Fantasy Football Week 12: Thanksgiving Day Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

1 of 7

Thanksgiving Day Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

Sit em
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy football enthusiasts get a special treat tomorrow with three games on the schedule. Personally, I'm glad that there looks to be a slate of some good games, because I think Thursday night football has been horrific this season.

The first game of the day will be the Houston Texans visiting the Detroit Lions, followed by an NFC East battle between the Washington Redskins against the Dallas Cowboys. We will wrap up our thanksgiving night, most likely on the couch in a food coma; well at least I know I will be, with the New England Patriots visiting the New York Jets.

There are some big names playing on Thanksgiving day so make sure to get your lineup set in time. The season continues to move at a fast pace as we are now in week 12, which means the playoffs are right around the corner for all fantasy players. This is it for those still lingering towards a playoff spot, it's win or move along to fantasy basketball I guess.

As the season nears to an end for some teams, you will find some players emerging as fantasy worthy starters, and that's why it's so important to keep active and always keep an eye out for that next big name to come up on the wire. Some of these players could play a big role in the success you have going forward.

Sit back, relax, and here's to everyone having a great holiday with their loved ones. Football is a big tradition on Thanksgiving day, and I think we can all be grateful for that. With that being said, let's take a look at who you should start and who you should sit heading into the three Thanksgiving Day games.

2 of 7

START 'EM - Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions

Texans
Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

RB Arian Foster - The world must really be ending soon. Arian Foster failed to reach the end zone last week for the very first time this season. On top of that, he lost a fumble...the nerve on that guy, huh? The Lions rush defense actually isn't too shabby, giving up the 7th-fewest points to opposing running backs, but owners should insert Foster like they have done all season. You cannot stop this man, you can only hope to contain him, which the Lions will probably fail to do anyway.

WR Andre Johnson - Johnson exploded for 273 yards and a touchdown last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Don't expect anywhere near the same type of performance this week, but he should have no problem against a Lions secondary that have allowed triple-digit receiving yards in every game but one this season.

QB Matthew Stafford - Texans have given up the eleventh-fewest points to the quarterback position so this will be a test for Stafford. The reality, however, is that Stafford will continue to see 35-40 pass attempts a game, and should eclipse 300+ yards on Thursday. If he keeps his turnovers to a minimum, it should be a productive day for Stafford owners. Think about it....Chad Henne threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns against this same defense last week.

WR Calvin Johnson - The other Johnson, Calvin, has been on a roll lately, catching 24 balls for a massive 479 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games. It's pretty obvious that the Lions want to throw the ball and throw it often. QB Matthew Stafford will prove how thankful he his for Calvin, as he will see targets in the double-digits in this one. Start him with confidence.

TE Brandon Pettigrew - Nice sleeper pick this week if you need tight end help. The match up against the Texans is a favorable one, as only three teams in the NFL have given up more touchdowns to opposing tight ends. If the Texans secondary keys on Calvin Johnson, Pettigrew may have a field day.

TE Owen Daniels - Concern about Daniels and his injury woes should be put aside as he lined up for 60 of the 92 Texans plays last week. He has a favorable match up against the Lions who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Lions have also been burned by tight ends for three touchdowns in the past four games. Daniels should have a productive day tomorrow.

3 of 7

START 'EM - Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys

Redskins
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

QB Robert Griffin III - Griffin continues to shine in his rookie season, as he threw four touchdowns last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Not too mention, RG3 also gained 84 yards with his legs, and it's that factor that makes him such a valuable fantasy player. The Cowboys actually have given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but RG3 owners shouldn't fear this defense. Cleveland Browns QB Brandon Weeden threw the ball 35 times against this same Cowboys secondary last week, connecting for 210 passing yards and two touchdowns. Nothing against Weeden, but if he can do it, RG3 should have no problems racking up the points for his owners on turkey day.

WR Santana Moss - When you look at the depth chart for the Redskins, you start to realize that there really isn't too much to look at. Quite unpredictable to say who Griffin will look to from week to week, but the fact remains that Moss has caught four touchdowns in the last four games. He won't wow you with a boatload of receptions by any means, but he does somehow find the end zone quite often. With Pierre Garcon still hampered by a foot injury, Moss will continue to be the alpha in this weak receiving core.

QB Tony Romo - The Redskins have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and the only guy they have really slowed down this season, was Eagles QB Nick Foles who they played last week. The Cowboys offensive line is one of the worst in the league, but the Cowboys have no running game with Demarco Murray still out, and now Felix Jones hampering a knee injury. Once again, Romo will most likely be a deer in headlights for most of the game, but he will attempt enough passes to help him eclipse 300 passing yards and anything else will be icing on the cake. As long as he keeps the turnovers to a minimum, Tony should have a very productive day for his owners.

WR Dez Bryant - See above. Redskins secondary is suspect, and Dez was targeted a whopping 15 times last week. Washington currently allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. With no running game, Tony Romo will again look Bryant's way at least 12 times in this game so start him.

WR Miles Austin - Again, see above. Miles Austin was a very disappointing bust last week against the Browns. Austin has now been kept out of the end zone in four consecutive weeks which is a bit concerning since his quarterback is throwing it quite often. Time to get back on track Mr. Austin.

TE Jason Witten - Redskins one of the leagues worst at stopping tight ends, as their opponents are averaging double-digit performances on a weekly basis. Should be no different with one of the leagues best tight ends in Jason Witten. Even if he doesn't score, which hasn't happened since week 4, Witten still has hauled in no less than six balls in every game since week 3.

4 of 7

START 'EM - New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

Pats
Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

QB Tom Brady - Don't think I have to talk anyone into starting Tom Brady, right? Week 7 against the Jets, Brady threw the ball 42 times for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Jets have given up four touchdowns the past two weeks to the likes of Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford. Need I say more?

RB Stevan Ridley - Jets have allowed 100+ rushing yards in four consecutive weeks....matter of fact, there's only two teams they have held to under 100 rushing yards, and that's the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's ten total games, eight of them allowing 100+ on the ground, folks. And the Colts and Steelers have horrible backfields by the way, so Ridley should keep on trucking in this spot.

WR Julian Edelman - Sleeper of the week is right here people. Edelman showed some flashes of potential last week, catching 5 balls for 58 yards and a touchdown, and he was a factor on special teams as a returner. Now that TE Rob Gronkowski is out, Brady must find a substitute, and don't get me wrong, if Aaron Hernandez plays, he will most likely benefit the most out of the situation I just sense Edelman takes advantage of the boost in offensive snaps and finds the end zone again this week. Keep an eye on him.

WR Jeremy Kerley - Kerley has not had a good game since week 7 against this same Patriots team. If you have held onto Kerley, even though you probably shouldn't, he could possibly repeat his 7 reception, 120 yard game he had a few weeks ago. If the Jets fall behind, they will have to throw the ball down the field at some point. Mark Sanchez can't be trusted, but hey, every now and then a squirrel must find a nut. The Patriots pass defense is one of the worst in the league so Kerley will certainly have opportunities.

TE Dustin Keller - You might be looking at the most productive Jet of the day. If Kerley doesn't show up, Keller will be targeted by Sanchez often. Dustin didn't even play a game until week 6 this season, but in week 7 he faced this same Patriots team, and tore them up for 93 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown. Doesn't always happen, but history just might repeat itself tomorrow.

WR Wes Welker / TE Aaron Hernandez - Both questionable but they should play. If so, start them as you normally would. Especially with the injury to Rob Gronkowski, Brady has to find someone else to target and these should be two of them.

5 of 7

SIT 'EM - Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions

Sit em
Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

QB Matt Schaub - Coming off the second greatest NFL performance, in terms of yardage, Schaub owners might be in for a heap of disappointment tomorrow. In case you are living under a rock, Schaub threw for 527 yards and five touchdowns last week against the Jaguars. I had to pinch myself, I thought I somehow got warped back to 2009 when Schaub and WR Andre Johnson used to put up those numbers with ease. But it's not 2009, it's 2012 and the Texans run a system that runs through Arian Foster first. The Texans had to play catch up against the Jaguars as 15-point home favorites, but I don't think their defense will allow that to happen again this week against the Lions. Schaub owners, week 11 must have been fun, but let's not get carried away now.

RB Mikel Leshoure - Seems like it was so long ago when Leshoure rushed for three touchdowns against the Jaguars and everyone you knew were scrambling to acquire him via the wire. It was only three weeks ago, but it's clear Leshoure will forever remain a modest fantasy running back playing for the Lions. They are a pass-first offense, and he's not a very good receiving back, which hurts his value. Texans rush defense is as tough as it comes, surrendering the second-fewest points in the league to opposing RBs. Look elsewhere.

RB Ben Tate - There's a small possibility Tate may play this game so I had to add him on the list because he's actually owned by roughly 65% of leagues despite not playing in nearly five weeks. I don't care how bad your situation is, don't you dare bother with him this week.

6 of 7

SIT 'EM - Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys

Sit em
Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

RB Alfred Morris - Alfred Morris was such a hot commodity in the early stages of the season. Since then, Morris has been on a slippery slope, failing to reach the end zone in four consecutive games. The Cowboys are pretty solid up front, and have given up the 12th-fewest points to opposing running backs this season. It's intriguing to see Morris get 20 carries and play on nine of the Redskins' eleven third downs last week, but he's just not a viable receiving back. Doesn't help when your quarterback is also capable of rushing duties, so not sure Morris can be trusted this week if Washington falls behind.

WR Pierre Garcon - Give the man props for trying to man up and play last week, but it's obvious he's not 100 percent at the moment. He caught three balls for a measly five yards last week, and has been a limited participant in practice this week. Even if he goes, leave him alone.

RB Felix Jones - Felix has actually been pretty solid these past three weeks, but he is nursing a knee injury. He did not practice Monday or Tuesday, but the Cowboys are razor thin at the RB position at the moment so he should go. Redskins D is vulernable through the air, but they are much better against the run, giving up the seventh-fewest points to opposing running backs. Pass.

7 of 7

SIT 'EM - New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

sit em
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

QB Mark Sanchez - Don't think I really have to explain myself here. Let's save the internet some extra space, why waste it?

WR Stephen Hill - Again....why waste space?

RB Shonn Greene - Could possibly score, but he' s a major concern right now as he's not seeing the workload he once was. Greene has carried the ball 18 times or less in four consecutive games. Greene's counter-part, Bilal Powell has emerged as the number 2 back and has taken some carries and touchdowns away from Shonn as of late. Matter of fact, Powell saw 28 snaps versus 26 for Greene last week. Uh oh.

WR Brandon Lloyd - Saw his playing time get reduced just a tad last week with the emergence of Julian Edelman, and I'm rolling with the hot hand as I stated earlier. Besides, Lloyd really has done nothing spectacular other than his week 7 performance against the Rams. Don't believe me, go check out his stat lines for this year. I'm really not impressed.

Michael J. Igyarto is a featured columnist and fantasy football expert at Rant Sports

Follow Michael on twitter: @windycityiggy

1 of 7

Thanksgiving Day Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

Sit em
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy football enthusiasts get a special treat tomorrow with three games on the schedule. Personally, I'm glad that there looks to be a slate of some good games, because I think Thursday night football has been horrific this season.

The first game of the day will be the Houston Texans visiting the Detroit Lions, followed by an NFC East battle between the Washington Redskins against the Dallas Cowboys. We will wrap up our thanksgiving night, most likely on the couch in a food coma; well at least I know I will be, with the New England Patriots visiting the New York Jets.

There are some big names playing on Thanksgiving day so make sure to get your lineup set in time. The season continues to move at a fast pace as we are now in week 12, which means the playoffs are right around the corner for all fantasy players. This is it for those still lingering towards a playoff spot, it's win or move along to fantasy basketball I guess.

As the season nears to an end for some teams, you will find some players emerging as fantasy worthy starters, and that's why it's so important to keep active and always keep an eye out for that next big name to come up on the wire. Some of these players could play a big role in the success you have going forward.

Sit back, relax, and here's to everyone having a great holiday with their loved ones. Football is a big tradition on Thanksgiving day, and I think we can all be grateful for that. With that being said, let's take a look at who you should start and who you should sit heading into the three Thanksgiving Day games.

2 of 7

START 'EM - Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions

Texans
Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

RB Arian Foster - The world must really be ending soon. Arian Foster failed to reach the end zone last week for the very first time this season. On top of that, he lost a fumble...the nerve on that guy, huh? The Lions rush defense actually isn't too shabby, giving up the 7th-fewest points to opposing running backs, but owners should insert Foster like they have done all season. You cannot stop this man, you can only hope to contain him, which the Lions will probably fail to do anyway.

WR Andre Johnson - Johnson exploded for 273 yards and a touchdown last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Don't expect anywhere near the same type of performance this week, but he should have no problem against a Lions secondary that have allowed triple-digit receiving yards in every game but one this season.

QB Matthew Stafford - Texans have given up the eleventh-fewest points to the quarterback position so this will be a test for Stafford. The reality, however, is that Stafford will continue to see 35-40 pass attempts a game, and should eclipse 300+ yards on Thursday. If he keeps his turnovers to a minimum, it should be a productive day for Stafford owners. Think about it....Chad Henne threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns against this same defense last week.

WR Calvin Johnson - The other Johnson, Calvin, has been on a roll lately, catching 24 balls for a massive 479 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games. It's pretty obvious that the Lions want to throw the ball and throw it often. QB Matthew Stafford will prove how thankful he his for Calvin, as he will see targets in the double-digits in this one. Start him with confidence.

TE Brandon Pettigrew - Nice sleeper pick this week if you need tight end help. The match up against the Texans is a favorable one, as only three teams in the NFL have given up more touchdowns to opposing tight ends. If the Texans secondary keys on Calvin Johnson, Pettigrew may have a field day.

TE Owen Daniels - Concern about Daniels and his injury woes should be put aside as he lined up for 60 of the 92 Texans plays last week. He has a favorable match up against the Lions who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Lions have also been burned by tight ends for three touchdowns in the past four games. Daniels should have a productive day tomorrow.

3 of 7

START 'EM - Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys

Redskins
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

QB Robert Griffin III - Griffin continues to shine in his rookie season, as he threw four touchdowns last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Not too mention, RG3 also gained 84 yards with his legs, and it's that factor that makes him such a valuable fantasy player. The Cowboys actually have given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but RG3 owners shouldn't fear this defense. Cleveland Browns QB Brandon Weeden threw the ball 35 times against this same Cowboys secondary last week, connecting for 210 passing yards and two touchdowns. Nothing against Weeden, but if he can do it, RG3 should have no problems racking up the points for his owners on turkey day.

WR Santana Moss - When you look at the depth chart for the Redskins, you start to realize that there really isn't too much to look at. Quite unpredictable to say who Griffin will look to from week to week, but the fact remains that Moss has caught four touchdowns in the last four games. He won't wow you with a boatload of receptions by any means, but he does somehow find the end zone quite often. With Pierre Garcon still hampered by a foot injury, Moss will continue to be the alpha in this weak receiving core.

QB Tony Romo - The Redskins have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and the only guy they have really slowed down this season, was Eagles QB Nick Foles who they played last week. The Cowboys offensive line is one of the worst in the league, but the Cowboys have no running game with Demarco Murray still out, and now Felix Jones hampering a knee injury. Once again, Romo will most likely be a deer in headlights for most of the game, but he will attempt enough passes to help him eclipse 300 passing yards and anything else will be icing on the cake. As long as he keeps the turnovers to a minimum, Tony should have a very productive day for his owners.

WR Dez Bryant - See above. Redskins secondary is suspect, and Dez was targeted a whopping 15 times last week. Washington currently allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. With no running game, Tony Romo will again look Bryant's way at least 12 times in this game so start him.

WR Miles Austin - Again, see above. Miles Austin was a very disappointing bust last week against the Browns. Austin has now been kept out of the end zone in four consecutive weeks which is a bit concerning since his quarterback is throwing it quite often. Time to get back on track Mr. Austin.

TE Jason Witten - Redskins one of the leagues worst at stopping tight ends, as their opponents are averaging double-digit performances on a weekly basis. Should be no different with one of the leagues best tight ends in Jason Witten. Even if he doesn't score, which hasn't happened since week 4, Witten still has hauled in no less than six balls in every game since week 3.

4 of 7

START 'EM - New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

Pats
Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

QB Tom Brady - Don't think I have to talk anyone into starting Tom Brady, right? Week 7 against the Jets, Brady threw the ball 42 times for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Jets have given up four touchdowns the past two weeks to the likes of Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford. Need I say more?

RB Stevan Ridley - Jets have allowed 100+ rushing yards in four consecutive weeks....matter of fact, there's only two teams they have held to under 100 rushing yards, and that's the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's ten total games, eight of them allowing 100+ on the ground, folks. And the Colts and Steelers have horrible backfields by the way, so Ridley should keep on trucking in this spot.

WR Julian Edelman - Sleeper of the week is right here people. Edelman showed some flashes of potential last week, catching 5 balls for 58 yards and a touchdown, and he was a factor on special teams as a returner. Now that TE Rob Gronkowski is out, Brady must find a substitute, and don't get me wrong, if Aaron Hernandez plays, he will most likely benefit the most out of the situation I just sense Edelman takes advantage of the boost in offensive snaps and finds the end zone again this week. Keep an eye on him.

WR Jeremy Kerley - Kerley has not had a good game since week 7 against this same Patriots team. If you have held onto Kerley, even though you probably shouldn't, he could possibly repeat his 7 reception, 120 yard game he had a few weeks ago. If the Jets fall behind, they will have to throw the ball down the field at some point. Mark Sanchez can't be trusted, but hey, every now and then a squirrel must find a nut. The Patriots pass defense is one of the worst in the league so Kerley will certainly have opportunities.

TE Dustin Keller - You might be looking at the most productive Jet of the day. If Kerley doesn't show up, Keller will be targeted by Sanchez often. Dustin didn't even play a game until week 6 this season, but in week 7 he faced this same Patriots team, and tore them up for 93 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown. Doesn't always happen, but history just might repeat itself tomorrow.

WR Wes Welker / TE Aaron Hernandez - Both questionable but they should play. If so, start them as you normally would. Especially with the injury to Rob Gronkowski, Brady has to find someone else to target and these should be two of them.

5 of 7

SIT 'EM - Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions

Sit em
Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

QB Matt Schaub - Coming off the second greatest NFL performance, in terms of yardage, Schaub owners might be in for a heap of disappointment tomorrow. In case you are living under a rock, Schaub threw for 527 yards and five touchdowns last week against the Jaguars. I had to pinch myself, I thought I somehow got warped back to 2009 when Schaub and WR Andre Johnson used to put up those numbers with ease. But it's not 2009, it's 2012 and the Texans run a system that runs through Arian Foster first. The Texans had to play catch up against the Jaguars as 15-point home favorites, but I don't think their defense will allow that to happen again this week against the Lions. Schaub owners, week 11 must have been fun, but let's not get carried away now.

RB Mikel Leshoure - Seems like it was so long ago when Leshoure rushed for three touchdowns against the Jaguars and everyone you knew were scrambling to acquire him via the wire. It was only three weeks ago, but it's clear Leshoure will forever remain a modest fantasy running back playing for the Lions. They are a pass-first offense, and he's not a very good receiving back, which hurts his value. Texans rush defense is as tough as it comes, surrendering the second-fewest points in the league to opposing RBs. Look elsewhere.

RB Ben Tate - There's a small possibility Tate may play this game so I had to add him on the list because he's actually owned by roughly 65% of leagues despite not playing in nearly five weeks. I don't care how bad your situation is, don't you dare bother with him this week.

6 of 7

SIT 'EM - Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys

Sit em
Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

RB Alfred Morris - Alfred Morris was such a hot commodity in the early stages of the season. Since then, Morris has been on a slippery slope, failing to reach the end zone in four consecutive games. The Cowboys are pretty solid up front, and have given up the 12th-fewest points to opposing running backs this season. It's intriguing to see Morris get 20 carries and play on nine of the Redskins' eleven third downs last week, but he's just not a viable receiving back. Doesn't help when your quarterback is also capable of rushing duties, so not sure Morris can be trusted this week if Washington falls behind.

WR Pierre Garcon - Give the man props for trying to man up and play last week, but it's obvious he's not 100 percent at the moment. He caught three balls for a measly five yards last week, and has been a limited participant in practice this week. Even if he goes, leave him alone.

RB Felix Jones - Felix has actually been pretty solid these past three weeks, but he is nursing a knee injury. He did not practice Monday or Tuesday, but the Cowboys are razor thin at the RB position at the moment so he should go. Redskins D is vulernable through the air, but they are much better against the run, giving up the seventh-fewest points to opposing running backs. Pass.

7 of 7

SIT 'EM - New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

sit em
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

QB Mark Sanchez - Don't think I really have to explain myself here. Let's save the internet some extra space, why waste it?

WR Stephen Hill - Again....why waste space?

RB Shonn Greene - Could possibly score, but he' s a major concern right now as he's not seeing the workload he once was. Greene has carried the ball 18 times or less in four consecutive games. Greene's counter-part, Bilal Powell has emerged as the number 2 back and has taken some carries and touchdowns away from Shonn as of late. Matter of fact, Powell saw 28 snaps versus 26 for Greene last week. Uh oh.

WR Brandon Lloyd - Saw his playing time get reduced just a tad last week with the emergence of Julian Edelman, and I'm rolling with the hot hand as I stated earlier. Besides, Lloyd really has done nothing spectacular other than his week 7 performance against the Rams. Don't believe me, go check out his stat lines for this year. I'm really not impressed.

Michael J. Igyarto is a featured columnist and fantasy football expert at Rant Sports

Follow Michael on twitter: @windycityiggy


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