By Stephen Johnson–
(CBS) “Sit ‘Em, Start ‘Em” is a breakdown of some of the best and worst fantasy football matchups to help you navigate setting your lineups for the week.
There’s plenty to give thanks for with Thanksgiving week upon us, but when it comes to fantasy football, it’s safe to say we’re all thankful for the end of bye weeks as we enter Week 12. A full slate of Thanksgiving Day games is loaded with enticing plays that can set the tone early for your matchup.
START – Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. Packers) Since Roethlisberger’s “Maybe I don’t have it anymore” speech, he has stepped up his game with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 10:3, including a solid 6:0 ratio in home games. The Steelers welcome a reeling Packers team to town this Sunday that hasn’t had much success against opposing signal callers of late, allowing a 71 percent completion rating and 293 passing yards per game over the last four weeks.
SIT – Josh McCown, Jets (vs. Panthers) Regression is imminent for McCown after a fantastic first half of the season that saw him in QB1 territory. McCown managed to save face in their last game with a late Robby Anderson touchdown, but he now faces a Carolina defense that continues to get stronger as the season goes on. Allowing the fourth-fewest points to quarterbacks this season, the Panthers have forced five turnovers at the position over the last three weeks and are currently recording a sack on 8.7 percent of all snaps, the fourth-highest rate in the league.
START – Alfred Morris, Cowboys (vs. Chargers) Of all the problems currently facing the Cowboys, Morris isn’t one of them. Since taking over duties as the lead back in Dallas, he’s averaged five yards per carry and now faces a Chargers defense that hasn’t fared well against running backs all season. Allowing the most rushing yards in the league this season, Los Angeles is coming off a three-game stretch in which it’s giving up 196 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing ball-carriers.
SIT – Jordan Howard, Bears (at Eagles) Teams just don’t run on the Eagles. Yes, the high-powered Philadelphia offense has a lot to do with that as opponents have been forced to play catchup, but the Eagles also happen to be very good against the run as is. Allowing just 3.07 yards per carry to running backs, the Eagles face only 15.8 rushing attempts from the position per game – the lowest in the league by far. Keeping this game close and keeping Howard in the script will be key for any viable production from him. Given the difficulty of the Philadelphia run defense and Chicago’s renewed interest in getting Tarik Cohen involved in the offense, touches could easily be at a minimum for Howard on Sunday.
START – Keenan Allen, Chargers (at Cowboys) Allen came out of a rough three-game stretch, with games against Denver and Jacksonville, like a wideout with something to prove. Outside of those games, Allen is averaging more than 10 targets per contest and now goes up against a Cowboys secondary looking to help stop the bleeding of recent weeks. Dallas allows the fifth-most receptions and third-most touchdowns to wideouts in the league, which should help set up Allen for another big performance Thursday.
SIT – Marvin Jones, Lions (vs. Vikings) The Xavier Rhodes shadow tour will be locked in on Jones once again on Thanksgiving, a matchup that Jones is probably dreading. Back in Week 4, the Vikings’ shutdown corner stymied Lions’ receiver to the tune of one catch for four yards while covering 88 percent of his snaps. Expect more of the same as Minnesota’s defense continues to run on all cylinders, shutting down some of the best offenses week after week.
START – Vernon Davis, Redskins (vs. Giants) Davis continues to thrive with Jordan Reed sitting out of action, and Week 12 offers up the holy grail of tight end matchups in fantasy in facing the Giants. While New York’s unprecedented streak of allowing a touchdown in every game to opposing tight ends ended last week, Travis Kelce still managed an eight-catch, 109-yard performance. Davis, meanwhile, has eclipsed the 65-yard receiving mark in six of his last seven games, setting up for a big performance at FedEx Field on Thursday night.
SIT – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jets (vs. Panthers) Much like his quarterback, this matchup doesn’t look great for Seferian-Jenkins. Carolina has been on lockdown against opposing tight ends this year, allowing just six points per game in standard scoring leagues. Even more impressive? The Panthers have four games of allowing just two points to the position. Seferian-Jenkins has cooled off in recent weeks with just one game with more than 28 yards receiving in his last four matchups.
Stephen Johnson is 670 The Score’s 2017 Fantasy Football Expert winner. He’s a weekly guest on “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” every Sunday morning during football season from 8.a.m.-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and 670thescore.com/listen. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen_Roto.