The turkey came early this year (this past Sunday), and his name was Julio Jones. What a stinker from both him and Matt Ryan in arguably their easiest matchup of the season. Not the holiday pleasure that I was looking forward to. Fortunately, the afternoon slate and the primetime slate served up a healthier dose of stuffing, taters and pumpkin pie. That helped make up for my Julio induced gastric distress. Now that we have dispensed of our displeasure from this past weekend, it is time to loosen the belt and strap in the feedbag for a Turkey Day feast of fantasy football.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions:
We get a rematch of last years’ Turkey Day opener as Chicago is traveling north to visit the Lions. Last year Chase Daniel outdueled Matthew Stafford and something called Taquan Mizzell scored a TD for the Bears, while the undead corpse of LeGarrette Blount stumbled over the stripe twice for Detroit. Blount is no longer in the league, and despite seeing proof to the opposite, I still don’t believe that Mizzell actually ever existed. Plus, Stafford is out with a broken back and Chase Daniel has found himself behind Mitch Trubisky (which is similar to being out of football in and of itself).
Trubisky is actually in play for a second straight week, and at his price, he might be a lineup staple for me. David Montgomery has done nothing this year, and not even a sharp matchup excites me to play him. He only posted 60 yards (roughly 3 YPC against Detroit earlier this year). Tarik Cohen actually is a better play with him pass-catching usage surging of late. His price and the lack of RB talent on this slate puts him in the spotlight at RB2 or FLEX. Allen Robinson will likely see a lot of Darius Slay, it didn’t keep him from a solid line a few weeks back. Still considering his price, and other better matchups, I’ll probably fade him. I’m actually more in on Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel as WR3/FLEX options as they have seen an uptick in targets the last couple weeks. The TE Plate is so empty for this slate, that Ben Braunecker is almost a possibility (he scored in their earlier meeting). Starting the Bears’ defense at their reduced price on DK is a MUST.
Jeff Driskel should get the start (watch his injury status) for Detroit and he is not in consideration based on the matchup. Driskel looked solid in his first couple of games, but this one is not going to shine his talents. He did post 267-1 in their earlier meeting, but that feels like a ceiling for him. Also, do not even consider David Blough if he starts. In fact, if Blough starts bench all the Lions. Bo Scarbrough looked much more comfortable as the lead back for Detroit than Ty Johnson did in their earlier meeting. I don’t love Scarbrough in this matchup, but he has FLEX appeal based on volume and his price. I could also see using J.D. McKissic at FLEX, since game flow may call for more passing than running. Ty Johnson is the green bean casserole of this slate. Everyone takes a scoop to appease whoever brought them, but no one actually eats a bite of them. Despite a small final line, Driskel did pepper Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and Marvin Jones with targets. Golladay got a score, and I like his chances of doing that again. Either Golladay or Jones could be a pivot from the top options at WR1/WR2, but know that they will probably split 150 yards and a single score. Amendola is a more intriguing option at WR3/FLEX. I doubt he scores, but I like him to rack up some receptions. T.J. Hockenson had zero targets last week, and he has disappeared from the game script. At least in Week 10, Hockenson saw some action. Last week, Logan Thomas got involved with a pair of catches, but he is just a guy. Don’t waste your time on any of these TEs. There is also no reason to consider the Lions’ defense, despite the hideous Trubisky chucking the rock for Chicago.
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys:
Dak Prescott gets a second straight awful matchup. Buffalo has allowed very few QB scores this year. Dak’s best hope this week is with running one in. The DK price might entice you, but don’t overdo it. Ezekiel Elliott, on the other hand, is a stud this week and he must be in your lineup at RB1. He is the safest and best play at the position on the slate. Last week, Amari Cooper got shut down by Stephon Gilmore and now he faces off against an arguably even better, TreDavious White. Just leave Cooper on the bench. The other side of the field is more pass-friendly, so Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb are certainly WR2/WR3 options. However, much like the Lions’ offense, I wouldn’t expect more than one score between them. The Bills are also elite against TEs, so Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin should remain on your bench too. I don’t want to consider the Dallas’ defense here, as I think that Buffalo’s offense can move the ball on them.
Josh Allen is the second-best option at QB this slate. Dallas is middle-of-the-pack against the pass, but they have given up some solid days to rushing QBs. If I pivot from Drew Brees, Allen will be my choice. Devin Singletary has finally put Frank Gore out of his misery as the featured back for Buffalo. Singletary is the third-best RB on the docket, and I like him at RB2 or even at FLEX if I blow my wad on the position. Gore needs to remain out of your lineup unless Singletary hurts himself on the way to the stadium. The Cowboys have given up some solid days to slot receivers, and Cole Beasley has the revenge-game narrative working for him. I will have as many WR3 shares of him as possible. John Brown is also in play with his game-breaking speed. That said, opposing WR1s have not posted huge lines against Dallas all season, so he isn’t my first choice. Dawson Knox has the second-best matchup among TEs on this slate. If you don’t want to pay up for Jared Cook, just roster Knox and count your cash. I don’t mind playing the Buffalo defense here, but they are not my first choice.
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons:
We get another rematch from 2018 here. Last year, everyone, not named, Michael Thomas, scored a TD for New Orleans. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan had a huge day throwing the ball, while his team ran the ball like they were all Kalen Ballage.
Drew Brees had a poor Week 10 matchup against Atlanta. He didn’t throw for a ton of yards, and he also didn’t score any passing TDs. Somehow, Michael Thomas and Jared Cook both finished with big stat lines though. I expect this week to go much smoother for Brees, and he is my QB1 on the slate. Alvin Kamara is the RB2 on the slate, but his odd (STUPID) usage last week really leaves me scratching my head. If I am forced to choose between Kamara and Zeke, I will go with Zeke, just in case Sean Payton decides to use more Latavius Murray again here. Speaking of Murray, he makes a decent FLEX option, if you don’t go with Cohen or Singletary. Michael Thomas catches all the passes, making him the easy WR1. Ted Ginn is always in play as a FLEX, I’m not going to dig as far as Tre’Quan Smith though. Jared Cook is the obvious TE1 on this slate. If I cannot afford him, I’ll go with Dawson Knox. That said, the DK price is certainly doable. I could see using the New Orleans’ defense, but I feel better about using the Bears, at least at DK.
The Falcons’ value will be determined by whether or not Marshon Lattimore plays for New Orleans. If he is out this week, then bump up the value of all the Falcons’ passing game weapons. If Lattimore plays, Julio Jones might get shut down. Either way, Matt Ryan is in play at QB3 on the slate. Brian Hill has been an abject failure at RB. Qadree Ollison is clearly the goal line back anyways. Plus, New Orleans is elite against the run. There is always a chance that Devonta Freeman returns as well, but that just further muddies an already ugly situation. As I said above, Julio Jones will be an A+ start if there is no Marshon Lattimore. If Lattimore plays, Julio falls to C-grade at best. Either way, Calvin Ridley is the safer option. Ridley will likely fight with Kenny Golladay and John Brown as my choice at WR2. Russell Gage got a ton of targets last week. He is certainly in play at WR3/FLEX. A healthy Austin Hooper would be the easy TE1 slate on this slate. I doubt he will play. Jaeden Graham will likely get the start, and he has some value as the #3 TE on my board. The Falcons’ defense is improved, but not enough for me to play them here.
Here are my recommended lineups.
At DK: $6.2K for Josh Allen, $13.2K for Ezekiel Elliott and Devin Singletary, $9.1K for Michael Thomas, $6.6K for Calvin Ridley, $4.7K for Cole Beasley, $2.9K for Dawson Knox, $4.7K for Bo Scarbrough at FLEX, and $2.5K for the Bears defense.
At FD: $7.8K for Allen, $16.7K for Zeke and Alvin Kamara, $7.1K for Golladay, Ridley for $6.5K, and Beasley for $5.8K, $4.5K for Knox. $6.6K for Singletary at FLEX, and $5K for the Bears defense.
At Fanball (featuring SuperFlex): Drew Brees, Allen at SF, Kamara, Zeke, Singletary at FLEX, Michael Thomas, Beasley, and Danny Amendola at WR, and Knox.
At Fantasy Draft: Brees, Elliott, Kamara, Thomas, Beasley, Knox, Amendola, Bo Scarbrough, and the Bears’ Defense.
Weekly strategy – Drew Brees and Josh Allen are the best plays. Matt Ryan is a possible pivot. Avoid Jeff Driskel and Dak Prescott. I can see using Mitch Trubisky as a punt.
Pay to Play:
Drew Brees, Saints @ ATL ($6800 DK, $8500 FD)
Atlanta held Drew Brees to an underwhelming 287-0 in their earlier meeting. This falls below his career average of just over 300 yards per game against the Falcons. In two meetings last year, Brees finished with nine total scores. He won’t get nine here, but three or four is certainly in play as the safest start on the list.
Jeff Driskel, Lions vs. CHI ($5500 DK, $7000 FD)
First off, Driskel is dinged up. Secondly, Driskel is not very good. Third, Chicago has a stingy defense and a good pass rush. I wouldn’t play Dak Prescott either this week, in case you thought about that angle.
Mitchell Trubisky, Bears @ DET ($5300 DK, $6800 FD)
In four career games against Detroit, Mitchell Trubisky has nine touchdowns and only four turnovers. Compare that to his other 32 career regular season games where he has 38 total TDs and 39 turnovers. Meanwhile, Detroit has allowed three or more passing TDs in four of their last six contests. This included a three-touchdown day for Trubisky in Week 10.
Weekly strategy – I’m going to attempt to roster all three of: Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara and Devin Singletary. If I cannot afford all three, Kamara will likely be the odd man out. Tarik Cohen, Bo Scarbrough, J.D. McKissic and Latavius Murray are the only other guys I will consider for the FLEX.
Pay to Play:
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys vs. BUF ($7400 DK, $8400 FD)
It is tough to move the ball through the air against Buffalo. Fortunately for Dallas, it is fairly easy to move the ball on the ground against them. If you ignore the crappy Kalen Ballage performance in Week 11, Buffalo has allowed an average of 5.7 rushing yards per carry to opposing RBs over their other prior four games. Ezekiel Elliott will need to drive this offense to keep Dallas in this one. On a thin slate, he is far-and-away the safest option.
David Montgomery, Bears @ DET ($5400 DK, $5900 FD)
Despite facing three middling or worse defenses in: Detroit, the Giants and the Rams the last three weeks, David Montgomery averaged a crappy 2.6 YPC. On the year, Montgomery has only topped 70 yards rushing once. This game sniffs of fool’s gold for him.
Tarik Cohen, Bears @ DET ($5000 DK, $6400 FD)
Now that we have stressed how bad David Montgomery has been, let’s consider his running mate, Tarik Cohen, and how well he has performed. He doesn’t have as many touches as Montgomery recently, but he has arguably done more with the ones he has been given. Either way, Cohen is undoubtedly the pass-catching option in this split backfield. This plays nicely into the matchup since Detroit has allowed six different RB groups to record five or more receptions. They also have given up 70+ RB receiving yards six times, and they have allowed seven running back receiving TDs.
|Allen Robinson II||$6,700||$7,700|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$5,300||$6,400|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,800||$5,200|
Weekly strategy – Michael Thomas’ salary is high, but he deserves to be your WR1, if you can fit him under the cap. If not, Kenny Golladay makes a nice pivot. You could also consider Allen Robinson or John Brown. Calvin Ridley should be your WR2. Cole Beasley is my favorite WR3. I also like Danny Amendola, Russell Gage, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller. Any of them could be my FLEX, if I don’t go 3RB.
Pay to Play:
Michael Thomas, Saints @ ATL ($9100 DK, $9200 FD)
The price for Michael Thomas is high, but much like Christian McCaffrey every week, it will be hard to fade him. Even with Brees struggling in their earlier meeting, Thomas hauled in 13 of his 14 targets for 152 yards. This was the fourth time in seven career meetings that Thomas had topped 100 yards against the Falcons. Thursday will run that number to five of eight.
Amari Cooper, Cowboys vs. BUF ($6000 DK, $7900 FD)
Amari Cooper’s collection of minor injuries haven’t slowed him down, but the tough matchups have finally caught up with him. Stephon Gilmore took him completely out last week, and now he gets to lock horns with the equally tough, Tre’Davious White. The Bills’ secondary has held four different teams under ten total WR receptions. Not by one wide receiver, but by the entire franchise. It has actually been slot receivers who have had the most success against this defense. So, if you need to choose one part of the Cowboys’ passing attack, choose Randall Cobb.
Cole Beasley, Bills @ DAL ($4700 DK, $5800 FD)
Revenge game in play here for Cole Beasley. Plus, Dallas has given up some solid games to opposing slot receivers this year. With the game in Dallas, you know that Buffalo will do everything to get Beasley a TD. Considering that Beasley has scored in four of his last six contests, that touchdown seems like a lock.
Weekly strategy – If Austin Hooper plays, I’d consider him. Otherwise, Jared Cook is as safe as it gets. If I don’t use him, I will likely use Dawson Knox or Jaeden Graham.
Pay to Play:
Jared Cook, Saints @ ATL ($4800 DK, $6700 FD)
The tight ends on this slate are awful. Jared Cook is the only one that is truly safe. Atlanta has allowed every quality TE they have faced to put up a solid line. This included giving up 6-74 to Cook back in Week 10. As the season has progressed, Drew Brees has started to trust Cook more. In fact, he has moved up to option three in this passing offense, behind Michael Thomas and Michael Thomas.
Jason Witten, Cowboys vs. BUF ($3300 DK, $5500 FD)
Buffalo has allowed only one TE touchdown all season. Plus, they are giving up an average of only 3-33 to the position. Jason Witten struggled with holding onto the ball in the icky weather last week. He won’t have the weather to blame this week, but I still don’t trust him in this spot.
Dawson Knox, Bills @ DAL ($2900 DK, $4500 FD)
Dawson Knox has been hardly reliable this year. That said, this slate is devoid of any talent in a great spot. Knox has the physical tools, if not the opportunity. Plus, Dallas’ secondary has the lack of physical tools necessary to make Knox a nice sleeper. Prior to putting a cap on the Lions and Patriots the last two weeks, the Dallas defense had allowed an average of 6.4-63 to the position, including five TDs.