How the fu*k are we already two weeks away from the fantasy football playoffs? We are onto Week 12, and that means football on Turkey day. We’ve got a total of three games to look at. Chicago at Detriot (44.5), Washington at Dallas (40.5), and Atlanta at New Orleans (59.5). The start of Week 12 means fantasy owners has to address their start/sit decisions. With the fantasy playoffs looming, it is imperative that you start the week off correctly. So listen up degenerates. Here’s your fantasy football preview for Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble motherf*ckers.

Thanksgiving Preview

 

Quarterbacks

Our first quarterback matchup features Mitchell Trubisky against Matthew Stafford. Well at least it did before. Trubisky is doubtful entering the game. Looks like it is Chase Daniel Szn. That matchup is there though. The Lions defense over the past four weeks has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to the QB position and the second most over the past two weeks. An average of over 30 points, the last two weeks. That includes a 355 yard and 3 touchdown performance from Trubisky himself back in Week 1o. The Lions are only generating pressure on 9.7% of the passing snaps which ranks 6th lowest of teams this week. The Lions are also allowing 2.4 passing touchdowns per game at home. I think Daniel can produce because he will have time in the pocket. Play him GPPs because of the Lions’ defense sucking house. Hell, play him in cash cause he’s cheap.

On the other side, Matthew Stafford will be seeing heavy pressure from the Bears’ defense. The Bears are generating pressure on 17% of the passing snaps which ranks 6th highest of teams this week. Stafford has been sacked 17 times over the past three weeks and has seen pressure on 37.7% of his offensive dropbacks. The Bears have only allowed one 300 yard passer all season, and Stafford has surpassed 20 fantasy points just two times this season. With no Kerryon Johnson and no Marvin Jones, Stafford is a QB to avoid this week.

Dak Prescott disappointed in a plus matchup versus the Falcons putting up just 208 passing yards and 14.8 fantasy points. Washington gives up the 13th most fantasy points to the QB position but has held the QB under 16 fantasy points in three of the last four weeks. Washington’s pass defense has been even stingier on the road allowing the fewest passing touchdowns per game (1). In a game with an extremely low under/over point total, Prescott’s ceiling is around 20 fantasy points based on his performance the first time he played the Redskins. Don’t love Prescott this week in a divisional matchup, but I think he’s good for at least 15 fantasy points. The Redskins only get pressure on 9.5% of passing plays, so Dak should have time to throw and be efficient.

Nov 18, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) passes the football against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side, Colt McCoy gets the nod with Alex Smith healing his broken body. The Cowboys have not allowed any QB to finish with more than 23 fantasy points this season. 6 times, they have held the opposing QB to under 20 fantasy points. This game screams “ugly division matchup” so I am looking elsewhere.

The final game of the slate features two of the top fantasy QBs, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. Both are must-starts based on the Saints and Falcons having high-powered offenses and their defenses allowing at least 22 fantasy points per game to the QB position this season. The two closest games that the Saints have played in have been divisional games, so I don’t think we see a blowout like the last few weeks for New Orleans. The Falcons should be able to keep up at least. Both are QB1s this week. Shootout in the dome.

 

Running Backs

The Bears are allowing the lowest amount of yards yielded before the first contact on the ball carrier (1.38). Not surprising to see the Bears rank high in that category, but the Lions of all teams actually rank second in allowing the lowest amount of yards yielded before the first contact on the ball carrier (1.54). Over the past four weeks, the Bears have allowed the fewest fantasy points to the RB position, while the Lions have allowed the tenth fewest. So outside a DFS contrarian play, guys like Zach Zenner and LeGarrette Blount should be avoided. I realize Blount has the rushing touchdown upside with goalline work, but the Bears allow the 3rd lowest number of raw runs inside the 5-yard line that a team averages per game (.6). The Bears are allowing the lowest yards per carry (3.4) this season. The only RB you can target from Detriot is Theo Riddick. Over the past three weeks, Theo Riddick has run the third most routes at the running back position (84) just behind Christian McCaffrey and Todd Gurley. That is despite Riddick only playing around 50% of the snaps. Johnson during that timespan has 58 routes run for 13th most in the NFL over that time span. With Johnson and Jones out, I expect the Lions’ to lean even more on Riddick in the passing game. The Bears have a ton of receptions and targets to the RB position to these very same Detriot Lions just two weeks ago. Overall, over the past four weeks, no team has allowed more receptions to the RB position.

Nov 18, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) runs with the ball against Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Green-Thompson (54) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Detriot’s run defense has improved dramatically since the acquisition of “Snacks” Harrison. Over the past three weeks, Detriot has allowed just 79.3 rushing yards (4th best) per game. Not good news for the plodding running style of Jordan H0ward. Howard has rushed for 84 yards on 29 carries well for 2.89 YPC. Howard couldn’t move the ball at all in the first matchup against the Lions and it’s hard to see that changing in Week 12. He needs to score touchdowns to hit double-digits with his lack of work in the passing game. The Lions have only allowed 33% runs inside the 5-yard line converted for touchdowns. Howard could be a full fade across DFS as well. The much better option at RB is Tarik Cohen. He offers so much more than Howard. The Lions have allowed the 9th most fantasy points to the RB position majority coming from RBs in the passing game. Lions have allowed the tenth-most receptions over the past four weeks to the RB. Cohen is the best option at the RB position in Chicago in Week 12. Could be a check down king with Chase Daniel forced into starting in this game.

Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys…you’re starting him. Whether it’s daily cash or seasonal leagues, you’re starting all of him. Elliot has been more involved in the passing game than ever before and that bodes well against the Redskins. So despite the fact that they have allowed 10th fewest fantasy points to the RB position, they have allowed the third most receptions, most targets, and most receiving yards to the RB position over the past four weeks.

On the Redskins side, Adrian Peterson is a low-end RB2 in Week 12. He rushed for 99 yards on 24 carries in Week 7 against the Cowboys. However, that was with a healthy offensive line which he does not have. He is going to see volume as the only option at RB on the Redskins. Chris Thompson has been ruled out. Cowboys have allowed just one touchdown to the RB position over the past six weeks. If you need upside, Peterson is not your guy in Week 12.

Oct 28, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (26) rushes by New York Giants cornerback Curtis Riley (35) for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Turning to the night game, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are locked into your lineups. The Falcons have allowed the most receptions and targets to the RB position this season. They have also allowed the fourth-most rushing touchdowns to opposing RBs. Play them both in daily cash lineups. The Falcons side is a little less obvious. The Saints have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to the RB position over the past four weeks, but they have allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards over the past three weeks. Tevin Coleman is an RB2 just because the projected point total in this game is so high. However, I think he is really more a low-end RB2 because the Saints run defense has been better as of late. Coleman in the past has also never produced large numbers versus the Saints. Ito Smith is a sleeper RB this week because he is getting work in the red zone. 19 red zone opportunities vs 21 red zone opportunities for Coleman on the season. And last week, Smith had 2 versus Coleman who had zero. He’s a very cheap option in DFS with upside.

Wide Receivers

It’s Taylor Gabriel #SmashWeek. Remember we chase touches and targets, not touchdowns. Gabriel had a nine target outing a week ago but was overshadowed by Anthony Miller’s touchdown. Do not overlook Gabriel in this game. Back in Week 10, Gabriel led the team in air yards, but he just couldn’t connect with him deeply. Gabriel actually leads the team in air yards over the past three weeks making him a top-30 player this week. The Lions defense has allowed the second most fantasy points to the wide receiver position over the past four weeks. Anthony Miller is also another feasible option because of his slot usage. 72% usage in the slot will result in coverage from Teez Tabor graded out by Pro Football Focus as the worst cornerback playing this week. Gabriel will see more of Nevin Lawson who has allowed four touchdowns in coverage this season the most on the Lions.

With Jones missing, Golladay becomes an even better must-start across all platforms because of his target volume. Over the past three weeks, Golladay has a 28% target market share. Golladay went 6-78-1 in his first matchup against the Bears and success should continue for him. Golladay’s 136 routes run over the past three weeks are tied with Robert Woods for the most in the NFL during that time span. The remaining Lions’ receivers are a mixed bunch of guys out of the slot between TJ Jones, Bruce Ellington, and Brandon Powell. Ellington saw nine targets last week, but Jones played in more snaps and ran more routes. Jones has been with the team since 2014, so I think there is more chemistry with him and Stafford than with Stafford and Ellington. Ellington also always seems to flash and then disappear. He’s also dealt with a boatload of injuries and is already on the injury report. You are not going to start either of these guys across any leagues, but TJ Jones is the DraftKings cheap target in cash games at $3,300.

Nov 18, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry (24) attempts to tackle Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) during the game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Kirkwood of the New Orleans Saints over the past three weeks ranks second on the team behind only Michael Thomas with a 3.90 yards per route run. Keith Kirkwood has seen the majority of snaps (70%) from the slot over the past three weeks and has a plus matchup against Brian Poole. Poole has allowed 4 touchdowns from the slot this season. The Atlanta Falcons defense has allowed the second most YAC this season. Ya know who is second in the NFL in YAC? Michael Thomas. Yeah, he’s my number one ranked wide receiver on the week. Tre’Quan Smith is questionable, but I will keep him in the WR3 category. Playing the Tedd Ginn Jr. role we have seen massive ups and downs. At home in the dome he should be good to go, but keep in mind that the Falcons have been better on defense. They have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the WR position over the past four weeks.

Speaking of YAC, the Washington Redskins have allowed the third most YAC this season. Cole Beasley leads the Dallas Cowboys in YAC, followed by Michael Gallup. I like these guys in DFS has low bargain buys at the wide receiver position. Beasley has a safe target share with an average of 5 plus targets over the last three weeks. Gallup is playing with a heavy heart after the death of his brother. Sometimes those factors can really impact a player and it would not surprise me at all to see Gallup have a career game. Gallup will be facing off against Danny Johnson who is PFFs sixth worst ranked cornerback this week. Johnson actually allows the highest fantasy points per route run (.88) this season and a 92% catch rate. He is also getting targeted deep with his yards per route run at 4.24 yards more than a full yard higher than the next closest. Gallup has run 98 routes over the past three weeks good for second on the team. Just five behind Amari Cooper.

Nov 11, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates his 7-yard touchdown catch with wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The matchup is there for Cowboys’ receivers to put up a solid outing with the Redskins allowing the most receptions, and third most targets to the wide receiver position. Amari Cooper locks in as a low-end WR2. Cooper struggles against above average cornerbacks and will see a lot of Josh Norman.

Trey Quinn ran the third most routes last week for the Redskins and he is another player that needs to be targeted as a bargain receiver in DFS. His 75% snap percentage right after returning from injury, pushing Maurice Harris to the outside out of position. We have seen the slot in Washington have solid games from their slot receiver. Dallas has also allowed descent production to slot receivers, like Golden Tate, Keke Coutee, Dede Westbrook, Nelson Agholor, and Mohamed Sanu. Josh Doctson is a 100% fade facing Bryon Jones who is the second highest rated corner via Pro Football Focus. Trey Quinn is the truth especially if you buy into the whole backup QB to backup WR connection.

Wrapping things up at the WR position, Julio Jones you’re a star. In his last 9 games against the Saints, Julio has had at least 93 yards receiving IN 8 OF THOSE GAMES. Mohamed Sanu is another great play because he is going to see the coverage from the infamous P.J. Williams who teams consistently pick on. He’s a WR2 upside with upside. Lastly, what do you do with Calvin Ridley? He is going to see Eli Apple in coverage who was not on the Saints when these teams played earlier this season. Apple actually played the Falcons already this season with New York, and Ridley was kept in check in that game: 5 receptions for 43 yards. With just one double-digit performance in the last six weeks, Ridley is a fade for me. Outside of my top 36 wide receivers for Week 12.

Tight Ends

You know what I am thankful for? Not tight ends. Here’s the scoop on each tight end for Thursday. The Bears have not allowed a TE to exceed more than 50 yards this season. For a Lion’s tight end to be relevant you’ll need a touchdown. You’re the best bet is Michael Roberts if he plays on Thursday. Roberts has caught three touchdowns this season. On the Bears’ side, Trey Burton is coming off his worst performance of the season with 1.9 fantasy points last week. The trend with Burton though this season is after a sub-double-digit performance he has come back with double-digit fantasy points the following week. This has happened three times already this season, so I like the trend projection. The Lions have allowed 60-plus receiving yards to tight ends in three of their past five games.

In game two of Thanksgiving, we get the chance to watch Cowboys’ tight ends Blake Jarwin, Rico Gathers, and Dalton Schultz with Geoff Swaim out. It would appear that Jarwin is the one to target as he has run the most routes of the three this season. I was a Blake Jarwin-truther this offseason so if he finally puts it together. OH BOY. On the other side, Jordan Reed saw new life with Colt McCoy. This display of chemistry with McCoy is encouraging. The last time Reed played the Cowboys on Thanksgiving: 12 targets, 10 receptions, 95 yards, and two touchdowns.

Oct 28, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;
Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) with a 3rd quarter reception against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The night game at tight end wraps up just like it started. It’s bad. Austin Hooper who has been pretty consistent throughout has to be faded this week outside of GPPs. The Saints have absolutely stifled TEs this season allowing the 2nd fewest fantasy points to the TE position. They did the unthinkable a week ago and limited Zach Ertz to 2 catches for 15 yards. Don’t love the upside with Hooper here. In four career games against New Orleans, he’s never had more than 23 yards receiving. Ugh. And the cherry on top of the shit that is the tight position we have the New Orleans Saints match of Benjamin Watson, Josh Hill, and Dan Arnold. DARNOLD CALL IN THE CHOPPER. In all seriousness Watson was a thing at one time, but alas it is gone. He’s blocking more and Josh Hill has actually run more routes than him during the last three weeks. Hill has also played in more snaps than Alvin Kamara in Week 11. TE 1?😁😁😁 . He’s $2,500 on DraftKings. The Falcons have allowed the most zone touches and the second most red zone targets to the TE position.