This article originally appeared on Lucky Trader: Reignmakers Thanksgiving Day Breakdown
This NFL season, we are pleased to have partnered with DraftKings as a content provider, covering their exciting new NFT-powered fantasy football game, DK Reignmakers! Each week in this space, we will be breaking down the upcoming Reignmakers NFL slate. Be sure to check out our Fair Value Card Estimates and Contest EV tool as you build your lineups.
DraftKings has launched its biggest Reignmakers contest ever ahead of the three-game Thanksgiving slate, where one lucky entrant will take home the top prize of one million dollars! Fantasy managers can enter the contest by purchasing special “Holiday Packs,” or by purchasing “Flannel” cards through the secondary marketplace. Cards from previously issued Reignmakers sets are not eligible for the Millionaire Maker slate.
Before we get into the game-by-game breakdown, some high-level thoughts:
- There are three SuperStars on the slate: Josh Allen, Saquon Barkley and Justin Jefferson, meaning managers will be able to roster only one of these players (at most) in lineups. Of the three, my preference is to build around Josh Allen, as I think the gap between Allen and the other quarterbacks is greater than the gap between Barkley to Dalvin Cook at running back, and Jefferson to Stefon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb at wide receiver.
- If you are playing multiple lineups, it will be critical to optimize post-lock flexibility via late swap. Make sure that you are filling the WR/TE and FLEX spots with players whose games kick off the latest. Be ready to swap your premium players from teams that get off to slow starts onto teams that are off to faster starts as the contest gets underway. For example, if I have Dalvin Cook in the FLEX spot on a team that gets off to a slow start, I can replace Cook with any other player on the slate and add Cook to another team where he’ll maximize my chances of finishing near the top.
- Tony Pollard is the most important player on the slate, in my opinion. At the time of writing, Pollard’s cards have the most expensive floor price among all running backs on the slate at the CORE level, and understandably so. Pollard is fresh off a 189-yard performance and the Cowboys have seemingly committed to using Pollard over Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield. But keep in mind that last week was Zeke’s first game back from injury, and we have seen this team go back to him time and time again. Will that happen again? If you answer this question correctly, you’ll have a leg up on the rest of the field on Thanksgiving.
- Holiday cards are playable on all slates, but they’ll have the most value on Thanksgiving (Flannel) and Christmas (Sweater). Be cognizant of the premium you are paying to gain entry into the holiday slates on these cards.
Bills at Lions, Thursday 12:30 p.m. ET
The Lions are fresh off a 31-point performance in Sunday’s win over the Giants and reinforcements may be on the way, as the team designated Jameson Williams (knee) – the No. 12 overall selection in the 2022 draft – to return from IR. That does not mean that Williams will definitely make his pro debut this weekend, but it’s a necessary step toward that milestone. If we do receive word that Williams will be activated to the active roster this week, I like him as a boom-bust option on the Millionaire Maker slate, but for now, I am considering him highly questionable to play.
Regardless of Williams’ status, Amon-Ra St. Brown is set up once again for a massive workload. In the three games since T.J. Hockenson was traded, St. Brown has posted target shares of 38 percent, 44 percent and 32 percent. Josh Reynolds (back) missed last week’s contest, and if both he and Williams are inactive on Thursday, Kalif Raymond should function as a full-time receiver.
If D’Andre Swift is still being limited by the ankle injury that held him out of the lineup in Weeks 4 through 7, it seems strange that the Lions would have listed him as a full participant in practice throughout last week. It is becoming more plausible that the team may just prefer Jamaal Williams to Swift on early downs, and to his credit, Williams has performed admirably in that role, as he currently leads the league in rushing touchdowns (12).
As for the Bills – who last week played a home game in Detroit due to the snowstorm in Buffalo – they leaned on the run game to defeat the Browns in Week 11. In that game, Devin Singletary set a season high in carries with 18, and rookie James Cooks’ workload has curiously ticked up even after the team acquired Nyheim Hines at the trade deadline. Cooks’ 11 carries last week matched his season high and he worked well ahead of Hines, who was on the field for only 10 snaps. Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis remain reliable options in the passing game, and Dawson Knox is coming off his best performance of the season (7-70-0).
Building Block: Josh Allen
Giants at Cowboys, Thursday 4:30 p.m. ET
The Giants would like to move past Week 11 as quickly as possible, and fortunately for them, they have a short turnaround before taking on the Cowboys in an NFC East clash. New York was embarrassed 31-18 by the Lions last Sunday, and to make matters worse, the Giants lost promising rookie receiver Wan’Dale Robinson to a torn ACL. Prior to that injury, Robinson was starting to hit his stride with a 9-100-0 line on 13 targets on Sunday.
Darius Slayton has posted target shares of 24 percent and 25 percent over his last two outings and he’ll remain locked into a full-time role without Robinson. Richie James Jr. may be another candidate to replace Robinson’s workload – when Robinson was inactive in Weeks 2-5, James racked up a 15 percent target share over that stretch.
Saquon Barkley laid an egg in Week 11, and he was vultured out of a rushing touchdown by Matt Breida to make matters worse. That score came during the fourth quarter with the game mostly out of reach, and I’m expecting a return to form from Barkley this week.
Last week, the Cowboys made good on a pregame report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, which said that Pollard was expected to get “a little bit more in terms of touches” than backfield mate Ezekiel Elliott. Pollard responded in a big way, racking up 189 scrimmage yards with two rushing touchdowns. Carries were still split 15-15 between Pollard and Zeke, but Pollard out-snapped Zeke for only the second time this season (39-21).
The question to ask moving forward is, was the team limiting Zeke in his first game back from injury, or is this a changing of the guard in the backfield?
Not much was needed beyond Pollard’s efforts against the Vikings, and in the passing game, CeeDee Lamb posted his lowest target share of the season (17 percent). This was likely a function of the game script, as Dallas led comfortably throughout the game and pulled their starters late.
Building Block: CeeDee Lamb
Patriots at Vikings, Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET
The Patriots beat the Jets last week to improve to 6-4, but their offense scored only three points. Despite the goose egg, Mac Jones was relatively efficient, completing 23-of-27 pass attempts for 246 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Rhamondre Stevenson continues to be a favorite target of Jones, having exceeded a 20 percent target share in four consecutive games.
The passing work helps prop up Stevenson’s fantasy value, as he has lost rushing volume to backfield mate Damien Harris of late. The other steady option for New England is Jakobi Meyers, who has surpassed the 20 percent target threshold in three straight games. It’s hard to trust any receiving options beyond that, although DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton both have upside on a three-game slate.
Justin Jefferson is dealing with a “mild turf toe” injury that limited him in practice last week on Wednesday and Thursday, and it’s fair to wonder how much of a factor the injury played in Jefferson’s worst performance in weeks against Dallas. Jefferson’s Week 11 receiving yardage, target share and snap share were all at his lowest levels since Week 3. The news is not much better for Adam Thielen, whose target share has declined in every week since Week 6, bottoming out at 12 percent in Week 11. Thielen’s decline partially coincides with T.J. Hockenson’s addition to the offense, as the former Lions tight end has commanded a 25 percent target share through three games.
Dalvin Cook is my preferred option at running back on this slate, as I prefer to use Josh Allen in my SuperStar slot, and I have some concerns that Dallas will split the work a little more evenly between Zeke and Pollard in Zeke’s second game back from injury.
Building Block: Dalvin Cook
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