Favorite Thanksgiving side dish: Mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams or some godforsaken green vegetable?
OK, on to our weekly matchup recommendations. Remember that you’ll rarely see suggestions here to start guys like Ezekiel Elliott, because you should always start players like him, especially when you can watch them on the world’s greatest eating holiday. Most of the suggestions below aren’t for must-start or must-sit types.
Note: The fantasy points per game allowed (FPPG) referenced below are from FOXSports.com standard leagues.
Week 12 byes: None
Thursday games: Vikings at Lions, Redskins at Cowboys, Steelers at Colts
Stay away: Philip Rivers, Chargers (at Texans)
Rivers is having a solid season, ranking at QB13 in FOXSports.com fantasy scoring. That puts him squarely on the start/sit fence, and a road matchup with Houston’s fifth-ranked fantasy defense (14.4 FPPG to opposing QBs) gives him a seat on the fantasy bench.
Jameis Winston and the Bucs host the Seahawks, who rank sixth with 14.8 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks. You’ve got a better option, right?
Play, play, play: Carson Palmer, Cardinals (at Falcons)
Palmer ranks 21st among fantasy quarterbacks this season, which is a huge step down from his stellar 2015 performance. On the bright side, the Falcons are dead last with 21.7 FPPG allowed to opposing passers. Yes, I know the Vikings’ front seven had their way with the Cardinals last week. But if you’re not going to play Palmer in this spot, why own him at all?
Stay away: Tevin Coleman, Falcons (vs. Cardinals)
Coleman is expected to return after missing four weeks due to a hamstring injury. The second-year back was good but inconsistent over his past five games, posting fantasy point totals of 29.9, 6.3, 26.3, 2.7 and 14.4. In his first game back, sharing work with Devonta Freeman and facing a Cardinals defense that leads the league with 12.2 FPPG allowed to opposing backs, I’d lean toward leaving Coleman out of my lineups.
Latavius Murray is steady, solid and underappreciated. He also has surpassed 60 rushing yards in just one of his eight games this season. Consider benching him against a Panthers squad that is giving up 14.4 FPPG to opposing running backs. Luke Kuechly’s likely absence for the Panthers sways this opinion some, but not too much.
Play, play, play: Rashad Jennings, Giants (at Browns)
Do the Giants actually have a running game now? Jennings has been solid over his past two games, running 36 times for 172 yards with a score, and adding eight receptions for 66 yards. You think the Browns (24.3 FPPG to opposing RBs) are going to slow Jennings down? Bwahahahahahaha!
Stay away: Marvin Jones, Lions (vs. Vikings)
Do Jones’ owners need any more prodding? After a hot first month, Jones has caught just 15 passes over his past six games. To make matters worse, he was targeted only twice in Week 11, and he’s got a Turkey Day matchup with a Vikings defense that ranks second with 15.1 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers. Sigh.
Play, play, play: DeVante Parker, Dolphins (vs. 49ers)
It’s happening! Parker’s past two games suggest that he’s finally living up to his promise, as he’s caught 13 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. It’s amazing what full health will do for a guy. On Sunday, Parker and the ‘Fins have a soft home matchup with a Niners defense that ranks 31st with 27.8 FPPG allowed to opposing wideouts. Heck, Malcolm Mitchell tore up these guys last week. Start Parker with confidence.
Jordan Matthews has seen double-digit targets for four straight games, but his five catches for 59 yards against the Seahawks represented a pedestrian line. However, who else is Carson Wentz going to throw to? (OK, maybe Zach Ertz.) Especially against a punch-drunk Packer defense that ranks dead last with 28.4 FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers! Start Matthews if you’ve got him.
Stay away: Jared Cook, Packers (at Eagles)
In his first appearance since Week 3, Cook caught six passes for 105 yards and a TD on 11 targets against the Redskins on Sunday night. Fantasy owners far and wide are rushing to grab Cook from the free-agent pool. Now that he has a good quarterback, the sky is the limit, right?
Yeah, maybe. Cook also dropped a potential TD and lost a fumble on Sunday night. He’s playing against the Eagles, who have allowed fewer than three receptions and 30 yards per game to opposing tight ends. I’ll pass, thanks.
Play, play, play: Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (at Lions)
The Vikes-Lions T-Day game isn’t exactly fantasy friendly, but even a solid game against Julius Thomas couldn’t pull the Lions out of their last-place spot against opposing fantasy tight ends (11.7 FPPG). Rudolph and his usage have been inconsistent, but he’s in a great spot here.
Will Tye has been targeted 20 times in his past three games, and faces a porous Browns defense (11.4 FPPG to opposing TEs). He’s owned in just 1.8 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, and is an interesting option if you’re missing Gronk or Zach Miller… Philly’s Zach Ertz has seen 26 targets over his past three games, and will match up with a Green Bay defense that has allowed the most receiving yards per game (72.6) to opposing tight ends.