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Thanksgiving Thursday Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: D'Andre Swift, Gabe Davis, Ezekiel Elliott, Devin Singletary, Dalton Schultz, Dawson Knox

Justin Jefferson - Fantasy Football Rankings, DFS Lineup Picks, NFL Injury News

It’s Turkey Day! I guess it could be Ham Day, but it doesn't have the same ring to it. Either way, it’s a day for family, and football, two of my three favorite F words. Obviously, Fantasy is the third one, which is what I am here to break down for you!

With three matchups, it’s a day full of football. We have a great array of games with matchups between two potent offenses, two divisional rivals, and a lopsided mystery game. I’ll let you decide which game is which. 

My name is Ellis Johnson, and I hope you all have a great day. Now, let’s break down the Bills at Lions, Giants at Cowboys, and Patriots at Vikings.

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Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions - 12:30 pm ET

Notable Injuries:

  • N/A

 

Must-Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR, DET)

St. Brown has been excellent all year when healthy. With eight or more targets in every full game he has played, he is everything you want in a fantasy player. From the solid volume floor to his red zone usage, to being on a team with a brutal defense, it’s perfect.

This week, he faces a tough team that just got torched by Amari Cooper in the same stadium. Regardless of the matchup, St. Brown’s volume makes him a must-start. Plus, the Bills are allowing the eighth-most TDs per game to the position and their injured secondary makes St. Brown a WR1 with upside. Let’s start this Thanksgiving right, and my Pumpkin Pie Shop* call is open this week for the second-year WR. 

*Pie Shop: An Australian term (often used in Rugby League) to describe who will score a Try (or in this case touchdown) this week. (Season Calls: 5-6)

Stefon Diggs (WR, BUF)

Two must-starts, and two receivers. For the second time, Ford Field will see two of the best WR’s go head-to-head on Thursday. Diggs’ resume is very similar to St. Brown's if he played on one of the best teams in the league. With eight touchdowns in 10 games, and eight or more targets in every game but two (including two games with 15+ targets), there is a reason he is the WR1 in PPR formats on the season. 

This week, he takes on a team that is allowing the third-most yards per game to the position. As long as the Lions can score (which seems like they always can), Diggs is in line for another monster week. He is a locked-in top-three option at the position.

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

I’ll be honest, I’m a little worried about Allen and this Bills team. Allen is second in the league in interceptions which is only one behind Davis Mills. Plus, if you’ve watched his games, it’s not that he is getting unlucky with deflections, they are straight-up bad throws. 

Thankfully for fantasy, this doesn’t matter too much. He is the QB2 on the season and has 17 or more fantasy points in every week but one. He’s locked in as a top-three option at the position regardless of his recent mistakes. Plus, this week he is facing a Lions team allowing the most fantasy points to the position. 

 

Solid Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

Two of my favorite players in this league have been finding success despite sharing the same backfield. Williams is currently leading the league with 12 rushing touchdowns and seems to be a lock for at least one a week. As for Swift, it’s been a relatively disappointing season due to injury and the red zone success of Williams. However, Swift has still managed to showcase his explosive nature and pass-catching ability.

This week, the dynamic duo takes on a Bills team who has been very solid against the run. Through the first eight weeks, the Bills were allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points and third-fewest yards to the position. However, over the last three weeks, they have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position. As a result, both backs are still in play. Williams is a solid RB2 and Swift is a low-end RB2 with RB1 upside if he can get his pass-catching going.

Gabe Davis (WR, BUF)

The ultimate hot-cold fantasy player, Davis is dependent on his deep targets. However, he has managed to string together two decent weeks despite only scoring one touchdown. His upside is almost unmatched against a team allowing nearly a touchdown a game to the position and the third-most yards to WRs. His ability to provide a week-winning performance on Thursday is too good to not play in your lineups. Start him with confidence this week in your WR2 slot.

Dawson Knox (TE, BUF)

After starting the season ice cold, Knox has seen 13 targets over his last two games. This kind of usage is hard to find, especially on one of the league's most powerful offenses. The Lions are allowing the third-most fantasy points to the position, making him a must-start at the position. 

 

Flex Considerations for Fantasy Football Lineups

Devin Singletary (RB, BUF)

Quietly having a very productive fantasy season, Singletary’s name has stopped him from getting the fantasy attention he deserves. Sitting as the RB21 in PPR formats, he has played 70% or more of snaps in each of his last five games and scored three touchdowns in his last two. 

Compared to the rest of their defense, the Lions have been decent against the run. However, they are still allowing the third-most touchdowns per game to the position. This game script could be perfect for the young back, and he should be flexed in all formats.

 

Consider Sitting for Fantasy Football Lineups

Khalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds (WR, DET)

The math is simple here, neither option has been getting consistent enough volume to be played in a tough matchup. Of the two, I prefer Raymond since he is not coming off an injury. But I would avoid both this week.

Honorable Mentions: Isaiah McKenzie (WR, BUF)

 

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys - 4:30 pm ET

Notable Injuries:

  • N/A

 

Must-Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

Before last week when Tony Pollard took over the game, Lamb was having the breakout season we have all been waiting for. Even after the down week last game, he is still the WR7 in PPR formats.

The Giants are allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to the position and the eighth-fewest targets. Although I think this will be a divisional grind, I don’t think the Giants have anyone talented enough to keep up with Lamb. As a result, he isn’t an elite option for me this week, but still a firm WR1.

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

His name alone puts him in this section. However, despite having a horrific week against the worst run defense in the league last week, he still is a must-start. Last week was weird. I don’t think there are any excuses you can make for his poor performance; instead, you just have to brush it off as a bad game.

Unfortunately, this could continue against a Cowboys defense that is allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points and fifth-fewest touchdowns to the position. If he struggles again this week, he’ll have my attention. However, he has been so good and is so integral to this offense that he is a must-start regardless of matchup.

 

Solid Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

I know the must-start section seemed a little small for a matchup with so many fantasy pieces, but I really think this will be a tight divisional defensive matchup. Dak Prescott has been on an absolute heater the last few weeks with 19 or more fantasy points in each of his last three games. 

The Giants are allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position and the seventh-fewest passing touchdowns per game. However, despite limiting QB production, the Giants have the fewest interceptions per game. Overall, Prescott is a low-end QB1 and I’d play him over Kirk Cousins and Daniel Jones on Thursday.

Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

Both backs are coming off of a two-touchdown performance from last week. However, Zeke was notably on a snap count coming off of injury but still dominated the goal-line touches. Pollard, on the other hand, has been too good to bench in fantasy. Regardless of Zeke’s involvement, Pollard has the explosive ability to make any play a house call. 

The weakest part of the Giants' defense is against the run. They are allowing the fifth-most rushing yards per game to the RB position and the 10th-most TDs per game. However, they are allowing the fewest receptions per game to the RB position, which is why I have both backs side by side this week. I am going to go against the grain and say I’d start Zeke over Pollard this week, but both are RB2s in this matchup. In fact, I’ll put my money where my mouth is and make Zeke my Pumpkin Pie Shop* call for this matchup.

*Pie Shop: An Australian term (often used in Rugby League) to describe who will score a Try (or in this case touchdown) this week. (Season Calls: 5-6)

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

If you’ve been following my work for a while now, you might know I am one of the few Daniel Jones believers in fantasy football. Partly this is because the injury to Trey Lance has forced me to play him every week in my dynasty, but he has also been very functional all season. Seriously, he is the QB10 this season and I think he has secured the starting job for at least another year.

Despite doubling his interception total last week, he is coming off his second-best fantasy performance of the season. This week, he faces a Cowboys team that is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points, and fewest passing yards to the position. Yikes. The only good news about this matchup is that they are allowing the 10th-most rushing yards to the position and Jones had 80 rushing yards in their first meeting. I know this is a hot take, but even in this matchup, I think he is a mid-tier QB2 for this week.

 

Flex Considerations for Fantasy Football Lineups

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

I know you won’t play him in your flex spot, but I felt like he is less enticing than my solid starts. Since returning from injury, Schultz has five or more targets in each of the last four games. The Giants are middle of the pack against fantasy TEs; however, his involvement makes him a fine TE player this week.

 

Consider Sitting for Fantasy Football Lineups

Kenny Golladay 😂 (WR, NYG)

I know I don’t need a paragraph to tell you not to play Golladay, but I wanted to break down how bad he has been. The WR157 comes in with 7.1 fantasy points on the season. With a 40% catch rate and 51 yards, he finds himself in elite company between Colts WR Mike Strachan and Tennessee’s Cody Hollister. Lol.

Darius Slayton (WR, NYG)

I really wanted to talk about Wan'Dale Robinson’s breakout game last week; however, his injury makes Slayton the last man standing on this receiving core. Slayton has impressively had nine or more fantasy points in each of his last four games and has two touchdowns in that stretch. However, there is no other option for Trevon Diggs to shadow this week, putting him at the wrong end of a lopsided matchup.

Michael Gallup (WR, DAL)

I was really excited for Gallup to return from injury. However, he has been mediocre at best. With five or six fantasy points in each of his last three games, and in a tough matchup, he doesn’t possess the upside I want at the WR position. I’d rather take a shot at Slayton just for the chance he breaks a long play.

Honorable Mention: Noah Brown (WR, DAL)

 

New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings - 8:20 pm ET

Notable Injuries:

  • N/A

 

Must-Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Despite Stefon Diggs outperforming him in fantasy, I think we can all agree that Jefferson belongs in the discussion with Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, and Diggs for the best WR in the league. As a Bengals fan, it pains me not to put Ja’Marr Chase on that list, but I guess he has to at least be on the field for that.

Anyways, this team is coming off a down-right embarrassing loss to the Cowboys last week. I don’t care that Jefferson is coming off his second-worst performance of the season, nor the fact that the Patriots are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to the position. How do you fix an abysmal performance last week? You target your best option. Although I don’t think he has a top-three upside in this matchup, he is clearly a WR1 for Week 12.

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, NEP)

Stevenson hasn’t had fewer than 10 fantasy points since Week 2. That is absolutely bananas. Coming in as the RB9 in PPR formats, he is a must-start every week. 

The Vikings are allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to the position, despite allowing the eighth-fewest rushing yards to RBs. This is predominantly because they are allowing a TD a game to the position and the sixth-most receiving yards. Considering Stevenson is the receiving back, he has a great floor and TD upside in this matchup. In fact, I’m calling for the Pumpkin Pie Shop* to be open for the young back.

*Pie Shop: An Australian term (often used in Rugby League) to describe who will score a Try (or in this case touchdown) this week. (Season Calls: 5-6)

 

Solid Starts for Fantasy Football Lineups

T.J. Hockenson (TE, MIN)

Since joining the Vikings, Hockenson has been very involved. I’m talking he has nine or more targets in three straight games. Unless your name is Travis Kelce, that is unheard of usage. Plus, the Patriots are allowing the eighth most fantasy points to the TE position. Hockenson is in line for a big game if these targets continue, which they should this week against a Patriots team allowing the third-fewest rushing yards per game over the last three weeks.

 

Flex Considerations for Fantasy Football Lineups

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

It’s weird seeing Cook as a flex option, but I am worried about him this week. Despite being the RB12 on the season, Cook is in for a tough day against a Patriots team allowing the fewest fantasy points to the position. Considering Mattison always manages to have some touches, the 14.2 fantasy points per game allowed by the Patriots is not enough to split. You have to play Cook, as his usage and big play ability can’t be ignored. However, I have him more as an RB2 this week than his usual RB1 status. 

Jakobi Meyers (WR, NEP)

The only fantasy-relevant receiving option on this Patriots team has had six or more targets in every game but two this season. Plus with 40 or more yards in each of his last three games, he has a solid floor in PPR formats. The Vikings are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to the position, making Meyers a solid play in Week 12.

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)

Despite being known for being the opposite of Meyers for his entire career (touchdown ability), he has been very similar to Meyers this season. With seven or more targets in every game but two this year, Thielen is receiving enough usage to be an every-week flex/WR3 play. His biggest issue has been his lack of touchdowns; however, his targets and yards give him a safe enough floor to be flexed almost every week.

 

Consider Sitting for Fantasy Football Lineups

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Just when Cousins was receiving respect for taking down Buffalo, he puts up arguably the worst performance of the season against the Cowboys. Now he gets a primetime game against a disciplined Patriots team, which might be the scariest combination for fantasy managers. The Patriots are allowing the 12th-fewest fantasy points to the position, and are tied for the third most interceptions per game. This is not a great situation for Cousins, and I would be looking to find a streaming replacement for this week.

Mac Jones (QB, NEP)

If your league gives a premium for mediocrity, Mac Jones would be a must-start. One of the least exciting players in the NFL fits perfectly with one of the least exciting NFL offenses. Seriously though, if having between eight and 15 fantasy points per game isn’t the definition of mediocre, I don’t know what is. I would play anyone over Jones this week, even though he faces a Vikings team allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to the position. 

Damien Harris (RB, NEP)

Ever since he went down to injury and Stevenson took over, Harris has been a headache for fantasy managers. Surprisingly, his 47% of snaps last week was his highest on the season. Although this shows some optimism for his future production, I wouldn’t risk playing him until we see some sort of fantasy production. 

Honorable Mention: K.J. Osborn (WR, MIN)

 

Ellis’ Picks

Season: Spread (3-8), Over/Under (4-7)

Career Thursday Night record: Spread (25-22), Over/Under (25-22)

Lions +10.0, Over 54.4

The Lions always seem to stay in games and are coming off a three-game win streak. The Bills, on the other hand, have dominated inferior opponents all season. However, I like where this spread is and don’t expect Dan Campbell and his warriors to go quietly into the night. 

Giants +10.5, Under 45.5

I said it all matchup, I think this is a low-scoring grind of a game. As a result, I knew I was picking the under regardless of where it was set. As for the Giants, nine points is too much for a 7-3 team in a low-scoring affair. Give me the Giants spread and the Under.

Vikings -3.0, Under 42.5

It’s tough picking a team whose only touchdown came on a last-second punt return last week, even against primetime Kirk Cousins and a floundering Vikings team. I expect this game to be a defensive stand, with two teams who have an abundance of talent on defense and strong run games. As a result, I expect the home team to pull ahead and keep their opposition at arm's length, with a definite Under selection to end this Thanksgiving slate.

Thank you for sticking with my Thanksgiving breakdown. I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend, and I’ll see you next week!



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