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Thanksgiving time, the heart of the NFL season and the push for the Fantasy playoffs. It’s a wonderful time of year. We got a nice treat with three Thanksgiving Day games. When you consider that you’ve likely played a couple players, or you played against a couple players on Thursday, then you will start with either an advantage, or a disadvantage on Sunday. This could lead you to start a different player than you planned.

If you had guys like Kirk Cousins, Ezekiel Elliott, Antonio Brown, or Jordan Reed on Thursday, and you find yourself with a decent lead, you might want to make “safer” line-up moves. If you played against some of those guys, and you find yourself in an early hole, you might want to make “higher risk/reward” line-up moves.

For example, if you’re trying to decide between starting Sterling Shepard and Tyler Boyd (ranked No.32 and 33 WRs), Shepard is the safer play. He’s been more consistent, and you have a good idea what you’re getting. Boyd is the higher risk/reward play. You don’t really know what to expect from him, but he could have a very big game.

I use a A-F grading scale for each player. I do this because I think many players values are equal. In DFS, if two players have the same grade, go with the cheaper option. “A” Players are expected to have big games. “B” players are must starts. “C” players are borderline starters. A “C+” means I would lean towards starting them, and a “C-” means I’d lean towards not starting them. “D” players are not recommended starters, and “F” players are not listed.

As it related to DFS; These numbers are based on FanDuel’s player pricing. Grades are based on FanDuels’s 1/2 point PPR scoring system. A= $8,000 plus, B= $6,500-$7,900, C= $5,500-$6,400, D= $4,600-$5,400, and F= $4,500. Keep in mind QBs prices are inflated by around $1,000, and TEs prices are deflated by around $1,000.

Week 12 Game Previews and Fantasy Predictions

San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins should extend their winning streak to six games as they get a dream match-up with the 49ers at home. The Dolphins played last week without their three best offensive linemen. They were shutout though 3 quarters versus L.A. before Ryan Tannehill rallied with two 4th quarter TDs.

The 49ers have lost their last nine games, many in blowout fashion. Chip Kelly could be heading back to college after his second failed attempt in the NFL.

Player Grades

Colin Kaepernick C
Carlos Hyde C
Vance McDonald/Torrey Smith/Quinton Patton D

Jay Ajayi A-
Jarvis Landry/DeVante Parker C+
Ryan Tannehill C


Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (Offensive Game of the Week)

The Cardinals are a very talented team for being under .500. They simply haven’t played well this season. They do match-up well with the Falcons though. CB Patrick Peterson should limit Julio Jones. Carson Palmer, David Johnson, and the Cardinals WRs should put up some numbers against the Falcons 28th ranked defense.

The Falcons RB duo should do some damage. Tevin Coleman will be back for Atlanta. He’s reportedly at 100%, and he should be a big factor in the Falcons offense.

Player Grades

David Johnson A
Larry Fitzgerald B
Carson Palmer B-
John Brown/Michael Floyd/J.J. Nelson C

Julio Jones B
Devonta Freeman/Matt Ryan B-
Tevin Coleman C+


Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (Worst Game of the Week)

Jared Goff had a pretty pedestrian debut last week. You can’t really put the blame on Goff though. The Rams have very little surrounding him on offense. Todd Gurley is a must-start for the first time in several weeks based on the match-up.

The Saints are able move the ball against almost any defense. They should also have a big advantage in time of possession. They may not put up a ton of points, with the Rams unlikely to put much pressure on them. The Saints are a strong home favorite.

Player Grades

Todd Gurley B-
Kenny Britt/Tavon Austin C-

Drew Brees A-
Brandin Cooks/Mike Thomas B-
Willie Snead/Mark Ingram C+
Tim Hightower/Coby Fleener C


New York Giants at Cleveland Browns

The Giants got a nice break in the schedule playing the Bears and Browns back-to back. The Browns continue their march towards a historic 0-16 season. The one Browns player of Fantasy relevance, Terrelle Pryor, draws a very difficult match-up versus Giants CB Janoris Jenkins. Odell Beckham and Eli Manning could be limited due to the Browns inability to even be competitive. This happened to Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger last week.

Player Grades

Odell Beckham B+
Eli Manning B
Rashad Jennings/Sterling Shepard C+
Paul Perkins C-

Terrelle Pryor C
Isaiah Crowell/Gary Barnidge C-
Corey Coleman/Duke Johnson D+


San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans

The Texans were robbed of a win by the refs Monday night against the Raiders. Deandre Hopkins had a 63-yard TD taken away from him. Hopkins is officially a first round bust, and no longer a must-start. He has only 540 yards and three TDs this season.

The Chargers have shown the ability to play with some of the best teams in the league. Their six losses have all been decided by one possession. They also rank fifth in run defense, which will be a problem for a run heavy Houston offense.

Player Grades

Melvin Gordon B+
Philip Rivers B-
Tyrell Williams/Travis Benjamin (Q)/Antonio Gates C
Hunter Henry C-

Lamar Miller B
Deandre Hopkins C+
C.J. Fiedorowicz C


Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

The Bengals took a huge hit last week, losing A.J. Green (out for an unknown period) and Giovani Bernard for the season. Tyler Boyd, Tyler Eifert, and Jeremy Hill should all see more touches. At 3-6-1, the Bengals season is over. It could also be the end of the Marvin Lewis era.

The Ravens have been very good on defense and special teams this year. Their offense has struggled, especially in the running game. They’ve lost two of their best offensive lineman to injury. Terrance West is a very average RB, and Kenneth Dixon has yet to get many touches. I don’t see a lot of Fantasy value in this game.

Player Grades

Tyler Eifert B
Jeremy Hill/Tyler Boyd C+
Andy Dalton D

Steve Smith B-
Mike Wallace/Terrance West C+
Joe Flacco/Kenneth Dixon C-
Dennis Pitta D+


Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills

The lone bright spot in the Jaguars train wreck of a season has been the play of rookie CB Jalen Ramsey. The Jags are actually fifth in the league in pass defense. Blake Bortles has been a turnover machine with 16 on the year. Despite his poor play, Bortles is still the 10th highest scoring Fantasy QB right now.

The Bills are a much better team than Jacksonville. Buffalo should put up some points, mainly through the running game, and capitalizing on a few turnovers. As usual, Blake Bortles and the Jaguars WRs will likely put up some decent numbers in garbage time.

Player Grades

Blake Bortles/Allen Robinson B-
Allen Hurns/Chris Ivory C+
Julius Thomas (Q)/Marqise Lee C-

LeSean McCoy (Q) B+
Tyrod Taylor C
Mike Gillislee (Q)/Charles Clay/Robert Woods (Q) C-


Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears

If the Bears weren’t bad enough already, it appears Jay Cutler will be out. That leaves third stringer Matt Barkely as the starter. Zach Miller is also done for the season. Jordan Howard is the only Bear left with any Fantasy value.

Start all your Titans this week. This may be your last chance to get quality Fantasy performances from your Titan stars. They’ve been great this season, but they have a bye next week, and then they play Denver and Kansas City in the first two weeks of the Fantasy playoffs.

Player Grades

DeMarco Murray A
Delanie Walker A
Marcus Mariota B+
Rishard Matthews/Tajae Sharpe C+
Derrick Henry C-

Jordan Howard C+


Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay had the best win of last week, beating the Chiefs in Arrowhead. Jameis Winston was impressive, throwing for 331 yards against a very good defense. They step up one more notch in difficulty this week with the Seahawks.

The Seahawk’s offense has been firing on all cylinders the last three weeks. C.J. Prosise was lost for the season after showing great potential. Thomas Rawls is now healthy, and he has the backfield entirely to himself.

Player Grades

Russell Wilson A-
Doug Baldwin/Jimmy Graham B
Thomas Rawls B-
Tyler Lockett C

Mike Evans B
Jameis Winston/Doug Martin C
Cameron Brate C-


Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders (Game of the Week)

I think this is the best game of the week. Despite the Panthers 4-6 record, they are equally as talented as the 8-2 Raiders. The Panthers have won three out of their last four, and they’re still holding on to a sliver of playoff hope. During their recent success, Cam Newton has thrown the ball a lot less. Greg Olsen’s numbers have taken a huge hit. He’s only averaged 35 yards a game in his last four contests.

The Raiders biggest strength, their passing attack, is the Panthers biggest weakness. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree should all have productive games.

Player Grades

Cam Newton/Greg Olsen B-
Kelvin Benjamin/Jonathan Stewart C+

Amari Cooper A-
Derek Carr B
Michael Crabtree B-
Latavius Murray C+


New England Patriots at New York Jets

This game looks like an obvious blowout victory for the Patriots. However, the Jets always play the Patriots tough. They’re also at home, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is back as starting QB after Bryce Petty’s terrible performances. The Patriots have shown some weaknesses on defense. I think the Jets will show some pride in what is a lost season.

Player Grades

Tom Brady A
Julian Edelman B
Martellus Bennett B-
LeGarrette Blount/Dion Lewis (Q)/James White C

Brandon Marshall B
Matt Forte B
Ryan Fitzpatrick/Quincy Enunwa (Q) C-



Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (Defensive Game of the Week)

A very important and evenly matched division game between two of the best defenses in the NFL over the last few seasons. The health of Chiefs CB Marcus Peters has huge implications. The Chiefs played without Peters last week, and they allowed over 300 yards passing to the Bucs. If Peters is good to go, he should be able to shutdown Demaryius Thomas, and allow the rest of the defense to focus on Denver’s running game.

The Chiefs don’t offer much Fantasy value, with the exception of Travis Kelce. Spencer Ware has been quiet of late. He has a chance for a decent game against a Denver run defense that has had some issues.

Player Grades

Travis Kelce B-
Spencer Ware C+
Tyreek Hill/Jeremy Maclin (Q) D+

Emmanuel Sanders B-
Demaryius Thomas B-
Devontae Booker C+


Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles

The hits to the Packers defense keeps coming. LB Blake Martinez is the latest injury to an already depleted defense. The Packers have allowed over 40 points in two straight games. The Eagles probably won’t put up 40 points, but 30 is a possibility.

The Eagles defense is one of the most underrated units in the league. They match-up well against the one dimensional Packer’s offense. Their defensive line should be all over Aaron Rodgers.

Player Grades

Aaron Rodgers B-
Jordy Nelson B-
Randall Cobb/Davante Adams C+
James Starks/Jared Cook C

Carson Wentz C+
Jordan Matthews/Zach Ertz C+
Ryan Mathews (Q) C+
Darren Sproles/Wendell Smallwood C

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