In case you haven’t heard, it’s Thanksgiving week! That means there are three games on Thursday, so don’t forget to set your lineups in time for a riveting noon matchup between the Lions and the Bears. It also means you really need to start planning for the playoffs. Hopefully, my latest tweet can help a bit.
In the meantime, the spirit of Thanksgiving compels me to express my gratitude to you. You could’ve clicked on any article for fantasy advice, but no, here you are, probably wondering why I’m wasting your time. If you’re a weekly reader of my columns, thanks! And if you’re new here, don’t worry, I appreciate you, too. And if you have any more fantasy questions, hit me up on Twitter @ZachCohenFB!
Start: Cam Newton at MIA
Cam Newton is back. How back? His return to Carolina saw him score 26.2 points, which included three total touchdowns. Obviously, a big part of his fantasy relevance comes from his rushing upside. While he played well enough against Washington’s poor defense—they’ve allowed the most points to quarterbacks this season—Newton’s matchup against Miami is a bit trickier to decipher. Will this be the same defense that held Lamar Jackson to 15.4 points two weeks ago, or will it be the unit that allowed 17.9 points to Joe Flacco last week? Regardless of what version Newton faces, his usage in the run game establishes a high-enough floor where you can be comfortable starting him this week.
Other Players to Consider: Tyrod Taylor vs. MIN, Taylor Heinicke vs. SEA
Sit: Carson Wentz vs. TB
I originally had Ryan Tannehill here as he prepares to face the Patriots, who have allowed the second-fewest points of quarterbacks this season. However, further research revealed New England hasn’t faced too many good quarterbacks. And as good as their defense has been, the Curse of the Hot AFC Team makes my stomach churn. Call it a gut feeling, but I’d start Tannehill over Wentz. Actually, I’d start most quarterbacks over Wentz. After being QB10 in the first nine weeks of the season, Wentz is coming off a pair of duds against the Jaguars and the Bills. He hasn’t been playing poorly, Indianapolis just doesn’t really need Wentz to do all that much. That’s what happens when you have a guy like Jonathan Taylor. I can’t see Wentz popping off against the Buccaneers this weekend, either. Tampa Bay’s defense has allowed only four passing touchdowns since Week 7. This game may be closer than most people anticipate, yet there’s a small chance Wentz is a big-enough factor to be your QB1 this week.
Other Players to Consider: Derek Carr at DAL, Tua Tagovailoa vs. CAR
Start: Antonio Gibson vs. SEA
In the words of LeBron James, “It’s about damn time.” (Wait, I forgot this is a football site, hang on). Gibson went a whole month without a touchdown until he scored twice in Week 10. He followed that up with 7.5 points at Carolina. So why is he my start of the week? Well, there aren’t many good RB2s to be confident in this week. Gibson looks a whole lot better than he did prior to his bye in Week 9. He’s also averaged 21.5 carries in his last two games while out-touching J.D. McKissic 45-14. This is simply a case of riding the hot hand, especially against the third-worst defense versus fantasy running backs. Gibson has solid upside as an RB2 this week.
Other Players to Consider: Devonta Freeman vs. CLE, Melvin Gordon vs. LAC, Miles Sanders at NYG
Sit: Myles Gaskin at CAR
When it comes to writing these articles, I try to incorporate all sorts of data and insight. So when it came to Gaskin, I could’ve emphasized his 16.8 carries per game in the last five weeks or his four targets per game in that span. Alas, one trend caught my eye from Gaskin’s stats: He only plays well in odd weeks. Seriously, starting in Week 5, he’s been an RB1 in every odd week and a middling bench player in even weeks. Now, I know what you’re thinking. No, I’m not suggesting you bench Gaskin because of some wacky trend. He also faces a Carolina defense that’s allowed the sixth-fewest points to running backs this season. Knowing my luck, this will be the week Gaskin bucks his weird pattern, although the data doesn’t support a start-worthy performance for Gaskin.
Other Players to Consider: Raiders RBs, Texans RBs, Bills RBs
Start: Michael Gallup vs. LV
Gallup has easily been my most asked-about player this week. Do I get bonus points for pandering to my base? All jokes aside, if you have fantasy questions, you’re always welcome to reach out on Twitter. And if you’re one of a handful of people to ask me about Gallup, my response is simple: He’s a WR2 lock at minimum. He’s the clear WR1 in a Dallas offense that may be without CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. While the Raiders have been surprisingly stingy against wide receivers in recent weeks, Gallup’s target share should be too large to keep him on your bench.
Other Players to Consider: Brandon Aiyuk vs. MIN, Elijah Moore at HOU, Darnell Mooney at DET
Sit: A.J. Brown at NE
It is not a good time to have Brown on your fantasy team. Let’s start with the past. He’s gone three straight weeks of failing to eclipse 10 points, including 3.3 points in Week 10. While he hasn’t been the healthiest during that time, it still didn’t bode well for your fantasy team. As for the present, Brown is questionable to play Sunday as he deals with a chest injury. His fantasy future isn’t looking so hot, either, as the Titans face the Patriots on Sunday—who have allowed the third-fewest points to wideouts this season. Even if Brown plays, he’ll have to face one of the top cornerbacks in football, J.C. Jackson. Jackson is a part of a secondary that’s allowed just one player (Keenan Allen) to score 10+ points in the last four games. It’s all a recipe for keeping Brown on your bench.
Other Players to Consider: Emmanuel Sanders at NO, Courtland Sutton vs. LAC, Jarvis Landry at BAL
Start: Rob Gronkowski at IND
Look, we both know how horrendous the tight end position is in fantasy. So if you have Gronkowski, you should definitely start him. He looked pretty good in his last three full games:
- Week 1: 29 points on 8 targets and 2 TD
- Week 2: 19.9 points on 5 targets and 2 TD
- Week 11: 13.1 points on 8 targets
This week, Gronkowski faces a Colts defense that’s 28th in FPA to tight ends. Indianapolis has also allowed four tight ends to score 12+ points in each of their last four games. Not many tight ends have this type of matchup nor the upside that Gronkowski has. He’s a must-start.
Other Players to Consider: Dawson Knox at NO, Austin Hooper at BAL
Sit: Noah Fant at LAC
Believe it or not, but Fant has had the easiest schedule for tight ends up until this point. And yet, that’s led to a whole lot of inconsistency. It doesn’t help that Jerry Jeudy is back at full strength, either. While it’s encouraging to see Fant is still a top option for Teddy Bridgewater, he’s just too inconsistent to be trusted. On the surface, this does seem like an easy matchup. The Chargers have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends in the last four games, which cements them as a top-10 defense to play against at the position. However—and any Fant fantasy manager will probably agree—he’s way too unreliable. I can’t confidently tell you to start Fant this week.
Other Players to Consider: Cole Kmet at DET, Dan Arnold vs. ATL