Week 12 TNF Showdown: Thanksgiving Starts, Sits, and Picks

by Matt Babich · Betting Advice

The Week 12 TNF Showdown features three matchups: Giants at Cowboys, Bills at Lions, and Patriots at Vikings. This week I’ll be short and to the point, giving you the starts, sits, and picks for each matchup. I’m taking on the challenge of providing a lean on the spread and total of each game as well as one player prop. Without further ado, let’s see what’s in store for us for Turkey Day 2022.

Note: QB Start/Sit decisions based on a 1QB format. Many of the obvious starts (Josh Allen, etc.) and sits (Brock Wright) may not be discussed for brevity.

Bills at Lions (12:30 AM EST Kickoff)

Bills

Starts

  • The bell tolls for thee, Devin Singletary. James Cook creeps up on his opportunity share more and more. Nevertheless, Singletary is the lead back with goal line duties. With Allen’s injury comes less unnecessary throws, particularly in red zone and goal line situations. Singletary has 14 red zone touches in his last two games, leading to three touchdowns. He’s a start until we see a takeover happen.
  • James Cook has been flashing here and there and really made a mark versus Cleveland when he took 11 carries for 86 yards. Despite keeping Saquon Barkley in check last week, Detroit wields one of the league’s worst defenses when considering DVOA and fantasy points allowed. In a game the Bills command from the jump, Cook should get enough touches to be flexible, and has a chance to break one loose and find the endzone.

  • Dawson Knox is a solid streaming option against a Lions defense giving up the No. 3 most fantasy points and the No. 2 most touchdowns to the position. Drawing a red zone target in five of nine games, he has a good shot at finding the endzone. Like most tight ends, he’s a boom-bust play.

Sits

  • It’s clear that Gabriel Davis is a touchdown-dependent, boom-bust option. He’s scored 15 fantasy points in every game where he finds the endzone and has scored under 10 points in four of his five scoreless contests (11 points being the exception). If your lineup can handle a 6-point bust, then fire up Davis and pray for the big play. On a short week, I’m staying away.
  • Isaiah McKenzie hasn’t scored 10 or more fantasy points since Week 4 and is irrelevant in this offense. He would need 40-plus attempts from Allen to see playable opportunity.

Lions

Starts

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown, the sun god, is a man who needs no explanation. He is him (are the kids still saying that?). His 6.5 receptions prop is an evergreen play, and he is an evergreen start in fantasy football.
  • Jamaal Williams leads running backs in touchdowns and currently averages 15.4 (No. 15) fantasy points per game. The usage is maddening considering this team does roster D’Andre Swift, and, more importantly, he is not an effective runner by any sense of the term. His efficiency is poor, but opportunity doesn’t care about your efficiency. He’ll still get the lion’s share of the carries and has a good chance at finding the endzone.

Sits

  • Jared Goff is facing a Bills secondary that is returning to full strength for the first time this season. He’s surpassed 20 fantasy points twice this season and hasn’t achieved that goal since Week 4. His 18-point ceiling is unappetizing in a sea of quarterback streamers. The Lions are a run-first, run often team who will struggle to move the ball. Goff carries risky playability in 2QB formats as a top-24 option.
  • It pains me to do this but, after charting the Lions’ offense last week, I can’t in good conscience tell people to start D’Andre Swift. He’s averaging just 5.5 carries and 3.75 targets since his return and was recently out-snapped and out-touched by Justin Jackson. It’s getting harder to imagine a turn-around in usage coming with how Williams is performing.

  • D.J. Chark saw only 16-percent of the team snaps in his return and most of them were to run block or be a deep decoy. By the time he’s eased back into the offense, Jameson Williams may be activated.

Picks

  • Spread: Buffalo -9.5
  • Total: Under 54.5
  • Prop: Jared Goff UNDER 245.5 Passing Yards

Giants at Cowboys (4:30 PM EST Kickoff)

Giants

Starts

  • Daniel Jones, a Konami king, reluctantly lands on the start list. The Cowboys give up the No. 3-least points to the quarterback position, but rushing quarterbacks have performed well. In Week 3, Jones posted 14.7 fantasy points without a touchdown. That’s likely the floor in a divisional, primetime grudge match. The Giants’ secondary is getting thinner by the week meaning we could see some garbage time points.
  • Darius Slayton has earned a 20.5-percent Target Share since Week 5 and is now the undisputed number-one target in the Giants’ passing game. He’s receiving high-quality targets from Jones. His fantasy value is not contingent upon the two connecting on a deep ball, but that upside is still present. He’s a risky flex option, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Trevon Diggs get over-aggressive and get burned.

Darius Slayton Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Sits

  • Any other Giant

Cowboys

Starts

  • Dak Prescott has at least 20 fantasy points in each of his last three games and is averaging 264 passing yards and 2.33 touchdowns. The Cowboys’ offense is on fire and faces a depleted secondary that just lost its best cornerback, Adoree’ Jackson, for the foreseeable future. Be thankful for another top-10 performance.
  • Tony Pollard is that guy. Do I really need supporting stats? In Ezekiel Elliot’s first game returning from injury, Pollard earned a 50/50 split of the carries and made the most of each and every one. We’ll likely still see a near-even split of carries, but it’s Pollard’s six targets in each of the last two games that pushes him into the weekly top-20 running backs.

Tony Pollard Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

  • CeeDee Lamb wasn’t required to do much last week as the Cowboys played with dominant control from start to finish. It was his first game all season where he didn’t earn a 20-percent Target Share. He’s commanding all of the air yards in this offense, and he frequently draws red zone targets. Lamb will be able to shred the Gaint’s broken secondary.
  • Dalton Schultz has come back alive with Prescott under the helm as he’s averaging 11.5 fantasy points per game since his return. The tight end position is a wasteland, so a player with a 17.7-percent (No. 10) Target Share and a 30.8-percent Red Zone Target Share on a high-octane offense is a player you start. The Giants have held the position in check but were shredded by Mark Andrews (the only good tight end they’ve played). Trust the red zone usage to blossom into scores.

Sits

  • Ezekiel Elliott fell into two touchdowns last week, and no one was impressed. It’s actually getting painful watching him run after watching Pollard. He’s simply inefficient on the ground, and his braced knee did not appear to be at full health. He’s usable if he manages to score, so feel free to trot him out if you’re okay with a limited ceiling.

Picks

  • Spread: Giants +9.5
  • Total: Under 45.5
  • Prop: Darius Slayton OVER 48.5 receiving yards

Patriots at Vikings (8:20 PM EST Kickoff)

Patriots

Starts

  • One of the few certainties of this Patriots offense is that Rhamondre Stevenson is really good at football. He’s generated a 42.2-percent (No. 4) Juke Rate and 3.36 (No. 15) Yards Created per Touch. He’s also heavily involved in the passing game, running a route on 59.4-percent of the team’s pass plays. Averaging 16.4 (No. 9) fantasy points per game, it’s StevenSZN every week.
  • Jakobi Meyers has returned to earth after starting the season with six straight performances with at least 10 fantasy points. The Minnesota Vikings are a great get-right spot for this passing offense as they are giving up plenty of fantasy points to first-option receivers this season. Trust Meyers’ 25-percent Target Share to get him to his 10-point floor even without a score.

  • Hear me out on this one, but Hunter Henry is going to be a top-10 option as a streamer this week. Minnesota ranks No. 21 in QB Pressure Rate (per ProFootballReference), which should allow for Mac Jones to have cleaner pockets than he’s been used to lately. Against a Browns defense that has similarly struggled to get to the quarterback, Henry posted 16 fantasy points on seven targets. In what I expect to be a get-right spot for the Patriots’ offense, I’m taking a flyer on Henry.

Sits

  • For similar reasons as Jared Goff, you can’t roll out Mac Jones in single quarterback leagues. His ceiling is a near-20-point outing, which makes him one of the worst fantasy options at the position that you can choose. I do, however, expect a sneaky shootout in Minnesota. Jones has struggled to navigate the constant pressure he’s facing but is a good thrower and excels in clean pockets. Facing a less aggressive pass rush, I’m slotting in Mac Jones in deep 2QB/Superflex leagues as a top-24 option.

Vikings

Starts

  • Kirk Cousins hit rock bottom last week. He posted 105 scoreless passing yards against Dallas. Cousins has been under constant duress this season as he leads quarterbacks with 88 pressured throws. Besides that, he’s been a steady producer this season, surpassing 15 fantasy points in seven of 10 games. The Vikings have been particularly bad at converting red zone opportunities to touchdowns lately, and the Patriots are excellent at shutting down such opportunities. In a sneaky shootout, I expect Cousins to deliver his usual 16-19 points.

  • T.J. Hockenson has earned at least nine targets in each of his three games since joining the Vikings. The offense needed a second option in the passing game, and they found him. He’s seen six red zone targets since the move, at least one in each game, but has yet to find pay-dirt. You could say that means he’s due. He draws a Patriots defense who have been unable to hinder opposing tight end production. They are giving up the No. 10 most fantasy points and No. 2 most touchdowns. This is a smash spot for Hock.

Sits

  • Adam Thielen‘s red zone opportunity has come to a screeching halt since the team acquired Hockenson. Hockenson’s presence has limited the ceiling of the aging vet. He’s struggled to connect with Cousins this season as well. Thielen is drawing a 5.62 (No. 42) Target Quality Rating and converting only 67-percent of his targets to receptions. Seeing seven targets in two of the last three games, he’s still an intriguing play. Against a tough New England defense, however, his production is touchdown-dependent.
  • K.J. Osborn‘s Snap Share has ticked down in three consecutive weeks. He had 11 targets in Week 10 and did not take advantage of the opportunity. There are plenty of better options out there.

Picks

  • Spread: Patriots +2.5
  • Total: Over 42.5
  • Prop: T.J. Hockenson OVER 42.5 receiving yards

2022 record:

  • Spread: 6-5
  • Total: 7-4
  • Props: 11-9

Thanks for reading and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday!