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Feast or Famine: A Recap of Thanksgiving Thurday's Football Slate

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A thorough recap of the major headlines & fantasy football implications from the trio of Thanksgiving games in the NFL.

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Hopefully everyone had a relaxing Thanksgiving with their families, food, and football. It took until 8:30 PM for us to see a game that wasn't a complete blowout.  In a great day for large cats around the NFL, the Lions stomped the Eagles 45-14, while the Panthers beat the Cowboys 33-14.  Surprisingly, the only close game resulted in the Bears upsetting the Packers 17-13 at Lambeau Field, on Brett Favre's big night.

A few notable headlines in the fantasy world include the Lions' surging offensive play, Tony Romo's return to the IR with another fracture in his clavicle, and Eddie Lacy's seemingly revitalized value just in time for the fake football playoffs.  Let's take a look at these Turkey Day headlines, plus a few others, and examine what sort of impact they'll have for Fantasy Football owners as the postseason rapidly approaches.

Lions (45) vs. Eagles (14)

  • The Eagles looked doomed from the start in Detroit, struggling to get anything going on either side of the ball.Mark Sanchez led an underwhelming offensive effort behind a 19/27 outing for 199 yards and 2 TDs. Sam Bradford should return next week, but none of the Eagles weapons will get a significant boost.

  • Once again, Jordan Matthews was unable to produce anything until garbage time, where he scored a 24-yard TD.  He finished with 3 grabs for 60 yards and 1 TD.  "J-Matt" won't be a safe fantasy option next week or the foreseeable future for that matter.
  • DeMarco Murray's first season with the Eagles can be summed up by his Week 12 performance.  He was awful throughout the game, finishing with 30 yards on 14 carries (2.1 YPC).  At one point, he had 7 carries for 1 yard.  He's proven to be a low-upside RB2 on most weeks.

  • Ameer Abdullah led the Lions backfield with 17 touches against the Eagles, with Joique Bell earning 9 and Theo Riddick getting 7 of his own.  Clearly this is a committee in Detroit, but coach Jim Caldwell said on Friday that Abdullah will continue to have an increased role due to him "growing and developing and building trust".  Although he's not going to run away as a bellcow, Abdullah could theoretically provide RB3/flex value in the next few weeks.
  • The Lions, on the other hand, were fueled by a dynamic outing from Matthew Stafford.  He was nearly flawless in this one, going 28/37 on pass attempts with 337 yards and 5 TDs.  The arrow is pointing up for Stafford, who should continue to be a borderline QB1 for the rest of the year.
  • Calvin Johnson was in full "Megatron" form for Thanksgiving, pulling in 8 of his 14 targets for 93 yards and a trio of touchdowns.  He was already very consistent coming into this week, but now he'll certainly be given weekly WR1 status from here on out.

Panthers (33) @ Cowboys (14)

  • In the second consecutive Turkey Day blowout, the Panthers steamrolled the crumbling Cowboys for an 11th straight win of their undefeated season. MVP contender, Cam Newton, played a conservative, yet solid, game against Dallas. He went 16/27 with 183 passing yards, but added 12 carries for 35 yards and a rushing TD. He'll be a high-end QB1 next week in New Orleans.
  • Behind Luke Kuechly and his pair of interceptions, the Panthers defense clamped down on the Cowboys offense all day. After scoring 2 turnover return TDs, Carolina will be a great starting fantasy defense in most leagues for the rest of the season.
  • Jonathan Stewart toted the rock 21 times for just 68 yards, but he'll remain a low-end RB1 against soft run defenses for the next three weeks in a row.
  • The Cowboys' season seemingly came to an end after an all-around embarrassing performance. Tony Romo re-injured his broken collarbone, sending him to the sideline for the remainder of the year. Before his injury, he chucked two bone-headed pick-6's, putting Dallas in an early hole.
  • Dez Bryant was injected with a dose of Josh Norman on Thanksgiving, and he once again disappointed his fantasy owners with a 2 catch, 26 yard day from his 8 targets. Romo's injury is terrible news for Dez, who averaged 53 yards per game in is three contests without Tony. He goes from a WR1 to a mid-to-low WR2 in fantasy.
  • The Cowboys running game was invisible in this one, with Darren McFadden getting stuffed at (and behind) the line on almost every carry. Luckily, he saved his fantasy day with receiving stats and a 2-point conversion. DMC should return to his absurdly heavy workload as the Cowboys' centerpiece on offense during the last few weeks of the season, so his value shouldn't dip too much in fantasy.

Bears (17) @ Packers (13)

  • Easily the most competitive game of Thanksgiving was the Bears narrow victory over the Packers. In a very defensive event, Jay Cutler led Chicago to a win behind his 19/31, 200 yard, 1 TD performance in Green Bay. It wasn't overly impressive, but he limited his mistakes in this one.
  • His top receiver, Alshon Jeffery, effectively played through his groin and shoulder woes, grabbing 7 of his 11 targets for 90 yards. He'll have had 10 days to rest up for a Week 13 matchup against the 49ers, where he will be a solid WR1.
  • The Bears' backfield was an even timeshare this Thursday, with Matt Forte touching the ball 16 times and Jeremy Langford getting 13 of his own. They both gained 53 yards from scrimmage, with the rookie getting the TD. It isn't clear how the Bears plan to use their backs in the upcoming weeks, but I'd guess Langford will be the 1B to Forte's 1A, giving them RB3 and RB2 values, respectively.
  • Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense was sluggish for most of the rainy night, going 22/43 with 202 yards. He threw 1 touchdown and 1 interception, a rarity at home. He should bounce back as a top 5 fantasy QB next Thursday in Detroit.
  • As for A-Rod's weapons, it was a very forgettable outing. Randall Cobb was productive with 74 yards on 6 catches, but it was the Packer RBs that stepped up behind him. Davante Adams struggled mightily, converting 11 targets into a measly 2 grabs for 14 yards, and the aging James Jones was held catchless.
  • Possibly the biggest story of this game was Eddie Lacy returning to form. He ran hard all night, touching the ball 21 times for 139 total yards and scoring a receiving TD. Playoff-bound fantasy owners should be thrilled about this, as he could very well provide the RB1 value that he was drafted for down the stretch.

For weekly positional rankings and much more, head over to my new website, Fantasy Galaxy.