It’s Thanksgiving week, my friends. This week we celebrate family, friends, football, and of course—tradition.
I am thankful I live in a country where I can watch such a glorious game, write about it, complain about it, and share my thoughts freely with others like you. I am thankful for you, our loyal readers, who come back each week to share your thoughts and passion for the game.
I hope each and everyone of you has much to be thankful for in these trying economic times. I hope you are able to spend it with family and friends.
For those who are serving our country both home and abroad, their steadfast families and loved ones, we at Top Fantasy Football thank you so much for all you give, so that we may safely spend this Thursday overeating, slouched on the couch in a Tryptophan coma, watching grown men toss around a pigskin. What you do matters, and please be assured that you matter, most of all.
On to football: My Thanksgiving shocker call is there will be no undefeated teams left when December starts.
Last week I went 12-4 despite oddball losses like the Steelers to the Chiefs and Bengals to the Raiders. The only other two calls I got wrong were the Panthers over the Dolphins, and I called a three point win in the Monday night game—but I called it for the Texans. I’ll take that as a successful week.
This is again a short week thanks to the Thanksgiving day games, of which there are three this year. Let’s get to those first:
–Team Defense Start and Sit – Week 12–
Plug and Play
|Solid defensive option||If they are on your bench, leave ‘em there||Reasonable risk/reward option|
Thanksgiving Day Football
Greenbay Packers at Detroit Lions
When these two met in week six at Greenbay it was a lopsided affair with the Packers shutting out the Lions 26-0. In that game the Lions didn’t have their starting QB Matthew Stafford or Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. I expect a different outcome this week. The Pack will have a fight on their hands. However, GB should still take home the W as their defense stifles the ground game, and their opportunistic defense takes advantage of Lions who are tied for first in the league with 18 turnovers by interception.
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys play much better offensively at home (last week notwithstanding). The Cowboys are averaging about 27 points per game at home. That said, the last two games Dallas has only managed one TD per contest. If they can’t get their offense going, the Raiders have a chance at another upset. That said, the Raiders could be a cure for the Dallas offensive woes. The Raiders are terrible against the rush, and the Cowboys have the best RB triple tandem short of the Saints. No team has fumbled more than the dozen the Raiders have. They are second in the league with 24 total turnovers, more than two a game, making the Cowboy’s defense a decent play this week.
New York Giants at Denver Broncos
These two teams are eerily similar this season. Both started out strong before meltdowns took them out of playoff contention. The Broncos are riding a four game losing streak while the Giants barely got back into the win column in an offensive battle against Atlanta. This should be a tough battle. The G-men are banged up at RB, and the Broncos run defense needs to get back to the wall they were early on this season. However, both defenses could continue their meltdown, and this could be an offensive juggernaut. This may be one of the week’s harder games to call. I think the win could come down to an Eli Manning interception, or Giant’s third-string RB, Danny Ware.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
The Bills are turnover prone, making the Dolphins defense a decent play. Likewise, the Bills are good at creating and taking advantage of turnovers, and Chad Henne is not used to playing in a cold weather stadium like Buffalo’s. This should turn into a ground affair depending on the weather, and I give that edge to the Dolphins run game vs. the woeful Bills rush defense.
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
Two stumbling teams with their playoff hopes over. Both teams are banged up. The Rams will be without QB Marc Bulger for the remainder of the season most likely, giving Kyle Boller another shot to lead this team out of the cellar. The Seahawks blanked them in their week one contest. This should be a messy game. There could be a lot of scoring, there could be a lot of turnovers. In the end, neither is a decent defensive play, and you have to favor the better QB.
Carolina Panthers at New York Jets
After starting the season 3–0 the Jets have lost six of their last seven, the lone exception being their decisive beatdown of Oakland. The Panthers have started to get back on track, averaging 25 points per game over their last four. This has the makings of a tightly contested game. Both teams are terrible at giveaway, meaning either defense could have a profitable fantasy day. I think the Panthers running game will prove the difference this week, but if Jake Delhomme becomes interception happy against the solid secondary of the Jets….
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Both teams endured tough losses last week. Which loss was worse is arguable. The Browns lost a shootout 38/37 to the Lions. When you throw four TDs, you expect to win. The Bengals were just sloppy in their loss to a desperate Raiders team. Last week’s performance should invigorate the Browns offense, but I expect the Bengals to get back on track this week in the battle for Ohio. Either Cedric Benson or Bernard Scott has a favorable match-up in the running game. The Browns have zero rushing TDs on the season.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Last time these teams met in week nine, the Colts snuck by on a field goal to keep their season perfect. I’m going out on a limb this week to predict their first loss of the season. The Colts have been in some scramblers lately and their luck may be about out. I think this week goes the other way.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
What is going on with my Steelers? Back-to-back losses is bad enough, but losing to the Chiefs? Now Troy Polamalu is out, Big Ben is hurt. Could the Steelers lose a third straight and drop out of wildcard contention? The Ravens have always played the Steelers tough, and this is a road game for Pittsburgh. This does not bode well for the Super Bowl Champs. That said, the Ravens haven’t looked great lately either. I think the Steelers manage to survive.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons looked so solid to start the year, but their feathers are coming free lately. The Bucs put up a nice win on Green Bay then dropped back to their losing ways. Tampa has a real good chance this week to upset Atlanta and get another win, and if this game were in Tampa I’d call it for them, but I’m going with the home team in this contest.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Road games in Philly are tough to win, even though the Redskins always play the Eagles tough to begin with. Their previous contest went to Philly in a 27–17 game that was closer than it looked. I think this week, the Eagles will fashion a more resounding win. The redskins are starting kick returner Rock Cartwright at RB, with Portis and Betts out. Expect a blue-collar smash mouth game.
Arizona Cardinal at Tennessee Titans
The Cardinals have one of the league’s best air games, while the Titans secondary has played like one of the worst pass defenses. All signs point to a long day for the Titans’ pass defense. That said, the Titan’s rush defense has been stellar, meaning the Cards will have to rely on their pass game to get it done. Hopefully, Warner doesn’t have another INT meltdown like he did at Carolina. The question is, can the Cardinals stop RB Chris Johnson?
Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings defense has to be salivating over the chance to pick off Jay Cutler. He’s been horrid of late, and the team is now tied with the Lions for the most interceptions (18) in the league. If Jay has another week like the last couple, the Vikings defense could win this game all by itself. The Bears will need a solid passing game with their running game second worst in the NFL with only four rushing TDs on the year.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
Despite last week’s upset win over the Steelers, the Chiefs shouldn’t stand a chance against the Chargers who are finally on a roll. The SD defense has tightened up, their running game is starting to return, and they are formidable at home. I think the Chiefs can make a game of it, but they’ll fall short. The Chiefs have only one rushing TD all season.
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers
This contest is one of those flip a coin games that could go either way. The Jags play much better at home, but Maurice Jones-Drew has the skills to win the game by himself. Both team defenses are decent plays given the turnover opportunities. Alex Smith has a good chance to shine this week if he can nix the interceptions.
Monday Night Football
New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints
This may well be the week’s best match-up. The Patriots, after a shaky start to the season, have been fairly dominating. The Saints are hanging on to a perfect record, but they haven’t been as impressive lately in their wins as they should be with a handful of near upsets. The two are second and third in the league respectively in turnover ratio. Both defenses are solid plays most weeks, though this could become a shoot out. So, I’m going to downgrade both to decent plays. I think this may well be the week the Saints take their first loss.
Week 12 RB Start Sit
Week 12 Waiver Grabs
Week 12 Betting Advice