With less than 48 hours to go to Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the best trio of games on the holiday that I can remember as the Lions and Packers kick off this week's games.
Will the Lions be the first team to beat the Packers in 17 tries counting last season's Super Bowl run?
In order to do so, the health of Lions receiver Calvin Johnson could be a key factor. Johnson, who practiced yesterday, did not practice today due to an ankle injury.
Although Johnson says that he will play, his absence could mean a boost in targets for a couple of Lions receivers on our waiver-wire list below.
For a player to appear on our list, he needs to satisfy two criteria: (1) he is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues or less and (2) he was not on last week's waiver-wire list.
Here are some (new) players to consider adding to your roster:
QB - Matt Moore, Dolphins (owned in nine percent of Yahoo! leagues): Moore has been one of the main reasons for the Dolphins' three-game winning streak. During that span, Moore has completed more than 70 percent of his passes and has a 6:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Having Moore on your bench now could pay dividends down the stretch as he has two favorable matchups in Weeks 15 and 16 versus the Patriots and Bills, two teams that rank in the top 10 of most fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks this season.
RB - Kevin Smith, Lions (26 percent): Even against the league's most generous defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, Smith's performance (201 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns) is very impressive. This year, only four running backs have had more yards from scrimmage: DeMarco Murray (253), Michael Bush (242), Arian Foster (234) and Matt Forte (228). While a repeat performance is highly unlikely again this season, Smith should be the team's featured back at least until (if) Jahvid Best returns.
RB - Toby Gerhart, Vikings (11 percent): With a high-ankle sprain, Adrian Peterson is expected to miss at least one game. Unfortunately, the game in which Gerhart will likely be the team's starting running back is against Atlanta, who has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher. In fact, the only running back to gain more than 85 rushing yards against them was LeSean McCoy in Week 2.
RB - Donald Brown, Colts (eight percent): Compared to Delone Carter, Brown has been the Colts' most effective runner over the past couple of weeks and it isn't close. In their past two games before the bye, Brown has 30 carries for 123 yards to Carter's 10 carries for 22 yards. This week, the Colts host the Panthers, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season (as noted above). In fact, they have allowed a running back to rush for 85-plus yards in every game this season but one.
WR - Santana Moss, Redskins (40 percent): During the three-week stretch in which most leagues have their playoffs (Weeks 14 to 16), Moss and the Redskins face the Patriots, Giants and Vikings, respectively. All three of those opponents rank in the top 10 in most fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers and the Patriots and Vikings are in the top four. While Moss may or may not be back this week, he provides fantasy owners that have patience with three very favorable fantasy matchups in the playoffs.
WR - Jabar Gaffney, Redskins (43 percent): Of course, Gaffney has the same (fantasy) playoff matchups as Moss. Gaffney had his best game of the season (seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown) last week, but he was remarkably consistent at the beginning of the season. Gaffney started the season with six straight games with 50-plus yards. In the three games this season that he had less than 50 yards, John Beck was the quarterback in two of them.
WR - Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (25 percent): Baldwin has at least 50 receiving yards in three of his past four games and in a total of six games this season. The worst thing about Baldwin is that Tarvaris Jackson, who has a 1:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his past four games, is his quarterback. That said, he has had a nice rookie season and can provide some depth to your roster.
WR - Nate Burleson and Titus Young, Lions (34 and six percent, respectively): Although Burleson has been inconsistent this season, two of his three best games have come in the past two weeks. During that span, Burleson has 15 receptions for 146 yards and a score. Young has had three productive fantasy performances in his past three games. Although he finished with only two receptions for 14 yards, Young scored last week for the second time in three weeks. During that three-week span, Young has 13 receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
WR - Jerome Simpson, Bengals (31 percent): With A.J. Green out last week, Simpson set his career high in receiving yards last week with 152 yards on eight receptions against the Ravens. Simpson has three 100-yard games on the season and is on pace for just shy of 900 yards (899.2 yards).
Our full rankings (with notes and multiple scoring formats) for Week 12 will be out by Wednesday morning -- here are our initial rankings from yesterday.
Good luck in Week 12!
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