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For many fantasy football leagues, this is the week that decides whether or not you’re in the playoffs.  The good news is that a lot of the top tier talent has fantastic matchups.  Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, and Frank Gore were likely all taken in the first or early second round at the beginning of the season and if you were smart/lucky enough to draft them then, they are sure to guide you to victory this week.  There are exceptions to that, of course, but you didn’t draft them quite as early.

Knowshon Moreno only gained 79 yards against Kansas City two weeks ago and this week he faces them again, this time nursing a bone bruise somewhere around his ankle.  The injury doesn’t sound serious, but the matchup is.  If you’re comfortable with 8 points from your RB2/3 then go ahead and start him, but don’t count on a huge week from the Denver feature back.

Le’Veon Bell is in a very similar position to Moreno.  In week 7, he had less than 10 fantasy points against Baltimore’s tough run defense.  This week he travels to Baltimore to face them again.  He’s clearly the workhorse for the Steelers so he’s difficult to sit, but he’s unlikely for a score in a crucial week for fantasy teams.

After an incredible 163 yards on 30 carries in week 11 for two TDs, Bobby Rainey sure did quiet down last week with only 35 yards on 18 carries.  You can blame his performance on whatever you want, but the Carolina Panthers have a very good run defense and aren’t going to make things any easier for Rainey this week.  Since you likely picked up Rainey less than two weeks ago, my guess is you have other options available to you that are more reliable this week so if you can afford to sit him, do it.

A lot of the top wide receivers are in excellent matchups as well this week.  Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, and Dez Bryant should all be started without any hesitation, but just like the running backs above, not every wide receiver can be as lucky.

Vincent Jackson is in a very difficult position against a Carolina Defense that has been excellent at covering receivers this year.  Before you get too upset, Brian Hartline did quite well against them last week so don’t go throwing him on the bench just yet, but after catching just two passes against Detroit, don’t expect Jackson to put up WR1 numbers this week.

The same goes for DeSean Jackson.  Jackson is a big play threat no matter who he’s playing so the yardage should still be there for him, but it’s hard to count on a score against a defense that held players as talented as T.Y. Hilton and even Vincent Jackson to less than 4 fantasy points each in standard leagues.

Speaking of T.Y. Hilton, he faces the toughest pass defense of all this week when Tennessee comes to town.  You may remember Hilton’s 5 catches for 44 yards against Tennessee two weeks ago and even though some people questioned my call to bench him then, it bears repeating here.

That same Tennessee defense should make things difficult for Andrew Luck this week.  Luck has been a bit of a disappointment for fantasy owners for the past few weeks and unfortunately, that streak looks as though it will continue on Sunday.  He did manage 232 yards without an interception against the Titans in week 11, but quarterbacks aren’t exactly great fantasy plays if they aren’t throwing touchdowns so if you have other options this week, use them.

As is the case every week, if you have a good feeling about someone, go with your gut.  These matchup notes are only a guide and there is not greater glory than playing someone unexpected and watching him rack up the fantasy points while you eat your Thanksgiving turkey.

On that note, here is my special THANKSGIVING DAY SLEEPER: Jacoby Jones.  Jones isn’t exactly an unknown guy, but he has been irrelevant most of the year until this past week against the Jets.  It’s hard to count on him for another 100+ yard performance, but Jones’ big play ability gives him a ton of upside.  I would still play any of the players listed above before Jones, but if you’re in a jam and need a home run hitter, Jones is worth a shot.

  1. Bryan says:
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    Need to pick 3 out of these 4 to play
    J Gordon
    Garcon
    Desean Jackson
    Harvin

    Which one would you bench?

    • Cram It says:
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      @Bryan: Not Harvin. Idk how you can start him with any confidence, especially over those WR1’s.

    • After last week, I’m never sitting Josh Gordon again.

      I’d sit Percy.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Agree w/James R

  2. Ciwa says:
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    Hi Loudon!
    14 team standard league.
    This time i can’t pick your sleeper of the week,he has a owner yet.
    But i ask you my weekly doubt for my flex and RB2 option Wallace or Ginn for flex?(we count return yds) Trich-Donald Brown-Ellington-Dennis Johnson-Cunningham are my RBs canditate for one place. Murray is untouchable as RB1. I prefer Wallace or Ginn for flex but tell me if u think one of the other RBs could be better.
    Happy Thanksgiving from Italy!

    • Ciwa says:
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      @Ciwa:
      Last minute doubt:
      Heath Miller is my TE but I can pick Pettigrew,Fasano and Rivera.

      • Ciwa says:
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        @Ciwa: @Ciwa:
        And Myers

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Ciwa: I would stick with your current TE out of the other available options. As for your original question, I think Donald Brown is your best RB2 option with Wallace at flex.

  3. South of All Borders says:
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    In a REALLY bad situation with Ridley’s demotion. Also dropped T.rich…

    Neeeed to start 1 of :

    * B.Tate
    * D.Johnson
    * Ridley
    * Bilal Powell

    bah, I know it’s ugly, but I’m hurtin and need help, who do you start here??

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @South of All Borders: I think I’d go with Powell. Tate is a close second, but his recent performance has me nervous.

  4. nomaspantalones says:
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    Having wr troubles…with a lot of wrs to consider…
    I have:
    demaryius thomas @kc
    decker @kc
    steve johnson atl
    burleson gb
    floyd @phi
    allen @cin
    wright @ind
    and hartline is on waivers

    I was thinking thomas and johnson and putting burleson at the flex, because I doubt ivory is going to outperform any of them…

    Also, it might sound like a crazy question, but Payton over McCown right?

    Thank you for any help you can give and happy thanksgiving.

    • tomasz says:
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      @nomaspantalones: since you just questioned starting peyton manning, i vote that noone answers your questions

      • Joseph Barra says:
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        @tomasz: @nomaspantalones: @tomasz:
        I don’t know man, we shall see…also, despite the fact that no one is supposed to answer, it’s ppr for what it’s worth

        • Chicken Dinner says:
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          @Joseph Barra: Start Peyton.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Chicken Dinner: might be too late now, but allen or floyd (probably floyd) over burleson.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @nomaspantalones: Yeah, still start Peyton over McCown. For your WRs, I like Thomas and Floyd with Allen at flex.

  5. nomaspantalones says:
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    Whoa…Bilal Powell is apparently now available in the league…any of those guys I should drop for him?…and or play him instead?
    Thanks again

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @nomaspantalones: I’d still start the receivers I mentioned, but if you have that many WRs and Powell is available, drop your least favorite for Powell. He’s definitely worth an add at least.

  6. Dale Pigeux says:
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    Need to pick 1 of the following to fill WR3 spot (WR1/2= Antonio Brown / Wes Welker):

    Rod Streater @ Dallas
    Doug Baldwin v. NO
    Nate Washington @ Indy

    • Dale Pigeux says:
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      @Dale Pigeux: Oh yeah, PPR..

    • Dale Pigeux says:
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      @Dale Pigeux: Also have Marvin Jones @SD to consider

      • Chicken Dinner says:
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        @Dale Pigeux: Streater. He seems to be McGloin’s favorite target. At least when Moore is out, which he is.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Dale Pigeux: Streater. He is far and above the best of your 3 options this week.

  7. sfgiants25 says:
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    I need to pick 2 out of these 3 WR in a PPR league to start:

    J. Boykin, D. Bowe, and M. Floyd. Which one should I sit? Thanks ahead of time

    • tomasz says:
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      @sfgiants25: i think boykin does good in a likely shootout vs banged up detroit secondary…floyd also has good shot vs beat up rams secondary…Bowe prob would be sitting for me

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @sfgiants25: I’d sit Boykin personally.

  8. tomasz says:
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    Harry Douglas or Kendall Wright in PPR?

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @tomasz: Douglas

  9. Dave says:
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    What if I have AP and my opponent has Forte and Gore who leads who to victory?!?!

    • Chicken Dinner says:
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      @Dave: I’ll tell you Monday.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Dave: Unless your opponent also reads Razzball, clearly you’re the one winning this week.

  10. SMLV1 says:
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    T. Smith, K. Allen, J. Boykin

    Pick 2. Standard league.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @SMLV1: Smith and Allen.

  11. Stan F says:
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    I have my fantasy football playoffs starting this week. I need you guys to pick 3 of these receivers.

    1. Brandon Marshall
    2. Harry Douglas
    3. Jarret Boykin
    4. Keenan Allen
    5. Alshon Jeffrey
    6. Nate Burleson.

    Any advice for the commish would be appreciated

    • Oppo Taco says:
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      @Stan F: keenan and the bears

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Oppo Taco: sounds like a good band name. allen and the bears.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Stan F: I second @Oppo Taco. Marshall, Jeffery, and Allen

  12. Chicken Dinner says:
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    Though Le’Veon didn’t have 10pts (std) he did have his highest running yard total on the season. So, there is hope.

  13. MontecitoMon says:
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    Out of these 3 WR’s who should I sit in my PPR league:

    J Boykin, Michael Floyd, or D Bowe. I need to sit one of them.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @MontecitoMon: I’d sit Boykin, but a case could easily be made for Bowe as well.

  14. Cooper Clux Clan says:
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    Who would you flex this week in a PPR league, I can also move out some of my current players?

    Current Starters
    RB :
    Andre Brown
    Danny Woodhead

    WR :
    Nate Burleson
    Andre Johnson
    Keenan Allen

    Who should I flex??
    Fred Jackson
    Cecil Shorts
    Roddy White

    Would you also bench RG3 for R. Wilson this week and maybe through the playoffs? Other QB options are Alex Smith or Weeden if you don’t like Wilson ROS.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Cooper Clux Clan: I’d flex Fred Jackson and definitely play Wilson over RGIII this week.

  15. Joe G says:
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    I need to start 3 of this WR…..help? André johnson, brandon marshall, ty Hilton , Eric decker, keenen allen

    • SMLV1 says:
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      @Joe G: Aj, marshall and Allen.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Joe G: What @SMLV1 said. Johnson, Marshall, Allen.

  16. The Beal Deal says:
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    Ellington, terrence williams, Charles Clay, or Rod Streater at the flex?

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @The Beal Deal: Probably Ellington, but Streater is a close 2nd this week.

  17. hey guys – would you start Flynn over EJ Manuel this week?

    Also – please pick 3 WRs:
    Decker
    Shorts
    Harvin
    Amendola
    Stevie Johnson

    And pick 1 RB:
    DMC
    Mendenhall
    Benny Cunningham

    Thanks a lot!!

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Sheriff McRawDawg: Flynn over Manuel? Yes. WRs: Decker, Shorts, and Harvin. RB: Mendenhall. If you want a lottery ticket, start McFadden instead, but playing today after only a light practice Wednesday makes me nervous.

  18. Megan says:
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    Hi Louden! I’ve got a really close matchup in my 10 team, standard points, Yahoo league. I’m trying to set my QB, WR and TE line up. Can you help?
    QB- Fitzpatrick or Ryan?
    2 WRs – Amendola, Boldin, Welker or Wright?
    TE – Thomas or Reed?
    Thanks in advance!

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