TNF Preview, Week 12

Origin and Traditions of Thanksgiving Day | Hotel Playa Mazatlan

Happy Thanksgiving! This is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s a time for family, food and, of course, football. That gives us plenty to be thankful for, especially given that we have three NFL games on tap today. For these six teams, however, there wasn’t a lot to be thankful about after Week 11. All six teams playing today lost last week and for four of them it was a blow to their post-season aspirations. Three of them are hoping to feel more thankful by the end of today after claiming some Turkey Day wins. Let’s dive into this year’s Thanksgiving Slate!

Chicago Bears (3-7) at Detroit Lions (0-9-1)

The Bears lost 16-13 to Ravens’ backup Tyler Huntley. The Lions, meanwhile, have yet to taste victory in 2021 with new coach Dan Campbell. While Campbell is in a re-build and likely in it for the long haul, rumors have swirled this week that Bears’ coach Matt Nagy will be fired after this game. So, there’s plenty of added intrigue here. Add to that the questions surrounding starting quarterbacks. For Detroit, Jared Goff missed Week 11 and Tim Boyle filled in. Goff looks to be back to start his first Thanksgiving Day game as the home team quarterback in Detroit. For the Bears, Justin Fields started but was knocked out. He’s out Thursday, meaning it’s a return to veteran Andy Dalton!

In terms of fantasy, it’s not that complicated. For the Lions, I’m starting running back D’Andre Swift and tight end T.J. Hockenson. That’s it. For the Bears, running back David Montgomery is a start. Wide receiver Allen Robinson missed Week 11 and isn’t looking good for Week 12. If he does play, I’d put him and Darnell Mooney in a lineup with Dalton back out there. I’m less bullish on tight end Cole Kmet, who is a mid-tier TE2 for me.

Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) at Dallas Cowboys (7-3)

The Raiders were once atop the AFC West. After a three-game losing streak, the Raiders now sit at 5-5, tied with the Broncos in the division’s cellar. The team’s hopes for the playoffs are quickly fading. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are still comfortably atop the NFC East but they have higher aspirations. Those aspirations have taken a blow as the team’s lost two of their last three games, including a smack down at the hands of the Broncos and a loss in Kansas City last week. The Cowboys will be without Amari Cooper, who is on the COVID list, and could be without CeeDee Lamb as well as he tries to recover from a concussion. The Raiders, meanwhile, have been short-handed for a while as off-field incidents led to the loss of Coach Jon Gruden, receiver Henry Ruggs and cornerback Damon Arnette.

In terms of fantasy, I like Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr as a decent option in Week 12. The Raiders will be pressing, and this could be one of the better games of Turkey Day. In the backfield, Josh Jacobs is a start. In the receiving group, tight end Darren Waller is one of the game’s best and should be in your lineup. Among receivers, Bryan Edwards hasn’t been consistent enough so the only consideration for me is Hunter Renfrow as a flex play.

For the Cowboys, Dak Prescott is a QB1 despite last week’s struggles. The Cowboys typically thrive at home on Thanksgiving. I also like running back Ezekiel Elliott as a start. Among receivers, if Lamb is cleared, I’m playing him. If not, I like Michael Gallup as a WR2 and tight end Dalton Schultz as a Top 12 option. If Lamb misses, wide receiver Cedric Wilson could be a decent deep league flex play.

Buffalo Bills (6-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-5)

This is a tale of two teams going in the wrong direction. The Bills were a trendy playoff pick and even a Super Bowl pick pre-season. After 11 weeks, they sit behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East. That’s not an incredibly promising sign. The Bills were decimated by the Colts last week and need to pick up the pieces, not easy to do on a short week. The Saints, meanwhile, were once 5-2, coming off a huge win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the team lost Jameis Winston for the season and haven’t been the same with Trevor Siemian at the helm. Siemian hasn’t been terrible, but the Saints have lost three straight and are quickly fading from the playoff race.

For fantasy, Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen is a Top 12 play. He’s had turnover issues of late but I’m still playing him and hoping for a good game. In the backfield, there hasn’t been a reliable option. I’d prefer to stay away completely, especially against a good defensive front, but if you need to start one I’d still lean Zack Moss. In the passing game, I like wide receiver Stefon Diggs and tight end Dawson Knox as decent starts. Wide receivers Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders are flex play options though it’s hard to be incredibly confident given the matchup.

For the Saints, Alvin Kamara is out and Mark Ingram is questionable. If Ingram has low-end RB2 appeal if he suits up. The passing game has been a total toss up and you probably have better options. But, if pressed, I still like Marquez Callaway the best as a deep league flex option.

Week 12 Picks

I fared better in Week 12, as did Lindsay, but we’re still not where we once were. It’s a matter of calling the right upsets! Let’s see if we can nail that this Thanksgiving Week.

Matt’s Picks:
Bears Over Lions
Cowboys Over Raiders
Bills Over Saints
Bengals Over Steelers
Buccaneers Over Colts
Dolphins Over Panthers
Patriots Over Titans
Eagles Over Giants
Falcons Over Jaguars
Texans Over Jets
Chargers Over Broncos
Rams Over Packers
49ers Over Vikings
Ravens Over Browns
Washington Over Seahawks

Last Week: 9-6
Season: 100-64

Lindsay’s Picks:
Bears Over Lions
Raiders Over Cowboys
Bills Over Saints
Steelers Over Bengals
Buccaneers Over Colts
Dolphins Over Panthers
Titans Over Patriots
Eagles Over Giants
Falcons Over Jaguars
Jets Over Texans
Chargers Over Broncos
Packers Over Rams
Vikings Over 49ers
Ravens Over Browns
Washington Over Seattle

Last Week: 8-7
Season: 96-68

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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