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Thanksgiving day: 3 players to start and 3 players to fade in Week 12 fantasy football

We go over who you should start and who you should sit on your fantasy football teams for Week 12’s Thanksgiving day matchups.

NFL: New England Patriots at Houston Texans Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (15) leaps over a defender after a reception during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium.

The Ravens vs. Steelers matchup for the Thanksgiving football slate has been postponed to Sunday, but there are plenty of players left with potential to make a big impact on your fantasy football lineups. We’ll break down three starts and three sits for Week 12 fantasy football.

Thanksgiving Slate Starts

Will Fuller vs. Lions

Though Will Fuller has seen his peaks and valleys so far in 2020, he’s definitely been more reliable than he has been in days past. He’s posted 100 yards receiving in four of his 10 games in 2020 while reeling in fewer than 50 yards in just three. The Lions defense is struggling to stop much of anything these days, ... Teammates Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills are both ruled out for this contest, and they’ve combined for 67 targets through 11 weeks. This presents an opportunity for Fuller to increase his target share against a lackluster Lions secondary that ties for the fifth most big plays allowed to wideouts on the season.

Terry McLaurin vs. Cowboys

Terry McLaurin has earned the “must-start” label for fantasy football, but I figured he was worth a note just in case there was any doubt. Over his last four games, McLaurin has been on pace for 104 catches for 1,536 yards — an obvious stud. In his last meeting versus Dallas in Week 7, he managed seven receptions for 90 receiving yards and a touchdown; we should expect a similar outing once again. The Cowboys secondary has allowed the second most fantasy points to WRs, giving up an average of 180 receiving yards and 1.9 receiving TDs per game to the position.

J.D. McKissic vs. Cowboys

In the last three weeks, with Alex Smith under center, McKissic has been on a 16 game pace for 176 targets. It’s a target rate that may be unsustainable, but the main takeaway is that he’s favored in the passing game within an offense with limited pass catchers. McKissic has been an easy play in PPR, ranking as the RB12 through the last four weeks. Sometimes we need a reminder that fantasy points are fantasy points, and it doesn’t matter where they come from. McKissic is serving that message well.

Thanksgiving Slate Sits

CeeDee Lamb vs. Washington

Don’t allow yourself to be mesmerized by CeeDee Lamb’s wild touchdown pass in Week 10. Though this rookie has shown more than enough flash to indicate his potential in this league, he’ll still be facing a tough Washington secondary that’s been limiting opposing wideouts to just 140 receiving yards per game — the third-fewest yards per game allowed by any NFL defense. Lamb didn’t manage a single catch on his five targets in his last meeting with Washington.

Duke Johnson Jr. vs. Lions

This play feels like a trap — at least in season-long fantasy football leagues. Since Week 7, the Lions run defense has allowed nine rushing touchdowns to the running back position, though Dalvin Cook produced the only 100-yard rushing performance in that same span. Despite the plus matchup, Johnson’s ceiling is quite low, having seen his carry totals decrease for the third-straight week and inconsistent usage as a receiver. Consider Johnson a “break glass in case of emergency” option unless you’re looking for a steady floor play.

Matthew Stafford vs. Texans

There is a wave of injuries shredding through the Detroit Lions, and we’re likely to see the full effect of that in Thursday’s Thanksgiving game. Not only has Matthew Stafford been dealing with a thumb injury in his throwing hand, but he’ll also be without two of his top-three wideouts in Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. To top the pie with whipped cream, pass catching back D’Andre Swift may be out for the second consecutive game due to concussion. In Week 10, Stafford was held to a season-low 178 passing yards and went scoreless for the first time in 2020. Given the circumstances, we should expect Stafford at less than 100% with fewer receiving weapons than he is used to.