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How To Play Daily Fantasy Football on Thanksgiving: Family Edition

It’s Thanksgiving, so here’s a fun way to watch all three NFL games with your family.

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How To Play Daily Fantasy Football on Thanksgiving: Family Edition


Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

It’s that time of year again! There’s going to be plenty of yelling, poor decision making, and tons of roughing the passer* penalties! I am, of course, talking about Thanksgiving Dinner. 

*- Mashed Potato Passer. It’s the first pun of the article. Buckle up!

Look, we all have family members that drive us up the wall. There are going to be a ton of awkward conversations and serious side-eye shade tossed, shrouded in years of pent up aggression and years of quiet hatred burning in your hearts, so hot it could be used to roast the turkey you’re about to devour as a family. 

But that’s what makes this holiday fun! You’re together with loved ones at the start of the Holiday season! So why not take that aggression out on the field. The Fantasy Football Field, that is. 

We’re all going to have one fringe family member or dinner guest who will casually ask you if you have money on the game. “Why do you care so much about the Lions Defense?” or “Are you crying over Ezekiel Elliot again?” are some possible things they’ll say. So, instead of correcting them when they ask about DraftDuel or FanKings, why not invite the whole family into the sordid world of Daily Fantasy Sports?

I personally love playing DFS with my family during the Holidays. After years of watching the Lions lose and the Cowboys exist, it can make those games worth watching, even if your family’s team isn’t playing. Hell, my family brings up the #ButtFumble every year, and for good reason, it’s funny and it involved a Patriots Defensive Touchdown, the rarest of all things this year. 

So here are some guidelines, to help you and yours have some fun while watching Turkey Day’s NFL Games!

Sign Up

This is an obvious first step, but like, you didn’t think of it until now, so I’m reminding you.

Pick Your Heroes

This one might sound like a bit of a no-brainer, but why not pick the players you like? Sure, Drew Brees is going to be a popular pick, but he’s so nice and awesome. I mean, did you see that video of him throwing passes to his kids? It’s unbelievably cute! He’s a guy you can get behind. 

Even more so, why not go with the Detroit Defense! It’ll give you something to root for! Do you want to bring up that Matt Patricia turned down a government job to work for the Patriots and he’s now an NFL Head Coach, so everyone should stop asking what you’re doing with your Communications Degree as a Starbucks Barista? YES! YES, YOU DO!

Then there are the heroes like Mitch Tubisky, who is trying to breathe life back into the Chicago Bears and a city that hasn’t won a championship in two years! Why not believe in him for a bit? Or his backup Chase Daniel… (more on him later.)

Or why not go with Adrian Peterson? The guy is old as hell (AGE) and he’s still churning out yards after contact! He’s the perfect guy to root for! WHY NOT?!

Choosing players you actively want to perform well will cure you and your Uncle Phil of the Better’s Sweats. I mean, you’re already going to get the meat sweats, why would you want to add to that agony?

Play EVERY Game

This is a personal rule that I have for any DFS slate. If there are 3 game start times, be it 7PM, 8PM and 10PM for Baseball, I play at least one game from each time slot. 

This is no different. 

Also, this extends the fun throughout the day! Once the Lions lose and the Cowboys are getting set for kickoff, you can announce who you have going into that game! Likewise for the late Falcons/Saints game! It gives you something to root for through the day, besides rooting for your liver to hold up. 

Play a 50/50 in addition to a Cash Tournament

The number one question I get when playing DFS is “How much are you gonna lose?” The answer is always hopefully nothing, but it’s nice to have a back up. That’s where the 50/50 comes in. 

A 50/50 tournament is one that involves half of it’s participants getting double their entry fee back. So your odds of winning are, say it with me, 50/50! This is also an improvement from a cash contest where only 20-25% of participants will win money in a regular Cash tournament. 

Get yourself a safety net with a 50/50.

Explain the Rules to Your Thick Family Members

The players have to be from the current games.

You cannot pick defensive players. 

No, you can’t take all the players. 

You have a salary cap. 

Tom Brady isn’t playing. 

Tony Romo isn’t playing. 

Don’t Pick The Best Players…Kinda

So this one might sound insane, but it’s going to help you out.

Most of the big-time players are going to cost you a pretty penny, and they should. It’s always going to be more expensive to get the best guys on your team, just like in real life. 

Also, like real life, it’s often the undervalued players who come through and make the big plays in big games. James Conner wasn’t a first-round fantasy pick this year. Hell, I picked up Todd Gurley in the third round of most of my leagues last year, and he was THE GUY. 

We’ll get to why you need the undervalued guys in a bit, but you don’t need all studs. Studs rhymes with duds for a reason.

Don’t Look at the Salary Cap

Take the players you want within the budget. Don’t get bogged down in spending money because you have it left over. That can be a trap. 

Instead, take the players you want, and fill in the gaps. Tinkering with a lineup you like, much like in regular fantasy football, can kill your chances of winning.

Stack Teams You Like

You might be thinking “Justin, I already know what teams I like today!” 

Good. Great. STACK THEM.

A stack is a term often used in fantasy sports than involves playing multiple players from the same way, in order to benefit from each other.

For example, Matt Ryan throws a touchdown, gets points for the TD and the yardage. His fellow Falcon receiver also gets points for yardage, the TD and the reception. You could have all of those points in one play if you take both guys. Do that with two or more receivers, ooh baby, that’s a FAT STACK. 

It gives you more of stake in one particular game, too. So pick the one you like and stack it up!

Make It Sexy

When talking about not picking studs, you often have to make one bold pick. In DFS fantasy football, the aim is to get to 200 points. Is that difficult to do? Yeah, but shoot for the stars, ya know?

So that means that each one of your 9 players would need to score an average of 22.22 points. So yeah, you gotta make some moves to separate yourself from the pack. 

You gotta make one sexy pick. 

A sexy pick is one that either doesn’t make sense, but kinda does. It’s a pick that is a sleeper on steroids. A sexy pick is a mismatch of a mismatch. A sexy pick is the reason you win. 

I’ll give you an example.

Mitch Trubisky is doubtful at the time of publication for this article. So you coul roll the dice that he plays, and if he does, that he stays in the game long enough to get to 22.22 points. Or you take a stab at his backup Chase Daniel, who will be making his 3rd career start. 

Is that a dangerous move? Yeah. BIG TIME. But it could be sexy. 

Also, sexy is the idea of taking a guy like LeGarrette Blount. Who might see some action, but might not. It’s risky, but it could be sexy. 

Choose risky, hope it’s sexy. 

Have Fun!

That’s the main goal here. Sure there’s money involved, but at the end of the day, it’s about having fun and enjoying the games with your family. If anything, the Thanksgiving Day DFS contests can provide a way for you and yours to band together and cheer for something, rather than swallow your thoughts and political opinions with a side of stuffing. 

Trust me. It’s worth it. And you know what? It might just be a real hoot!

If it’s not, then there’s always hockey…

Happy Thanksgiving, you degenerates! May the odds be ever in your favor and may the drumsticks go to the most deserving family member!

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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