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Football Daily Dose

Fantasy Feasts During Thanksgiving Day Games

by Lauren Carpenter
Updated On: November 27, 2020, 6:55 pm ET

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day celebrating with food, football, and family, even if it was through a Zoom call in this strange year. If you started some of the fantasy studs yesterday, then you are likely very grateful heading into Sunday’s matchups. If not, then I hope the stuffing wasn’t burnt and the turkey wasn’t dry so at least that was going right.

Ravens-Steelers Rescheduled - Lamar Jackson Tests Positive For COVID

Thursday games are usually very weird in terms of fantasy and Thanksgiving games are in their own league entirely. In typical 2020 fashion, there was another postponed game for the Steelers who were set to host the Baltimore Ravens for the evening game. After multiple positive COVID-19 tests put players such as J.K. Dobbins, Mark Ingram, and Calais Campbell on the reserve list, the game was moved to Sunday. Most importantly, QB Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID and will not play this weekend. Backup Robert Griffin III will start in his place and lead a beleaguered team against the vaunted Pittsburgh defense.

They did not reschedule due to the inability to field a 53-man roster, but rather to help contain the spread of the virus. Moving the game to Sunday gives a little bit more time for testing but it puts the Ravens at a disadvantage with a short week to rest before they host the Cowboys next Thursday. 

The Ravens have been struggling recently after starting the season at 5-1. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who lost a bye week due to the Tennessee Titans' earlier COVID issues, are less than pleased. Plus, their game on Sunday afternoon is not guaranteed. If you have any starters such as Gus Edwards, Diontae Johnson, or JuJu Smith-Schuster, to name a few, make sure you keep a close eye on the status of that game and be prepared with a backup. 

They are scheduled to be played on Sunday at 1:15 pm EST as a nationally televised game.

The Thanksgiving Matchups

Texans-Lions

In a year of inconsistency and constant questions, at least we were still able to count on the Lions playing on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, they were without their three key pieces for a second week in a row. WRs Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola, and RB D’Andre Swift were all sidelined and QB Matthew Stafford continued to play despite a partially torn ligament in his thumb.

RB Adrian Peterson and Lions drew first blood with a touchdown run from veteran Adrian Peterson who had an excellent game in place of the injured Swift. And that was where the momentum for the Lions began … and then ended. 

On their next possession, Stafford was picked off by J.J. Watt who ran it back for a touchdown, but the extra point was no good. The Lions got the ball right back, but RB Jonathan Williams fumbled. The Texans capitalized with a touchdown pass to RB C.J. Prosise (because we all started him in fantasy). The Lions, again, had another shot on offense only to, again, fumble. This time it was RB Kerryon Johnson who disappointed yet again.

On the Texans' next drive after the turnover, it was their turn to fumble. Prosise, who just caught a touchdown pass, lost the football and the Lions recovered. After being all but absent after the first scoring drive, Peterson returned to action and scored another touchdown, and the Lions retook the lead 14-13.

The Texans answered right back with a touchdown reception by RB Duke Johnson and they took the lead 20-14. The Lions stalled on offense and Houston tacked on an additional three points to extend their lead to 23-14.

All of this happened in the first half of the game.

The second half opened up with an exchange of field goals for both teams, but any hope Detroit had to mount a comeback quickly dissolved after the Texans' two-point success was successful. It was a smart move by the Texans, considering Stafford is the comeback king, but it felt more like adding insult to injury. 

The rest of the matchup was Detroit trying desperately to score while the Texans succeeded with a 34-yard touchdown pass to WR Will Fuller. The Lions managed a touchdown on a reception to Mohamed Sanu but there was only 6:32 left on the clock. They showed very little urgency to mount a real comeback after that and the Texans came away with a 41-25 victory. 

Washington-Cowboys

If you would have told me last year at this time that the Washington-Dallas game was going to turn out the way it did, I am certain I would not have believed it. 

The first half was competitive with Washington scoring a field goal and two touchdowns, one for RB Antonio Gibson (his first of three) and the other to TE Logan Thomas for a total of 17 points. Dallas put 13 points on the board with a long touchdown pass to WR Amari Cooper and two field goals. There was energy in the game and it looked like Dallas was riding the momentum from their victory over the Minnesota Vikings last week.

Then, the third quarter started and it was all downhill for the Cowboys from there. RB Ezekiel Elliott, who remained scoreless, fumbled the ball and Washington recovered for a field goal. After that, Dallas seemed out of gas despite an interception. Washington’s defense is one of the best in the league for a reason. They held the turnover to a field goal by stuffing Elliott for lost yards, tackling WR CeeDee Lamb on an attempt at the Philly Special, and then breaking up a pass to Lamb in the end zone causing him to drop a touchdown.

Dallas tried to get tricky again and tried a fake punt that resulted in a loss of a yard. Meanwhile, Gibson skipped into the end zone two more times and Washington’s defense intercepted Dalton for a pick six with 3:31 on the clock. 

Washington and their newly found swagger with QB Alex Smith came away with the 41-16 victory.

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Fantasy Impacts

There were a handful of players who propelled your Week 12 fantasy teams in the right direction heading into Sunday’s matchups. QB Deshaun Watson dominated over Detroit with 17 completions, 318 yards passing, four touchdowns and 24 yards rushing for a whopping 33.12 points. Stafford did better than expected with 16.1, but he was starting in your lineups as a last resort.

Gibson led the way for RBs with 36.6 points in PPR scoring with 115 yards, three rushing touchdowns, and five receptions for 21 yards. Peterson also had a healthy turnout with 55 yards rushing, two touchdowns, and 17.5 points in place of the absent Swift while Kerryon Johnson saw some action with 46 rushing yards, four receptions, and 52 yards for 11.8. Duke Johnson, seeing more limelight with David Johnson on IR, finished with 37 yards, three receptions, 43 receiving yards, and a receiving TD for 17 points. Not bad for players who you started out of necessity in your RB2 spot.

In the two Thanksgiving games we had seven different receivers score in the double digits. Texans WR Will Fuller feasted yesterday with six receptions, 171 yards, and two touchdowns for 35.1 points. Amari Cooper, in a bad showing by the Cowboys, pulled out 23.2 points, and Terry McLaurin posted 16.2 despite not hauling in a touchdown pass. Mohamed Sanu (15.2) and Brandin Cooks (13.5) round out the top-five of Thursday’s leading WRs while Marvin Jones (10.8) and Michael Gallup (10.10) complete the seven double-digit scoring receivers.

Tight ends, which are always a mess, had good showings in each game. Lions TE T.J. Hockenson caught five passes for 89 yards and 13.9 and Washington’s Logan Thomas had four receptions, only 20 yards, and a touchdown for 13.42. I will take those numbers at tight end any day of the week.

And, if you streamed either the Texans or Washington’s DST, you are starting with 16 or 15 points respectively and looking very good heading as we progress further into Week 12.

Injury Updates

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID and is ineligible to play on Sunday. RBs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram are also on COVID reserve. … Bears QB Nick Foles is still being evaluated after being injured. QB Mitch Trubisky is expected to start. … 49ers WR Deebo Samuel and RB Tevin Coleman were limited in practice Thursday. … Bengals RB Giovani Bernard was upgraded to limited as he progresses through the concussion protocol. Joe Mixon remains on injured reserve. … Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald tested positive for COVID and will miss Sunday’s game. 

Lauren Carpenter

Lauren Carpenter (@stepmomlauren) is a St. Louis native, graduate of the University of Missouri's Journalism school, and all-around fan of sports. She is a fantasy football analyst and writer who enjoys communicating about sports and fantasy football, but will not inflate your vanity or listen to condescension. Let's all be kind to one another.