Week 12 Thursday Night Football wraps of the Thanksgiving holiday with the Minnesota Vikings hosting the New England Patriots, as Justin Jefferson and Rhamondre Stevenson look to lead their respective teams to victory.
Heading into NFL Week 12 Thursday Night Football, Stokastic is bringing plenty of NFL DFS tools and information for all of the different slates, game formats and sites.
This column will provide a free analysis of the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. It includes team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks. There is loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown analysis to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 12 Thursday Night Football slate featuring the New England Patriots on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.
NFL DFS Picks: Week 12 TNF | Patriots-Vikings
New England will be without offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn (foot) and center David Andrews (thigh) is questionable after practicing in limited fashion on Tuesday and Wednesday. Wideout DeVante Parker is the biggest question mark with a knee issue as his availabilty will have quite the ripple effect for the Patriots’ receiving corps. Linebackers Josh Uche (hamstring) and Anfernee Jennings (back) along with cornerback Marcus Jones (ankle) will be game time decisions.
Minnesota is missing defensive backs Cameron Dantzler Sr. (ankle), Andrew Booth (knee) and Akayleb Evans (concussion) along with left tackle Christian Darrisaw (concussion). Defensive end Dalvin Thomlinson (calf) will be a game time decision depending on how warmups go.
The Stokastic fantasy projections have Mac Jones sliding just inside the top 25 quarterbacks for the full Week 12 rankings. Jones has played six full games, three to start the season and then the last three after returning from an ankle injury. Though coach Bill Belichick would prefer to run the ball as often as possible, Jones is averaging 31.5 attempts per game. Of course these are incredibly conservative throws with Jones averaging a paltry 5.9 adjusted yards per attempt which ranks 30th on the season among qualified quarterbacks.
On the flipside, he does have a stellar 68.7% completion rate, though this does more for his pass catchers in full-PPR formats than anything substantial his fantasy production. This dink and dunk approach have resulted in only four touchdowns (2.1%) which is ahead of only rookie Kenny Pickett, along with seven interceptions (3.6%), for the worst rate in the league. Unfortunately, the second-year signal-caller has not been particularly productive on the ground with less than 10 rushing yards per game across 24 appearances.
The bright spot of the New England offense has been the development of Rhamondre Stevenson who already has topped his rookie season production. While he will be sharing the workload with Damien Harris, it does seem like Stevenson has wrested away the lead back role in his sophomore campaign. The opportunity presented itself when Harris went down with an injury, but it is hard to see the veteran regaining his role.
Minnesota has a stout run defense, allowing only three opposing running backs to surpass 50 rushing yards in a single game, along with quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen. Stevenson is second on the team with 49 targets and despite the knock about not being a good receiver, Harris has at least two targets in six of his eight games. This duo can be played together on the same roster as they are likely to have the best touchdown equity on the team. Outside of the season opener, no other running back has seen an offensive snap when both Stevenson and Harris were available.
Jakobi Myers leads the team in snaps, targets, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns – in eight games he has just 44 catches for 509 yards and a trio of touchdowns. If DeVante Parker is out, then Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne become viable options. If Parker is in, this is a muddled mess and taking a chance on rookie second rounder Tyquan Thornton would be the best leverage strategy. Even including the production logged by rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe, New England has only nine passing touchdowns on the season in 10 tilts. Shockingly that is still ahead of the Giants, Panthers, Broncos and Steelers.
Jonnu Smith has 14 targets over the last four games while Hunter Henry has eight. Henry has the advantage of being on the field more often, but Smith has both of the red zone targets that have gone to this position over the last four weeks. They each have similar salaries on DraftKings and FanDuel, though Henry is projecting for significantly more popularity than Smith. Definitely take the road less travelled in Thanksgiving tournaments.
Minnesota is allowing 2.7 sacks per game and New England is second in the league with 3.6 per tilt. The Vikings are ceding just over a turnover per game while the Patriots are fifth in the league with 1.7 takeaways.
While Kirk Cousins rates out a dozen spots higher than Jones, he projects for only three more fantasy points. That is how tightly bunched the non-elite quarterbacks are on a week to week basis. New England has the best passing DVOA in the league per Football Outsiders and they are one of the best teams at pressuring quarterbacks both with and without blitzes.
Cousins is a grizzled veteran who also has plenty of outstanding receivers as well as a pair of stout running backs. Unfortunately, the Minnesota offensive line leaves a lot to be desired and Cousins tends to struggle under pressure. The Patriots have not faced many above average quarterbacks outside of Tua Tagovailoa and Lamar Jackson in Weeks 1 and 3, respectively. Only one quarterback has thrown for more than 270 yards and that was Zach Wilson in Week 8 with a career best 355 yards and a pair of touchdowns because of course football. Last week New England had his number limiting him to just 77 yards. Cousins will have his work cut out for him tonight.
Just two running backs have recorded more than 70 yards this season against New England and that was the combo of Aaron Jones (110) and A.J. Dillon (73) back in Week 4. Dalvin Cook is lightyears ahead of what the Patriots have dealt with over the last three weeks seeing the Colts once, without Johnathan Taylor and the Jets twice. This matchup looks like it could turn into a rock fight with the Vikings on the losing end with a shaky offensive line.
Cook has been dealing with a shoulder injury once again, but he still has been available for every game. His 79.9 rusher yards per game are the sixth most in the league, though he has just six touchdowns and only three plays longer than 20 yards. The veteran is still active in the passing game and it will be interesting to see how the defense schemes for him versus the passing game.
Alexander Mattison is averaging a dozen offensive plays per game over the last five and fullback C.J. Ham is seeing around half that. Kene Nwangwu received his first offensive snaps of the season last weekend and it would not be a surprise if Minnesota tries to get the speedster an opportunity or two tonight.
Justin Jefferson ranks in the top three for most receiving categories and even though he has just four trips into the end zone, he has had 18 receptions of at least 20 yards this year. Adam Thielen continues to be a solid wingman and he has the implicit trust of his quarterback. K.J. Osborn has the third wide receiver role on lockdown with former Philadelphia Eagle, Jalen Reagor serving as the backup with Olabisi Johnson on the injured reserve.
It is only a matter of time before T.J. Hockenson finds pay dirt as the former Detroit Lion has 28 targets for 21 receptions and 149 yards in his three games with Minnesota. Johnny Mundt should be on the field for around one-third of the snaps and in line for a target or two. Production is an entirely different conversation as he has turned his 16 targets into 14 receptions for just 85 yards and a score.
Even with their run first, second and third offense, New England has allowed 2.8 sacks per game. That is right in line with the 2.6 sacks that the Minnesota pass rush is producing this season. New England has ceded the fourth most turnovers this year while the Vikings have the fourth most takeaways.
Thursday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy For Patriots-Vikings
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups, and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value. However, those taking the MME approach should remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. That also works conversely, pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with his quarterback.
Week 12 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings For Patriots-Vikings
Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks For Patriots-Vikings
- Justin Jefferson: Hard to imaging the Patriots shutting him down, but they could indirectly do so by pressuring Cousins all night.
- Rhamondre Stevenson: Looking impressive this season.
- Dalvin Cook: Three yards and a cloud of field turf dust is not particularly sexy.
- Kirk Cousins: Ugh, though as a quarterback for a decent offense, the math is in his favor.
- T.J. Hockenson: Looks like he may not get the same love from The Masses as our next guy, making him a tournament target.
- Jakobi Meyers: Only above replacement level receiver on New England.
- Adam Thielen: Live for a red zone look or two, otherwise expect a steady Eddie outcome.
- Mac Jones: Doesn’t run and he loses out on red zone throws to the running game.
- Greg Joseph: Last year he was 7 of 9 from beyond 50 yards, this year he is 1 of 6… yikes.
- Nick Folk: 38-years young, still a rockstar inside 45 yards while averaging nearly 2.5 field goal attempts on the season.
Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks For Patriots-Vikings
- New England D/ST: Better off at home, Cousins was sacked seven times last week.
- Minnesota D/ST: Jones should be good for at least three combined turnovers and sacks at a minimum.
- Damien Harris: Workload ticking back up with his health, but he needs a score to at least break even.
- K.J. Osborn: Not a bad way to save a little salary with a touch of touchdown equity.
- DeVante Parker and Nelson Agholor: If Parker is out, move Agholor above the kickers.
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- Alexander Mattison: Needs something to befall Cook mid-game in order to have a chance at double-digit fantasy production.
- Kendrick Bourne and Tyquan Thornton: Both are viable around lineup #50, drop that in half if Parker is out.
- Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith: Smith looks like the direct leverage option, let that be the key deciding factor unless you have a strong personal preference.
- C.J. “Holiday” Ham and Johnny Mundt “Cake”: Happy Thanksgiving!
- Jalen Reagor and Kene Nwangwu: Reagor returns punt, Nwangwu returns kickoffs… anything more would be gravy.
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