Thanksgiving Night Game – Week 12
New England Patriots @ New York Jets – 7:20pm CT on NBC
Tom Brady – Brady is on another one of those accuracy tears right now as he hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 162 attempts going back to the fourth quarter of Week 6. Back in Week 7 in the Patriots 29-26 home win over the Jets, Brady attempted his second-most passes of the season (42) yet was only able to put up 259 yards and two touchdowns.
Fantasy Call – As it happens, the man who caught both those touchdowns, TE Rob Gronkowski, will be out for this game so the Stetson Man will have to find someone else to get his owners some nice fantasy points this Thursday. Brady has always enjoyed a nice challenge, however, so I expect him to pull through with QB1 numbers this Thanksgiving.
Mark Sanchez – You never quite know what you’re going to get out of the Sanchize from week to week, but you can usually bet on it being not so good. In his last two games, Sanchez has combined to throw for just one touchdown, one interception and a paltry 302 yards. His overall numbers are down near the bottom of the pack in nearly every category, but his saving grace this Thursday evening will be that he’s actually done pretty well playing at home against these New England Patriots throughout his career.
Fantasy Call – Not that it matters much in the fantasy world, but Sanchez is actually 2-1 at home versus the Pats. His numbers are actually pretty good, too, as he’s averaged 230 yards a game while throwing for a combined five TDs to just two INTs. In last year’s matchup, he actually threw for over 300 yards while adding both a passing AND rushing touchdown, so it’s certainly possible he has a nice game here. I wouldn’t trust it with my life by any means, but it wouldn’t shock me to see him put up low-end QB2 numbers this week.
Tim Tebow – Tebow has actually thrown four passes over the last two weeks and completed every one of them. He’s also run the ball six times as well.
Fantasy Call – Too bad those four completed passes and six rushes went for a combined 16 total yards.
Stevan Ridley – Ridley has rushed for a touchdown in three straight games now and is tied for second in the league with seven on the year. His rushing yards, attempts and fantasy points per game are all up there in the top-10 as well, though his fantasy output each week has been a bit scattered throughout the season. Back when he faced the Jets in Week 7, Ridley had just 65 yards on 17 carries and no touchdowns, numbers which would add up to his third-lowest fantasy score in 2012.
Fantasy Call – However, there are a couple of bright spots for Ridley owners to look at here. First off, the Jets have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season. Second, the Jets defense has allowed seven different running backs to put up double-digit fantasy points against them but most importantly, five of those came with the Jets playing at home. Lastly, three of Stevan’s four 100-yard games and four of his seven rushing TDs have come on the road. I expect him to be right on the edge of RB1 status by the end of the weekend.
Shane Vereen – Shane Vereen has slowly, but surely moved into the backup RB role for the Patriots this season. It’s easy to see why, too, as he consistently displays nice strength and shiftiness when out on the field.
Fantasy Call – Impressive as he’s been, it’s been impossible to predict when he (or any other RB for that matter) will go off, so keep him on the bench as a handcuff to Ridley this week.
Danny Woodhead – Woodhead doesn’t see enough time on the field to make much of a difference, though he still has the capability to go off here and there.
Fantasy Call – Seeing how Rex Ryan and the Jets let go of him a couple of years ago, the “revenge factor” is certainly in play, though I wouldn’t risk my fantasy week on it.
Brandon Bolden – Bolden is still serving out his four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.
Fantasy Call – Feel free to drop him, though if you have an extra bench spot, he might be able to contribute late in the season.
Shonn Greene – Greene has actually been better than I expected this season, but with Bilal Powell finally coming through with a nice game of his own last week, you knew something had to change. For at least the foreseeable future, Greene will be stuck in a RBBC situation as it seems Rex Ryan has finally crossed over to the dark side. It began last week with Greene seeing a few less snaps than Powell in the game, though he did receive 18 carries to Powell’s 11.
Fantasy Call – Considering he only gains 3.7 yards per carry and was never much of a goal-line back in the first place, his fantasy arrow just shot downward in a big way. He’s really no more than a flex play this week, even though he does seem to have some of his better games against this Patriots team.
Bilal Powell – Like I said with Greene, Powell will be a part of a RBBC for as long as he can stay healthy and might actually be on the field a touch more than his counterpart. After his two-touchdown performance against the Rams last weekend, he at least deserves a shot.
Fantasy Call – Powell might actually be the preferred flex play between he and Greene as Powell not only has more home-run hitting ability, but also seems to have secured at least a timeshare of the goal-line work.
Joe McKnight – Even when he’s healthy, which hasn’t been very often of late, he hardly sees enough touches to be considered worth a look.
Fantasy Call – Maybe in return-yardage leagues is he worth a play, but that’s about it.
Wes Welker – After putting up four straight 100-yard games in weeks three through six, Welker has decided to put up another four-game streak—though not quite the kind fantasy owners want to see. Welker had his most productive day in the last month against the Colts last week grabbing seven balls on 11 targets for a grand total of 80 yards.
Fantasy Call – He hasn’t seen the endzone of late either, but my guess is that he’ll start to see a few more chances with TE Rob Gronkowski out for at least a few games. With his career against this Jets team being a mixed bag over the years, I’m not expecting much more than a WR2-type of day.
Brandon Lloyd – I’m not entirely sure why, but Brandon Lloyd was demoted out of the Patriots two-wide sets last weekend against the Colts and only came in to play when three wide receivers were asked to line up. It’s possible it was simply because of the way the Colts were defending them, but I’m guessing there’s a little more to it.
Fantasy Call – Considering he only has three touchdowns on the season and has hit the 80-yard mark just twice, Lloyd was already a bit of a risk to play as anything more than a WR3. In the Week 7 game against the Jets, Antonio Cromartie shadowed Lloyd and held him to just one catch on eight targets for a measly six yards. Play him at your own risk, but don’t expect more than flex-like numbers at best.
Julian Edelman – Edelman was all over the field in Week 11. The former seventh-round pick out of Kent State played like a man possessed out there against the Colts picking up five catches (on seven targets) for 58 yards and a TD, as well as a 47-yard rush and a 68-yard punt return for a TD on special teams.
Fantasy Call – With TE Rob Gronkowski suffering a broken forearm in the game and likely to be out 4-6 weeks, I have no doubt the Patriots will give Edelman an increased role not only in this Thursday’s game against the Jets, but in the weeks ahead as well. He’s well worth starting on your fantasy team this week, but probably as no more than a flex—at least until it’s been figured out just how much the Pats plan on using him. By the way, an "increased role" in this New England Patriots offense is pretty much the equivalent to striking fantasy gold, so pick him up off the waiver wire if he’s still out there.
Jeremy Kerley – Kerley has certainly stepped up his game this year and has done so enough to become Mark Sanchez’s favorite target—for whatever that’s worth. Actually, what it’s precisely worth in terms of rankings at the wide receiver position is 30th in receiving yards, 38th in receptions, a tie for 50th in touchdowns and most importantly, a 51st ranking in fantasy points per game.
Fantasy Call – The sliver of light I see shining off of Kerley’s helmet this week is that Jeremy actually had his best game of the year against the Pats back in their Week 7 matchup. In that game, Kerley caught seven of his 11 targets for 120 yards, though he was kept out of the endzone as usual. He’s more of a flex play this week, but his upside could be somewhere in the low-end WR2 range with as bad as the Patriots pass defense is.
Stephen Hill – Stephen Hill could have a bright future ahead of him if he learns how to actually catch the ball before next season. The amount of easy drops he has this year is mind-numbing, but with his speed and height, he could turn into quite a player (as long as Mark Sanchez isn’t around, that is).
Fantasy Call – Just like Jeremy Kerley, Hill had one of his better games of the season against the Pats putting up 55 yards on four catches a little over a month ago. That being said, I still wouldn’t risk using a spot in my starting lineup on him this week.
Chaz Schilens – Schilens actually has a touchdown in two of his last three games, but he wasn’t even targeted in that middle game and has been generally invisible the whole season.
Fantasy Call – Don’t even think about it.
Rob Gronkowski – Gronkowski broke his left forearm last week against the Colts and will be out anywhere from two to eight weeks, depending on which story you believe.
Fantasy Call – HUGE bummer for fantasy owners as Gronk was on a serious tear putting up seven TDs in his last four games. Stash him on your bench for now and hope he makes it back for your fantasy playoffs.
Aaron Hernandez – Hernandez has only played in three games this season and none since Week 7 against the Jets. Aaron caught five balls for 54 yards in that game, though if he comes back this week as he’s expected to, he should be able to do a lot better than that.
Fantasy Call – If Hernandez is cleared to play, then you have to consider him a top-tier fantasy tight end this week, if not THE top guy. With the amount of play Tom Brady gets his tight ends, Aaron should be in for a hell of a day without Gronkowski able to steal his thunder.
Visanthe Shiancoe / Daniel Fells – As for which of these guys (or even Michael Hoomanawanui) will be asked to take on the blocking part of Gronkowski’s role is anybody’s guess, but whoever it ends up being won’t be much of a factor in the offensive game-plan.
Fantasy Call – It certainly LOOKS like a good risk to take, seeing how much damage Gronk does on a weekly basis, but don’t be fooled here. Neither Shiancoe, Fells or Hoomanawanui have even a tenth of the offensive talent that Gronk has.
Dustin Keller – Dustin Keller has all the talent in the world, but can’t seem to get out of his own way to use it on a consistent basis. As has been the case throughout his career, Keller is nursing an up-and-down 2012 campaign with most of it being on the down side due to his early-season injury woes. His finest game, however, came against the Patriots back in Week 7 when he caught all seven of his targets for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Fantasy Call – If there’s one game to get his guy in for the rest of the season, it’s probably this one. The Patriots have allowed the most receiving yards, second-most receptions and third-most fantasy points per game to TEs this year, so if the trends continue; Keller should be able to put up TE1 fantasy stats this Thanksgiving.
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