Turkey, pumpkin pie, and pilgrims for all. Oh what a glorious day.
Yes, it has come. The day when you, my fine American friends, gather ’round the television to embrace the warmth of family and spread good cheer, while we here in the great nation of Canada do the same. Together, we’ll celebrate the Thanksgiving gift of football.
But what of the fantasy gifts of the season? Are there any bargains to be had in the hours before kickoff today? To answer those questions I did a miniature version of the weekly Friday defensive streaming post, because if there are cheap but possibly rewarding last-minute plays out there, that’s where they lie.
Unfortunately, we’re looking at mostly desperate times. But if certain matchups fall in your favor, there’s still some high upside riverboat gambling potential.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Raiders (percentage owned: 65%): The ownership here is higher-ish, meaning your opportunity to stream DeMarcus Ware et al against an undrafted rookie in only his third start that’s happening under the Thanksgiving spotlight are dwindling. But we’re still flirting with 40 percent availability in Yahoo leagues for the Cowboys, and against a weak Raiders offensive line, this could be a prime opportunity for dem ‘Boys to tee off.
The Raiders have given up 38 sacks, with 54 quarterback hits, which works out to a little over three sacks per game, and Ware has five sacks in just eight game appearances. When he faced a similar presence in JJ. Watt two weeks ago, Matt McGloin’s yards per attempt finished at only 6.2, and he was held to 197 passing yards. In the Cowboys’ secondary there may actually be some addition through subtraction with Morris Claiborne’s continued absence due to injury. The vastly underperforming sophomore gives way to Orlando Scandrick, the veteran who’s done just the opposite.
But the most appealing aspect of the Cowboys vs. McGloin matchup is Denarius Moore sitting. Moore is still struggling with a shoulder injury, stripping McGloin of his primary deep threat. His game is better suited for the intermediate routes run by Rod Streater and tight end Mychal Rivera, but the subtraction of Moore takes away the primary home run potential.
A Rashad Jennings trucking could be very real, especially with Sean Lee watching. Accept that from the guy who’s led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and then shrug if you’re trotting out these Cowboys, and know that when McGloin drops back, the matchup gets more appealing.
Detroit Lions vs. Packers (percentage owned: 10%): If it was mandated that actual turkeys had to be thrown during Thanksgiving Day games, the Lions still couldn’t stop a damn thing. They’re days removed from allowing rookie Mike Glennon to record a passer rating of 138.4 with a yards per attempt of 11.8, and over their last three games they’ve given up 926 passing yards with eight touchdowns.
None of that is good, and all of it would normally make you run far away from the Lions. But then there’s the Matt Flynn factor, he of the noddle arm glory.
He’s being protected by a much better offensive line now than the feeble one he stood behind in Oakland. But at some point that doesn’t matter with his poor decision-making ability and tendency to hold on to the ball for too long. Back in Week 4 during his lone Raiders start that contributed to seven sacks — seven – and three fumbles, making the fact he was facing the Redskins and one of the league’s worst secondaries (they’re still allowing a league low 8.6 yards per pass attempt) of little concern.
So despite the chunks upon chunks that the Lions have given up through the air, there’s intrigue in their matchup against Flynn. If you’re in a deep league and the reasonable streaming options are thin this week, jumping on the Lions today is something far better than awful. That’s especially true when we combine the Flynn fun with the likelihood that a front seven allowing only 88.0 rushing yards per game can contain Eddie Lacy.
More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Elsewhere in Turkey Day matchup previewing
Evan Silva is required reading before setting your lineups today, as he is prior to every NFL weekend. He reminds us of just how damn good Rashad Jennings has been of late, averaging 22 touches for 139 yards per game over the past month.
Still better than Flynn?
Oh, and one more fun Flynn fact
This Aaron Rodgers injury deal has led to a lot more than just a massive quarterback downgrade. We’re watching history here, guys.
Matt Flynn will be the 4th different starting QB for the Packers this season. In the previous 21 years, they started 3 different QBs
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 28, 2013