This Thanksgiving may not be like ones in the past. For the NFL, it will only have two games this Thursday instead of the usual three because Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh had to be moved to Sunday due to the Ravens' COVID-19 concerns. Just something else fantasy owners have to deal with now entering Week 12.
If the Ravens and Steelers play on Sunday (currently its "TBD"), fantasy owners already know that Baltimore will be without running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram II. One piece of advice for the remaining Thursday games: if you have someone playing on Thanksgiving that you know you are going to start, put him in your lineup as an RB or WR instead of in a flex spot. This will allow you to have more flexibility (as the position implies) come Sunday.
START These Players on Thanksgiving
Duke Johnson, RB, Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
The Lions give up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. With David Johnson still on injured reserve, it's Duke Johnson's backfield. In Week 11, he had 10 carries for 15 yards and three receptions for 20 yards. It wasn't a great outing, but the Texans ended up throwing the ball more than running it against the Patriots. That game script should change in Week 12, making Johnson, especially in PPR leagues, is an RB2.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys
McLaurin owners are going to start him as a WR1 regardless, but he has a great matchup in Week 12. The Cowboys allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Alex Smith will be the quarterback, and Smith knows that the best way to succeed is to get the ball to the best pass-catcher on your team. In this case, it's McLaurin. He had seven targets and caught five for 84 yards last time out. Start him on Thanksgiving.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans
Kenny Golladay is still out, and it doesn't look like Danny Amendola will play either. This will create more targets for the other pass-catchers, which includes Hockenson. The tight end position is brutal, and even though he only had four receptions for 68 yards in Week 11, he was targeted seven times. If Hockenson gets seven targets again, odds are that he'll finish the week as a TE1.
SIT These Players on Thanksgiving
Andy Dalton, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Football Team
The Red Rifle returns at quarterback to take on the Washington Football Team. In Week 11, he looked decent, throwing for 203 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. However, Washington's pass defense is tougher than Minnesota's. Dalton also is dealing with a short week and no practice on Tuesday because the facilities were shut down because of a non-COVID medical emergency with a member of the coaching staff. Dalton historically has struggled in prime time, and while the Cowboys game isn't technically "primetime," it is occurring at a time when no other games are being played. There are better QB options for Thanksgiving.
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Football Team
In the past two weeks, Gallup has five receptions for 65 yards. His only good game of the year was in Week 3 when he went over 100 yards and a touchdown. He has five games with less than 40 yards, and he only has two games (including Week 3) with six or more receptions. Amari Cooper is the clear No. 1 target for the team, and CeeDee Lamb has been playing more in the slot than Gallup. Andy Dalton may be able to get a long ball to Gallup, but it doesn't happen often enough to make him more than a WR4.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys
Even though the tight end position is hard this year, Thomas just hasn't shown enough to start him if you don't have to. He had two receptions for six yards in Week 11. He did have five targets in each of the past two weeks, so that is promising. However, if you have other options to start at tight end, use them. Alex Smith only attempted 25 passes in Week 11; hopefully, that number will increase in Week 12 but fantasy owners can't count on it.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Top photo courtesy of houstontexans.com)