What a slate of games on Thanksgiving! I can’t believe that thing happened, or the other thing! Wow! What thrills… Okay, cards on the table. I’m writing this before Thanksgiving. After all, I have to be able to get you your start or sit help but I also need to be able to get a 900-inch 800K TV for a nickel after eating my weight in carbs, so I will be otherwise occupied this weekend! Let’s dive into some start or sit candidates post-Thanksgiving for week twelve!
Jimmy Garoppolo versus New Orleans
If you’re a part of the Se Siente Bien, Bebé train, then you’re already rolling with the King of Vibes, but what if you could potentially snag him to spot start this week? I would most definitely be in on Jimmy Garoppolo this week, as he is QB10 in fantasy points per game since the 49ers snagged Christian McCaffrey for a pile of picks from the Panthers. Adding McCaffrey to Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk have made the 49ers’ offense himbo proof, and Garoppolo’s responded with 251 passing yards, and two touchdowns per game with just one pick in the four games since CMC became a Niner. This week, things are unlikely to change, as the Saints are in a freefall, especially on defense. Derek Carr is the only quarterback to not get at least 17 fantasy points against them since week five (though Matthew Stafford and Bryce Perkins are considered one person for this to work). You should most definitely start Jimmy Garoppolo this week at home against a woeful Saints team.
Geno Smith versus Las Vegas
There’s one marginal quarterback that I would start over Jimmy Garoppolo, and I would start Geno Smith. The Raiders, when not playing against Russell Wilson mid-vomiting everywhere, simply refuse to stop opposing quarterbacks from scoring fantasy points. All quarterbacks who have faced them have gotten at or near their season-high in fantasy points or scored over 30 points. The exceptions are Trevor Lawrence and Russell Wilson last week. Geno can cut through them like a hot knife through butter, and he’s been on a roll lately, scoring at least 19 fantasy points in three straight games.
Aaron Rodgers at Philadelphia
Aaron Rodgers now has back-to-back games with at least 19 fantasy points, thanks to Christian Watson scoring 5 touchdowns in four days, but he’s still yet to throw for over 300 yards this season, and yet to top 260 without also throwing three interceptions. That is to say: Aaron Rodgers has probably already maxed out what he will do this season, at least from an upside perspective. The offense got its act together in the last couple of weeks, but the Packers aren’t quite right. This week, Rodgers and the Packers take on the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are literally the worst defense for an opposing quarterback to go up against this season, and things have only gotten more difficult for QBs since Philly added Robert Quinn from Chicago. Quinn has been an Eagle for four games, and opposing offenses passed for an average of 212.5 yards per game while scoring over 17 points just once. There’s not a whole lot of upside to starting him, so I would definitely sit Aaron Rodgers this week.
DJ Moore versus Denver
This is me putting my foot down because the Panthers have looped all the way back around to Sam Darnold at quarterback, and I feel like I’m losing my mind. At this point, I don’t know how you can justify starting DJ Moore. It feels like Moore catching one 62-yard touchdown as time expired scrambled our eggs when it comes to expectations for him. Since that game, he has 9 catches for 77 yards. Please note that this is over the last three games and at one point on Monday Night Football, DeAndre Hopkins had 7 catches for 77 yards in the first half! And now the Panthers are looping back around to Darnold, against the Broncos? Denver got ripped a new one by Davante Adams last week, but also he’s Davante Adams and DJ Moore is not. Overall, they’ve allowed just 9 wide receivers double-digit fantasy days against them. There’s no reason to do anything but sit DJ Moore this week against Denver.
George Pickens at Indianapolis
If I could choose a situation worse than Moore’s, I’d go with Pickens with a terrible offensive line and a somehow worse quarterback going up against the Colts this week. Pickens had his first game over 61 yards since week five last week, after averaging 3 catches for 30 yards in the intervening weeks, including a three-target, no-catch effort against the Eagles in week eight. Things are rough in Pittsburgh, and it’s going to be rough for Pickens this week. The Colts allow the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. There are times that you can lean into an iffy offense like the Steelers, but going up against a Colts team that is averaging less than one opposing wide receiver hitting double-digit PPR points per week isn’t a time that I would lean into them. You should most definitely sit George Pickens this week.
Donovan Peoples-Jones versus Tampa Bay
Don’t look now, but apparently, it doesn’t matter who is playing against Jacoby Buzzsaw-tt. Brissett dispatched with the Buffalo defense, throwing for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns (while Buffalo waited around to take a plane home so that they could take a plane back a few days later). Still, Brissett was, unexpectedly, a great start last week! And why is that? Well, that would be his new favorite weapon: Donovan Peoples-Jones. DPJ turned 6 targets into 5 catches, 61 yards, and a touchdown, which was his first of the year. This made it five straight games and six of seven in which Peoples-Jones had at least 11.1 PPR points, with his lowest output being a 6-catch, 71-yard effort with a fumble. DPJ has been a relative must-start in 3WR leagues over the last month, and he’s going to keep that train rolling this week. The Buccaneers are not a defense that should scare you, as they are no longer the same D that rolled Tom Brady to the Super Bowl. They’re older, slower, and middle-of-the-pack in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. If you’re in a 3WR league, you should start Donovan Peoples-Jones this weekend.
Isiah Pacheco versus L.A. Rams
Pacheco now has 31 carries in his last two games, as the Chiefs have given him the primary running back role. There is just one little problem for those of us who saw his 100-yard game last week and want to slot him into our lineups: it took him 31 touches to get 16.9 PPR points, across two games. This is because the Chiefs don’t use him in and around the goal line, and he has one target on the season. Pacheco is used as a rich man’s version of Justice Hill, insofar as he doesn’t get any targets, but he’s a dang good runner, so he gets a lot of carries. Unfortunately, the team subs him out around the goal line. This all leads to a nice high-floor play most weeks, but a player that needs a touchdown to finish inside the top-24 on most weeks (or 7 yards per carry like he had last week). This week, he’s unlikely to get either, as the Rams and the Chiefs square off. The Rams, for all of their struggles, still do a relatively good job at stopping opposing running backs. They played Christian McCaffrey twice, and James Conner fell into two touchdowns in week ten, but other than that, they’ve allowed just one running back touchdown on the year (to Jeff Wilson Jr.) while giving up the tenth-lowest yards per carry. Unless you’re in a bind and you need a nice floor play, I would sit Isiah Pacheco this week.
Latavius Murray at Carolina
Well, the Denver Broncos went and kicked Melvin Gordon to the curb, and Chase Edmonds will miss the next few weeks with a high ankle sprain. Also, Mike Boone is both injured and Mike Boone. That leaves the backfield as Murray and Marlon Mack. In a part-time role, Latavius Murray has offered some decent production, scoring inside the top 30 at the position in four-of-five games with the Broncos. But, he’s been minimally involved in the passing game, getting 10 catches in his four games. That’s where Melvin Gordon shined, but those touches should go to Murray, and not Mack. This weekend, the newly anointed bell cow Latavius Murray gets to take on the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers give up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and that’s after they followed up giving up 55 fantasy points to Joe Mixon by allowing 20.3 points to the Ravens and Falcons backs in the last two weeks. They’re a very exploitable matchup, and you should be able to start Latavius Murray with confidence this week.
Rachaad White at Cleveland
Remember when the Buccaneers seemingly turned everything over to Rachaad White, then Leonard Fournette got hurt, and they went on bye and we sort of just… forgot… about that whole situation? Well, they’re back from the bye and have the softest possible landing this week in the Cleveland Browns. I usually cite a stat here about how they’re the second-worst team in the league against opposing running backs in fantasy points per game, but I am here to tell you that statistics lie. The Cleveland Browns are, without a doubt, the worst run defense in the NFL. The Texans allow more fantasy points per game than the Browns, but the Browns are just about a point behind them in fantasy points per game on nine fewer touches per game. It doesn’t matter what is going on with Leonard Fournette in this one, because if they split the backfield as they have, that’s more than enough for White against the Browns, because of one thing.
The Browns have given up double-digit fantasy days to nine different running backs in their last six games. Start Rachaad White in this one. He’s ascendant and the Browns will only aid him in his rise.
Juwan Johnson at San Francisco
Juwan Johnson has somewhat quietly climbed up the tight end ranks, as his five touchdowns in his last five games have landed him as a top-five option in four of the last five weeks. Unfortunately, the man has also not crossed 47 yards once all season, and he had five or fewer targets in four of his last five games. So, while he’s been scoring touchdowns, he’s been needing those touchdowns to have a good fantasy week. If you’re in a bind, you can start him, but I would prefer to sit Juwan Johnson against San Francisco. The Niners gave up touchdowns to tight ends in a game just once (one to Kyle Pitts and one to MyCole Pruitt), and only Tyler Higbee and Travis Kelce topped 30 yards against them, and both needed a combined 22 targets to pull it off. The Niners are a stifling defense against tight ends, thanks to All-Pro linebacker Fred “Frank” Warner.
Tyler Higbee at Kansas City
Despite God seemingly pulling the plug on anything and everything related to this offense this week thanks to Matthew Stafford suffering a concussion, Cooper Kupp breaking his offense, and Darrell Henderson finally getting a breakaway run against his own team, HC Higbee remains a good option to start. This is more of a calming reassurance that you don’t need to go out and do something silly like replace Higbee. He suffered a wrist injury in week eight against the Niners, and it was bothering him in week nine, which led to a combined 7 targets, 2 receptions, and 15 yards in those two games. In the two after that, Higbee has 16 targets, 12 receptions, and 118 yards, despite everything falling apart around him. This week, he gets the Chiefs. Kansas City isn’t a defense to worry about, as they are square in the middle in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends, thanks to productive tight ends like Zach Ertz, Gerald Everett, Dawson Knox, and George Kittle offsetting guys like Kylen Granson, Chig Okonkwo and Jesper Horsted. You can still start Tyler Higbee in this one.
Greg Dulcich at Carolina
The bloom is off the rose for Dulcich, who has two games of 5 catches for 41 yards, combined, after starting his career with three-straight performances of at least 11.1 PPR points. The Broncos’ offense is quickly circling the drain, and soft landings against terrible pass defenses like Tennessee and Las Vegas weren’t enough to make Dulcich a continued weekly option at tight end. The Panthers, despite all their faults, mostly stop opposing tight ends. Only four guys have double-digit fantasy points against them this year, and two of them are named Kyle Pitts and Mark Andrews. Given that his performance has dropped him back to The Blob and the Panthers are a tough defense, I am going to recommend that you sit Greg Dulcich this week if you have a better option at the position.