Instead of droning on and on about my awful luck in fantasy this year, this being the season of giving thanks, I'm thankful that my wife is kicking ass in her spread league and confidence point league. She came in first for the week in both last week, winning back her money. As long as somebody in this household is bringing in the cheddar, I'm thankful.
With that, on to Week 12!
Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions
Comfortables: Matt Schaub, Matthew Stafford, Arian Foster, Mikel Leshoure, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Owen Daniels
Cautions: Ben Tate, Joique Bell, Brandon Pettigrew, Houston Defense, Detroit Defense
Casualties: Justin Forsett, Kevin Smith, Kevin Walter, James Casey, Tony Scheffler
Sleeper: Ryan Broyles
Matt Schaub was most likely on your bench when he notched more than 500 yards and five touchdowns last week as the Texans had to come from behind against the…wait, am I reading this right? The Jaguars??? This week, he goes up against the kings of the shootout, the Detroit Lions, on Thanksgiving afternoon. This vaults Schaub into must-start territory, even though the Lions did a pretty good job containing Aaron Rodgers last week (to my downfall) and holding him to only two touchdowns. Still, here you have two defenses who were running all over the field on Sunday who have to play on a short week. I expect more running around the field this week. Attention all Titus Young owners: he was suspended for this game by the team for detrimental conduct. Apparently he was huffing on the sidelines last week that he wasn’t getting the ball enough. Now he won’t get the ball at all. Ryan Broyles, welcome to sleepertown! After Nate Burleson went down, Young benefitted. I expect the same thing to happen with Broyles, who will take advantage of a Texans secondary that will be entirely focused on stopping Megatron.
Prediction: Houston wins a wild one and moves to 10-1 on the year.
Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Comfortables: Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo, Alfred Morris, Felix Jones, Santana Moss, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten
Cautions: Pierre Garcon (if active), Logan Paulsen, Washington Defense, Dallas Defense
Casualties: Evan Royster, Keiland Williams, Aldrick Robinson, Josh Morgan, Kevin Ogletree
Sleeper: Lance Dunbar
Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe this is RG3’s national television debut? You can bet he’s itching to make a lasting first impression after an immaculate game last week against the Eagles. Pierre Garcon was a surprise active last week, but didn’t amount to much. Use with extreme caution this week if he’s active again. Santana Moss, Aldrick Robison, and Logan Paulsen benefitted from RG3’s brilliance on Sunday, but I’d only trust Moss this time around. DeMarco Murray will most likely miss one more week (grumble grumble), so I’ve reluctantly made Felix Jones a Comfortable against a generous Washington defense, but if he gets hurt, Lance Dunbar will get a big opportunity.
Prediction: RG3 dazzles again and the Redskins get an upset win on the road as Romo and the Cowboys collapse on national TV…again…
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Comfortables: Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez (if active), New England Defense
Cautions: Shane Vereen, Bilal Powell, Brandon Lloyd, Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller
Casualties: Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Danny Woodhead, Shonn Greene, Deon Branch, Stephen Hill, Jason Hill, Visanthe Schiancoe, New York Jets Defense
Sleeper: Julian Edelman
Gee Rob Gronkowski, if you absolutely had to break your forearm, why couldn’t you have done it BEFORE scoring two touchdowns against me? I swear, I have absolutely no luck this year. Anyway, don’t even think about starting any Jets, even after their win over St. Louis last week. I recognize the upset potential this game has, what with the short week, the Jets at home, and the Patriots possibly having a hangover after laying 50+ on the Colts. But I think the potential for the Jets to lay an egg on national TV is much greater. If Rex Ryan is smart (debatable…), he’ll thrust Bilal Powell into the starting RB position, since we know he’s not benching Mark Sanchez anytime soon.
Prediction: No hangover for New England, as the Patriots dominate the Jets on the road.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
Comfortables: Jay Cutler (if active), Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Percy Harvin (if active), Brandon Marshall, Minnesota Defense, Chicago Defense
Cautions: Michael Bush
Casualties: Christian Ponder, Jason Campbell (if Cutler is inactive), Toby Gerhart, Khalil Bell, All Pass Catchers not named Harvin or Marshall
I expect a 10-3 game here, especially if Jay Cutler can’t go. Chicago got embarrassed by San Francisco on Monday night, so I’d imagine their normally stout defense will tighten up against a Vikings offense that’s really Peterson, Harvin or bust. If Cutler doesn’t play, I don’t like any pass catchers on either team aside from the number one receiving options (Harvin and Marshall).
Prediction: The Bears bounce back at home with a win over the Vikings.
Oakland Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Comfortables: Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, Darren McFadden (if active), BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Denarius Moore, AJ Green, Cincinnati Defense
Cautions: Marcel Reese (if McFadden is inactive), Darius Heyward-Bey, Andrew Hawkins (if active), Brandon Myers, Jermaine Gresham, Oakland Defense
Casualties: Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones, Cedric Peerman, Rod Streater, Armon Binns
Sleeper: Mohammed Sanu (if Hawkins is inactive)
Marcel Reese has filled in admirably for the injured Darren McFadden, so much so that I believe he has leapfrogged Mike Goodson as the number two back in Oakland. If DMC can’t go, Reese has a pretty tough Bengals defense that unfortunately isn’t as generous as the Saints were last week. I’d consider Denarius Moore’s bad day as a fluke, as he’s Palmer’s go-to target. I like Cincinnati’s defense to continue dominating and forcing Palmer into a couple of mistakes. Plus, AJ Green’s good for another TD to keep the streak going. Andy Dalton looks to him early and often.
Prediction: Dalton-to-Green, lather rinse repeat. Bengals win at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
Comfortables: Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, Trent Richardson, Pittsburgh Defense, Cleveland Defense
Cautions: Brandon Weeden, Isaac Redman, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Josh Gordon, Heath Miller, Benjamin Watson
Casualties: Charlie Batch, Chris Rainey, Chris Ogbannaya, Montario Hardesty, Greg Little
Sleeper: PLAXICO FLIPPIN’ BURRESS!!
Yeugh. I feel sorry for anybody who has to watch this game. You’ve got a Steelers team that’s without its first two string quarterbacks (and Antonio Brown and Troy Paolomalu), against a Browns team that doesn’t have that great of starters to begin with. Yeesh. I like the running game and the defense, and that’s it. But here’s the dirty little secret: the Browns aren’t as bad as their record indicates. From what I’ve seen, they play every team hard, and they damn near upset the Cowboys in JerryWorld™ last week. I may be employing the gambler’s fallacy here, but I think they’re due. And what better time to get that big win than against a depleted Pittsburgh team down to their third-string quarterback and so desperate for receiving help that they’re actually considering Plaxico Shootin’ Burress! What can Browns do for you?
Prediction: UPSET ALERT! Richardson scores and Weeden gets lucky on a TD throw as the Browns win a close, low-scoring affair at home.
Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts
Comfortables: Andrew Luck, CJ Spiller, Stevie Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Allen (if Coby Fleener is inactive), Indianapolis Defense
Cautions: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson (if active), Donald Brown, Vick Ballard, T.Y. Hilton, Scott Chandler, Coby Fleener (if active), Buffalo Defense
Casualties: Tashard Choice, Delone Carter, Donald Jones, Donnie Avery
Andrew Luck had an awful day in New England last week, but I think he will get his passing game going better, finding Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen if Coby Fleener can’t go again. Fred Jackson may play, but I think there’s a changing of the guard in Buffalo. I’m definitely more comfortable playing Spiller than Jackson this week.
Prediction: Both teams are trending in different directions, but I expect Indy to right the ship this week.
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Comfortables: Peyton Manning, Ronnie Hillman, Jamaal Charles, Eric Decker, Demariyus Thomas, Denver Defense
Cautions: Joel Dreessen
Casualties: All Chiefs not named Jamaal Charles (including Defense), Lance Ball, Knowshown Moreno, Jacob Tamme
Sleeper: Brandon Stokley
Denver defense all day, baby! A normally good defense going against the most anemic offense in the league? Yes please. I expect plenty of dancing for Von Miller. Don’t even think about starting any Chiefs that aren’t Jamaal Charles, and I was contemplating making him a caution but I’m banking on his talent winning out. We do know the Chiefs have a history of limiting his touches for god knows what reason. Willis McGahee is out, so Ronnie Hillman will be the big name to grab in the running game this week. I don’t think Lance Ball or Knowshown Moreno will make much of a dent in his workload.
Prediction: Broncos steamroll the Chiefs and Romeo Crennel gets fired.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Miami Dolphins
Comfortables: Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Brian Hartline, Seattle Defense, Miami Defense
Cautions: Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Golden Tate, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano
Casualties: Robert Turbin, Doug Baldwin, Braylon Edwards, Marlon Moore, Anthony McCoy, Zack Miller
Sleeper: Lamar Miller
What the hell happened to Reggie Bush? I could have sworn I said the same thing last week, but here we are. There’s no guarantee he’s going to get the lion’s share of the work over Daniel Thomas, and even if he was, he’s playing against a stout Seattle run defense. If I can grab one of the backup running backs off the waiver wire this week, I think I’m going to sit Bush in a must-win league. We do know, however, that the Seahawks are not the same team on the road that they are at home, and they have to fly ALLLLL the way across the country and down to Miami from Seattle, so you have to think this game favors the Dolphins. I think Brian Hartline has a big game, and Daniel Thomas will punch in a short score.
Prediction: Miami stuns Seattle for a big interconference home win.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Comfortables: Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Michael Turner, Doug Martin, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson, Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Defense
Cautions: Jacquizz Rodgers, Mike Williams, Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Defense
Casualties: LeGarrette Blount, Taiquan Underwood
Sleeper: Harry Douglas
Why couldn’t I have played against Matt Ryan in three leagues last week rather than Drew Brees? I have no idea what happened to him, but he kissed his MVP chances goodbye with that 5-interception stinker of a game against the Cardinals (which they miraculously won!). I think Atlanta’s offense figures it out this week and has a serious chip on their shoulder as they face the red-hot Bucs. The typical starters are in play, and I’ve upgraded Dallas Clark from a Casualty to a Caution because he’s getting more involved in the passing game and he found the endzone last week.
Prediction: Atlanta wins a big division game on the road.
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Comfortables: Jake Locker (if starting), Chad Henne, Chris Johnson, Nate Washington, Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Jared Cook, Mercedes Lewis
Cautions: Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Tennessee Defense, Jacksonville Defense
Casualties: Jamie Harper, Darius Reynaud, Rashad Jennings, Montell Owens, Laurent Robinson
Sleeper: Jalen Parmele
Thanks for nothing, Rashad Jennings. That’ll teach me to listen to preseason hype. He can be cut in all leagues. The new sexy name is Jalen Parmalee, but the REAL out-of-nowhere fantasy stud is Chad freakin’ Henne. Wolverines unite! He did what Blaine Gabbert couldn’t do (besides pass the football), and that’s bring Justin Blackmon to fantasy relevance. I like both Blackmon and Shorts, as well as Mercedes Lewis, against a Tennessee Defense that can give up the big play quite easily. Tennessee’s a tough team to figure out…when you think they’re going to do well, they shit the bed. When you think they’re going to suck, they pull it out. Depending on who’s starting at QB this week, I only really like Chris Johnson and Jared Cook. Nate Washington is a Comfortable only if Jake Locker starts, as Locker has developed rapport with the veteran receiver.
Prediction: Riding the wave of good vibes, and on the arm of Henne, the Jags pull off a big home win in front of 2,000 screaming fans!
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Diego Chargers
Comfortables: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ryan Matthews, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Malcom Floyd, Danario Alexander, Baltimore Defense
Cautions: Philip Rivers, Dennis Pitta (if active), Antonio Gates, San Diego Defense
Casualties: Bernard Pierce, Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle, Curtis Brinkley, Robert Meachem, Ed Dickson (if Pitta is inactive)
Sleeper: Jacoby Jones
Philip Rivers was the best value pick I ever made in the Bad Quarterback League. He’s been terrible. The only saving grace is that he’s brought fantasy relevance to Danario Alexander, who has the best nickname in football aside from Megatron…DX! This comes, unfortunately, at the expense of Antonio Gates, who was nonexistent in the passing game last week. The last time Baltimore went out west, they dismantled the Oakland Raiders, and I expect the same thing to happen to the Chargers. All your Ravens are belong to the starting lineup, sans Pitta, who might not suit up.
Prediction: Baltimore crushes Oakland on the road.
St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals
Comfortables: Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, St. Louis Defense, Arizona Defense
Cautions: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Daniel Gibson, Larry Fitzgerald
Casualties: Arizona Starting QB, Daryl Richardson, William Powell, Austin Pettis, Lance Kendricks, Rob Housler
Sleeper: Beanie Wells
Another “yuck” kind of game on a day that’s filled with them. Arizona’s defense became fantasy relevant again, and they still couldn’t muster up a victory. Considering what they did to Atlanta last week, I’d expect the Cardinals D to maul Sam Bradford and the Rams offense. However, with Ryan Lindley or whoever they have starting at QB, the offense isn’t going to be effective enough against a better-than-you-think Rams Defense. And what’s this? Beanie Wells might come back! What? Where are you all going?
Prediction: Cardinals offense doesn’t get anything going and the Rams sneak off with a road win.
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints
Comfortables: Colin Kaepernick (if starting), Drew Brees, Frank Gore, Darren Sproles (if active), Michael Crabtree, Marques Colston, Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, San Francisco Defense
Cautions: Kendall Hunter, Pierre Thomas (if Sproles is inactive), Mark Ingram (if Sproles is inactive), Chris Ivory (if Sproles is inactive), Mario Manningham, Lance Moore, New Orleans Defense
Casualties: All SF RBs not named Gore or Hunter, Devery Henderson
Sleeper: Randy Moss
Let’s get it out of the way first and foremost: Colin Kaepernick needs to start this football game. As a Vernon Davis owner, I’m practically begging John Harbaugh to ride the hot hand and put the ball in Kaepernick’s hands. Davis has gone largely ignored by Alex Smith, but Kaepernick found Davis early and often. Against the most generous defense seemingly in fantasy football history, all should thrive. Darren Sproles may be active this week, further clouding an already messy Saints backfield rotation. I can’t seem to guess right with Chris Ivory. I bench him when he goes off, and I start him when he does nothing. It’ll be interesting to see how Drew Brees handles the stout Niners D at home. This is the week I probably could have been okay with facing Brees in every money league.
Prediction: The Niners outgun the Saints and win a big one on the road.
Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants
Comfortables: Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Jermichael Finley, Martellus Bennett
Cautions: James Starks, Donald Driver, Domenik Hixon, Green Bay Defense, New York Defense
Casualties: Alex Green, David Wilson
Sleeper: Andre Brown
These two teams were (along with the Patriots) dead last in defense last year, and this year, while the Patriots have quietly clamped down in the secondary, the Pack and Giants have some serious secondary holes caused by injuries that are ripe for exploitation. Can you say shootout? I love all offensive options except for the Packer running game. I hear Cedric Benson is close to returning, which will help in the future, but for now the Pack are stuck with the middling James Starks and Alex Green, and that, my friends, is where I believe the Giants have the advantage. A more balanced attack will minimize the possibility for Eli Manning to make a mistake.
Prediction: The Giants have always historically played up to their opponents, and always seem to win when nobody else believes they will. I’m not falling for it again. G-Men pull it out.
Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Comfortables: Cam Newton, Bryce Brown, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Brent Celek, Carolina Defense, Philadelphia Defense
Cautions: Philadelphia Starting QB, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin
Casualties: Mike Tolbert, Dion Lewis, Brandon LaFell
Poor ESPN. They’ve been dealt some horrible Monday Night Football matchups, and even when the matchups look favorable (like Chicago vs. San Francisco, for example), both QBs get injured and we have the backup bowl. Now, the allure of Cam vs. Vick has been made moot by both QBs’ struggling play and the fact that Vick probably won’t play anyway. Adding insult to injury is the fact that LeSean McCoy has a concussion and will most likely be out as well. In other words…watch Raw on Monday. Bryce Brown isn’t quite the plug-and-play that we all expect, but it’s not like Any Reid supports a running attack anyway. Get me out of here, now.
Prediction: Panthers…who cares?
Here’s your Comfortable tally this week: 21 QBs (!!!), 26 RBs, 34 WRs, 13 TEs, and 17 DEFs. So it should be a fun as hell week in 2 QB or Superflex leagues.
Follow me on Twitter @PocketSeagull, have fun, enjoy your Thanksgiving, eat lots of turkey, don’t drink and drive, and good luck in Week 12!