Clash of the Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Full of Gratitude

I met Scott Simpson on Twitter in the Spring of 2020. When we were invited to the same Sleeper dynasty league, I’m sure he knew pretty early on that I wasn’t going to let up on the trash talk. We have shared some amazing conversations and DFS victories. My “internet friend” is now like a brother to me.

I am thankful for his friendship. I am grateful for all that we have accomplished and excited for what we will accomplish in the future. With all the obligatory niceties on the record, I’m still a fierce competitor. I also have an acute memory of painful losses.

Last Thanksgiving, I was riding high. Nimble was in the dumps and sick of losing to me in the DFS ThunderDome (much like in the Clash right now). He rode Antonio Gibson’s massive game against the Cowboys to his own resounding victory over me. I know he reveres that victory; it was a thorough beatdown. The last thing I want is for him to think he can relive his Turkey Day triumph. I also remember the at losing in that fashion pissed me off to the extent that I didn’t lose to him again until the Super Bowl.

Here is my Thanksgiving Day slate lineup, specially brined and roasted for my dear friend. He is the mashed potatoes to my gravy, but I hope he’s saving room for some humble pie with extra whip.

Bo’s Lineup

QB – Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders – $5,900

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 21: Derek Carr #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders fumbles while being sacked by Trey Hendrickson #91 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Allegiant Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Carr and the Raiders have been coming apart at the seams on offense since the release of Henry Ruggs. They now lack the type of deep threat that forces the defense to overcompensate. Carr has also fallen back into the old habit of hesitating to make the right throw and holding the ball too long before ultimately making a bad decision. I think there’s plenty of upside against the Cowboys, especially in the middle of the field. Carr’s salary is simply too low to ignore.

RB – David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – $6,000

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – NOVEMBER 21: David Montgomery #32 of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field on November 21, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

I see a stage…and I see a drummer. The stage is a super-early kickoff against a dreadful run defense. The drummer is Monty, who is one of the hardest-working players in the league (on and off the field). It wouldn’t shock me at all to see Monty get 30 touches in Matt Nagy’s lame-duck game, which portends to a bonanza of fantasy points.

RB – Jamaal Williams – Detroit Lions – $4,000

I had a huge double-take on this salary. Everyone forgot about how effective Williams has been this season as a tandem back to Deandre Swift before his injury. He came back to seven carries last week and should easily pay off at the minimum price against the Bears.

WR – Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills – $7,900

Diggs is a target monster, regardless of who the Bills are facing. He is the most targeted player in the NFL against man coverage. The Saints use man coverage the seventh-most of any team in the league. If Devonta Smith can get open against Marshon Lattimore, I would expect Diggs to light up his Christmas tree, even if it’s premature for the season.

WR – Darnell Mooney – Chicago Bears – $5,700

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – NOVEMBER 21: Darnell Mooney #11 of the Chicago Bears attempts to catch a pass in the game against the Baltimore Ravens during the third quarter at Soldier Field on November 21, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

You cannot ignore a player under $6k who garnered 16 targets the week before. In typical Bears fashion, only a third were completed. One of those completions happened to be a well-blocked bubble screen that Mooney used to showcase his elusiveness and breathtaking speed. You might have heard about how terrible the Lions are at covering fast receivers, in which case you already know where I’m going with this.

WR – Cedrick Wilson – Dallas Cowboys – $3,500

This play has everything to do with the absence of Amari Cooper, not CeeDee Lamb. Without their stud X receiver garnering all the coverage attention in the second half, even Wilson wasn’t able to find much open space from the slot last week. If CeeDee is activated from concussion protocol, Ced will be much more than a value dart throw.

TE – Darren Waller – Las Vegas Raiders – $6,400

It’s quite simple: Waller is a stud and the Cowboys can’t cover him. There’s a stack in it for me to boot. The key to Vegas’ offense getting back into their flow will be the ability for Carr to pepper Waller with targets like he did in Week 1. Waller’s ability after the catch also has a big opportunity to be showcased against a Dallas secondary that hasn’t tackled well this year.

FLEX – Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys – $8,000

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – NOVEMBER 21: Juan Thornhill #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs trips up Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter of the game at Arrowhead Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Some of the best vintage Zeke performances have come on Turkey Day (remember him jumping in the giant Salvation Army kettle?). He has a knee contusion that appeared to be pretty painful on Sunday, but he has practiced in full leading up to Thursday. Dallas was embarrassed against the Chiefs when they couldn’t establish the physical run game and left a flat Dak Prescott to run for his life with Chris Jones on the loose. Both Dallas running backs are in play here, but I’ll take the touchdown upside and volume.

DST – Las Vegas Raiders – $2,400

I was a double-sided shit coin that I flipped for the two defenses I could afford here. It was either these Raiders or the Lions. Detroit is so bad that even Andy Dalton could light them up, so at least I can hope Vegas can put some pressure on Dak and score some fantasy points. Not proud of it, but it unlocked some great players.

Turkey Bowl Szn

It’s Turkey Bowl Szn!! The most wonderful time of the DFS year. I’ve written exclusively all about my previous Turkey Day exploits here at I love Thanksgiving so much! A full day of football and food, in the middle of the week, DFS, on a day off from work…is this heaven?! If not, it’s pretty damn close. If we could pull off a Billy Murray/Ground Hog Day scenario, I would relive Thanksgiving every day forever and ever.

Bo might not feel the same way. Go back and reread his intro. This time, read between the lines and you can hear just how badly I ruined his Thanksgiving last year. I’m sure the feast he consumed was through uncried tears of anguish seeing his beloved “Boys” and his DFS lineups get bludgeoned by Antonio Gibson. Another feather in my Thanksgiving cap, adding to the myth, lore, and legend surrounding my Turkey day holiday triumphs.

I love Bo and am genuinely grateful for our friendship. It means the world to me that I, out of all the people in the world, get to ruin his Thanksgiving. It’s a real privilege, my friend. I know you would do the same for me if you could. Instead, sit back with your favorite whiskey and cry those silent tears knowing that this year I’m thankful for you brother.

Scott’s Lineup

QB – Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills – $7,800

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – OCTOBER 18: Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills is tackled short of the first down marker on third down by safety Amani Hooker #37 of the Tennessee Titans during fourth quarter at Nissan Stadium on October 18, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Josh Allen and the Bills got crushed last week by the Colts, 41-15. Josh Allen still scored 18.2 DraftKings points, despite his horrible performance. This week Allen will rebound against a Saints defense that was just bludged by the Eagles on Sunday, giving up 40 points and over 250 yards rushing. Jalen Hurts rushed for 69 of those yards, meaning that Allen can exploit the Saints on the ground. Allen should be able to move the ball against the Saints through the air as well. Their secondary has given up 1800 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns to wide receivers, good for 24th best in the NFL.

RB – David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – $6,000

David Montgomery is the best running back value on the slate this week. The Lions are one of the worst tackling teams according to PFF. Monty specializes in breaking tackles. The Lions also rank 30th against running backs giving up close to 1,500 total yards and 17 total touchdowns. There’s a great chance for a touchdown from Monty this week. I’m sure that’s why Bo has him in his lineup as well.

RB – D’Andre Swift – Detroit Lions – $7,300

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – NOVEMBER 14: D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions carries the ball during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

D’Andre Swift is quietly having a tremendous 2021, scoring the fifth-most DraftKings points for running backs, and averaging 19.2 points per game. This week he’s priced $700 less than Zeke, who is nursing a knee and an ankle injury. Jamaal Williams is back, but I’m not worried about Swift. He’s leading all NFL running backs in targets and receptions and is second in receiving yards.

WR – Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills – $7,900

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 21: Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills and Rock Ya-Sin #26 of the Indianapolis Colts during the game at Highmark Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

Stefon Diggs is seeing nine targets per game over the last five games and is averaging 20.6 DraftKings points. Diggs has seen the end zone in back-to-back games and has the highest ceiling of any wide receiver on the Thanksgiving slate. Bo rostering him makes all the sense in the world.

WR – Darnell Mooney  – Chicago Bears – $5,700

Darnell Mooney is way too cheap! I knew immediately that Bo would have him on his squad. He’s been in love with Mooney ever since he read about his upside in this year’s WR2 Theory. Mooney has been lacking consistency at the quarterback position. Enter Andy Dalton, filling in for an injured Justin Fields filling in for an injured Andy Dalton. Either way, there should be opportunities for Mooney who saw 16 targets last week.

WR –  Cedric Wilson – Dallas Cowboys – $3,500

CeeDee Lamb might just end up playing tomorrow. This is great news for the Cowboys, but it does put a damper on Wilson’s value. If Lamb is OUT, on the other hand, there’s a tremendous opportunity to be had at close to min price. The only disappointment was finding out that Bo was thinking similarly and also rostered Wilson.

TE – Juwan Johnson – New Orleans Saints – $2,600

Finally, a play that Bo does not have. With Adam Trautman out for this game, Juwan Johnson finds himself as the starting move tight end this Turkey day. This is more of a GPP play, but I need all the tricks up my sleeve to beat Bo this week.

Flex – Darren Waller – Las Vegas Raiders – $6,400

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 14: Darren Waller #83 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs down the field during the first quarter in the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

Darren Waller is averaging nine targets a game and 12 yards a reception. These are wide receiver numbers and I’m cool with that. He’s the number one target for Derek Carr in a matchup that the Raiders are predicted to be trailing in. He has the highest ceiling of any tight end on the Turkey Day slate. No brainer that Bo has him on his squad.

DST – Las Vegas Raiders – $2,400

The Raiders are facing a banged-up Cowboys team that is missing Amari Cooper and possibly CeeDee Lamb. Ezekiel Elliott is nursing injuries and the offense looks out of sync. According to PFF, the Raiders defensive line, led by Max Crosby, has a 39% advantage over Dallas’ offensive line. Look for Dak to be scrambling and for him to have at least one turnover this week.

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