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.