To everyone who stayed in, had a quiet night and watched some college basketball, good morning and Happy Thanksgiving. To everyone else who had a little too much to drink last night, your hangover isn't about to get any better: the Lions are on today.
Real quick, I want to breakdown today's performers. I'll do it in three categories:
Cherry Pie Plays (Big Performers/Must-Start):
- Green Bay's Offense: Sorry, but it's just easier this way. I feel like Rodgers, Grant, and Jennings are probably all worth counting on for 15+ points. Hell, even Mason Crosby is going to rack up some points today. With a healthy set of offensive tackles, Green Bay has rebounded from their abysmal lack (and by lack, I mean non-existent) of pass protection, and the offense is taking shots down the field to their deep threat in Jennings. This is going to sap away some value of the opposite receiver, sorry Driver owners. The veteran is probably still good for at least 60-70 yards, though, with the possibility for a score. I also like Jermichael Finley in this game, a lot. I picked him up this week after losing Owen Daniels several weeks ago, and I'm expecting 40-50 yards, with a great chance at a score.
- WR Calvin Johnson: He is a Transformer! From unlikely to play to the starting lineup, Megatron is expected to be in the starting lineup today. Green Bay's defense is ravaged with injuries, and big players always come to play on Thanksgiving. If you have another top 20 option, it's probably safer, but it's hard to ignore the T.U.P. (tremendous upside potential). Would it surprise you if he puts up 25 points? There's your answer.
- RB Brandon Jacobs and WR Steve Smith (NYG): Brandon Jacobs is going to look like a Neo-Pet, getting fed carries at every opportunity today. On top of that, Ahmad Bradshaw won't be around to scoop up any leftovers. Meanwhile, Steve Smith is always reliable, and you're not going to see Champ Bailey blanketing Smith tonight, either. In fact, if he gets matched up with Ty Law, he's probably going to see plenty of looks.
Fantasy Stuffing (Solid play, but not elite):
RB Kevin Smith: He's real close to being in that next category above, but don't over-react to last week's production against Cleveland. Remember, it's the Browns. Do we really know how much of a loss to this run defense Aaron Kampman is? He wasn't making a great deal of impact being moved to OLB, but we'll see how they react. He gets targeted in the passing game, though, so even if the Lions fall behind, he can still rack up stats.
RB Felix Jones: Why? It's a gut feeling, partly, but also because I believe that Dallas is going to try and hand him the rock more frequently. They feel like he's ready for more carries, and I don't think he'll disappoint. It's a real juicy matchup as a good flex player against the Raiders in Jerryworld.
- WR Brandon Marshall: Listen, if you can afford to sit Marshall this week, go for it. But I'm not saying he won't score two touchdowns, either. Another guy that you won't be surprised if he just goes off. But CB Aaron Ross is healthy for the Giants, and they've been missing that in a defense that's ranked second in the league in passing YPG allowed. For reference, my other options on the team with Marshall are Bernard Scott and Nate Burleson. I'm starting Burleson, if that helps at all.
Turkeys (A no-thank you portion, Grandma):
- TE Brandon Pettigrew: He's looked good, but I think he's going to do a good deal of blocking this week against LB Clay Matthews. He'll be busy with that. Maybe next year we're talking about Pettigrew as a borderline No. 1 tight end. Not now though, and not this week.
QB Kyle Orton: I think this one's fairly obvious, but if not, there's some good reasons. He's still bothered by the ankle, and it's still going to effect his play this week. Also, with Ross back, I've already mentioned the Giants. They're allowing about 200 yards through the air per week, so here's a modest prediction: 200 yards, a touchdown, and an INT, giving you 10 points. Hopefully you have another option out there. Try Vince Young.
TE Jason Witten: This guy has been one of the major disappointments this year, and it's been hard to explain. FOX's Jay Glazer reports that Witten will play, but with a lack of production coupled with the injury, I'm even more skeptical.
I don't think anyone's really expecting any upsets today, although, anything can happen. If Stafford looks healthy, I can't say I'd be totally surprised if somehow the Lions pulled the upset. If the Cowboys were taking on the Raiders in Oakland, I wouldn't rule out the upset, but on Thanksgiving in Dallas, I don't think it's going to happen.
Happy Thanksgiving again to everyone. I'll be spending tomorrow and then Saturday at Ford Field covering some great players at their own level in the Michigan high school finals. Eat well and good luck this week.