Happy feast week everybody! Yes, it is only Monday, but my eyes are on one thing and one thing only: Thanksgiving. Not only do we get to spend quality time with family (and food of course), but we get an extra football-filled day which makes this holiday all the better.
I have not written a start/sit column yet this season but I’ve got some extra time on my hands and figured, what the hell, it’s a special week! For this edition of start/sit, I am only going to be highlighting players playing on Thanksgiving day, and will not be including any Sunday/Monday games, as we should have extra articles for the weekend games.
The Thanksgiving NFL schedule is listed below, followed by your ever-awaited start/sit analysis (I am not including kickers because let’s be honest, there were 10+ missed PATs last week by some of the best and worst kickers…it’s a waste of time. I also left defenses off of the list, because the only two defenses anyone would consider starting are MIN and PIT – start both). Another note – I am going to avoid listing the obvious starts and the obvious sits. There’s no way in hell you need to be told to start Le’Veon Bell, and if you do, close your computer or turn off your phone and never check your fantasy football team again.
NFL Thanksgiving Day Schedule
- 12:30 PM ET – Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions
- 4:30 PM ET – Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
- 8:30 PM ET – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts
Following the schedule, here are my favorite starts/sits for Thanksgiving Day.
(*I am writing this article with the assumption that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will be OUT with a concussion*)
Dak Prescott | Dallas Cowboys
This shouldn’t have to be said but I couldn’t think of anyone else to put in the start column for QB, because I’m rather hesitant on Kirk Cousins. Prescott has been nothing short of brilliant as he’s lead the Cowboys to a 9-1 start in his rookie season and has taken the starting gig away from Tony Romo. The Redskins currently rank in the middle of the pack against the pass (18th in the NFL), but Das has now put together two straight with 300+ passing yards and over his last three weeks, he’s thrown 8 touchdowns without an interception. With the Redskins likely to key in on Zeke, Dak should have a ton of play-action chances and with a healthy Dez Bryant, look for him to go vertical a lot more too. Lock him in as a QB1 this week.
Matthew Stafford | Detroit Lions
This happens every single year with Matt Stafford. We come in with the high hopes that he’ll finally have a true breakthrough, and year after year we wind up disappointed. The Lions’ offense is clearly lagging without a true #1 running back or wide receiver and a struggling Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. They really just have zero go-to weapons on offense. Stafford is coming off of a week where he threw for 278 yards but failed to throw a touchdown and has only thrown multiple touchdowns once in his previous four contests. The Vikings defense (4th against the pass) also rebounded this week against the Cardinals, posting two D/ST touchdowns, so don’t be surprised if turnover-prone Stafford throws a handful of picks. Leave him on your bench.
Rob Kelley | Washington Redskins
Man did FAT ROB have a game?! In week 11 against the Packers’ typically stout run defense, Kelley rumbled 24 times for 137 yards with three touchdowns in a route of the Packers for a total of 31.7 fantasy points. Kelley showed unusual explosiveness on a 66-yard run in the late stages of the game and currently has a firm grasp on the starting gig in Washington. The Cowboys rank 3rd in the league at defending the run, but the Packers were also a top-5 run defense and Kelley put that to rest immediately. With the rash of injuries in Week 11, you may have no choice but to start Kelley, but even if you have options, plug him in as a solid RB2 with upside.
Frank Gore | Indianapolis Colts
Frank Gore has been extremely impressive this season, averaging a shade over 14 fantasy points per contest (in .5 PPR leagues) and is coming off of a 121 yard performance (50 rushing, 71 receiving) in Week 11. Typically I would have no problem starting Gore as a RB2 or high-end flex play, but this week is different. Earlier today it was reported that Andrew Luck was going into the concussion protocol and if unable to play on Thursday, Scott Tolzein would man the offense. Welp, there goes any hope the Colts’ offense has this week. The Steelers are already a top-10 run defense and if Luck sits, the passing game deserves a lot less attention, giving the Steelers the ability to stack the box whenever they need to against Gore. If Luck is out, keep Gore on your bench.
Stefon Diggs | Minnesota Vikings
Put the Week 11 dud behind you, he was covered by Patrick Peterson the entire game. Now turn your attention this the previous three weeks. Over those games, Diggs amassed a total of 34 targets, 316 receiving yards and a touchdown. While he only went for 6-37 against Patrick Peterson, his matchup is much more enticing on Thanksgiving. He gets to square off against the generous Lions’ defense that currently ranks 17th in the NFL against the pass. Diggs currently ranks 3rd in the entire NFL in receptions (67) which proves Bradford’s reliance on him. If the Vikings hope to come away with a W on Thanksgiving, expect Diggs to be a huge part of their gameplan. Lock him in as a WR2.
Donte Moncrief | Indianapolis Colts
Red-zone monster? Yes. Anything else? No. While Moncrief has only played in five contests this season, he already has 4 touchdowns…but has yet to top 64 receiving yards and 6 catches in a single game. This is largely due to the fact that TY Hilton operates as the Colts’ clear-cut #1 wideout, but also due in part to the fact that Moncrief doesn’t seem to be more than a red-zone target in this offense. With Andrew Luck looking doubtful to play on Thursday, it can be expected that Scott Tolzien will rely heavily on TY Hilton in the slot and be rather hesitant to air it out down the field all that often. While this obviously hurts all of the Colts’ wideouts, Moncrief seems like the biggest fade this week. He’s a flex play at best.
Eric Ebron | Detroit Lions
Eric Ebron seems to be the most dangerous weapon on Detroit’s offense right now. He’s gone for either 7 catches or a score in his last three games and has at least 70 receiving yards in those games as well. He’s averaged a shade under 8 targets per game in that span and even recorded a RUSHING touchdown last week. The matchup against the Vikings is no easy task, but in Week 9, he abused their secondary for 7 receptions and 92 yards, so expect Ebron to be heavily involved in this one. At such a thin position, Ebron has cemented himself as a reliable TE1.
Dwayne Allen / Jack Doyle | Indianapolis Colts
This follows the other write-ups on the Colts. Without Andrew Luck, their offense is pretty ugly, and both Allen and Doyle have failed to make any type of impact lately even with Luck. They’re both on the TE2 radar at best.