Happy Thanksgiving! While Week 11 was brutal for many fantasy owners of top running backs in the league, it's a new week and a new chance to start again. (And be thankful for the waiver wire).
There are some notable injuries in the Thanksgiving Day games, and in order to help you set your lineups, we will take a separate look at the injuries for Thursday's games. As always, please check the inactive listings before the games are played, just in case.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (8:30 p.m. ET)
Questionable – Groin
Jeffery was limited in practice this week, but it’s no guarantee he will play tonight. It’s hard to trust him playing through multiple injuries and not being able to practice. In his last game (Week 10), he had three catches for 23 yards. It was a tough matchup, but if he was banged up, it makes it even more difficult. In Week 1, when the Bears played the Packers, he had five receptions for 78 yards. The Packers are in the top 10 in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs, so it is another tough matchup for a player that is clearly not at 100 percent. At best, Jeffery is a WR2 with upside.
Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (8:30 p.m. ET)
Questionable – Knee
All signs point to Forte playing this week after missing the last three games. Forte has been a no-brainer RB1, but the emergence of Jeremy Langford makes this backfield a little cloudy. If Forte is active, and it looks like he will be, he is a RB2 this week. Langford also is a RB2, which makes it tough to feel confident about starting either one. Both players will get work and it likely depends on game flow and how Forte's knee responds to game action on which one gets the most touches. Green Bay's defense has been solid, although the Packers did allow Forte to put up 166 yards from scrimmage in Week 1 (plus a touchdown).
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles (12:30 p.m. ET)
Questionable – Ankle
Don't worry, fantasy owners. Megatron will play and is a solid WR1. Matthew Stafford has historically been solid on Thanksgiving and look for Johnson to benefit from that. He only has one 100-yard game and three touchdowns on the year, but he should find the end zone this week. He has at least 80 yards in the past five games. While he isn't playing at the level of years past, Johnson is still is a solid WR1. Start him with confidence.
Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions (12:30 p.m. ET)
Questionable – Shoulder, Concussion
While Bradford has been cleared from his concussion, he still has an injury to his non-throwing shoulder that he’s dealing with. While Mark Sanchez wasn’t exactly terrific in Week 11, he may still be the starting QB in Week 12. He did throw for 261 yards, two touchdowns, but the three interceptions certainly hurt. Bradford wasn't exactly lighting the team on fire when he was the starter either. The Eagles are not tipping their hand on who will get the nod this afternoon, so Bradford will be a game-time decision. Fantasy owners should do all they can to avoid both.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers (4:30 p.m. ET)
Probable – Back
Romo is fine and will play, however, this is a tough matchup for him. In the two games that he's played in full, he has thrown over 225 yards in each and at least two touchdowns. That is the about what fantasy owners should expect in this game against a Panthers defense that is allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. Romo did look a little rusty in Week 11 and should be better in Week 12, but it still is a short week. He's a low-end QB1.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers (4:30 p.m. ET)
Probable – Foot
Bryant's foot isn't a concern; the matchup is. He will play, but he will be covered by Josh Norman, who has consistently shut down opponents’ No. 1 wide receivers this season. Bryant is an elite WR, so fantasy owners should still start their No. 1 option, but be prepared for lower-than-expected numbers.
Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers (4:30 p.m. ET)
Probable – Groin
McFadden will play through the groin injury again, and will have more of a role in this game because of the strength of the Panthers’ pass defense. Playing through the groin injury in Week 11, McFadden had 129 rushing yards and three receptions for 20 yards. He hasn't found the end zone since Week 7, which is tough for fantasy owners, but he's had at least 100 yards from scrimmage in three of the past four games. He's a RB1 this week because of the expected workload.
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears (8:30 p.m. ET)
Probable – Ankle
While Adams' ankle isn't a concern, his expected usage in Week 12 is. He was listed as limited in practice on Monday and Tuesday, but earned a Probable tag and will play tonight. After returning from his initial ankle injury, Adams had a 7-93-0 line in Week 9 (on 11 targets) and a 10-79-0 stat line in Week 10 (on 21 targets!). However, he had four targets in Week 11 and converted three of them for 36 yards. Either James Jones or Adams will have a big game, and it's hard to predict which one it will be from week to week. Adams is a high WR3 with upside for Week 12
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (8:30 p.m. ET)
Out – RIbs
Bennett put in limited practices on Monday and Tuesday, but he’s already been ruled out for the Thanksgiving night clash at Lambeau Field. The resurgent Zach Miller will take over as the starting tight end for the Bears. Green Bay allows the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing TEs, so this is a good matchup for him. Miller has three touchdowns in the past three games and is a TE2 option.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions (12:30 p.m. ET)
Out – Concussion
Mathews has already been ruled out for this afternoon’s game, but this shouldn't be a surprise. He hasn’t even been spotted on the practice field. Mathews’ absence gives DeMarco Murray and Darren Sproles a boost. In Week 11, Murray had 13 carries for 64 yards and four receptions for 27 yards. Sproles had six carries for 21 yards and three receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown. He has value in PPR leagues while Mathews is out. Murray is a RB1 because of the volume he'll receive; Sproles is a RB3 in PPR leagues.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions (12:30 p.m. ET)
Out – Concussion
Ertz suffered a concussion in Week 11 and the team has already ruled him out from playing this afternoon. Brent Celek will be the starting tight end for the Eagles. He had 10 targets in Week 11 with Ertz out and caught seven of them for 79 yards. In Week 10, Celek had four receptions for 134 yards. While the quarterback situation is up in the air, it seems that Celek will have a boost in value should Mark Sanchez get another start. He's a TE2 with either quarterback.
Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (8:30 p.m. ET)
Out – Knee
Another week, more practice time missed by Royal, who will miss yet another game. Fantasy owners know the drill by now; Marquess Wilson will take over. He will be an interesting start if Alshon Jeffery can’t go again or is limited. Wilson’s outlook hinges on Jeffery’s status. He’s a WR2 with upside if Jeffery is out, but just a WR3 with less appeal should Jeffery play. In the meantime, keep an eye on Royal’s practice participation next week to get a feel for his Week 13 availability.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.