Starts, Sits and Sleepers - Thanksgiving Edition
We cannot help ourselves. Everyone wants at least one fantasy player going on Thanksgiving, if not one in each of the three games. For those determined to go down that path - and because watching football on Turkey Day is even awesome, we present a special Thanksgiving Day advice article. Pickups, Starts, Sleepers - all in one column. Remember to read this before the tryptophan kicks in...
Green Bay at Detroit
Pickup: Nate Burleson (from Week 13's "Pickups' column) - Rumors of Nate Burleson's return from a broken arm lingered and lingered, but the veteran receiver finally delivered on Sunday against the Bucs. Playing for the first time since Week 3, the veteran pass catcher hauled in seven receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown versus the Bucs. Highly productive in the first half, Burleson played on 69 of the Lions' 76 snaps (FWIW, Kris Durham received 75, the most of any Detroit WR). He's played only four games this season, but has at least six catches in each game. Go ahead and use Burleson as a WR3 on Thanksgiving against the Packers, especially in PPR formats. Green Bay has allowed six TDP in their last four games.
Start 'Em: Jarrett Boykin - Whether Aaron Rodgers, Scott Tolzien or Matt Flynn is doing the throwing, Boykin is doing the catching. He hauled in five receptions for 60 yards and a score in Week 12. Over his last three games, Boykin is averaging 6.3 receptions and 87.6 yards. The Lions have allowed a stunning 12 TD receptions to wide receivers over their last five games. Consider Boykin a WR 2/3.
Sit 'Em: Kris Durham - This isn't the sexiest of picks, but the reality is this game should have offensive fireworks; Las Vegas set the over/under at 50, the highest in Week 13. We'll draw the line at fringe players like James Starks and Durham, who has caught three passes on consecutive games and received tons of snaps last week. With Burleson back and both Reggie Bush and Joique Bell involved (not to mention that Calvin Johnson fella), there just isn't enough reason to believe enough targets exist for all.
Sleeper: Brandon Pettigrew - The Lions tight end often leaves owners wanting more, but he's been consistently hauling in passes (at least three receptions in eight straight games). Pettigrew had one of his better games against Green Bay in Week 5 with four receptions for 59 yards. The Packers have been better defending the TE lately, but overall allow the 11th most points and surrendered 6-82-1 to the Vikings last week.
Oakland at Dallas
Pickup and Sleeper (via Jeb Gorham): Marcel Reece - Oakland's fullback is one of those guys who has the talent to make big plays, but seems to play the backseat role all too often. With Darren McFadden (hamstring) down and out, Reece has played more even as Rashad Jennings takes over the primary role. Over the last two weeks, the dual threat has received nine carries plus six receptions on 10 targets with a touchdown. McFadden is iffy to return on Thursday and even if he does come back on the short week, Jennings will lead the rushing attack and Reece will play a role. Considering the opponent cannot stop prevent running backs from piling up production this lately, Reece could be a sneaky start in deeper leagues.
Start 'Em (Via Daniel Kalles): Rod Streater - After an up and down rookie season in 2012, Streater has been more consistent this season. In only 11 games, Streater has already surpassed his 2012 totals in receptions and yards despite Oakland starting three different quarterbacks this season. Streater isn't a point per reception kind of guy, but when he does catch passes, he usually makes big plays -- evidenced by his 15 yards per reception average. This week Streater will play on Thanksgiving against the defense that keeps on giving, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are giving up the second most passing yards at 298 per game, so look for Streater to take advantage of that and have his third game in a row of at least five receptions and 84 yards. Streater makes for a solid WR3 or flex start.
Sit 'Em: Miles Austin - It seems logical that either Austin or Terrance Williams does some damage against a Raiders defense that allows the fourth most points to fantasy wide outs this season. Guessing which one is the issue. Austin caught one pass on three targets in his return last week against the Giants. Let him show something production wise before using him. That statement goes out to fantasy owners, though the Cowboys coaching staff can borrow that advice.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Pickup and Sleeper: Steelers defense - Opponents have 17 sacks and six interceptions over the last four games against the Ravens. Pittsburgh hasn't been a great source for sacks this season, but racked up five in Week 12 and have at least two in five straight games.
Start 'Em: Justin Tucker - Since missing two field goals in Week 2, Tucker has booted 22 straight. That stretch included four against the Jets in Week 12 and three versus Pittsburgh back in Week 7. Last season Tucker made four of five FG tries in this matchup. Knowing the history of this rivalry, Tucker and Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham are probably the two players not named Antonio Brown that owners can count on most for production.
Sit 'Em: Ben Roethlisberger - The Ravens have not allowed a 300-yard passing game in five straight games, a stretch that started in Week 7 when Big Ben threw for 160 yards. Roethlisberger has been a decent spot starter in recent weeks, but with every NFL team active this week, there should be no need to use him as QB1 in any format