tournament play (even if he is a sub-optimal value), and can be paired with Jahmyr Gibbs in Lions’ onslaught lineups, despite the duo’s -0.15 correlation.

Brian Robinson ($5,900) – Robinson showed us what he was capable of with a true bell cow workload in Week 11. He gained 131 YFS on 17 carries and 9 targets (20.8 XFP, 2nd-most). But Robinson’s hyper-efficiency stands out almost as much as this incredible workload. Through the air, Robinson leads all 146 qualifying receivers in both fantasy points per target (2.32) and yards per target over expectation (+4.4). On the ground, Robinson ranks top-7 of 50 qualifying RBs in YPC (4.90) and MTF/A (0.32). If Antonio Gibson (toe) misses Week 12, Robinson is a top-4 RB play overall, and arguably an even better play in tournaments with this workload.

AJ Dillon ($5,400) – Dillon averaged a pedestrian 9.8 XFP/G and 9.1 FPG in the three games Aaron Jones (knee sprain) missed this season. With Jones likely out this week, you could justify Dillon if you think a multi-TD performance is possible, but he will be splitting work with Patrick Taylor. I won’t be playing much (if any) Dillon, but if I do, it’ll primarily be paired with the Green Bay defense.

Zach Charbonnet ($5,300) – Ken Walker suffered a non-contact oblique injury that HC Pete Carroll called “legit,” presumably leaving Charbonnet and DeeJay Dallas to man the Seattle backfield on this glorious holiday slate. Both Dallas and Charbonnet were active when Walker suffered his first-quarter injury, and Charbonnet dominated usage, earning a 93% snap share, 65% route share, 17% target share, and 17.3 XFP (89% of usage) after Walker left the game. The matchup with San Francisco is a slightly negative one from a schedule-adjusted perspective, and the negative projected gamescript (SEA +7.0) is largely irrelevant (but could cap his overall upside), thanks to Charbonnet’s outstanding receiving role. He’s the top RB value of the slate (by far) if Walker sits.

Rico Dowdle ($4,600) – Dowdle has some merit as a punt if this game gets out of hand — and if he’s actually active (ankle). He's averaged 11.0 touches per game over the Cowboys' last two contests (both wins by 20-plus), and he’s scored over 13.5 DraftKings points in 20% of his games this season (both blowout scripts). Anything goes on a three-game slate, and Dowdle is no exception. He’s best used in Cowboys’ onslaught lineups but is an obviously thin play.

Note: Dallas likely splits backup touches between Deuce Vaughn and Hunter Luepke if Dowdle sits. Vaughn could be argued as playable on using similar reasoning, but it’s probably just a minor boost for Tony Pollard.

Antonio Gibson ($4,500) – Gibson is dealing with a toe injury and is a true game-time decision. Most sites have him projected out right now, and given the nature of this slate (staggered games and a 4:30 pm kickoff for Washington), he will likely go totally overlooked if he ends up being active. It’s annoying to worry about late-swap on a holiday, but it’s worth it if you end up getting a ~2% owned RB at $4,500 who has averaged 14.6 DraftKings FPG over his last two games.

Patrick Taylor ($4,200) – Taylor averaged 8.0 XFP/G in his three games without Aaron Jones, which isn’t much – but was still ~45% of overall backfield usage, sans Emanuel Wilson. The team doesn’t feel very comfortable handing Taylor the ball (just 12% of rushing snaps in games without Jones), but his red zone role (53% of snaps) and pass game role (backfield-leading 38% of routes, 10% target share) in those contests keeps him alive here with negative gamescript likely for Green Bay. He’s fine for tournaments at sub-5% ownership, but I wouldn’t get carried away.

WR

Green Bay Wide Receivers

Romeo Doubs ($5,000) – Doubs hasn’t done much since Christian Watson returned to a full workload in Week 5, exceeding 35 receiving yards just once over his last six games. Despite mediocre target and yardage numbers, Doubs is tied for the team lead among pass catchers in XFP/G (11.3), thanks to an elite end zone role. Doubs has 7 end zone targets since Week 5, which is 2nd on the team to Christian Watson (10) and 4th among all pass catchers over that stretch. Doubs and Watson have effectively combined for 90% of the Packers' end zone targets since Watson returned to full health. I prefer Watson and Jayden Reed overall, but Doubs is still very in play for tournaments, thanks to the TD equity he carries in an above-average schedule-adjusted matchup.

Christian Watson ($4,300) – Watson has nearly everything we look for in a cheap tournament WR. Since getting healthy (Week 5), he’s been peppered with deep targets (11, 3rd-most among slate-eligible WRs), and he leads the NFL in end zone targets (10). Despite this, he’s averaged just 7.6 FPG since Week 5 – in part due to raw volume (just 5.5 targets per game) and in part due to QB play; Watson’s 43% catchable target rate this season is by far the worst among slate-eligible WRs. I really like Watson’s profile – he feels extremely due for a big game – but his floor is brutally low. He’s an ideal high-risk, high-reward tournament play.

Jayden Reed ($4,200) – Reed (9.1 XFP/G) is seeing worse overall usage than Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson since Week 5, but he’s still managed to lead these Green Bay receivers in YPG (43.3) and FPG (12.3) over that stretch. Nonetheless, he was still a solid usage-based value at just $4,200, and now Reed’s matchup is one of the best on the slate. Detroit is the single-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing slot WRs (+5.2 FPG), where Reed runs 79% of his routes, and he draws a very favorable coverage matchup, per our tools. He’s probably the best floor play of the group, but I still (slightly) prefer Christian Watson in tournaments.

Detroit Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown ($8,500) – St. Brown leads the NFL in 100-plus yard games (6), despite getting injured in Week 4 and missing Week 5. If we exclude those games, he leads the slate in target share (29%), first-read share (37%), and XFP/G (19.7). The volume is great, and St. Brown arguably has the best floor of any pass catcher. But the matchup is neutral from both a schematic and schedule-adjusted perspective. That doesn’t really change the fact that St. Brown is still a great play – but he’s clearly the 3rd-best value among the trio of skill players priced above $7,000 on this slate.

Josh Reynolds ($3,500) – Reynolds has a 69% route share this season, which is almost 20% higher than the next-closest sub-$4,000 WR on DraftKings. He hasn’t done anything recently – failing to exceed 4 targets or 8.0 DraftKings points since Week 5. But Reynolds did average 17.8 DraftKings FPG in his first two games this season, so you could argue there is some upside here. Really, my main concern with Reynolds is that his volume fell off a cliff after Week 6, when Jameson Williams started stealing targets and Amon-Ra St. Brown got healthy. There are objectively better options in this price range, but he’s more than fine in tournaments (especially in Goff stacks).

Jameson Williams ($3,400) – In Week 10, Jameson Williams was publicly praised by Dan Campbell for the first time ever after an outstanding block on a David Montgomery TD. And in Week 11, Williams logged a career-high 63% route share. Sure, that only led to three targets (6.0 XFP, 12.3 FPs), but it’s – at a bare minimum – encouraging for a player who has perennially been in the doghouse. The matchup is pretty bad (bottom-5 schedule-adjusted), but Williams is worthy of a dart throw, given his big play ability and recent uptick in routes.

Kalif Raymond ($3,000) – Raymond falls into the bucket of players who will only help you win if they score and if the slate ends up being pretty gross. He isn’t unplayable – he has at least two targets in each of his last six games – but he’s close to it in a relatively poor matchup.

Washington Wide Receivers

Terry McLaurin ($5,400) – McLaurin is a difficult player to gauge on this slate, if only because his target share (17%) and raw usage (13.7 XFP/G) over the last month isn’t dramatically better than his teammates. But don’t let McLaurin’s modest target share distract you from his relatively high-volume, downfield role. McLaurin is priced as the WR7 on this slate, but he ranks 3rd in targets per game (7.5) and 3rd in air yards (919) among slate-eligible pass catchers. That said, McLaurin’s matchup is right there as the worst on the slate – Dallas ranks as the 7th-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing outside WRs (-4.8 FPG). Efficiency will likely be an issue, but McLaurin remains a strong volume-based value in a game where Washington likely drops back 50-plus times.

Jahan Dotson ($4,600) – I view Dotson similarly to Terry McLaurin. He doesn’t necessarily stand out according to basic market share metrics, but his volume has still been strong (relative to his DFS salary) thanks to Washington’s pass-happy approach. He draws a poor on-paper matchup but still has plenty of merit in tournaments. Most DFS players stacking Sam Howell will lean into playing Logan Thomas plus either McLaurin or Curtis Samuel (who are both slightly better values), which could present an interesting leverage opportunity for those looking to take on a bit more risk with Dotson – who does have the best schematic matchup of the group (albeit only barely).

Curtis Samuel ($3,600) – Samuel is a compelling technical value, ranking 1st among WRs in XFP/G per $ of DraftKings salary, and 10th in DraftKings FPG in full games (10.6) despite a WR15 price tag. He should be one of the more popular WRs of the slate, but it’s for good reason. Prior to injuring his foot in Week 7, Samuel exceeded double-digit DraftKings points in four of six games (13.1 DraftKings FPG) and led Washington pass catchers in red zone usage.

Dallas Wide Receivers

CeeDee Lamb ($8,700) – Lamb has been nothing short of incredible since Dallas turned into a borderline Air Raid team in Week 8, averaging 13.0 targets per game, 134.5 receiving YPG, 25.2 XFP/G, and 32.3 DraftKings FPG – all marks that rank 1st among flex players. And he draws the single-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for WRs (+11.8 FPG) in Washington. So what’s not to love? Well, outside of being the same price as Christian McCaffrey, not much. Lamb is right behind CMC as the slate's best ‘expensive’ play, and the clear choice over Amon-Ra St. Brown – ignoring ownership (which will be top-4 on the slate).

Brandin Cooks ($4,500) – Cooks (14.6 FPG) has massively out-produced his expectation (8.4 XFP/G) since Week 8, which means he’s a top negative regression candidate. But he’s still a quality secondary option for tournaments. Cooks joins Jake Ferguson and CeeDee Lamb as the only Dallas pass catchers with a route share of over 50% since Week 8, which is pretty valuable on its own, given how much Dallas is passing (+11.3% PROE). His matchup couldn’t be better – the Commanders are the single-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing outside WRs (+10.7 FPG), and Cooks is the only Cowboys player with a full-time role on the outside. He’s a solid one-off play in this spot, but I generally prefer him in game stacks.

Michael Gallup ($3,700) – Gallup isn’t playing much (46% route share over the last month), but he does have a solid downfield role (12.7 aDOT) in the perfect matchup for outside WRs (noted above). He’s a pure dart throw, but one long TD is all it will take at his price.

Jalen Tolbert ($3,100) – Tolbert has seen slightly better and more consistent volume than Gallup as of late (double-digit target share in three straight games), but he is still struggling to see the field (44% route share since Week 8). He’s basically the same play as Gallup, but with a slightly better floor at a more palatable price tag. I’m probably only using both players in game stacks.

KaVontae Turpin ($3,000) – Turpin is one of the league’s most dangerous return men, but offensively, he’s little more than a gadget player. That said, he has recorded better red zone usage (1.8 XFP/G in the red zone) than both Michael Gallup (1.2) and Jalen Tolbert (1.1) this season. He could sneak into the end zone, and if he does it on special teams, the combination of Turpin plus Cowboys D/ST could wind up as optimal. It’s thin, but anything goes on a three-game slate.

San Francisco Wide Receivers

Brandon Aiyuk ($7,000) – Aiyuk (3.73 YPRR) continues to be one of the league’s most efficient players on a per-route basis and has massively exceeded his expectation (13.0 XFP/G, 17.0 FPG) as a result. The argument for Aiyuk in tournaments is easy: he’s hyper-efficient, plays in one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL, and has the 2nd-most deep receptions (9) of any player on this slate. The slate-wrecking potential here is self-evident. But he can’t quite be a cash game play, as he faces a bottom-8 schedule-adjusted matchup (since Week 7), and doesn’t offer comparable value to some of the other WRs on this slate.

Deebo Samuel ($5,900) – Samuel is a decent value in a below-average on-paper matchup, but he does stand out in a schematic sense. The Seahawks run zone coverage at the league’s 3rd-highest rate (83%), and Samuel earned targets at nearly double the rate against zone coverage relative to man last season. From a median perspective, he’s a more mediocre play, but we know he has the upside to win a tournament on just a handful of touches, and he could earn more than that against a zone-heavy Seattle defense.

Jauan Jennings ($3,300) – Jennings hasn’t earned more than three targets in any game Deebo Samuel has played in, so he’s only viable within Purdy stacks in the largest tournaments. But even then, he’s a very thin play.

Seattle Wide Receivers

DK Metcalf ($6,500) and Tyler Lockett ($6,000) – This is easily one of the trickiest spots on the slate. Lockett (hamstring) and Metcalf (toe) are both dealing with (at least) moderately impactful injuries. Lockett ran a route on just 64% of Seattle’s dropbacks on Sunday (season-low by 15%). And Metcalf missed Tuesday’s practice and will almost certainly be playing through pain on Thursday. So, I really don’t know how to value this duo, but I’m more inclined to be underweight in tournaments – as Lockett and Metcalf have combined for just one game over 25.0 DraftKings points this year.

Update: Lockett practiced in full for the first time since Week 10. So he’s likely 100% (or close to it). Metcalf will play, but his health is a question mark. I prefer Lockett overall, and you could argue that questions about Metcalf’s health make Jaxon Smith-Njigba an underrated play.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba ($4,100) – JSN is finally getting downfield targets, logging an 8.0 aDOT and 12.1 FPG since Week 7. That’s encouraging production at his price, but I do have doubts about the upside here. Smith-Njigba has zero end zone targets this season (compared to 20 total for Metcalf and Lockett) alongside 1 red zone target since Week 7 (Colby Parkinson has 2). The matchup with San Francisco favors the outside WRs, but it’s far from a bad matchup for JSN. Really, the best argument for JSN this week is that Metcalf is banged up to an unknown degree, and Smith-Njigba could see better volume (potentially near the end zone) as a result.

TE

George Kittle ($6,000) – Kittle has been on a tear as of late, scoring over 22.0 DraftKings points in three straight games (and four of his last six), and ranking 2nd among all players in YPRR (4.04) since Week 7. He’s expensive on a relatively deep TE slate, but it isn’t hard to argue he’s worth paying up for in tournaments. Seattle has been a bottom-8 schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing WRs since Week 7 (-6.4 FPG), but a top-5 schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing TEs (+2.9 FPG). The Seahawks also run zone at a top-3 rate, and Kittle leads the team in first-read targets (32) against zone, and ranks behind only Brandon Aiyuk in overall usage (6.4 XFP/G) and threat rate (24%) against zone coverage. Target volume in this matchup shouldn’t be an issue, but Kittle is a bit too expensive to be the top value at the position.

Sam LaPorta ($5,200) – LaPorta is in an awkward spot on this slate. He’s still seeing solid volume (6.7 targets per game since Week 7), but not volume that warrants a price tag that’s $1,700 more expensive than Logan Thomas (6.6 targets per game since Week 7). The on-paper matchup is neutral, but Green Bay’s top-3 rates of single-high would suggest less space for LaPorta to find holes in zones underneath, which could aid volume concerns. LaPorta is a fairly weak play in a vacuum, but he can easily be justified in tournaments on the basis he won’t carry significant ownership.

Jake Ferguson ($3,900) – Ferguson, like nearly every Cowboys’ pass catcher, has been awesome for fantasy over his last four games (14.7 DraftKings, TE7) thanks to Dallas embracing the pass. I wouldn’t expect that to change this week against a Washington pass defense that’s allowing 258.5 passing YPG (3rd-most) and ranks as a top-8 pass funnel by PROE allowed. That said, Washington is by far the softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing WRs but merely a neutral matchup for TEs. Even if we expect volume to be funneled to the Cowboys’ WRs, Ferguson’s recent usage (and position-leading red zone usage) suggests he’s right behind Logan Thomas as one of the top TE values on this slate.

Note: Peyton Hendershot could return this week, which would notably hurt Ferguson’s route share. Ferguson has averaged a 51% route share with Hendershot in the lineup, but a 75% route share without him. Keep an eye on Hendershot’s status.

Logan Thomas ($3,500) – Among slate-eligible TEs, Thomas is 2nd in XFP/G (10.4), 1st in end zone targets (7), 2nd in targets (58), and 3rd in receiving YPG (40.9). So why is he priced as the TE4, priced nearly $2k less than Sam LaPorta – who has seen nearly identical volume over the last month? I have no idea. And his pricing on this slate makes even less sense when you consider the Cowboys are the 4th-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing WRs (-7.3 FPG), but a neutral matchup for TEs (+0.5 FPG). Thomas won’t just see the best price-adjusted volume of any TE, but he should see the best volume of any pass catcher priced under $4,000 on DraftKings.

Luke Musgrave ($3,300) – Musgrave hasn’t done much this year – ranking as the TE21 by FPG (7.3) and exceeding double-digit fantasy points just twice. Musgrave is earning sub-par volume (4.5 targets per game, 22nd among TEs), but his bigger problem is red zone volume. Musgrave is averaging 1.1 XFP/G in the red zone this year (33rd among TEs), which is just 23% as much as Jake Ferguson (4.8).

Update: With Musgrave out, I anticipate Tucker Kraft ($2,500) to see the majority of Green Bay’s TE routes and usage with Josiah Deguara (hip) also beat up. He’s an outstanding value, but likely has a limited ceiling.

Noah Fant ($2,700) – Fant has a very favorable schematic matchup but hasn’t earned more than 3 targets in a game since Week 3. He’s as thin as it gets, but I suppose you could justify it in the largest GPPs if you are making 150 lineups.

Jake Tribbey is a recent college graduate and lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from NFL DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.