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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Thanksgiving Edition

A Thanksgiving-themed starts and sits manual for your fantasy football team.
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Thanksgiving Fantasy Football

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Turkey day is finally here and so is the tradition of watching the Cowboys and Lions lose play a football game! This year the scheduled games are rough on the eyes, especially now with the Ravens/Steelers postponement. However, since we must go on, here are some starts and sits for your fantasy football team. In this Thanksgiving edition of the starts and sits, we're looking specifically at the two games on Thursday.

Houston at Detroit

After Detroit was shutout by the Carolina Panthers and the Texans surprised everyone in a victory over the Patriots in Week 11, my feelings toward this game have changed. Originally, I expected the Lions to win this game easily. Now, however, I feel that this is more of a toss-up. It's a Thanksgiving fantasy football-themed week; let's dive in.


Start Deshaun Watson - Anyone not starting Deshaun Watson at this point isn't paying attention. He consistently throws for over 250 yards. He's managed over 300 yards five times this year, including 344 through the air last week against New England. Detroit's defense has only held an opponent to fewer than 300 yards once this season, Week 6 against Jacksonville. so Watson should have a field day against this team.

Sit Matthew Stafford - As of Wednesday the 25th, Matthew Stafford doesn't have any injury designation and is going to play. Houston's defense has allowed over 280 passing yards in five of their last six games. They aren't that good this season. However, Stafford will be without Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola due to injuries. I don't trust his veteran status enough to play him this week.

Running Backs

Start Duke Johnson - With David Johnson still sidelined with injuries (Déjà vu?), Duke is a must-start. His connection with Watson and the RB1 reps are obvious reasons to start him. He's been relevant in fantasy football before and he's relevant now more than ever.

Start D'Andre Swift - He is still in the middle of clearing the NFL's concussion protocol, but if he suits up, this is a must-start. The Texans' defense has only held opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards three times this year.

Start Adrian Peterson - Even if Swift is a full participant in this game, I still expect Peterson to log enough carries to be worthy of a start. If anything happens to Swift mid-game, Peterson will be the next man up over Kerryon Johnson.

Wide Receivers

Start Keke Couteeand Brandin Cooks - Everyone who has Will Fuller is obviously starting him, so I'm going to avoid the redundant here. Kenny Stills has been ruled out for this game against Detroit. Randall Cobb was placed on IR and will miss three weeks at a minimum. The only other receivers the Texans have are Fuller, Brandin Cooks, and Keke Coutee.

Last week against New England, one of Coutee's two receptions was a touchdown. There's nothing that leads me to think he'll suffer from the other receivers being out. Cooks is an inconsistent reception machine. He's had 17 or more fantasy points three times this year. He's also posted nine points or fewer four times this year.

Start Marvin Jones Jr., Marvin Hall, and Jamal Agnew - With Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola out, all three of these receivers should see an uptick in usage. The only issue here is the health of quarterback Matthew Stafford. If I had other options available, then I would look elsewhere. But if you're wearing thin 12 weeks into the NFL season and riddled with injuries or COVID-19 issues, then start these men with certainty.

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Sit Mohamed Sanu Sr. - His familiar name might be enough to entice you into streaming him, but I assure you he isn't worth it. It's a short week for Thanksgiving fantasy football and the Lions just activated him from their practice squad. Sanu has yet to build any kind of relationship with the offense. His usage will be purely based on giving the other receivers rest mid-game barring any injury.

Washington at Dallas

The second game on the Thanksgiving slate is a little easier to dissect. At quarterback, it's clear that Andy Dalton is worth the start if you have no better option. However, Washington's defense is still capable of high-sack output and that limits my trust in him.

While Dalton takes the reigns for the Cowboys offense again, Alex Smith will make another start for the Washington Football Team and he is worth starting against this pitiful Dallas defense. He's had two games with over 300 passing yards in the three he's started.

Running Backs

Start Ezekiel Elliott and Antonio Gibson - Both players are the RB1 for their respective teams and that shouldn't change this week. Would it be a Thanksgiving fantasy football starts and sits without a Dallas Cowboys running back? Of course not.

Start Tony Pollard - He has logged six consecutive games with five or more rushing attempts and had 30 or more rushing yards in five of those games.

Tony Pollard Fantasy Football

Photo: Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports

In need of a spot start this week or a flex spot? Look no further than Tony Pollard who has made the most out of the chances he's been given.

Wide Receivers

Start the Dallas Big 3 - Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are the biggest threats through the air for Dallas. They can be started with confidence while Michael Gallup should be used as a flex. If you have other options, I'd avoid Gallup entirely but there's no denying he could break out at any point.

Start Terry McLaurin and Steven Sims Jr. - If McLaurin is healthy enough to play, which it looks like he is, he will be Smith's number one target through the air. Likewise, having Steven Sims back in the mix will only help his production as opposing defenders will have to worry about them both. Sims should benefit from that as well and is worth the streaming start this week.

Sit Cedrick Wilson - Don't even pick him up and if you already did, bench him now. He has done very little since Week 3 where he erupted for over 100 yards and two scores. He shouldn't even be on your mind in this game.

Sit Isaiah Wright - As I mentioned above, Steven Sims has returned to the Washington offense. This will limit the need for Wright from the beginning. He's not worth the roster spot this week.

Good luck this Thanksgiving in your fantasy football league. Stay tuned for part two of the Week 12 starts and sits where we'll take a look at the rest of the games on the slate. Happy Thanksgiving!