Fantasy Football Intelligence: Thanksgiving Edition

Last night I turned off Monday Night Football early in the second half. The bad fantasy writing was on the wall, and as I told my long suffering football tolerant wife, “I can see which way this is going, and I don’t need to bear witness to it.”

Even the best of us get frustrated with our fantasy fortunes from time to time, and if anyone needs to step away and say “No mas” when it gets out of hand, you’ll get no judgment from me. What I won’t excuse though, is any manager, regardless of record, who steps away from their team and stops trying.

This is the time of year when teams get eliminated and have nothing to play for. The mark of a good league is when every owner, regardless of standing, tries their best to win each week. I don’t care if you are in a public league and you will never see or hear from any of your league-mates after week 16, you have a moral obligation to those still competing for a championship to soldier on. A disinterested owner’s lack of interest can heavily influence the fortunes of those still in the hunt, and that isn’t fair. Starting a lineup that includes injured players or is otherwise incomplete gives an advantage to that week’s opponent while retroactively disadvantaging all the teams you played when you were still trying. As stated earlier, there is no excuse for it in any league, but it is most harmful and egregious in ongoing leagues with friends, family and co-workers. In the leagues I play in, it is grounds for removal from the league. Just don’t do it.

But this week is about the things we have to be thankful for.

Back in August, it wasn’t clear if we would even get this far in the season. We have, and it looks pretty good for us getting in a full season in this otherwise abnormal year. Thanks to those who devised and are executing the NFL’s safety protocols, and also to the players and staff who are taking things seriously and trying to keep everyone safe. As someone who has not sat indoors in a restaurant since March, I recognize that it hasn’t been easy for anyone.

If you are a fan of an NFC East team, you should be thankful that your team is still in the playoff chase with three wins.

If you are streaming defenses, be thankful for the ample supply of weak offenses to chase. The Jets, Bengals, Eagles, Giants, Broncos, Jaguars and Washington Football Team all offer reasonable turnover and scoring opportunities down the stretch. Even the Patriots can be streamed against in the playoff weeks if their opponents are available.

If you drafted a dual threat QB (Wilson, Allen, Murray, Mahomes) not named Lamar Jackson, you got great value for your pick. (Dak Prescott would have been on this list; let’s hope he bounces back well.) Lamar is still a solid play, but at QB2 he was over-drafted. Keep an eye on the rest of the season to see what the Ravens do. The league has adjusted to Greg Roman’s scheme and the Ravens have not yet effectively counter-punched. If they continue to struggle, look for the organization to do something in the off-season to shake up the offensive side.

If you had a mid-first round pick and drafted Dalvin Cook or Derrick Henry, be thankful. There are a lot of McCaffrey, Barkley and Elliott owners who wish they weren’t so “lucky” on draft day. If you had a late round pick and grabbed Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill on the turn, you are pretty happy too.

In terms of advice for this week, if you are streaming QBs, Derek Carr is playing well and faces the Falcons and the Jets the next two weeks.

Gus Edwards is the last man standing in the Ravens backfield with Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins hitting the covid list and he is widely available. Edwards has a tough matchup with Pittsburgh on Thursday night, but he ran well against them earlier in the month. Expect to see Justice Hill get some run on passing downs, but Edwards should have fair volume if you are looking for a RB2.

If you read last week and streamed Philip Rivers, be thankful for that, as well as the fact that Michael Pittman Jr. is only owned in 26% of ESPN leagues. He is a big target and he is becoming a focal point of the game plan. A local Colts reporter, Mike Wells, told ESPN, “Buy into Pittman, I’m a Pittman guy.” Thanks.

Finally they have been putrid against the pass all year, but the Seattle defense faces the Eagles, Jets, Giants and Washington over the next month. They have also been adding players and Jamal Adams is getting healthier. You’re welcome.

Here’s a great cover of Led Zeppelin’s Thank You from the late Chris Cornell. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

 

Lee Benjamin

Lee Benjamin has been a football fan since Jim Plunkett was under center for the Patriots and his first ever fantasy football pick was a young Jerry Rice. He’s won more championships during Tom Brady’s career than Tom Brady, though unfortunately, they pay a lot less. His blog, Fantasy Football Intelligence, is published regularly on the WTPL, WTSN and Frank-FM sites. Lee spent over 25 years in New England media. He now resides in South Florida and enjoys freelance writing about sports and politics.