With three games set for Thursday this week, there are more options than normal available for a Thursday contest in daily fantasy. While we wouldn’t recommend the Cowboys-Redskins matchup if you’re looking for explosive offense, the other two games could be fun.
The Lions and Bears combined for 56 points the first time they met with the Bears defense sacking Matthew Stafford six times and forcing three turnovers. The Saints and Falcons have also met once before this season in what was a rollicking 43-37 offensive affair featuring nearly 1,000 yards of total offense. What we’re saying here is, there are some good options available on Thursday for either a Thursday-only contest or for a week-long contest.
One that will be high-priced is Drew Brees, but even at the high price he’s probably worth it. The Saints quarterback has thrown for three or more touchdowns in each of his last three outings and he threw for three scores and just under 400 yards in the first meeting between these teams.
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons, FD Proj. – 29.1 points
Another week, another Saints offensive explosion. Drew Brees is only human, but the sight of the Falcons defense and after seeing the offensive show the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams put on in the Week 11 Monday night game should fuel the likely MVP. Brees should throw for at least 300 yards and three TDs.
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins – 27.7 points
Don’t look now, but the Colts are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Indianapolis took apart a red-hot Tennessee Titans team last week, and Luck should be prepared for another big game against the up-and-down Dolphins.
3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints – 26.0 points.
The Falcons have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL, but that’s not a compliment. The Falcons play hard, often take a late lead, but they regularly give it up. They may not be able to stay close to the high-flying Saints, but Ryan will try to keep his team in it with razor-sharp passes.
4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots at N.Y. Jets – 25.6 points
It has not been a great year for Brady and the Patriots to this point, but Brady is the player who coined the phrase that the season “starts at Thanksgiving.” The Pats are getting healthier and they get to take on an undermanned Jets team. This could be the first of several games where Brady and the Patriots roll.
5. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals – 24.3 points
This is a huge game for the Chargers because they are coming off a brutal home loss to the Denver Broncos. They gave away a double-digit lead, and that’s not how great teams play. Rivers and the Chargers need to punish the Cardinals with a barrage of touchdowns and put this game away without much competition.
1. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons – 19.4 points
One of the primary reasons that Brees has been so effective this year is that Kamara continues to bring it on an every-week basis. He should have at least two TDs against the Falcons
2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles– 18.6 points
The Giants have now won two games in a row, and while those victories came against the Niners and the Bucs, the team is starting to believe in itself. That could come to an end against the defending Super Bowl champions, but the Eagles are not playing well, and we expect the Giants to keep it close and Barkley to have a 100-yard game.
3. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals – 18.5 points
Gordon is nearly as good as Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Barkley, but he does not get the attention or credit. If the Chargers get back on track and make a run at the Chiefs in the AFC West, Gordon will get his attention. He should be able to tear up the visiting Cardinals.
4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins – 17.8 points
The Cowboys were struggling badly a few weeks ago, but they have rebounded with key back-to-back wins over the Eagles and Falcons, and the primary reason is the explosive and punishing style of Elliott’s running. The Dallas offensive line is opening huge holes and the running back is likely to continue his productivity against the Redskins
5. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Chargers – 15.5 points
Johnson is the Cardinals’ best player and their top offensive option. He is going to show off his speed and explosiveness as a runner and a receiver, and he could have a huge game if rookie QB Josh Rosen could complement his ability with accurate passing.
1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos – 15.5 points
The best receiver in the NFL has found his stride, and it’s no surprise that the Steelers have been winning as the receiver picks up his numbers. While there are many excellent receivers in the league, nobody runs his pass patterns at full speed the way Brown does. Brown has caught 62 passes for 807 yards, but he already has 11 touchdowns and he could have 18 scores by the end of the season.
2. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons – 14.0 points
Thomas is having a sensational year, and while he may be as important to the Saints as Brown is to the Steelers, he has to do it year after year before he ranks with AB. However, Thomas is a speedy receiver who runs precise routes and has excellent hands. Brees loves throwing to him as much as any receiver he has had with the Saints.
3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles – 13.8 points
Beckham appears to be putting it together in recent weeks, and it makes you wonder why he couldn’t do that in the first part of the season. Nobody has the ability to reel in a badly thrown ball like Beckham, and he is difficult to slow down if he makes a couple of big plays early in the game.
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans – 13.6 points
The most brilliant wide receivers are plentiful in this league, and if any receiver is going to challenge Brown for league supremacy, it might be Hopkins. He is not there yet, but Hopkins can ruin an opponent by making circus catch after circus catch. Nobody in the league has better hands that Hopkins.
5. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins – 13.3 points
The Colts have shockingly found their way back to respectability in the AFC South, and their winning ways coincides with Luck’s return to healthy and his wonderful partnership with Hilton. All the diminutive and speedy wideout needed was a quarterback who could take advantage of his talent, and he’s got that once again in a healthy Luck.
1. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants – 10.9 points
The defending Super Bowl champions have been among the biggest disappointments in the league, but their season is not over. Look for Ertz to come through with a sensational game against the Giants as the Eagles get back on the winning track.
2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Bucs – 10.8 points
The 49ers don’t have a lot to be thankful for this year as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was lost for the season with an ACL injury early in the year. Kittle has not let that loss stop him, as he leads the Niners with 50 receptions for 775 yards and three TDs. Look for him to tear up Tampa Bay’s ham-handed defense.
3. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots at N.Y. Jets – 9.7 points
This is a bit of a gamble because Gronkowski has been slowed by injuries this season and he may not be the dominant game breaker he was in previous years. We will take a chance that the bye week gave Gronk time to heal his battered body, and he punishes the Jets in his return.
4. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins – 8.9 points
One of the reasons that the Colts are streaking is that Luck is seeing the field and he is spreading the ball around to all of his receivers. Ebron already nine TD catches, and he should get at least one more against the Dolphins.
5. Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos– 8.2 points
McDonald embodies the way the Steelers are supposed to play. He is a powerful and punishing target who is going to run over tacklers after he makes the catch. He will do much of his damage in the fourth quarter when the Steelers are putting the finishing touches on another victory.