The Fantasy Football Thursday Strategy gives you options for both Thursday slates!
When choosing to enter NFL contests that run Thursday-Monday, there are multiple factors to consider. Many people play these long slates because they are just looking for action prior to Sunday, but there is a significant amount of strategy involved. If you are a serious daily fantasy sports player, you are playing Thursday slates for one of two reasons: 1) Targeting players who are playing on Thursday who have matchups you want to exploit, or 2) Fading (avoiding) the players on Thursday evening in order to gain an advantage over your opponents.
Each time you enter a Thursday lock contest, there will be a handful of daily fantasy players who simply stack the first game in order to get some action on a Thursday night. These are the players you are looking to take advantage of. Winning scores in a Thursday lock contest are generally lower than they are in Sunday lock contests for a few reasons, with this being the first. Second, there are always players who are Questionable, get injured in practice, etc. between Thursday and Sunday that are not wise targets nearly 72 hours before Sunday kickoff. If you are playing these contests, it is imperative to target players who are sure to be on the field Sunday and Monday.
Week 13 recap: Fading expensive skill players was a winning proposition, as neither team scored a TD last week in an ugly 12-6 game. Jared Cook was my pick of the litter, and he ended up being the runt. He wasn’t a player I invested in heavily, as I noted last week, but if you had to have exposure, you likely went with him. You win some, you lose some. Moving on to this week, we have two slates to dissect. Let’s get to it.
Tonight’s Matchup and Strategy
Tennessee Titans (+3.5, 39) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Fade: Expensive Skill Players
I know I sound like a broken record here, but a game with a 39 point total is an easy fade, regardless of what day of the week the game is played. The Jaguars have been a mess on offense, and the Titans QB situation is just as murky. There isn’t a single player I would pay more than $5,000 for in my cash games or GPPs from this game.
Target: Toby Gerhart ($4,900)
Were you wondering why I put $5,000 as the cutoff for players I’m targeting from this game? Toby Gerhart is the reason. The Titans rank 28th in the NFL against the run, according to Football Outsiders (FO), and with Denard Robinson on the shelf for the remainder of the year, Gerhart looks to be the benefactor. Matchups don’t get much better than this one, and if you fast forward to Sunday, there are very few options at RB around this price with a solid matchup. If you’re rostering a Thursday player, it should be Gerhart.
Fade: Colin Kaepernick ($10,800)
Kaepernick has been one of the biggest disappointments of the NFL season, and that trend will likely continue this week against the Chargers, despite San Diego being ranked 24th in the NFL against the pass. Carlos Hyde is out and Frank Gore‘s status is up in the air, so the Chargers will likely put a spy on Kaepernick and force him to throw the ball down the field. That scenario paired with the low 41-point total make him an easy player to avoid.
Target: Mark Sanchez ($12,500)
Sanchez is the top quarterback option for this slate, given the fact that Philip Rivers will now be without his favorite target in Keenan Allen. Sanchez has a solid running game behind him with LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, and now Chris Polk being the three-headed monster. A successful running game should open up plenty of opportunities for Sanchez to throw down the field to Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews. The Eagles are also the biggest favorite (-7.5) in the game that has the highest total by far at 50.5. Sanchez should be in all of your lineups.
A few other options for this slate are the aforementioned Jordan Matthews ($8,400), LeSean McCoy ($10,000), and Eddie Royal ($7,350). As always, if you have any questions, comments, gripes, etc., you can find me on Twitter @BigItaly42.