Turkey Day Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

Thanksgiving is upon us, and while your favorite NFL team may not be playing on the most gluttonous holiday of the year, you no doubt have at least one fantasy player who could make an impact on Thursday. So why wait to go through all of Week 12’s Starts and Sits when we can break down some of the key matchups you’ll be falling asleep to tomorrow afternoon?

Here are your Turkey Day NFP Starts and Sits. Don’t worry, the Week 12 Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em column will be in full swing Friday afternoon.

GREEN BAY PACKERS (6-4, 2-2 road) at DETROIT LIONS (2-8, 2-3 home)

Green Bay Defensive Ranks

Pass: 7th (191.8 yds/gm) Rush: 4th (90.7 yds/gm) Points: 12th (20.3 points/gm)

Detroit Defensive Ranks

Pass: 32nd (275.3 yds/gm) Rush: 20th (116.2 yds/gm) Points: 32nd (30.1 points/gm)


Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers currently leads all fantasy quarterbacks in scoring (standard scoring leagues) and should be considered a must-start, especially against the league’s worst-ranked passing defense.

Ryan Grant: He’s averaging 13.6 fantasy points per game over his last three outings and has found the end zone twice during that span.

Greg Jennings/Donald Driver: Consider Green Bay’s top two receivers as solid starts in Week 12. The Lions have struggled big time against the pass this season, allowing Brady Quinn to torch them for 304 yards and four touchdowns last Sunday.

Jermichael Finley: He’s our 12th-ranked tight end heading into Week 12 and has been battling a knee injury, so Finley is recommended for owners in leagues of 10 or more owners.

Green Bay D/ST: This unit ranks 7th against the pass, 4th against the run and may be going up against a Lions offense that is without quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder). ALERT: Cornerback Al Harris and linebacker Aaron Kampman are both out for the season with injured knees.

Calvin Johnson: ALERT: Megatron was held out of practice Wednesday with a knee injury. In addition, chances are high that Daunte Culpepper could get the start on Thursday. Owners are advised to taper their expectations, but garbage-time numbers should be in effect here.


Matthew Stafford/Daunte Culpepper: The Lions may have torn up the Browns secondary, but expect the going to be a lot tougher against the seasoned vets from Green Bay. There are several better options on the board for Week 12.

Kevin Smith: He hasn’t rushed for over 70 yards in a game since Week 3 and hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since Week 4.

Brandon Pettigrew: Pettigrew is our 17th-ranked tight end for Week 12, meaning you shouldn’t consider him unless you play in an extremely deep fantasy league.

Detroit D/ST: Not against one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. If the Browns were able to roll up 30-plus points, imagine what Rodgers and Green Bay will do.

OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-7, 1-3 road) at DALLAS COWBOYS (7-3, 4-1 home)

Oakland Defensive Ranks

Pass: 12th (207.5 yds/gm) Rush: 30th (157.7 yds/gm) Points: 22nd (23.4 points/gm)

Dallas Defensive Ranks

Pass: 20th (229.3 yds/gm) Rush: 7th (100.6 yds/gm) Points: 5th (17.5 points/gm)


Tony Romo: Romo has struggled of late (3 TDs/3 INTs last three games) but should find some success against a defense that’s allowing 23.4 points per game.

Marion Barber: MBIII is averaging 14.8 touches per game over his last five outings. The Raiders have struggled against the run in 2009, making Barber a solid RB2 option in Week 12.

Miles Austin: ALERT: As hot as Austin has been of late, he faces the possibility of going up against one of the league’s premier shutdown cornerbacks in Nnamdi Asomugha. Start Austin with caution and consider him a WR3.

Roy Williams: A decent WR3 option if Oakland rolls coverage in Austin’s direction. Williams has been inconsistent this season, so if you have a better option for Week 12, take it.

Dallas D/ST: They’re allowing only 17.5 points per game and welcome a Raiders team that’s playing on short rest and averaging just 10.8 points per game (32nd in NFL).

Felix Jones: Consider him a decent flex option for owners in deeper fantasy leagues.


Jason Witten: ALERT: The Cowboys tight end is a game-time decision for Thursday with a foot injury. Even if he plays, Witten will not be 100 percent and has scored only one touchdown this season.

Patrick Crayton: He’s averaging just 2.7 receptions per week and has topped 55 yards receiving just twice.

Michael Bush/Darren McFadden/Justin Fargas: They’ve combined to average 102.3 rushing yards per game (20th) but steal touches from each other every week. There’s just no dependability in the Oakland backfield.

All Oakland Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: New quarterback Bruce Gradkowski may have brought some life to this offense, but there are plenty of better options available.

Oakland D/ST: No thanks. I’ll take my chances elsewhere.

NEW YORK GIANTS (6-4, 3-2 road) at DENVER BRONCOS (6-4, 3-2 road)

New York Defensive Ranks

Pass: 2nd (177.4 yds/gm) Rush: 11th (104.8 yds/gm) Points: 23rd (23.5 points/gm)

Denver Defensive Ranks

Pass: 3rd (182.5 yds/gm) Rush: 18th (115.3 yds/gm) Points: 7th (18.3 points/gm)


Brandon Jacobs: Denver’s rushing defense has gone from top-five in the NFL to bottom half in just four weeks. With backup running back Ahmad Bradshaw hurting, look for Jacobs to see enough touches to get you a respectable fantasy performance.

Mario Manningham: With Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey heading in wide receiver Steve Smith’s direction, Manningham should be free to exploit single coverage. He topped 100 yards receiving last week vs. Atlanta.

Kevin Boss: Four touchdowns in his last three games mean quarterback Eli Manning has found himself a new red-zone target.

Steve Smith: ALERT: Be very cautious here as Smith will most likely be manned up against elite cover-corner Bailey. Downgrade Smith from WR1 to WR3.

Knowshon Moreno: Running back Correll Buckhalter is hurting (knee), and Moreno is getting a crack at a run defense that’s allowing over 100 yards per game. He can make plays in both phases of the offense.

Brandon Marshall: Somebody has to catch the ball in Denver. New York may rank third against the pass, but Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo have posted some big numbers against this unit in 2009.

New York D/ST: They’re our ninth-ranked defense entering Week 12 and could be on the move if Chris Simms is under center again this week.


Eli Manning: He’s our 15th-ranked quarterback heading into Week 12 and for good reason. Outside of torch ing a beat-up Atlanta secondary, Manning has thrown six interceptions in his last five games.

Ahmad Bradshaw: Bradshaw sprained his ankle on Sunday to go along with the foot and ankle injuries he’s been nursing for most of the season. There’s a GOOD chance he won’t play Thursday. Look for third-stringer Danny Ware to steal some carries.

Correll Buckhalter: He’s playing at less than 100 percent (knee) and will likely see fewer carries than Moreno.

Kyle Orton/Chris Simms: There just hasn’t been enough production out of either quarterback to take this risk.

Eddie Royal: He’s been way too inconsistent to warrant a starting roster spot.

Denver D/ST: Since coming off the bye, Denver has gone 0-4 while allowing 29.2 points per game.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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