Happy Thanksgiving. Now go set your lineup for three games in Week 12 that are probably starting way too early to your likeability. There are a few key injuries that are affecting these Thanksgiving games, and hopefully we can help you out to set your lineup and feel comfortable going into Sunday’s full slate.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
Last week we heard Murray say it was the best he's felt since suffering his foot injury. His chances of playing against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday was highly doubtful, particularly with the Cowboys playing today. And as has been evident, Dallas badly needs him to return and spark its running game. However, it appears he will miss his sixth straight game. So we have to hope that lucky No. 7 will make for Murray's return against Philadelphia in Week 13. And the running game that is already struggling will likely even more as Murray's back up, Felix Jones (knee) and left tackle, Tyron Smith (ankle), are questionable. It would be up to rookie Lance Dunbar to pick up the slack if Jones is out. Dunbar underwent a knee procedure of his own this week, putting the Cowboys' run game in an even more precarious position.
Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, TEs, New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
By now you’ve heard the news on Rob Gronkowski. If you haven’t, the game’s top tight end broke his left forearm on an extra point play with 3:59 remaining in the Patriots’ 59-24 win against Indianapolis last week, had surgery and is now out 4-6 weeks. In steps an injured Aaron Hernandez to fill the role. That is if he is healthy enough to suit up for the last of the three games on Thanksgiving. He reportedly will play tonight. Hernandez has been battling a severely sprained ankle that has kept him out of seven of the team’s 10 games. He returned too soon a few weeks ago and that reportedly set him back in his recovery. Why don’t coaches realize that us as fantasy owners have waiver wires and can make plans until our stud returns with a clean bill of health? But I digress. Hernandez was close to returning for the Colts’ game but the quick turnaround with the Thanksgiving game made that a tough ask of the still injured tight end. You hate to start a question mark on Thursday and wait around until Monday night to make sure you were right, but if Hernandez is active then you start him, The Jets are just behind the Pats as the fifth-worst fantasy defense against tight ends. Gronkowski had six catches for 78 yards and two scores in their Week 7 matchup and Hernandez added five catches for 54 yards in that game. Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd were question marks going into last week, but combined for 18 targets, 11 catches and 125 yards. There will be plenty to go around for Hernandez, plus the red-zone TD opportunities. In the three full games he has played this season, Hernandez has 23 targets, 17 catches for 143 yards and two scores — or 14.6 points per game in PPR leagues.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter