It is that time for the absolute BEST holiday of the year. Forget Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, 4/20 and National Cinnamon Roll Day, Thanksgiving is the lock for best overall holiday.
It’s the day we get to stuff our faces with stuffing, yams, 3 different potato dishes, rolls, gravy, turkey and dessert (except pumpkin pie for me). All the while, we get NFL football, time with the family and leftover turkey sandwiches for days.
I don’t care what any naysayer has to come at me about Thanksgiving (which I celebrate purely for the food, family and football, not for its history), it’s the Jesus Christ of holidays (ironically enough).It’s untouchable.
Speaking of football, we have 3 games to digest and a ton of large-field, large-pot tournaments we want to get action in.
The three games for us to enjoy on Thanksgiving are Minnesota at Detroit, Chargers at Cowboys and the pathetic Giants at the Redskins).
In my opinion, this slate hinges on one player and one player only – Tyron Smith. The stud starting left tackle for the Cowboys has been out the past two games and without Zeke, too, Dallas has been atrocious. The Cowboy’s hope for playoffs with Zeke teeters on a tight rope and Tyron Smith is the only hope, a la Obi Wan Kenobi, the Cowboys’ have to maintain pace with the NFC Wild Card picture. In the two games without Smith, Dak has absorbed 12 sacks. TWELVE! The Chargers are another team that can posterize opposing quarterbacks, recording 30 for the season. Smith has practiced this week and news seems to be leaning that he will play.
If he doesn’t play, I can’t help but revert to stacking the chargers, fading the Boys’ and hoping my other plays pan out.
If he does play, the Chargers aren’t a team that scares me. Yes, they put up a ton of points on Buffalo last week, but they play too many close games and lose a lot of them. Tyron Smith protecting Dak’s blindside is going to make Dak comfortable and he can do what Dak does. Dak then becomes an interesting tournament play. I am sure he will garner ownership, but he might be lower owned than he should be.
Anyway, there’s a lot of angles at play for this Thanksgiving slate, including Jordan Reed and Sterling Shepard, who likely won’t play. If both of them do suit up, they are really awesome plays at their position.
So who the hell do we feel comfortable with this week?
Melvin Gordon looks like an obvious play, but he is Melvin Gordon and his volume exceeds his talent. But Dallas has been gashed by RBs without Sean Lee quarterbacking the defense this season, so Gordon and Eckler will be on my radar a lot this week.
I’ve been chasing Dez all year I feel like and his matchup absolutely sucks Thursday against lockdown shadow corner Casey Heyward. But that does mean things open up in other spots.
So before you get my official picks, which will be RB and WR only, here are the guys you play at QB and TE because the options are limited.
- Kirk Cousins
- Philip Rivers
- Dak Prescott
- Eli Manning
- Case Keenum
- Matthew Stafford
- Vernon Davis (If Jordan Reed sits)
- Evan Engram
- Travis Rudolph
I think an interesting to play this slate is to completely fade the first game, Detroit and Minnesota. This game was 14-7 the first time these two teams got together and that was with Sam Bradford at QB for Minny. You can hope this game doesn’t go too crazy and soak up all the points scored in the last two games. Detroit and Minny have the top 2 defenses on the slate with the Redskins and Chargers a close 3 and 4 while the Cowboys and Giants are at the bottom, though the Cowboys can be a little sneaky due to their ability to sack the quarterback and create a few turnovers here and there.
Anyway, hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving and that your day can be improved by a big day of DFS! Good luck! Oh, and this Thanksgiving edition of the Index is completely free. Happy Turkey Day!
Analysis: Before there was Joe Mixon, there was Samaje Perine in college football. He was awesome and he broke the single-game record for rushing yards in a game against my Texas Tech Red Raiders. Now he’s the de facto No. 1 running back in Washington after Chris Thompson broke his fibula. He had a great outing against New Orleans after the Thompson injury. I am not sure what I think about ownership for this guy, but I hope it’s spread out considering his price with the rest of the RBs to choose from outside of Gordon. So why else is he a great play? Because it’s the Giants defense and Perine is a home favorite. There’s plenty of reason to believe Washington can smash and get Perine in scoring position. The Giants have allowed six 100-yard rushers and I am still convinced this team is going to buckle at the first sign of distress.
Analysis: If Tyron Smith is in, Morris might be my favorite play of the week. Hell, he might be my favorite play anyway. I don’t think a ton of people will flock to him considering how bad the Cowboys have been without Zeke and Smith. But truthfully, Morris has produced quite well and maybe, just maybe the Cowboys will keep it close and be able to keep running Morris like they do with Zeke. In the two games without Zeke, Morris has averaged 4.8 and 5.4 yards per carry and has 144 rushing yards on 28 carries. Morris gets his best matchup to date against the Chargers who have allowed 100 yards rushing or more in 7 of 10 games this season and 5 rushing touchdowns. The only drawback is the lack of usage in the passing game, but I can’t overlook that Morris is very more than capable of producing 100 yards and a score in this game, especially considering the Chargers’ ability to contain passing attacks.
Analysis: I am pretty upset still that I didn’t use Keenan Allen all that much last week against Buffalo and that really cost me. He was way too cheap against a dilapidated defense. Despite the pass-catching options on this team (Tyrell Williams, Mike WIlliams, Travis Benjamin, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates), Allen is the No. 1 receiver and slot guys kill the Cowboys week in and week out. He’s a high-volume guy who can make shifty moves to gain yards after the catch. Now, he blew up last week, so there’s a chance we could be chasing, but he genuinely has an optimal matchup against Dallas who ranks 6th overall in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. I really think Allen is the safe play you can pay up for, but I like Tyrell Williams as a sneaky play at his dirt cheap price.
Analysis: Now should Jordan Reed suit up, I might have to rethink this play, but for right now, let’s assume he’s not. That leaves Crowder, Vernon Davis and Josh Doctson as the primary pass catchers on this team. Ryan Grant is an ancillary option. Chris Thompson is now out, so that frees up even more potential targets for this pass-catching core. I love Doctson, but it’s Crowder who will be a main part of my teams this week. He’s received target totals of 13, 11 and 8 the past three weeks. The Giants have given up 6 TDs to wide receivers in their past 4 games. Crowder is without a touchdown this year, still. I think I am going to make the call that he is far overdue for a score. Crowder is tied for second on the team in red zone targets with 7, so he’s getting the looks at times. He’s gotta score at some point, doesn’t he?