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Stefon Diggs, Tony Pollard, Justin Jefferson, and More

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While traditional fantasy football formats have dominated the landscape, managers can find numerous ways to play the game they love. Underdog Pick’em contests allow managers to put their player-projection skills to the test by predicting player stat lines.

Here are the top Underdog Pick’em plays for Thanksgiving Day as the Buffalo Bills face the Detroit Lions, the Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants, and the New England Patriots take on the Minnesota Vikings.

Top Underdog Pick’ems for NFL Thanksgiving Day Games

Underdog Pick’ems allow fantasy managers to predict stat lines and fantasy-point totals for almost all fantasy-relevant players. Here, the more selections you add to your entry, the higher the payout.

The levels are two players for 3x, three for 6x, four for 10x, and finally, five for 20x, progressing with each additional pick’em you add to your entry.

With Underdog Fantasy, it’s a brand new season every week, no matter how your other leagues are going at the moment. Sign up today and get a 100% deposit bonus of up to $100. As for my recommendations, below are my top Underdog Pick’ems for Thanksgiving.

Dak Prescott Higher Than 249.5 Passing Yards

Underdog is giving us a free handout. Dak Prescott is the booster for Thanksgiving, and if you use him in your Underdog Pick’em, two-player picks move from 3x to 5x, 6x moves to 10x, 10x goes to 15x, and the big one of them all, 20x moves to 100x if you nail all players in your Pick’em.

However, there’s only a $1 max allowed, so you can’t break the bank, and you can only use him once to get the boost. After that, Prescott is treated like a typical player.

MORE: Week 12 Non-PPR Fantasy Football Rankings

Prescott has been exceptional on Thanksgiving, and he’s looking to make it his third-straight game with 350 passing yards. He’s averaged 278.6 passing yards and has nine career touchdowns on Thanksgiving.

Prescott is coming off a 20.1 PPR outing against the Vikings last week. I will have the higher on his passing yardage as one of my Underdog Pick’ems.

Jared Goff Lower Than 16.15 Fantasy Points

Jared Goff has actually been one of the better stories this year. He started off the year on fire but hasn’t touched the top 12 since Week 4. It really hasn’t even been close, either.

Goff has only one game inside the top 16 over the last six games and hasn’t scored above 15 fantasy points in any game since Week 4. Now, he gets to play the Bills, who still have one of the best pass defenses in the league despite giving up some production over the last few games.

I just don’t see Goff hitting 16 fantasy points unless for massive garbage-time production and multiple passing touchdowns. I’ll take the lower on him in a brutal matchup.

Justin Jefferson Higher Than 88.5 Receiving Yards

My waistline could not survive Thanksgiving every week, but it’s so refreshing to enjoy a multi-game Thursday night lineup, especially when one of those options is Justin Jefferson.

Jefferson enters Week 12 with 4,109 receiving yards and can pass Randy Moss (4,163) and Odell Beckham Jr. (4,122) for the most by a player in the first three seasons. Since 2020, Jefferson is second in the NFL with 20 games of 100 or more receiving yards, which is the most by a player in the first three seasons.

Jefferson is back to being the vertical target he was over his first two years. With T.J. Hockenson on the field and taking the complementary role that used to go to Adam Thielen, Jefferson’s aDOT has risen from 8.9 to 15.2, and the deep rate has climbed 10% up to 23.3%.

Unless Jefferson is hurt or they don’t have a quarterback, I don’t think you’ll ever see me doing anything but taking the higher on his receiving projections.

T.J. Hockenson Higher Than 9.35 Fantasy Points

We must remember Underdog uses half-point PPR scoring, but that should be no problem for T.J. Hockenson.

Since his surprising move at the trade deadline, Hockenson has a 24% target share, which is second most on the team. He’s finished as a T5, TE7, and TE11, respectively, with at least nine targets in each game.

I don’t even mind his projections of 4.5 receptions and 45.5 receiving yards, either. What I think helps Hockenson, in this case, is finding the end zone. New England is tied for the most touchdowns allowed to the position, the 17th-most yards, and is 23rd in points per game.

Stefon Diggs Higher Than 7.0 Receptions

This feels like one of those squeaky wheel games, not that Stefon Diggs needs it. Diggs recorded his eighth touchdown of the season in Week 11 and, in the process, recorded his fifth straight 1,000-yard season. While Diggs might’ve been a little upset about his target share, that hasn’t been a problem.

MORE: James Cook Waiver Wire Week 12

Diggs is the WR1 in fantasy and has the sixth-highest target share (29.4%) with a 35.6% air-yard share (14th). He’s also top three in most major statistical categories. Watch for Allen to force-feed Diggs on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions and clear his 7.0 reception projection for Underdog.

Saquon Barkley Higher Than 0.5 Rushing and Receiving Touchdowns

Simply put, if New York wants to keep this game close, Saquon Barkley has to be special. He also has to find the end zone. New York lost Wan’Dale Robinson to a torn ACL last week, and I’m pretty sure they wish they had a rapid wide receiver with first-round value on the roster, but so much for that.

Barkley is averaging nearly 125 total yards with three rushing touchdowns in his four road games this year and scored the last time these teams met in Week 3. Unless this game is a blowout, I have a hard time seeing how New York stays in this game without Barkley hitting the higher on his projection.

Tony Pollard Higher Than 67.5 Rushing Yards

I wish Underdog gave us a combined yardage here, but Tony Pollard is playing too well for that to happen. Last week, he exploded for 189 total yards and two scores on 21 touches, becoming the fourth player since 1990 with 75+ rushing yards (80), 100+ receiving yards (100), and two receiving touchdowns in a single game.

In Week 3, when these teams met in Dallas, Pollard rushed for 105 yards off of 13 carries. He’s looking to make it his fourth game in a row with a touchdown and his fifth game with 100+ scrimmage yards.

Despite everything Jerry Jones says, Pollard is the better running back. He’s first in yards after contact per attempt and seems like a lightning rod on the field.

I’m sure Ezekiel Elliott will have some volume — as is tradition on Thanksgiving — but if Pollard hits 15+ touches, it’s game over. The Giants are 28th in rush DVOA, 25th in EPA, and 16th in success rate. Feed Me Pollard on Thanksgiving.

Dalton Schultz Higher Than 35.5 Receiving Yards

It wouldn’t be a full plate without a serving of tight ends, and I’m going straight to Dalton Schultz on Thanksgiving to go higher than his surprisingly low projection of 35.5 receiving yards.

Since Week 7, Schultz is fifth in both targets and receiving yards and is matching up against a Giants defense that is 30th in DVOA and sits inside the bottom seven in catch rate, receiving yards, and yards per reception.

I’m okay with Schultz’s 4.0 reception projection too, but I would have liked it more if it was at 3.5. Either way, Schultz is one of my favorite Underdog Pick’ems for Thanksgiving.

Graham Gano Higher Than 1.5 Field Goals

It might not be the first instinct to look at kickers, but Graham Gano deserves a little bit more attention. He had a pretty lousy performance last week, but it’s explainable.

Gano missed practice on Friday due to an illness but tried playing through it. His first extra point was missed because it was partially blocked and pushed off due to wind. His second hit the right upright.

Coming into the game, Gano was a perfect 17 of 17 on extra points and had made two or more field goals in six of his nine previous games. It’s expected to be a close game, and with the lack of talent at receiver, if the Giants have to settle for field goals, Gano going higher than 1.5 field goals made is a good formula.



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Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State

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Iowa State WR Xavier Hutchinson, despite his production and his scouting report, remains one of the more underrated receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s a deep class that can work to Hutchinson’s detriment. But looking at the tape, he has the tools to secure a role early in the NFL.

Xavier Hutchinson NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • School: Iowa State
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height/Weight: 6’3″, 205 pounds

Quietly, Xavier Hutchinson has been one of the most productive receivers in college football since 2020. He has almost 3,000 receiving yards over that span and has been a target funnel for an Iowa State passing attack that’s relied almost entirely on his presence.

Seeing his production, you’d almost be surprised that Hutchinson wasn’t a highly-coveted recruit out of high school. As a matter of fact, Hutchinson had to take the JUCO route to the FBS level.

Two years at Blinn JC helped get Hutchinson onto the map. After a sophomore season that saw him catch 47 passes for 652 yards and five touchdowns, he started to field offers from Power Five teams as a JUCO transfer. Oklahoma, Utah, TCU, and Nebraska all offered Hutchinson, but he chose to stay in Iowa and signed with the Cyclones.

Since then, Hutchinson has known nothing but production. He caught 64 passes for 771 yards and four scores in 2020. 83 catches for 987 yards and five scores in 2021. And in 2022, he’s amassed career-highs in all categories, with 105 catches for 1,160 yards and six touchdowns.

A 2022 Biletnikoff semifinalist with massive numbers to his name, it’s a foregone conclusion that Hutchinson will see the field on Sundays. But how does he project, and where might he come off the board in April?

Xavier Hutchinson Scouting Report

Production, size, experience — Hutchinson passes a lot of the surface-level eye tests. But does his profile hold up when we put it under the microscope? Let’s dive in.

Hutchinson’s Positives

Whether you use film or analytics as your primary mode of evaluation, you’ll find that Hutchinson checks a lot of boxes. We’ve already noted his production, and as one might expect, he’s a very well-rounded receiver on the field.

First and foremost, Hutchinson brings solid size and athletic ability. He’s a well-built receiver with great height and weight and has great accelerative capacity off the line.

He can gear up quickly with urgent steps and shows off good burst upfield when attacking space or surging inside on mesh and drag routes. And while he’s not a burner downfield, he does have enough speed to stack DBs with long-strider acceleration.

Expanding on Hutchinson’s athletic skill set, the Iowa State WR possesses good lateral twitch and loose hips in space. He’s shown he can sink to a degree and levy quick cuts to create space and disrupt tackling angles. He’s also able to press upfield at sharp angles out of cuts after starting horizontally.

To a degree, Hutchinson’s athleticism translates to good natural route running potential. He flashes smooth lateral athleticism at stems and can square up defenders with split releases, then roll his hips and stack upfield.

The Cyclones star has the loose hips and lateral agility to cut stems quickly and attack sharp angles, and he can also press upfield, tempo his advance into stems, and explode laterally on out routes.

Overall, Hutchinson has above-average timing and zone awareness as a route runner. He can sneak into blind spots and attack open windows. Additionally, he’s shown he can manipulate DBs with lateral twitch and stride variations on double-moves.

Plus, he can use a dead-leg move to freeze DBs at the stem. In a similar vein, Hutchinson can manipulate DBs with initial attack angles before displacing laterally and exploding upfield.

Hutchinson’s lateral agility, for his size, allows him to gain separation with relative ease, as well as line up in the slot or on the boundary. But what truly accentuates his profile as one with early-round upside is his elite catching instincts. Hutchinson is extremely natural at the catch point and impressively consistent across different situations.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

Hutchinson can naturally corral short passes over the middle of the field in-stride, cradling with his hands. He’s also shown he can elevate and extend beyond his frame to bring in high passes, and he actively clamps down with his hands to secure throws.

The Iowa State WR has excellent ball-tracking ability downfield as well. He can roam under passes and guide with his hands while extending beyond his frame, and he very naturally adjusts to passes high or behind him with smooth body control.

Hutchinson can make high-difficulty adjustments with little response time as a catcher. He flashes especially absurd focus and coordination on deflected passes, as he can instantly recalibrate and reposition himself.

Hutchinson’s hands also enable him to convert in these situations. His hand/eye coordination is exceptional in high-difficulty situations, and he consistently uses diamond technique to get his hands in the right spot.

Hutchinson’s proven he can secure passes with his hands while diving or making catches from other points of imbalance. In these instances, he showcases exceptional hand strength when working amidst contact and can maintain possession through the catch process.

His hands are authoritative in 50-50 situations, and he seeks out the ball with zeal. But he also makes an effort to keep the ball away from his frame, minimizing body-catching before securing and protecting the ball with his frame.

With his size, Hutchinson has proven he can get an edge on defenders with targeted physicality, play strength, and frame usage. Over the middle of the field, he’s able to secure passes amidst contact. But he can also use proactive, targeted physicality to pry past defenders at stems.

He’ll utilize double swipes to compound separation before breaking inside, and he can sync his swipes with lateral moves to maximize space.

This physicality and play strength shows up after the catch as well. While Hutchinson doesn’t often bounce off first contact, he can fight and step through arm tackles and recollect his feet to carry acceleration forward. Moreover, he can reset his feet quickly after catches to align himself for contact, and he has the size and leg drive to churn through solo tackles for decent yardage.

Lastly, Hutchinson is, at the very least, a willing blocker who can square up defenders and use his frame to box out opponents on running plays.

Hutchinson’s Areas for Improvement

While Hutchinson is a solid overall athlete for his size, he might not be elite in any one physical area.

Hutchinson doesn’t have elite explosiveness upfield or out of breaks, and he lacks elite deep speed, showing a visible cap in downfield range. Moreover, Hutchinson lacks the elite agility, foot speed, and twitch to immediately sink, decelerate, and evade tackles after securing throws in stride. When aiding direction changes, he can’t always uncoil quickly after gaining momentum.

Hutchinson’s non-elite athletic traits don’t tank his upside in the NFL, but they do necessitate further growth as a route runner because the margin for error may be a bit smaller for him.

At times, Hutchinson can be more disciplined pressing upfield ahead of stems on quick hitches and comebacks. He sometimes drifts back a bit after breaking, and he’ll also rotate around on quick breaks, failing to freeze DBs.

MORE: PFN Mock Draft Simulator

Overall, Hutchinson is a bit tall and upright as a route runner and lacks elite hip sink. Naturally, he can be a bit sharper and more efficient with transitions at times. He occasionally unhinges his hips too early at stems, keying in DBs on breaks. On a related note, he can be more consistent squaring up at stems to hold DBs, and he sometimes drifts a bit on vertical paths.

Hutchinson can seek more efficiency with his usage of physicality as well. Although he’s fairly proficient at using targeted physicality, he occasionally gets too grabby in contact situations, risking offensive pass interference.

Among other things, Hutchinson doesn’t have the elite hand strength to consistently convert on acrobatic one-handed opportunities, and he sometimes lets the ball bounce free at contact with the ground.

While he has decent length, his proportional length is middling and slightly limits his catch radius. And as a blocker, he sometimes only seeks to obstruct and doesn’t sustain blocks or engage with hands.

Current Draft Projection for Iowa State WR Xavier Hutchinson

Hutchinson grades as a solid Day 2 prospect at the wide receiver position. Within that range, there may be some variance based on team preferences and individual evaluations. But Hutchinson is undoubtedly deserving of consideration in the top 100, and a strong offseason — with Senior Bowl and NFL Combine showings on deck — could move him up.

Hutchinson has good size, decent length, and a solid overall athletic skill set. Although he plays a bit tall at times as a route runner, he has the necessary lateral agility, twitch, hip fluidity, and burst to create separation. He has enough juice as a long-strider to stack DBs. And few WRs in the 2023 NFL Draft are better than Hutchinson at the catch point.

Since he’s not a quantifiably elite athlete, Hutchinson should work to keep refining his route running efficiency at the next level. There’s still some wasted motion at times, and he can work to expand his route tree and release package a bit more.

But there’s enough there already — he has enough foot speed and sink to work with. And Hutchinson can also be a RAC threat in space with his play strength, leg churn, and lateral agility.

As a movement Z who can man both the slot and the boundary, Hutchinson presents a lot of projected appeal. He can win in one-on-one situations or use space to his advantage. On Day 1, he can be a valuable addition to a WR rotation, and he has enough physical upside to develop into an above-average NFL starter with safety blanket value.



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Reese’s Senior Bowl Invites 2023

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Stay up to date with the entire list of athletes that have accepted their 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl invites and their lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft.



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Is It Time for Fantasy Managers To Trust Hollins?

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The quickest way to fall behind in a fantasy football league is to become complacent and rely on the team you drafted, neglecting the all-important waiver wire. As managers make numerous waiver claims for Week 13 hoping to strengthen their roster, should Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Mack Hollins be a priority addition off the waiver wire vs. the Chargers?

Mack Hollins Has Another Solid Performance Against the Seahawks

Like many, the 2022 season has been a bit of a roller coaster for Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Mack Hollins. However, the 6’4″ fifth-year receiver has quietly put together a sneaky good résumé that fantasy football managers need to pay attention to while submitting waiver wire claims for Week 13.

Playing on 96% of the Raiders’ snaps on Sunday, Hollins has a 100% route participation and sat second behind only Davante Adams amongst wide receivers in targets with five. While low in volume, he made them count. Hollins hauled in four of those passes for 63 yards and scored his third touchdown of the season to finish with just over 16 PPR points as the WR20 on the week. It’s the second game in a row as a top-36 receiver and his fourth since their Week 6 bye.

MORE: Top Week 13 Waiver Wire Targets

Do you think Hollins can ride the momentum? Well, over on Underdog Fantasy, you can take the higher or lower on Hollins’ projections as part of their Pick’em contest and win up to 20x in the process. Sign up at Underdog Fantasy today for a 100% deposit bonus of up to $100.

But things get interesting when you look at the breakdown for Hollins when acting as the Raiders’ No. 2 option. In the five games without wide receiver Hunter Renfrow this year, Hollins has averaged 7.2 targets, 4.6 receptions, and 64.8 receiving yards. That’s double-digit fantasy points before we even factor in any touchdowns.

Sunday marked Hollins’ third game with 50+ yards in his last five weeks, and his 531 yards on the season now have him tied for 36th at the position. With likely one more week without Renfrow and Darren Waller in the lineup, is Hollins a clear-cut waiver wire target or a roster clogger?

Should Mack Hollins Be a Top Waiver Wire Priority for Fantasy Managers in Week 13?

Like the on-field performances, the waiver wire each week can be up and down. Some weeks there are tons of talent, and others, there’s only a little out there. But if you need a receiver, Week 13 could treat you well.

I would undoubtedly have Hollins on this list. There is enough of a pattern in his performances as the No. 2 to warrant a certain level of security as a flex option. Although it is not the easiest of matchups, the Los Angeles Chargers are 15th in DVOA, 25th in EPA/dropback, 19th in success rate per dropback, and 28th in points allowed on the season (27.51) but 20th over the last four games (24.55).

With that said, the Chargers are No. 3 in DVOA vs. No. 2 wide receivers thanks to Asante Samuel Jr. and Brian Callahan stepping up after losing prized free agent acquisition J.C. Jackson.

As a depth option, Hollins makes sense off the waiver wire and likely won’t get you into a bidding war, as he is rostered in just 12.5% of leagues and could go a bit under the radar. Having said that, he is not the top player I would look to target.

MORE: Early Week 13 Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendations

At RB, Kyren Williams, Gus Edwards, Isiah Pacheco, Zonovan Knight, and JaMycal Hasty need to be rostered. Additionally, Benny Snell Jr. and Darrell Henderson are in the mix, too. At receiver, there is even more with Treylon Burks, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Zay Jones, Michael Gallup, Elijah Moore, Nico Collins, and Isiah McKenzie available. Even George Pickens is rostered in only 64% of leagues.

While Hollins is an intriguing player in games where the Raiders are missing depth, he’s never going to be the No. 1 and will be, at best, the No. 3 behind Davante Adams and Waller. Players like Pickens, Burks, DPJ, Jones, and Gallup all present a higher ceiling and a better rest-of-season value due to more security in their individual roles.

Hollins does carry some value, though, which makes him worth a look in deeper leagues, but there are others I prefer over him in most formats. And as always, it’s all dependent on your league’s availability.



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