Welcome to a special Thanksgiving edition of start/sit suggestions to help you set your fantasy lineups on Turkey Day!
This Thanksgiving we have three intriguing games. Buffalo and Detroit kick things off in the Motor City, and the Lions are now somewhat frisky enough to make it interesting. The Cowboys and Giants are next with both teams tied for second in the NFC East at 7-3, although Dallas is coming off a big win. The nightcap finds New England in Minneapolis to face Minnesota. The Vikings were the victims of that big Cowboys win while the Patriots beat the Jets last Sunday thanks to a last-second, special teams TD.
For this special Thanksgiving edition, we are going to change the rules a little bit since there are only three games on the T-day docket. I'm going to suggest a couple of names I'd start who are outside the top 20 at their position and a couple of names I'd sit who are inside the top 20.
Take a seat at the table and feast on these suggestions.
START This RB
D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys
Been a rough week for "Swift fans." First the TicketMaster debacle and now seeing Jamaal Williams continue to vulture the TDs. It might be time to finally admit that Swift is one of the biggest busts at RB this year.
I said might be. Call me bullheaded if you wish, but I'm going to trust Swift for one more week. Swift is averaging a lofty 6.1 yards per carry this season. He doesn't even need 20 carries. If the Lions can just find a way to get him 15 carries, he could have a breakout week.
Let's give Swift one more shot, shall we?
SIT This RB
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
So I originally had Rhamondre Stevenson in this spot. I just can't trust a New England running back, especially going against Minnesota, which has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position per game. But the more I looked, I realized what Stevenson has done this year is pretty impressive. I really haven't given him his due. And I really like all the RB options on Thanksgiving in the top 20 this week. That itself is worthy.
So I looked at other RB options that fantasy owners might be considering starting, and Elliott jumped out at me. Zeke always eats on Thanksgiving, and that might be some decent rationale to start him. He should at least score, right? He is coming off a two-touchdown day, last week, right?
Use that and sell now if you can. Tony Pollard is the receiving back, and he is now the lead dog in the Dallas backfield. Elliott was out-touched by Pollard 21-16 last Sunday, and Zeke averaged a menial 2.8 yards per carry on his 15 totes. Pollard, meanwhile, averaged 5.3 yards per carry on his 15 attempts, which actually brought his average down to a "mere" 5.9 this season. Elliott will remain a thorn in the side of Pollard owners for the rest of the season. But that is not a reason to start Elliott. I'd put him in your starting lineup so you can maybe fool other owners into that he is startable and then trade him. But otherwise, he is a definite sit.
START This WR
Darius Slayton, New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
So Slayton becomes one of my favorite Thanksgiving Day receiving options by default. He's one of the few healthy options left in the Giants' wide receiver room.
And last week he was highly targeted, seeing 10, giving him 181 yards in two weeks. Over the last six weeks, Slayton has a target share of more than 20 percent. And it's trending up, having notched a 25 percent share against Detroit last week.
But it's not just the concrete stats. Watch the tape and you can see he's getting a ton of separation. Daniel Jones clearly trusts him, and with their rekindled chemistry, Slayton is a nearly impossible player to sit.
SIT This WR
Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings
So Meyers is not really in the top 20 this week. However, I have seen him in the top 25, so you might be considering him as a WR2 or flex possibly. But you shouldn't.
For starters, his ceiling is very limited. If you are happy with the four catches he had for 52 yards, go ahead, start him. But if you are hoping for a little more, you're going to be disappointed. He's not necessarily a bad play, but he is insanely "meh."
QB/TE/DST Start/Sit Thoughts
I can't in good conscience tell you to start anyone outside the top 20 QBs who is playing on Thanksgiving. If you are even considering Jared Goff, who I am seeing around 16 this week, you probably do need to start him.
Conversely, if you need to start Mac Jones, who I am typically seeing in the 20-to-25 range, I'm sorry about your disappointing season.
The same is true for defenses. I don't have an issue starting the Vikings, Giants, Cowboys, Bills, or even Patriots DSTs, who are all in the top 20 this week. If you are forced to start the Lions? Egads! I didn't think anyone's season could be that bad!
At tight end, things get a little more interesting. I wouldn't sit any of the three TEs in the top 20 this week (T.J. Hockenson, Dalton Schultz, and Dawson Knox), but there are a few options outside of the top 20 who make for some interesting "Hail Mary" start options. Let's start with Lawrence Cager.
Cager is a very interesting option with Daniel Bellinger still likely out. Cager caught two passes this past weekend for 20 yards. The week previously he caught a TD. The 6-foot-5 220-pound tight end can be a nightmare for defenses in the red zone. Don't choke on your turkey or be surprised when he scores a red-zone touchdown on Thanksgiving.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.