By MIKE HERNDON
Thanksgiving is here and with it comes a fat slate of football games on Thursday, with the stretch run of the fantasy season at hand. If you’re on the fence for a playoff spot, it’s time to start stacking wins. If it takes using your waiver priority to grab a one- or two-week rental that can help you steal a win or two (Samaje Perine, perhaps?), do it. There’s no time to waste.
So let’s get your lineup set early so you can enjoy the turkey and dressing and, hopefully, be thankful for the win you’re about to collect. Week 12’s starts and sits:
Geno Smith, Seahawks: Smith has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. Once written off with the Jets, he’s been as efficient as nearly any quarterback in the league for Seattle. This week he’s coming off a bye and facing a sieve-like Raiders defense at home.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings: Oh boy. He’s coming off a nightmarish outing against Dallas and now we get Prime Time Kirk on a short week, always a scary proposition. And we get it against the Patriots, who just may have ended the Zach Wilson era with the Jets.
Jeff Wilson, Jr., Dolphins: He rushed for 119 yards in his last game and now he gets a Texans run defense that has been gashed by nearly every running back its faced. Oh, and Raheem Mostert missed practice on Wednesday with a knee injury. Giddy up.
James Conner, Cardinals: The Arizona backfield is his show, as Eno Benjamin was waived and Keontay Ingram is getting precious few snaps. His efficiency isn’t the best, but this week he gets a Chargers defense that struggles against the run and Kyler Murray appears ready to return behind center, which should boost the entire Cardinals offense.
D’Andre Swift, Lions: He simply isn’t getting the volume to be trusted in your lineups. It’s taken him a long time to work his way back from an early-season injury and he still isn’t 100 percent. Until his volume increases, he’s touchdown dependent, and the Lions have the tough Bills defense on Thanksgiving.
D’Onta Foreman, Panthers: He’s been golden against bad defenses, but Chubba Hubbard is starting to eat into his snap share and the Panthers have the Broncos this week.
D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks: If I like a quarterback’s matchup, it stands to reason I’m going to like his top receiver as well. You may see Metcalf’s lackluster outings in the Seahawks’ last few games as concerning. I see it as he’s due.
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers: Aiyuk, Aiyuk, Aiyuk is on fire! He’s had 80 yards and/or a touchdown in each of his last five games. This week, the Niners are at home against a Saints defense that’s been missing its top corner, Marshon Lattimore, for about a month.
Darnell Mooney, Bears: He’s experienced a resurgence as Justin Fields’ play has improved, but now Fields is banged up (and it’s still uncertain whether he’ll play), and the Bears face a revved up Jets defense led by a legitimate shutdown corner in Sauce Gardner.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers: He’s essentially fallen behind George Pickens in the pecking order of an already limited Steelers passing attack, and this week’s opponent, Indianapolis, allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers of any team in the league.
Pat Freiermuth, Steelers: While the Colts have been tough on receivers, they’ve been less stingy to tight ends, and Freiermuth is a trusted option in the Steelers’ offense. He had eight catches for 79 yards off 12 targets in last week’s loss to Cincinnati.
With Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert injured, the ranks for playable tight ends have grown even smaller. Play whoever you can find that’s getting targets.
Categories: Fantasy Football