If playing the Thursday Night slate, it is likely because you want to include at a least one participant from the contest in your lineup. Here are a trio of options worth using from the first game of the week if playing the Thursday-Monday slate:
Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, $16,300 – Man, why couldn’t this game be on the main slate? Odell Beckham Jr. draws one of the best matchups of any player of the week but unfortunately he plays on Thursday. None of the Eagles’ three starting corners in a base nickel defense have graded inside the top 80 in terms of their coverage ability, per Pro Football Focus. So basically, it is no wonder Beckham torched this secondary for 4-46-2 in their first meeting. Considering the fact he was targeted a whopping 11 times, the damage could have been even more substantial. At that point, the Eagles secondary was playing much better football at the time as the defense has now allowed at least 26 points in five consecutive games. Over the span of the last month, only the Cardinals and Titans have allowed more fantasy points to opposing WRs. All of this is long-winded way of saying Beckham is an absolutely elite option once again this week.
Zach Ertz, Eagles, $10,000 – Potential fantasy options from the Eagles offense are few and far between this week mostly because the Giants have allowed 13 points in their last two games combined. All of a sudden their defense looks dominant and the Eagles are not exactly an offensive juggernaut…plus they are on short rest. In other words, this could be an ugly offensive performance from the Eagles (Vegas implies they will score a measly 19.8 points) but Zach Ertz at least finds himself in a solid spot. The clear weakness in the defense is in the middle of the field as slot receivers and TEs alike have had continuous success against them throughout the course of the season. Overall, the Giants rank 26th in Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric against opposing TEs and have allowed 70.1 yards per game to the position. Meanwhile, Ertz has been targeted 36 times in his last three games and has scored at least 14.00 fantasy points in each. If the Eagles passing offense is going to get going whatsoever, it is going to be because Ertz is leaned upon.
Giants Defense, $6,400 – As mentioned in the previous tidbit, the Giants have allowed six and seven points over their last two games respectively. The Eagles are only implied to score 19.8 points and the Giants defense has scored 12-plus fantasy points in three of their four last games. All of a sudden, this defense looks formidable as they have both recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass in each of their last three games. In fact, the last time they failed to register a sack was all the way back on Oct. 9 versus the Packers. At just $6,400, this defense is playing more like a $7,700 defense and finds themselves in another excellent spot.
…and other options that have not been mentioned in articles on the website so far this week:
Frank Gore, Colts, $9,400 – For RBs, volume is the name of the game and you would be hard-pressed to find a similar workload for cheaper. Frank Gore has carried the ball 20-plus times in two of his last three games and his 26 carries against the Vikings last week led to 101 yards rushing. Now, he will draw a matchup against a Raiders squad that ranks 21st in DVOA against RBs and has allowed the ninth most fantasy points to the position. Only nine teams have allowed more total TDs to RBs than the Raiders (15) and only three have allowed more rushing yards. If attempting to save money at the position, Gore certainly presents his prospective roster-ers with a lot of bang for their buck.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans, $10,200 – All DeAndre Hopkins needs is a league average QB to succeed and it became abundantly clear over the course of the season that Brock Osweiler was worse than that. Last week, Tom Savage did not look too bad and he actually targeted Hopkins a whopping 17 times. If the volume kicks up for Hopkins once again, he is a true WR1 at a WR3 price. Sure he will line up against Adam Jones who has played awfully well this year but the Bengals rank 12th in DVOA against opposing number one WRs. In other words, they are beatable as long as the team’s QB play is ample. Hopkins has been targeted 10-plus times seven times this season and he has averaged 15.09 fantasy points per game in those contests. Assuming he draws that sort of volume this week, and there is no reason he should not, then he should prove to be one of the best values at the position.
Cameron Meredith, Bears, $9,200 – The return of Alshon Jeffery last week sparked a monster performance for the entire Bears passing game. Not only did Jeffery himself finish in the top seven of fantasy scoring at the WR position (20.90) but both Deonte Thompson (22.00) and Cameron Meredith (22.40) did as well. While Thompson may have been a flash in the pan, Meredith has held consistent value over the course of the season despite the turn style at the QB position. In Week 14, aka the game before Jeffery’s return, Meredith caught 6-8 targets for 72 yards and a TD with Matt Barkley under center. The two of them have developed a rapport recently so Meredith is not just going to fade into oblivion. As a matter of fact, he draws the best matchup of the bunch this week because Josh Norman will match up against Jeffery. With Norman keeping Jeffery busy, Meredith will have the chance to work on subpar corner Kendall Fuller for the entirety of the afternoon. In terms of cash games, Meredith is as cheap as I am willing to go at the position because I do not feel great about the stability of any of the options below him in pricing. Meredith is priced as a WR4 but he possesses high-end WR2 upside this week (as evident by his performance last week).