Welcome to your Start/Sit for Week 13’s Thanksgiving Thursday!
Welcome to your Week 13 Thanksgiving Day preview! Every year, I look forward to this slate of games. Getting three games on a Thursday, being surrounded by family, and a delicious buffet of food is really all you can ask for. Following a weekend full of crazy upsets and bow-out wins, we’re looking at a defensive slug-fest dead in the face. Several defensive powerhouses get to duke it out on your family TV, so let’s break down these games and see who is worthy of seeing not only the field, but your fantasy roster
As always, here’s my master key to better give you a sense of how I break these players down:
Start: These are players who have an enticing matchup, and could prove a massive asset to your fantasy team due to a vulnerability by an opposing defense or a breakout performance.
Flex Start: Players in a flex position are also usually controlled by a game script, but this opportunity benefits them (such as a WR2 receiving less attention than the WR1, thus increasing odds for a good performance).
Sit: Players in this category have a poor matchup and could be rendered completely useless by game script or a digression in opportunities.
Sleeper: For players that fly under the radar, the sleepers are potential breakouts for this particular matchup. Players that are not considered as big of a threat but have an increase in things such as targets or snap counts are ideal for this category. They could surprise you for the week with a big game.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions – 11:30 AM CT
Start: Allen Robinson II (WR)
Allen had his first great performance since Week 7’s matchup with New Orleans, and it’s about time. His okay game the last time these two teams met signals a return to WR2 numbers, and I expect him to outperform his previous outing. The WR No. 6 on the week should see stable WR2 numbers for this game.
Flex Start: Tarik Cohen (RB), David Montgomery (RB)
These two are floating around flex territory. The lack of production from Montgomery the last time these two teams met (17 for 60) and his finish that week (RB #36) relegate Montgomery from a workhorse to a more Carlos Hyde touchdown-dependent kind of back. Tarik should see looks as a check down option, as Tarik did alright last time (3 rush for 14 yards, 4 rec for 23 yards and 1 TD). Find other flex before settling on either of these guys.
Sit: Mitchell Trubisky (QB), Anthony Miller (WR), Taylor Gabriel (WR)
Despite a couple of okay performances recently, Trubisky is too hard to trust, given his inconsistency and overall stench. I didn’t even write about him last week. Miller and Gabriel also suffer from a lack of QB play, so don’t be afraid of benching them this week (and every week).
Flex Start: Kenny Golladay (WR), Marvin Jones Jr. (WR)`
While these two are top talents, Driskel is still a downgrade from Stafford (Editor’s note: David Blough is not expected to be much better than Driskel). That means a negative game script (i.e. a team allowing the 5th-fewest points to wide receivers) makes them even harder to trust. Flex one or the other, but not both.
Sit: Jeff Driskel (QB), T.J. Hockenson (TE), Danny Amendola (WR), Bo Scarborough (RB), Ty Johnson (RB), J.D. McKissic (RB)
A Top-5 defense against a tanking Detroit team with a backup quarterback is no place to find bountiful fantasy points. Winter is coming, and so is a benching for all of these guys.
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys – 3:30 PM CT
Start: Josh Allen (QB), John Brown (WR)
This pair is inseparable, and so are the fantasy points attached to them. Brown’s vertical superiority has been been realized by McDermott’s offense. I doubt anyone in the Cowboys secondary could catch him if he managed to get free downfield. I have Allen as a QB1 and Brown as a solid WR2 for this week.
Flex Start: Devin Singletary (RB)
Singletary faces a middle of the pack Cowboys rush defense this week. Even without Leighton Vander Esch, they may still be fairly imposing. Singletary is more of a flex option this week, but I’m not ruling out goal line work for him.
Sit: Cole Beasley (WR), Frank Gore (RB), Dawson Knox (TE)
A tough game requires leaning on the strongest assets. Bench these lesser options this week (sorry Beasley).
Must Start: Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
Zeke is a lot harder to game script out of a match than originally thought. He’s back in the high-end RB2 graces of fantasy owners everywhere. Hopefully the rest of this season gives him a chance to improve on his former RB1 status.
Flex Start: Amari Cooper (WR), Michael Gallup (WR)
This is a hard matchup to trust either of these guys in. Micah Hyde and Tre’Davious White do not make life in easy in the secondary, so I’m expecting flex numbers from both of these guys (more so Gallup). Cooper has some upside as a WR2, but this is a tough matchup for them. Luckily, they’re at home.
Sit: Dak Prescott (QB), Jason Witten (TE), Randall Cobb (WR)
Man, I was sooooo close to being right about benching Dak last week. I should’ve just gone with my gut on it. Regardless, I’m going with it this week. The Bills have allowed the 2nd-fewest passing touchdowns (7) and the 2nd-fewest points to the QB position (11.9 ppg). Sit all these guys in what I predict to be a defensive game.
Sleeper: Tony Pollard (RB)
Sure, why not. He’s been a nice change-of-pace tailback that’s been pretty useful for the Cowboys, albeit not so much for fantasy. While I’m sure the focus will be on starving Zeke, Pollard could just as easily find his way into the end zone this week.
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons – 7:20 PM CT
Must Start: Michael Thomas (WR), Alvin Kamara (WR)
The top offensive weapons in New Orleans are to stay in your lineup this week. Enjoy!
Start: Drew Brees (QB)
While the future HOF’r posted pedestrian marks against this Atlanta team the last time they met, I don’t see that happening twice. Brees is too good and this defense has been beaten through the air already too many time for Brees to be a sit option. He’s a QB1.
Flex Start: Jared Cook (TE)
Cook’s been on a tear the past 5 games, and I really don’t see him slowing down. Atlanta is pretty mediocre against tight ends (16th….or 17th in either direction…the point is they’re middle of the pack).
Sit: Ted Ginn Jr. (WR), Latavius Murray (RB)
Less used option aren’t ideal for this one. Bench these guys.
Start: Julio Jones (WR)
It is iffy if Jones is available. He didn’t participate in practice Tuesday (shoulder), making him questionable for the game. With such a short week, he may not be ready in time. Keep an eye on his availability leading up to kickoff.
Flex Start: Calvin Ridley (WR), Devonta Freeman (RB), Austin Hooper (TE)
Play Hooper if he’s in, and don’t worry about him or Jaeden Graham if he’s out. Freeman was a full participant in practice on Tuesday, signaling a return to action for the running back. Ridley is also an okay option this week, and definitely gets a bump up if Julio misses the game (the Saints are top half in points allowed to wideouts)
Sit: Russell Gage (WR), Brian Hill (RB), Qadree Ollison (RB)
Bump Gage and Allison up to a flex if Jones and Freeman are out. Ignore these guys if they’re in.
Zach Hargis is a writer for Dynasty Football Digest. He enjoys playing the drums, doing voice impressions, and quoting The Office. If any of those things interest you, he welcomes you to follow him on Twitter @ZachFFDrummer and to check out his personal interests on Instagram @zakktastic.