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Why You Should Sit Matthew Stafford and Other Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for the Week 12 Thanksgiving Games

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford

Is there a better sports tradition out there than the three NFL games we are lucky enough to enjoy every Thanksgiving?

Frank Gore

And with the fight for the fantasy playoffs coming down to the wire, we have some ever-so-tasty matchups.

When considering who to start and who to sit for the Thanksgiving games, some decisions are easy. Like start Le’Veon Bell against the Colts and start Ezekiel Elliot vs. the Redskins. But some decisions can be as tough as trying to decide if should you go back for more mashed potatoes or stuffing (or both)?

Like which Redskins wide receivers are worth starting? Are the Colts' receivers worth playing now that it's official Andrew Luck won't play? And what about Rob Kelley? He can’t score three touchdowns against Dallas, right?

So let me make some of these decisions easier for you, so you can concentrate on the more important things of life.

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

Start These Guys

Rob Kelley, RB, WAS (at DAL)

While Washington being on a short week as a road underdog against a good Cowboys defense is a little concerning, Kelley's role makes him a must-start option. He has racked up 20-plus carries in three straight games, piling up a whopping 321 rushing yards (4.8 ypc) and four touchdowns during that stretch. He has finished as the RB No. 11, RB No. 16 and RB No. 1 in his three starts, and with the kind of volume he's getting, it's fair to trust him as a top-15 option at a thin position.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN (at DET)

Rudolph had a brutal Week 11 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals and totaled one fantasy point. The rough outing broke a streak of two games with a touchdown. Now Rudolph gets to go against the Detroit Lions, a team that entered Week 11 having coughed up the second-most points to tight ends. Disclaimer: Rudolph met the Lions in Week 9 and scored a touchdown — but that was the extent of his fantasy production. However, owners can't afford to ignore a top-10 scorer at the position in such a great matchup.

Frank Gore, IND (vs. PIT)

The future Hall of Famer had 18 carries for 50 yards (not great) and 4 catches for 71 yards (pretty great) against the Titans. He’s been ageless this season as the Colts’ workhorse, and he’s had more than 100 total yards or a TD in five of his last six games. With Andrew Luck officially out, Gore will be fed early and often. This is probably his last go-round, even if he looks like a spry 29-year-old, so use him. He’s going to get a lot of touches.

Sit These Guys

Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. MIN)

In the Week 9 matchup between these two teams, Stafford finished as the No. 15 overall QB (standard Yahoo! scoring) and would have been much lower had it not been for overtime, which allowed him the extra plays to add 63 yards and a touchdown to his final stat line. In fact, he has turned in a top-12 fantasy QB performance just one time in his last four games, and a short week against an extremely stingy pass defense isn't the cure for his recent struggles.

All Colts WRs (vs. PIT)

This is a no-brainer now that Andrew Luck has been officially ruled out beacuse of a concussion. In his place, the Colts will trot out Scott Tolzien, who last started a game four years ago. No offense to Tolzien or T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett, but I don’t want to risk haivng any of them in my lineup, even if the likelihood for garbage time is high. It’s just so upsetting as Luck vs. Roethlisberger had the potential to be amazing.

Stefon Diggs, MIN (at DET)

This pains me to say, but when Diggs gets shadowed by elite cornerbacks, they usually do their job well. The Vikings end up being a decent offense under Bradford (who's having a career year) despite this, and Cordarrelle Patterson's and Adam Thielen's recent success doesn't help Diggs owners. This week he was followed into the slot by Patrick Peterson, and on Thanksgiving, Darius Slay may have his eyes on Diggs.

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.