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Fantasy Football: Start/Sit Options for Thanksgiving Day Games

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Happy Thanksgiving readers, with the fantasy playoffs upon us, I thought I would change up the article a bit. After last week’s usage of the phrase “VACANT” for some team’s best worst options, I find it unfair to any reader looking for another opinion for fantasy advise to see that phrase. Also, for some teams (Jacksonville, Oakland, KC, etc) putting the same players in the Best/Worst option because there’s no one else there won’t help anyone. So instead, I will be placing one player in the best category (which will continue to be a player whom I believe will be a sleeper, or a borderline benched player who could come on strong in their upcoming matchup) and one in the worst category (a top ranked player). Sometimes it’ll be one player, sometimes, I’ll mention a few in either category. I hope you enjoy the changes to the article, and have a happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.


Packers @ Lions

Best Options- Jarrett Boykin,Nate Burleson

Boykin continues to be a main option for the Packers offense, going 3 straight games with 8 targets or more. With Matt Flynn being the leading QB candidate for the Pack, Boykin’s value continues to trend upward with 7 of his 10 targets last week came with Flynn under center. Detroit ranks 28th against the pass, and have given up 12 TD’s to opposing WR’s in the last 5 games.
Burleson returned with a bang last week, catching 7 passes for 77 yards and a TD. Detroit has been looking for another WR to take the pressure off of Calvin, and Burleson continues to be that guy. He has not played in a single game without having at least 6 catches. Detroit/GB has the potential to be a shootout with both offenses holding heavy passing attacks and strong defenses against the run, and in a battle like that, having any WR who is targeted as much as Burleson (at least 6 targets in every game he’s played) is always a positive to have in your starting lineup.

Worst Option- Eddie Lacy

The Lions running defense has not allowed a TD to a Running back since week 4. Lacy continues to get the work (he’s had 22 or more touches in 4 of his last 5 games), but look at Detroit’s recent history of shutting down RB’s. Bobby Rainey– 3 fantasy points, Le’Veon Bell– 8 points, Matt Forte- 4 points, Giovanni Berndard- 5 points. Kind of sick isn’t it? Even the last time these two teams met, Lacy was held under 100 yards rushing and no TD’s. Lacy’s a definite starter in any league and will receive the ball a lot in this game, but Detroit’s front 7 just seems to be playing on another level right now.

Raiders @ Cowboys

Best Option- Matt McGloin

What’s with backup QB’s this year? Mike Glennon, Case Keenum, Brian Hoyer, and now Matt McGloin all have made cases for themselves this season as good NFL QB’s and are putting up quality numbers week after week. McGloin has scored 31 points over the past two weeks against the eighth ranked Titans and Top passing defense in the NFL Houston. What kind of sense does that make? Now he’s going up against the next to worst Dallas Cowboys secondary which averages nearly 300 passing yards a game to opposing QB’s. While Terrelle Pryor is primed to return, the Raiders have stated they are going with McGloin in this one. The matchup on paper is screaming high points for McGloin as Dallas has given up 7 TD passes over the past 3 weeks.

Worst Option- Rashad Jennings, Tony Romo

Plain and simple for Rashad Jennings, he’s only here because Darren McFadden is slated to play. I don’t expect Jennings to be on the sideline and be held to a handful of carries, I do expect McFadden to eat into his time and limit him to 10-13 touches though. If McFadden is a scratch, feel free to start Jennings in any league you have him, otherwise lower your expectations drastically.
Since giving up 7 TD’s to Nick Foles a few weeks ago, the Raiders secondary has been playing fairly strong, giving up just 4 TD passes and committing 2 interceptions in the past 3 games. Surprisingly, the Raiders are holding opposing QB’s to just 14.5 fantasy points while playing on the road. Meanwhile, Romo is coming off of 2 games where he’s averaged just 12 fantasy points in that span. Romo may be averaging over 20 fantasy points while playing at home (inflated by his 40 point performance against Denver), but don’t be surprised if Oakland’s underrated secondary holds him to a mediocre fantasy performance.

Steelers @ Ravens

Best Option- Ravens defense, Steelers Defense

Matthew Berry said it best in his love/hate article, “this is a low-scoring game”. And if history proves correct (since 2010, these two teams have averaged 34.2 points combined against each other), this one will also be another low scoring, defensive battle. Everyone in standard leagues is rendered down to a TD or bust option with quite honestly, only the defenses being the safest bets to start.

Worst Option- Ray Rice, Le’Veon Bell

While on paper, a matchup against the 23rd ranked Steelers rushing defense looks good, Rice just hasn’t been able to consistently get things going this year. Since the bye week, he has just 1 double digit fantasy performance, and has had his workload vary from 11 carries to 25. In week 7, Pittsburgh held him to just 45 yards on 15 carries and 6 fantasy points. Between him and Bell I like Rice’s chances to score more due to his passing down abilities, however, since the Ravens have committed to the run a total of 2 times this season with Rice in the backfield, I wouldn’t recommend his chances of putting up big numbers in this game. Consider him a TD or Bust player.
The story remains the same with Baltimore’s front 7, they bend, but they hold at the goal line. 7 straight weeks without giving up a rushing TD, with only one rushing TD allowed all season. Le’Veon Bell had a good outing against the Ravens a few weeks ago (93 yards rushing) and is a tempting start due to his heavy work load, but against the Ravens, if you have the option of benching him, I would recommend it.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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