Thanksgiving is over, and the real fantasy football stretch run begins now, in week twelve, with the Thanksgiving Day games! We had three games yesterday with a good amount of stuff to pick over. So, like your Uncle Jimmy after dinner while standing in the kitchen, let’s pick over the carcass of Thanksgiving’s games to find out what we can learn from them for the rest of our respective fantasy football seasons. Let’s dive in!
Should We Add Isaiah McKenzie for the Stretch Run?
Isaiah McKenzie was the player of the game for the early game this Thanksgiving, with Josh Allen connecting with McKenzie for a first quarter touchdown and targeting him ten times in this game. McKenzie finished with 6 catches for 96 yards and a score in this game. Ultimately, however, this comes down to a great matchup in a get-right game for the Buffalo Bills’ passing game. They spent the last couple of games with Josh Allen nursing a bum elbow and exorcised those demons against the team that allows the fifth-most fantasy points per game and fifth-highest yards per target.
McKenzie’s targets came thanks to the Bills minimizing Gabriel Davis (5 targets) and Dawson Knox (2 targets), two of their integral passing game targets. I doubt this is a harbinger of things to come for Knox and Davis, but I still think that McKenzie is worth a speculative add. He plays primarily out of the slot, and that’s a role that helped Cole Beasley score a ton of fantasy points. I wouldn’t spend a ton of FAB on him on Tuesday, but I would say that he’s worth your time. The Bills get the Patriots and Jets in the next two games, so more difficult matchups, but still ones that the Bills should handle, and they allow 16.7 points per game (the same!) to players in the slot, so should McKenzie take that role, he has decent matchups the next couple of weeks.
Has Jamaal Williams Become Must-Start and D’Andre Swift Become Not Startable?
This is a weird one. Jamaal Williams now has 13 touchdowns on the season, including seven in his last five games. He’s on pace to finish inside the top 24 at running back for his fifth-straight game, and the seventh time in his last nine games. He’s completely unstoppable because the Lions love to have the ball goal-to-go from the 3. Williams then punches it in, and everybody celebrates. This is something that’s likely to continue for Jamaal Williams, and he has fully become a must-start player, especially considering that the Bills allow the eleventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs on the year, and Jamaal Williams put down over 11 on them (thanks to a fumble) on 18 carries for 66 yards and a score.
On the flip side, Swift finished with 5 rushes for 19 yards and 4 carries for 24 yards. He finished with a two-point conversion, as well, which gave him 10.3 PPR points. So, in the end, they finished with about one point separated them, and Jamaal Williams doubled up D’Andre Swift in touches. This was a bad matchup, and both walked away with double-digit points. Do you know what that tells me? You can start them both. Williams and Swift are the new Williams and Aaron Jones, except Jamaal Williams has the big side of that platoon, making him the must-start running back and Swift the flex option.
Do we just Concede Zeke?
At this point, we have to just acknowledge that the Cowboys have a preternatural ability to give Ezekiel Elliott far more touches than he deserves despite the fact that Tony Pollard is on the team. Elliott finished the game with 17 touches for 95 yards and a score, compared to Pollard’s 20 touches for 61 yards. Zeke actually had the better game in this one, not just from an efficiency perspective, but also from a fantasy point-scored perspective. We all have to realize one thing: much like Benghazi, Ezekiel Elliott ain’t going away! So, instead of gnashing our teeth and wailing, we just have to understand that Pollard is going to split touches, whether we like it or not. And today, when Zeke has the juice, is the reason for that. That and the eight-figure dead cap if they cut him next year. Jerry Jones seems to call in Zeke from the press box, and thankfully he doesn’t do it by exposing his midriff to the field any longer, so Elliott has a ton of job security. We can either continue to cry about it, or recognize that both Zeke and Pollard have powerful roles in this offense, and we should just accept that Elliott is going to provide us with flex worthy play while stealing from Tony Pollard’s upside.
Will Adam Thielen Ever Go Away?
No. Next question. After last week’s three-target game, there was much consternation and hand-wringing surrounding Thielen’s role in the offense. After all, he had just three targets in that game and the Vikings just added T.J. Hockenson; are they phasing out Adam Thielen? While those three targets weren’t encouraging, the fact that those accounted for 13% of Kirk Cousins’ targets makes it sound a bit better, doesn’t it? Thielen bounced back in this one, turning 10 targets into 9 receptions, 61 yards, and a score. It was a classic Cousins/Thielen Game, helped by Cousins taking just one sack this week compared to 7 last week allowing for an extra 14 passes in this game.
Thielen’s ten targets were the third time in the four games with T.J. Hockenson that Thielen had at least seven targets and Hockenson accounted for 19% of targets this time. An improvement, indeed, but not one as big as it seems from last week. That’s because last week really wasn’t that bad! Adam Thielen is a weekly WR3, and someone who should never leave your lineup in 3WR leagues, and doubly so in 3WR PPR leagues. He gets a bunch of targets every week and he’s adept at turning those into touchdowns when provided the opportunity. And the opportunities will flow from Kirk Cousins.