For the third year in a row, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving day line-up. For those of you that can break away from the family long enough, this Thanksgiving Day line-up of games should be a cavalcade of fantasy points. It usually is. So what do we fantasy footballers give thanks for? We give thanks for Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and if you were fortunate enough, Robert Griffin III and Matt Ryan. We also give thanks for Arian Foster, A.J. Green, Rob Gronkowski, and of course, Peyton Manning. Also, let’s include the Bears DST, the Forty-Niners DST and the Texans DST. They have all made this fantasy season unpredictable, but an awful lot of fun! Also, The Fantasy Greek gives thanks to you, his fantasy readers. Cheers!
As a way for you to express what you give thanks for, The Fantasy Greek has provided a special “live” article where The Fantasy Greek readers can take a moment and let us know what you give “Thanks” for this year.
Thanksgiving Day Games
As for the Thanksgiving Day games, we have three terrific match-ups where all the teams are still in the playoff hunt, three desperately needing a win this weekend. There is something to be said for teams fighting to stay alive with six games left in their regular season. Indeed, when teams have nothing to play for, or hardly anything to play for, they are just playing football for the sake of playing football. That can lead to surprising outcomes. This Thanksgiving Day’s games should be good games to watch with friends and family alike. So, enjoy them.
The goal in “Fantasy Football Choices” is to provide you, the fantasy football player, with enough information to make sensible and reasonable choices in setting your line-up this week by reviewing the weekly match-ups and identifying which players are “On the Gridiron,” a “Coach’s Decision,” or “On the Pine.” For many of you, the information provided simply provides affirmation to the decisions you have already made. If you like, skip the fluff, and find your player’s match-up for analysis. We also provide a down and dirty listing of players listed in each category within the Quick Hits.If you are looking for a waiver wire pick-up, then look for those players still on your waiver wire, and you can read that analysis too.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
12:30 p.m. EST
TEXANS (9-1) v. LIONS (4-6)
The Texans came close to losing a game that was supposed to be an easy win last weekend. The Lions, they lost to the intra-divisional rival Packers in game that never quite turned into a shoot out as originally thought. What can certainly be gleaned about these two teams is that both are at polar opposites in the standings. And, while the Lions have scored their share of points this season, it is no comparison to the points scored by the Texans, whose difference is fifty-four points. While the Lions were a top defensive unit last season, the Lions aren’t this season. The Texans, on the other hand, are one of the best, likely top-ten in least points allowed. The Fantasy Greek feels that this match-up could turn into a high scoring game. Regardless, the Texans boast the better offense and defense right now. The Texans should win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: Even though the Lionsare one of the better rush defense in fantasy football (top-five), there is nothing about the match-up that makes Arian Foster anything less than your top running back start if you are lucky enough to have him on your roster. Last week, the Texans Andre Johnson and the Lions Calvin Johnson were one-man wrecking crews, combining for four hundred and sixteen yards receiving and two touchdowns. With both teams toward the middle of all teams defending opposing wide-receivers, top-talentsAndre Johnson and Calvin Johnsonshould be on fantasy gridirons. Even though the Lion’s overall play has improved, having won three of their last three games, the Texans DST is a must start against a Lions team still top-ten in most fantasy points allowed to opposing DTs.
COACH’S DECISION: Week 11’s performance was a reminder that the Texans Matt Schaub (527 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs) is a better quarterback than the one we have seen in half the games the Texans played to date. This week, Schaub faces a Lions defense that can give up a couple hundred yards passing and multiple pass TDs. After missing one game and under-producing in another, tight-end Owen Daniels is primed to bounce back against a team allowing the sixth most fantasy points to the position.For the Lions, quarterback Mathew Stafford makes for a decent, not great start against a Texans teams whose pass defense was exposed this past weekend by the Jaguars. For Stafford to be successful, he has to pass for multiple touchdowns, and that could be tough to do this week. Still, if you have Stafford, you will likely be compelled to play him. In terms of receiving option, tight-end Brandon Pettigrew gets a favorable start against a defense in the upper half of fantasy points allowed to his position. With Lions WR Titus Young declared inactive, Ryan Broyles moves up in the pecking order as a receiving option. While the Texans pass defense has been pretty good this season, Broyles makes for a low-end WR3 option this week. This is a week to avoid both running backs Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell as the Texans are No. 1 against the rush in fantasy.
ON THE PINE: No other player on either team is worth a fantasy start this week. Do monitor, though, whether Texans back-up RB Justin Forsett gets as much work as he did last weekend.
4:25 p.m. EST
REDSKINS (4-6) v. COWBOYS (5-5)
This is a must win game for these NFC East rivals who sit second and third in the division, respectively. And what differentiates these two teams is their quarterback play. This season, rookie Robert Griffin III has been sensational, so much so, that the Redskins are top-ten in scoring, the Cowboys are not. Certainly, anything goes. But, it’s hard not to look at this game and conclude that the Redskins can pull out the victory even against what should be motivated Cowboys.
ON THE GRIDIRON: With little exception, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is a must start due to his versatility, even against what can be a tough Cowboys defense. While much of Redskins running back Alfred Morris luster has faded away, he continues to be a top play especially against a Cowboys rush defense ranked in the middle of all teams defending the position in fantasy. The Cowboys Tony Romo (313 yards, 1 TD) didn’t have his best game of the season nor his worst in Week 11. In Week 12, the Cowboys play at home against a Redskins team giving up the sixth most fantasy points entering Week 11. The Fantasy Greek sees this turning into an old fashion Cowboys-Redskins shootout. A 300 yard passing game with multiple touchdown passes should be within the reach of Romo. With that, receivers Miles Austin, Dez Bryant , and past ‘Turkey Day Hero’ Jason Witten should all be on fantasy gridirons this week.
COACH’S DECISION: There is no question RGIII can have a good game, but that may come at the expense of his receivers, including Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss. As the Cowboys also have the best tandem of cover corners in the league, this would be a week to avoid Garcon and Moss. Cowboys running back Felix Jones who missed practice this week is questionable for the game. Besides this, the Redskins have been surprisingly stingy (not impossible) to the RB position.
ON THE PINE: This is a game were both the Redskins DST and the Cowboys DST should be avoided. Even if Felix Jones is a late scratch for the game, neither Phillip Tanner nor Lance Dunbar is worth a fantasy football start this week.
8:30 p.m. EST
PATRIOTS (7-3) v. JETS (4-6)
There is little reason to believe the Jets have a reasonable chance to win this game. The Patriots have outscored the Jets by one hundred fifty-six points, or forty-two touchdowns to twenty-three. The Patriots is also superior in terms of points allowed. Fantasy football players will be studying this game to see what the Patriots offense looks like without the rec3nty injured Rob Gronkowski. Patriots win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: The Jets do have one of the better pass defenses in the league. But, Tom Brady makes for a solid fantasy start as does Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots DST should be on gridiron against a Jets team giving up the fifth most fantasy points to opposing defenses/special teams. Also, running back Stevan Ridley should be in line for a good game against a porous Jets rush defense, ranked eighth in most fantasy points allowed.
COACH’S DECISION: Very quietly, the Patriots Julian Edelman returned to the gridiron last week. Once on it,Edelman (105 APY, 1 TD) made a lot of noise all at the expense of Brandon Lloyd. With Rob Gronkowski out, Edelman’s role in the offense should continue to grow. Edelman is worth consideration as a WR3 play with your other options while Lloyd should likely be avoided this week. Shane Vereen makes for flex-play if you are desperate for some help at the running back or flex-play position. For the Jets, Shonn Greene makes for a poor play because the Jets are giving the other running backs meaningful opportunities to carry the ball, including in scoring situations. The Jets will likely have to pass the ball to have a chance in this game. While their defense looked very opportunistic last week, both WR Jeremy Kerley and TE Dustin Keller especially as the Patriots allow the fourth most fantasy points to their respective positions. Consider both with your other options.
ON THE PINE: With Rob Gronkowski out for the next six to eight weeks, the thought is one of the other Patriots tight-ends will step up and take Gronkowski’s place not only physically, but statistically. After Aaron, among the remaining tight-ends, The Fantasy Greek thinks Visanthe Shiancoe would be the logical replacement for Gronkowski. The reasons are simple. Shiancoe is a veteran. And, among the remaining tight-ends (Michael Hoomanawanui and Daniel Fells), Shiancoe spent five seasons as a starter. In his best season, Shiancoe had 596 yards receiving. In his best season, Shianoce had 11 touchdowns. That said, the Patriots could become wide-receiver heavy in the passing game. With regards to the Patriots tight-ends then, restraint needs to be exercised until the situation clarifies itself.
Good luck this week!