Hello again Razzball readers! I’ve really been enjoying contributing to Razzball so far and I look forward to answering more questions and helping more fantasy teams. Asher Molk and I will be working as a team and editing each other’s columns so feel free to ask either of us any questions; we’d love to help! And check us out on Twitter at @BraudeM and @AsherMolk.

This column will just include just the Thanksgiving games. I will release one later in the week that includes Sunday and Monday’s games.

Before you read my matchups column I would like to give you some advice:

Be sure all your players are active and ready to roll on game day. If your player is a game-time decision, check 30 minutes before game day – if he’s active, check what kind of role he is going to have in the game and make sure he’s not just an emergency option.

This article is written every Wednesday so it doesn’t always have perfect accuracy for who’s playing. I just wanted to go over those because getting a goose egg out of someone is detrimental to your team. Good luck in your fantasy leagues!

 

Green Bay at Detroit

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are in a league of their own right now. There isn’t a better player in the world than Aaron Rodgers. With a 31:4 TD-to-INT ratio and two rushing touchdowns, there isn’t a quarterback I’d rather own. James Starks is a game-time decision – usually in these situations even if Starks does play, the Packers will game plan for Ryan Grant. I would bench Starks if possible. Ryan Grant should see around 15 touches – he’s a fine flex play. Defenses attention on Jermichael Finley and Greg Jennings has led to consistent single coverage for Jordy Nelson. This will not change in my mind – the two previously mentioned players are proven playmakers; teams would rather take a chance and make Nelson beat their corners. Boy has Nelson done that… Over his last three games, he has a ridiculous 16 catches for 291 yards and five touchdowns. He’s a high-end WR2. Greg Jennings bruised his knee in Week 12, leading to a clunker. No reason to panic though, the eighth best fantasy WR so far this year is healthy so keep him going as a WR1. Jermichael Finley has been a disappointment so far this year but the huge upside is there and a big game is coming. Only bench him if you have Gronkowski, Graham, Witten or Gates.

After struggling against the Bears, Matthew Stafford bounced back with five touchdowns passes against the Panthers. He should have little trouble carving out a solid QB1 performance against a Packers secondary surrendering the second most passing yards per week. Kevin Smith broke out with a career game last weekend, totaling an obscene 201 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. He’s not going to do that every week but could easily end up being the best wavier wire pickup for the rest of the year. He’s going to maintain RB2 value as a feature back on a productive offense. This isn’t his best matchup because it will most likely be a shootout. It would more favorable for Smith to play a team that Detroit can build a lead against – still he’s a solid RB2 bet. Calvin Johnson hasn’t exploded in the last two games but his consistency has been unfathomable. Except for a 3 catch 29 yard, two-touchdown performance, he has at least 5 catches for 81 yards in every game – there isn’t a more dominant wide receiver in football. Nate Burleson has put together two solid games and has a chance at having solid production in this shootout. Without a 100-yard game and being just the third passing option, he’s just a low-end WR3. Brandon Pettigrew has shown solid potential but hasn’t broken 42 yards in his last five games. He’s a low-end TE1.

Miami at Dallas

Matt Moore is coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Buffalo Bills. He’s fine as a QB2 but I wouldn’t think about starting him in leagues that one start one quarterback because he hasn’t reached 30 pass attempts in any of his last four games… nor has he reached three hundred yards. Reggie Bush will continue his role as the lead and goal-line back. The problem is Bush isn’t a feature back because he doesn’t have the ability to run between the tackles – he’s at his best when the Dolphins get him in space. Still, his situation is good enough for him to maintain at least RB2 value – keep him rolling against the Cowboys. Daniel Thomas hasn’t topped 53 yards in his last seven games… that gives us no reason to think it’s happening any time soon. Chalk Brandon Marshall’s clunker up as a fluke – he had a touchdown called back for bobbling the ball and with Moore’s play of late, there’s no reason to think Marshall shouldn’t continue his high-end WR2 production. The other pass-catchers on this team aren’t worth starting or rostering.

In his last three games, Tony Romo has compiled an 8:0 TD-to-INT ratio. The Dolphins defense has been strong lately but that isn’t enough of a reason to sit Romo in this one. He’s finally in a groove after a tough start and is a QB1 this week. Even with the return of Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray received 31 touches out of the backfield last week. Although he was ineffective against a Redskins defense that allowed very few holes, this is a very positive sign. The Cowboys are obviously buying into Murray’s talent, meaning he’s a RB1 from here on out – this week too, even against a Dolphins rush defense only surrendering 3.7 yards per carry. Dez Bryant has seen an increase in production since the injury to Miles Austin and this game is a prime chance for Bryant to show off his physical prowess to national viewers – he’s a high-end WR2. Laurent Robinson has benefited from Austin’s absence – pulling down a touchdown in four straight. Until Austin returns, he’s a solid WR2 in this dynamic offense. As always, Jason Witten is a reliable and elite fantasy TE – keep Romo’s favorite target going this week.

San Francisco at Baltimore

This game is going to very exciting – we get to see two brothers, with high-profile defenses, square off in a coaching battle. Alex Smith has been a great game manager for the 49ers but could easily struggle against this stingy defense. The 49ers will attack the Ravens with a heavy dose of Frank Gore – although this is a tough matchup, he’s at least a RB2. Michael Crabtree broke out with his first 100-yard performance of the year last week and is a high-end WR3 against a defense that was burned by the Andy Dalton/Jerome Simpson connection last week. I’m worried about Vernon Davis in this game because of the Ravens heavy blitz packages – he will likely stay in to help block Suggs on some passing plays which will hurt his chances from production. Davis is only a low-end TE1 in this one. Don’t consider playing Braylon Edwards or Kyle Williams.

Joe Flacco had one of his better games of the year last week against the Bengals. That said, the 49ers defensive unit has been the best in the league this season – look elsewhere unless you’re in a two-QB league. This is going to be a tough week for Ray Rice who is facing the only defense yet to allow a rushing touchdown. Rice still cannot be on benches because he will likely see at least 20 touches in this low-scoring affair. Anquan Boldin has cooled off with only 3 catches for 57 yards in his last two games. He’ll be a low-end WR2 in this one but temper your expectations against the league’s best defense. Torrey Smith broke out with 165 yards and a touchdown last week and remains inconsistent on a weekly basis. He’s improving as a receiver and has WR3 value – however I would advise to stay away this week if you have other options. Ed Dickson returned to mediocrity last week and is just a TE2, don’t play him in this tough matchup.

Please ask any questions you have, I wanted to release this for anyone in need of advice.

  1. Mark says:
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    Help! I have Gore, Rice, and K. Smith. Which 2 should I play?

  2. Benny says:
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    Need your help – would you start Tate or Spiller in a .5pt ppr this wk?

  3. Steve says:
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    Just lost Fred Jackson. I have Rodgers, Tate, Gore, Dez, Wallace. Harvin on bench. Do I roll with Tate? Or try to move Dez or Wallace for a #1 RB?

  4. SmokeTNT says:
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    I’ve got McFadden and Bradshaw still sitting on my bench killing my team, so I need 2 RBs. I’ve got McGahee and I picked up Gerhart, should I go with those or I can also get Helu, Battle, McKnight, Hunter, or Grant.

  5. SmokeTNT says:
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    Also could get Donald Brown against the Panthers.

  6. Randy04 says:
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    Would you lean on the Broncos, Raiders, or Cardinals this weekend for DEF/ST where scoring is based on turnovers, yards allowed, and points allowed? Also, which of the three would you say has the best chance to help come playoff time (I have NE based on 2-3 good matchups in upcoming weeks but am hoping for one more).

    Also, which WR do you prefer ROS in a standard league? Manningham, Santana Moss, or Jacoby Ford?

    Lastly, would you start Kevin Smith or Jonathan Stewart in a flex spot this weekend?

    Thanks!!

  7. Alex says:
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    Hey Mike,

    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for the article. I’m in a must-win situation this week and if Vick is out, would you recommend going with Palmer (vs CHI) or Young (vs NE)?

    Right now I’m leaning towards Young because at least it has more shootout potential than a Raiders vs Bears match up.

    What do you think?

  8. exactly says:
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    in PPR: shonn greene or mcknight?

  9. zandercage says:
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    Hey Mike –

    Happy Thanksgiving! Need help with a couple lineup decisions (standard scoring) –

    1) RB#2 – Jonathan Stewart, L. Blount or CJ Spiller?

    2) Flex – One of the RB’s not chose above, Harvin or Antonio Brown?

    Thanks!!!

  10. hideousmutants says:
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    Grabbed kevin smith this week. Would u start him over chris Johnson?Normally it’d be a no brainer to start smith but Johnson is playing tampas terrible run d.

  11. Mr2Bits says:
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    Hey Mike,
    If were talking defense, are you playing the Rams against the card or running the niners D out tonight?

  12. Gobble, gobble….

    Deep 14 team PPR league, need to start 3 (2 WR + 1 FLEX) from this crew of turkeys:

    Titus Young v. GB *
    Damian Williams v. TB *
    Greg Olsen v. IND *
    David Nelson v. NYJ
    Riley Cooper v. NE

    Notes:
    – scoring is 1 full pt ppr
    – can start wr/ rb/ te in flex spot
    * leaning this way right now, assuming GB/DET is shootout so Titus gets a nice matchup vs porous secondary, assuming Hasselback plays, and trust Olsen against an underwhelming Colts D plus no Shockey

    Appreciate your take….

  13. SoloRush says:
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    Who do you like better for the Flex this week: Ryan Grant, Toby Gerhart, Joe McKnight or Donald Brown?

  14. Frank Rizzo says:
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    Hey Mike,

    Thanks for your help last week. I was wondering if you had to pick four starters out of this group whom would you pick?

    McGhaee plax harvin Cruz matthews and Andre Johnson?

    Can be 2 rb and 2 wr or 1 rb and 3 wr…..

  15. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Mark: Bench Kevin Smith – he’s not going to get as many touches as the proven star running backs

  16. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Benny: Gotta go Spiller in PPR

  17. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Steve: You need some balance – ship out either Dez or Wallace and get your stud running back. Harvin is great as a third WR

  18. Jeff says:
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    Which 3 WRs should I start?

    Wes Welker, Roddy White, Dwayne Bowe, Stevie Johnson, Laurent Robinson, or Mario Manningham?

    Should I bench Bowe this week because of the QB situation in KC and start Robinson?

  19. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @SmokeTNT: Pick up Grant – Starks has been out of practice all week so I think he’s destined for the biggest workload against the Lions

  20. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Randy04: First, start the Raiders against Chicago’s Caleb Hanie. Secondly, I like Manningham most of those three for the rest of the year. Lastly, really close call but I’d go Kevin Smith – he’s fresher, doesn’t have DeAngelo and Newton to steal rushing yards

  21. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Alex: Don’t love him but you need to go with Young. Palmer’s wide receiving core is decimated by injury – we don’t know if Moore is going to play, Ford is out – so go with the safer option against the worse defense.

  22. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @exactly: Stick with Greene – he’s the featured back

  23. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @zandercage: 1) Jonathan Stewart should have a fun time running against Indy’s undersized defense and there should be plenty clock killing carries.
    2) Love them both so it’s tough but I’d say Harvin. I believe this will be his best game of the season being the featured playmaker with Peterson out.

  24. Chris says:
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    Mike,

    Non-PPR, need one WR from:

    CJ Spiller @ NYJ
    Santonio Holmes v. Buf
    Michael Crabtree @ Bal
    Nate Washington v. TB

    Thoughts?

  25. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @hideousmutants: Funny you ask that, I have the same question in a few of my leagues. Although I’ll be starting Smith in future weeks, I’m giving CJ a chance on this one. He should get plenty of carries against Tampas terrible run defense. If he’s breaking out in the second half – it starts in this game

  26. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Mr2Bits: Have to go 49ers. Can’t sit the leagues best defense against a mediocre Ravens offense

  27. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @El burro: I’d go Williams, Olsen, and Young. The first two are obvious for me but the only reason I’d play Young is because he has the best chance of the rest due to a heavy passing offense in a shootout against Green Bay

  28. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @SoloRush: Grant – Starks hasn’t practiced all week so I think he’ll have a bigger workload. I wouldn’t want to start Gerhart against the strong Atlanta run defense.

  29. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Frank Rizzo: No problem man, I hope you’re doing well in your league and happy Thanksgiving! Mathews has had knee soreness so I don’t think a full workload is in store. I’d play McGahee at RB and Cruz, Andre and Harvin at WR.

  30. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Jeff: Yeah I think that’s a good idea – play Robinson, White and Welker

  31. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Chris: Santonio Holmes – I know everyones been saying it for a while but you have to stick with him. Hopefully this is the week he finally breaks out against the Bills poor secondary

  32. Bruce says:
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    I have Stafford and start hime every week. Eli Manning been sitting on my bench. WRs are Fitzgerald, Manningham, Wayne, Vincent Brown, TE Jimmy Graham.

    I just traded Manning and Wayne for Roddy White and picked Tebow off the waiver wire. So it was basically Manning and Wayne for White and Tebow.

    I think I did good, since Manning was sitting anyhow. What do you think?
    And who would you start this week at my flex position?

    Now my starting line-up is:

    QB – Stafford
    RB – Rice
    RB – Bush
    WR – Fitzgerald
    WR – R. White
    WR – Manningham
    TE – J. Graham
    Flex – CJ Spiller, D. Brown, Ingram, Ogbonnaya, V. Brown

  33. Clueless says:
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    Happy Thanksgiving –

    Having a tough time trying to decide who to start. (PPR)

    Ray Rice, Darren Sproles or Antonio Brown –

    Rice is a stud but going up against tough SF D

    I need to choose 2 of the 3.

    Thanks

  34. Dan says:
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    hey mike,
    laurent robinson or brandon marshall today?

  35. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Bruce: Yeah I think you did well – you’re not going to play Manning and White is much better than Wayne. For your flex, I believe you have to go Spiller – he’s gonna see the most touches of this group and hopefully he shows some explosiveness

  36. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Clueless: Happy thanksgiving to you too! I love him but you have to sit Antonio Brown. Sproles and Rice get a lot more touches and therefore have a much better chance at elite production

  37. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Dan: Gotta go BMarsh – he’s the number one option in the passing game on his team and the Dolphins will be playing from behind for most of the game. He should have a nice game.

  38. Nick says:
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    Would you say Manningham or Bowe is the better play this week? I worry with Bowe going up against the very good Pittsburgh secondary with Tyler Palko under center.

  39. Nick says:
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    ^and it’s a non-PPR league

  40. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Nick: I agree but Manningham didn’t practice today. I would check if he practices Friday because the Giants play on Monday and if he’s a game-time decision you have to go with Bowe.

  41. Nick says:
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    Thanks Mike! Might I trouble you for one more bit of last second advice? Cowboys game-time is in 30 minutes, and trying to decided among Laurent Robinson, Manningham, and Holmes. Holmes is far from a sure bet and losing red zone targets to Plaxico, Manningham as you said didn’t practice, and Laurent’s scored in four straight weeks. Hope you’ve had a good Turkey Day!

  42. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Nick: You too my friend! I would eliminate Manningham first off – he’s the third target on his team and I’m worried about his consistency. I would go Holmes because he has more upside, he could have one of those huge games that I’m not sure Robinson can because of Witten and Bryant. I would go Holmes because the Jets know he’s their best offensive player they’re just not making a great effort to get him the ball – I think that’s gonna change soon though and he’s going to get going. Holmes is coming off a tough matchup with Bailey and he should recover.

  43. Mr2Bits says:
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    @Mike Braude:

    Well unless the Rams go in the minus, can’t get much worse with the niners D tonight with no sacks and no turnovers…….fucking fantasy gods hate me I swear!

  44. Benny says:
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    Which of these guys should I pluck off waivers for the stretch run – Hardesty or Ingram?

  45. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Mr2Bits: Yeah, definitely wasn’t how I saw it playing out but Flacco performed against one of the league’s best defenses and avoided mistakes. Save your fantasy luck for the playoffs!

  46. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @Benny: Ingram – Hardesty has a much worse offense and is limited by talent. Ingram could get hot as the goal-line back on a high-powered offense

  47. DB007 says:
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    Hey Mike,

    I have flex question. 12 Team PPR league

    Who should I roll with,

    Tolbert
    Spiller
    Ogbonnaya

    Or should I stick to WR’s

    AJ Green Or Julio Jones.

  48. Mike Braude

    Mike Braude says:
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    @DB007: Considering it’s a PPR and Mathews is playing I think your best bet is playing one of the WRs. Because AJ Green is facing Joe Haden (who shut him down in Week 1) I would play Julio Jones at home. They should have plenty of opportunities at home against the Vikes without AP. Matt Ryan plays much better at home and Jones should be able to shred a secondary without their top 2 cornerbacks

  49. DB007 says:
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    Thanks Mike, I had the same feeling of sticking with Julio.

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