Fantasy Football Thanksgiving: Ride or Die Week 13


When week 13 arrives in fantasy football it usually means the fantasy playoffs are right around the corner. This year the final week of the fantasy regular season falls on Thanksgiving weekend. That had me thinking. What was I thankful for in fantasy football?

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Spare me the erogenous groan. The last Thursday in November was set aside by those who came before us because even they knew that one day we would need a day to not only slow down, but to be with the ones we cherish the most. No matter who you are with on Thursday, you’ll be with your league all weekend.

I am thankful for my fantasy football league. It doesn’t matter how many leagues I am in in a given year. The one that matters most is the one you are in the with your closest friends. Without that one league, this whole thing wouldn’t be as much fun.

We all have that work league, the league where half the competitors don’t pay attention all season long. Then there’s the family league. It’s nice to get junior involved. Gives you both something to do together and it won’t make your arm sore.

It’s a great thing to have that one league where the only people involved aren’t your co-workers or your uncle. These are your people. They know when you complain about the lack of production out of Detroit you aren’t talking about cars. They’ll be there to chew you out about your terrible trade offers. Without those people you wouldn’t honestly feel the same. Something would be missing from your life.

Fantasy football fills a whole and as you sit down this weekend surrounded by the ones you love remember one thing. The guys who remind you you don’t know how to draft wide receivers is just a text, or a Facebook group message away. Get away from the political discussion with grandpa and instead go screw with your buddy about a mysterious Matt Forte injury you just think you saw on Twitter 47 minutes ago.

On to Ride or Die. As usual, this isn’t a start this guy, or sit that guy kind of piece. Your roster moves are yours. It’s important to know all the little bits of info that help you make those decisions. This is just a list of guys I believe will have a better or worse week as per their usual.

Quarterbacks to Ride With:

“Whatever you do out there Ben, just make sure you tell everyone it was my idea.”

Ben Roethlisberger, vsNO – The Saints have allowed the 10th most points to quarterbacks this season. If it was only the inconsistencies of Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco who kept the ranking from becoming worse. Point is you can throw in New Orleans. This is perfect for Big Ben to bounce back after his so-so performance in Tennessee the week before their bye.

Tony Romo, vsPhi – If you’re a history buff you’ll love this. Romo’s history in the Turkey game is pretty good. He’s posting a 6-1 record with 18 touchdowns and only six interceptions. That one loss? Oh, just a 38-31 shoot out against the Redskins in 2012. Hey, if Jay Cutler or RG III is your alternative you’re probably going with Romo. If Andre Luck is, eh maybe you still go with Romo. The Eagles are giving up the second most points to the position.

Andre Luck, vsWas – Just so you don’t think it’s an easy decision to play Romo over Luck. I still believe Luck is going to have a pretty good game this week. Washington ranks 29th in passing defense. For the first time all season Luck didn’t score over 70 points over a two week span. All I am saying is this is pretty good game to get back to those 30+ fantasy point ways.

Ryan Tannehill, @NYJ – Look, are ya desperate? Could you use a few extra sneaky points from anywhere on your roster? The Jets are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing QB’s this season. Don’t you think that there might be the slightest chance that Tannehill can have his best, or perhaps second best game of the season? His best is a 30 point game in Denver, only one week ago. Momentum can build quickly in a player like him. It’ll fade just as quickly so ride it when you can.

Quarterbacks to Die With:

Jay Cutler, @Det. – Lay it on me. I want to hear from the guy who thinks he has a good match-up for fantasy this week. Maybe he see’s something I don’t. I just don’t think he has it in him. I’m not ready to throw away the rest of Cutler’s career, just this season. The Lions aren’t giving up any points to quarterbacks this season. In fact, they are giving the least. Maybe one of those receivers he has sneaks their way into the end zone, but overall he won’t be able to accomplish much.

Russell Wilson, @SF – This isn’t a trend. I am not purposely trying to turn down each QB playing on Turkey Day. I did say to Ride with Romo earlier. The 49ers defense has me staying away. They have allowed the third fewest in total points to single callers this season. Wilson is averaging under 200 passing yards a game. Even though I love the way he plays the game, I don’t think the rushing numbers are there this week to support his low numbers through the air. With no one on a bye this week you just have better options out there.

Matt Ryan, vsAri – I know this game is tempting. Matt Ryan at home, under the dome? Yea, you know you like it. That is until you look at the match-up. Arizona? Yikes. The only reason Arizona isn’t better is that they have a decently touch schedule. Last I checked, Matt Ryan wasn’t Peyton Manning. If he has a top 10 week that means a lot of other QB’s had a lot of other really bad games. Seems unfounded if you ask me.

Running Backs to Ride With:

“I think I might own Tennessee also.”

LeSean McCoy, @Dal – If you go back and look, he’s had a pretty solid history against the ‘boys. In just their last meeting at the end of last season McCoy rushed for 131 yards on 27 carries and caught one pass for a touchdown. That was still played in Dallas. Just like this week. These Thanksgiving Day games can turn out some top notch performances. It also doesn’t hurt that Dallas is allowing just under 30 points a game to rushers in the last five weeks.

Alfred Blue, vsTen – Look, it’s still early in the week. Maybe by the time you read this there will be a clearer picture but as of now I don’t know if Arian Foster is going to play. If he does, Blue still probably has flex appeal in a deep league. If Foster is out then Blue will have a solid opportunity for gaggle of points against the worst rushing defense in the league.

Alfred Morris, @Ind – The benching of RGIII couldn’t make Morris owners any happier. When RGIII isn’t on the field Morris has a better chance of being the focul point of the offense. That’s all you really want as an owner. Running backs who aren’t sharing time in the back field or running the ball. On the other side, the Colts have become one of those teams who doesn’t know how to stop the run. They have sunk to 24th in the league after being the second worst over the past five weeks. One more little tidbit, if the Redskins want to win they’re going to need to run the ball a lot in order to keep Luck off the field. Incidentally I feel Roy Helu has some flex appeal, again in deeper leagues.

Le’Veon Bell, vsNO – I have a sick feeling for New Orleans fans. This game might get ugly. The Steelers, through some frustrating moments early on do appear to have a pretty good handle on their offensive scheme. Whether or not the Steelers are up big or in a tight one Bell is sure to be a big part of whats going on out on the field. Running and catching the ball of course.

Running Backs to Die With:

Matt Forte, @Det – Last week I told you how I feel his good season this year has come with some smoke and mirrors. The table can’t keep standing on three legs. Eventually someone is going to lean on it and it’s going to crash to the floor. Detroit is almost as tough on running backs as they are on quarterbacks. I know it’s hard to sit him but your going to need points from elsewhere on your roster.

Jamal Charles, vsDen – Quite the namesake down here in the Die section. First Forte, now JC? Denver may not be looking too good on defense but they aren’t getting beat on the ground. The Broncos are going to dare Alex Smith to throw it on them. Who knows, maybe he will. What I do know is that it’s going to be tough for Charles to get a lot accomplished this week.

Ryan Matthews, @Bal – Ahhhh, that’s more like it. Matthews looked pretty good last week against a pretty tough Rams defense. Why can’t he do it again in Baltimore? Well,for one thing I don’t like him on the road. He’s averaging 5.3 rushing yards at home but only 3.3 on the road. You can’t rely on him getting a goal-line carry so his reliance for points is in the yards. Yards he won’t be getting this week facing the toughest NFL defense to run on.

Wide Receivers to Ride With:

“Go-Go gadget arm!”

Odell Beckham Jr., @Jax – I really just wanted my chance to gloat about the guy. When I was writing the intro for this week I almost wrote in how thankful I was that this guy was on my team, the New York Giants. I have had to do a lot bashing of my favorite ball club but this has been a truly bright spot on an other wise gloomy season. Since his first start after Victor Cruz went down had six or more catches in four out of five games. He’s gone for over 100 yards in three of those games and has four touchdowns in that same time span. I may not own him in any of my leagues and although I wish I did, I wanted you to know I couldn’t be any happier where he plays professionally.

A.J. Green, @TB – He appears to be healthy. Two straight weeks of the A.J. we used to know in seasons past. He’s gone for over 120 yards in both games and managed the one score. The Buccaneers are owners of the fourth worst passing defense in the league. As long as Andy Dalton doesn’t screw this up Green owners should be pretty happy this week.

T.Y Hilton, vsWas – Did I mention the terrible Washington pass defense? Well, I just wanted to make sure you got it. If anyone wide out on the Colts will benefit from this it’ll be Hilton. If he can have a super stellar game I know a few groan men who’ll be crying as he helps them get into the playoffs.

Keenan Allen, @Bal – This might appear to be a tough match-up but really it’s not. The Ravens are allowing the second most points to wide outs. They currently are allowing 40 points per game to the wide receivers they are facing each week. Antonio Gates is becoming less and less a part of the offense leaving a lot more room for Allen to shine. Allen and Rivers have been coming on together lately.. Well, not Rivers. Allen has though, scoring 40 fantasy points over the past four weeks.

Wide Receivers to Die With:

Robert Woods, vsCle – I know there are a lot of you who jump at the chance to pick him up this week after his Monday night performance toughing the New York Jets. Well, Cleveland is not the Jets. They have something we call in the business, a secondary. Joe Haden, Buster Skrine are just two of the guys the Jets wish they had in their secondary. You witnessed all Woods will do this season. It’s too late now.

Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, vsNE – Hold on. Holster those pitch forks. Before you cut me down let me explain. The Patriots have a pair of pretty good corners in Darrell Revis and Brandon Browner. Those tow guys are going to focus in on Nelson and Cobb. Aaron Rodgers is a pretty smart dude. He’s going to get his numbers. In comes Davante Adams. I can totally see this Sunday being one of Adams best despite Cobb and Nelson giving somewhat pedestrian numbers.

Mike Evans, vsCin – It was really weird last week. I had him on the Ride list and it just didn’t work out in my favor. He was targeted a team high 11 times but he managed only three receptions. That was against a mediocre at best Chicago Bears defense. With the second ranked Bengals secondary coming to sunny ol’ Tampa Bay I foresee a tough go around for the rookie out of Texas A&M.

Reggie Wayne, vsWas – I don’t think a good match-up will make a lot of difference to him. He’s clearly lost a step. He can barely find his way into the open field. He isn’t burning anybody down the field. If you had a playoff spot on the line this week I would find it difficult to have Reggie in my line up.

Tight Ends to Ride With:

“I leave a ticket for high school crush to sit right up there.”

Travis Kelce, vsDen – His really a match-up play. He’s got the match-up this week. Denver has a weakness for giving up big games to tight ends this year. Dwayne Allen, Jace Amaro, Mychal Rivera, Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski have all scored 10 or more points when they faced the Broncos. Kelce did score eight points against them back in week two going for 81 receiving yards. As far as tight ends go you could do much worse with some bigger names.

Greg Olsen, @Min – He only managed six points in week 11, right before the Panthers bye. That was still on 11 targets. He’s going to continue to be targeted and you’re going to continue to use him.

Delanie Walker, @Hou – It doesn’t look like a great match-up when you consider the Texans have allowed the fifth fewest amount of fantasy points to tight ends. When you go look at their schedule you come to realize they haven’t really faced any real names at the position. Walker is going to be targeted and targeted a lot. He’s been targeted five or more times in eight of the ten games he has played in this season.

Tight Ends to Die With:

Martellus Bennett, @Det – He still has only one game over eight points since week four. He’s completely dependent on getting in the end zone. I know the Lions allowed two scores to a tight end last week, but that was the Patriots back up tight end, Tim Wright. A little fluky if you ask me. If Bill Belichick were coaching the Bears then maybe I’d feel differently.

Julius Thomas, @KC – As of Wednesday he still had not practiced. The team thinks he has a chance to play but even if he does I think he’s going to be more of a decoy. Ankle injuries may not be severe like a knee injury but you are still limiting the players motion and power. Where I stood on my leagues standings would directly effect my decision on playing him this week.

Jordan Cameron, vsTB – Same thing here as we had with Thomas. Instead of an ankle injury we are worried about a concussion. No matter where you stood in your standings, and unless you’re a 16 team league I have to believe you have a better option out there in free agency. No trust whatsoever for Cameron.

Defense/ Special Teams to Ride With:

“Ready. Set. Freeze face!”

Philadelphia, @Dal – This is a tough decision. If you go with Philly as your defense than you’re going to have to live with it, and look at it for the next four days. Always wondering, what if I didn’t go with Phily defense. Well, here’s the argument. The Philly defense might be no where near the top as far as defenses go in the NFL currently. They do know how to make big plays. Between blocked kicks, pick sixes and sacks the Philly defense does not have a lack of ways that they can make the big play or plays and score you points.

Miami, @NYJ – It feels like I might be beating a dead horse here, but I don’t care. I am here to do a service and that service is somewhat serviceable fantasy advice. So it is my job to tell you that if you need a defense for week 13 of the NFL season in the year 2014 that you should consider Miami, at the very least. Why? Oh, I thought you’d never ask. The Jets have given up the fourth most points to opposing defense this season and now that Geno Smith is back under center they will probably end up lower than that.

Cincinnati, @TB – They haven’t been the fantasy scoring defense many of us had hoped for this season. They do get a Buccaneers team who is allowing the third most fantasy points per game to defenses this season. They have dropped to a 60% ownership in leagues and if you needed a team to streamline you may have just been given a gift.

Defense/ Special Teams to Die With:

Denver, @KC – I am really down on them. This is one of my mid-season calls going wrong. I’m OK to admit it. I know that the Chiefs don’t have what you would call a “stellar” offense. They aren’t something we would describe as “high powered.” They also don’t do that thing you call turning the ball over. Denver has shown a lack of getting to the quarterback and not finishing defensive plays. They have gone down early and had trouble late in games. It’s hard to trust them right now.

New England, @GB – I see you over there. You think you’re cute. Playin’ the Patriots defense despite there match-up in Green Bay. It’s not going to work out fella. Don’t be afraid to play another defense instead of them. Don’t drop them necessarily, but try not to use them here.

Seattle, @SF – This is one of the only aspects I see having any real effect on fantasy for this week. This is going to be on heck of defensive match-up where the Seahawks probably make a few big plays. It has been hard on those of you who used an eighth round pick on them this year. This week you’ll be glad to have them.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving everybody and may the fantasy gods shine mightily upon you. In other words, good luck.