Week 12 NFL Primer

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    Turkey Day Trifecta

    Big Spreads on Thanksgiving – Some appetizing blowouts are being served up in the first 2 games, but an intriguing Turkey Day nightcap delivers the main course.

    12:30pm: Bills (7-3) @ Lions (4-6) – Spread: Bills -9.5
    After monumental snow totals forced Buffalo’s Week 11 home game to Detroit, the Bills are back in the Motor City to kick off the Thanksgiving Day football slate. The Lions have quietly won 3 straight games, yet always seem to be a punching bag of a franchise that isn’t taken seriously. One thing is for certain, this game will feature an abundance of points in the first taste of NFL action of the day.

    Watch List:
    Josh Allen’s UCL Allen was held under 200 yards passing last week for first time in 2022, which is notable since he’s been hampered by a UCL injury in his throwing elbow since Week 9.
    Lions RBs D’Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder) played just 31% of snaps last week, while Jamaal Williams notched a trio of scores becoming the NFL leader in rushing TDs (12).

    4:30pm: Giants (7-3) @ Cowboys (7-3) – Spread: Cowboys –10

    The Giants botched a major opportunity to take care of business at home against Detroit last week, and could easily be 8-2 entering this game. Instead they face a scorching Cowboys team as touchdown-plus underdog, despite the identical 7-3 record. These NFC East foes are all too familiar with one another, and I don’t expect either side to hold back any punches in a game that will come down to who wins the battles in the trenches.

    Watch List:
    Micah Parsons Injury Scare
    Parsons (ankle/knee) got rolled up on in the 40-3 drubbing of the Vikings, but the 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year appears to have avoided anything serious and looks ready to suit up on Thursday.
    Giants Offense The Giants added injury to insult in their Week 11 loss, with Wan’Dale Robinson (ACL tear) exiting after a breakout performance where he tallied 9 catches and 100 yards.

    8:20pm: Patriots (6-4) @ Vikings (8-2)- Spread: Vikings -2.5

    This game will be purely strength-on-strength, as the Patriots defense will be tasked with limiting the bevy of explosive playmakers in Minnesota, which now includes Pro-Bowler TJ Hockenson. In Week 11, the Patriots stymied the Jets allowing only a field goal, and the Cowboys did the exact same to the Vikings in Minnesota. This should provide a useful blueprint for Bill Belichick who will be tasked with trying to replicate that on Thursday Night.

    Watch List:
    Justin Jefferson vs. Pats D After a humbling 33-yard dud a week ago, Jefferson is too competitive to not be in his bag with something extra in the Turkey Day finale. This should be a great chess match with the versatile secondary in New England.
    Patriots Playcalling – Mac Jones has been nothing short of atrocious in recent weeks, leading to the stagnancy of New England’s passing offense. The Patriots are wasting Rhamondre Stevenson‘s elite play by not activating Jones in the play-action game, and will need to help him get the ball out quicker.

    RB Room Shakeups

    Surprise Cuts in Week 11 – Teams are making moves across the NFL that are having trickle down effects on the fantasy landscape.

    Arizona Cardinals
    Despite being drafted in 2020, Eno Benjamin was a surprise cut after a promising start where he was averaging 4.3 YPC on 70 totes. This will elevate James Conner to bell-cow status and give more looks to 6th rounder Keaontay Ingram.

    Denver Broncos
    After already losing budding star Javonte Williams (ACL), the Broncos abruptly parted ways with veteran Melvin Gordon. This leaves a couple more veterans on the downsides of their careers to inherit the bulk of work, as Denver’s now electing to go with Latavius Murray and Marlon Mack.

    Los Angeles Rams
    In the midst of a lost season, the defending Super Bowl Champs appear headed for a rebuild. The weirdness continues in the RB room for the Rams, who cut bait with Darrell Henderson after mucking up relations with former 2nd rounder Cam Akers. The biggest beneficiary is Notre Dame product Kyren Williams, who will feast on a more robust workload as a versatile piece, most often praised for his passing game chops.

    Key Injuries, Sleepers & Value Shifts

    TE Injuries Snowballing Dallas Goedert (shoulder) hitting the IR presents a big challenge for the Super Bowl favorite Philadelphia Eagles. Fellow TEs Zach Ertz, Darren Waller and Kyle Pitts have also joined Goedert on the IR, as fantasy rosters continue to be derailed at the position.

    Who else should you target?

    TE Sleepers:
    Foster Moreau (LV) – Led all TEs with 66 offensive snaps played last week in Waller’s absence
    Juwan Johnson (NO) – All he does is score! Notched his 5th TD in 5 weeks with poor QB play
    Trey McBride (ARI) – Now playing 76% of snaps, more upside if Rondale Moore (groin) is out

    FLEX Value Up:
    Jeff Wilson (MIA) Lead dog in Miami now, ran wild for 119 and a score in starting role
    Rachaad White (TB) – Played 64% of snaps in his 1st start, finished with 105 yards on 22 carries
    George Pickens (PIT) – Consistently making highlight reel plays, evolving into a WR1
    Samaje Perine (CIN) – Caught 3 TD passes last week, Joe Mixon (concussion) status unknown
    Latavius Murray (DEN) – Volume-based flex play with Chase Edmonds on IR and Gordon gone

    FLEX Value Down:
    Raheem Mostert (MIA) – Played just 28% of snaps to 61% for Wilson, hot hand concerns
    Leonard Fournette (TB) – Took a backseat to his rookie counterpart, played just 29% of snaps
    Diontae Johnson (PIT)Kenny Pickett continues to decimate his stock, no longer a must-start

    Deeper Sleepers & Stash Targets:
    Kyren Willams (LAR) – He will get a big look in the Rams’ rebuild, potential PPR stud
    Darius Slayton (NYG) – Underrated production for Giants, will continue to see high volume
    KJ Hamler (DEN) – With Jerry Jeudy (ankle) limited someone needs to step up, electric speed
    Jameson Williams (DET) – Targeting a Week 13 return from the ACL injury he suffered in college

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