Get your Thanksgiving festivities underway with the traditional Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game. This is the first of the three NFL games of the day kicking off at 12:30 on FOX.
The Packers come into Motown in this year’s NFC North clash as underdogs for the first time in years. The Lions are favored since the Packers will still be without superstar QB Aaron Rodgers but are coming off a tough loss last week to the visiting Buccaneers. Green Bay tied the Vikings last week at home, so asking them to go on the road and win on a short week may be too much to ask.
Even without Rodgers, there are still plenty of fantasy football points to get your feast off to the right start. Here’s my quick take on the fantasy relevant players in the first of the three Thanksgiving games:
Matt Flynn-Green Bay Packers: Flynn gets the start this week after taking over for Scott Tolzien last week. He threw for 218 yards and a touchdown while completing 21 of his 36 pass attempts. He’s a low-end QB2, but the Lions secondary has been struggling mightily lately so he could be a sneaky good play especially if this turns into a shootout.
Matthew Stafford-Detroit Lions: Stafford has never beaten the Packers in his career and has struggled in his last few games. Last week, he threw four picks in the Lions home loss to Tampa although he did threw three touchdowns and 297 total yards. His fantasy numbers definitely make him a QB1 especially since he has multiple TDs in five of his last six games. If he’s your top quarterback, start him this week against a struggling Packers secondary.
Eddie Lacy-Green Bay Packers: Lacy has turned it on lately finding the end zone in five of his last six games and going for over 70 yards in seven of his last eight. He’s a low-end RB1 this week and should get plenty of carries as the Packers function without Rodgers. Detroit has been good against the run lately, so don’t expect too much from Lacy, but he can definitely be in your lineup. The injury that held him out of the last week’s late-game action isn’t a concern for Thanksgiving.
James Starks-Green Bay Packers: Starks only had four touches last week but did run for 37 yards on three carries. He isn’t a fantasy starter unless Lacy is sidelined which he isn’t this week.
Reggie Bush-Detroit Lions: Bush hasn’t been getting as many touches for some unknown reason. The Packers have struggled against the run recently, though, so I think Bush is a RB1 this week and has a good shot at finding the end zone since week 8.
Joique Bell-Detroit Lions: Bell does get touches every week but not enough to make him worth a fantasy start. He’s worth owning since he is a great fill-in if Bush gets hurt but isn’t worth playing in his current role.
Jordy Nelson-Green Bay Packers: Nelson and the Packers WR corps have taken a serious hit in value with the loss of Aaron Rodgers. In his last four games, Nelson hasn’t found the end zone and has been under 70 yards in three of the four games. He’s still the #1 option for the Green Bay passing attack and he is in a favorable matchup against the Lions who have allowed 12 wide receiver touchdowns over their past five games. Nelson is a solid WR2 this week who should rediscover the end zone in the Packers trip to Ford Field.
Jarrett Boykin-Green Bay Packers: Boykin continues to see plenty of time with Randall Cobb sidelined. Last week, he found the end zone as part of his five-catch, 60-yard performance. He’s a low-end WR2 or a good WR3 this week based on the matchup.
James Jones-Green Bay Packers: Jones was targeted a team-high 12 times last week against Minnesota finishing with 80 yards on seven catches. He seems to be recovered from his knee injury and back to form for this favorable matchup. He’s definitely worth consideration as a flex play
Calvin Johnson-Detroit Lions: Starting Calvin Johnson should be the easiest decision of your fantasy week. It’s like whether or not to have gravy with your feast today.
Nate Burleson-Detroit Lions: Burleson returned with a solid week last week catching seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs. He’s caught at least six passes in every game he started this season and is a solid WR3 or flex option especially in PPR leagues.
Andrew Quarless-Green Bay Packers: Quarless had a pair of catches in each of his last two games, but for the Packers he serves more as a blocker than a receiver.
Brandon Pettigrew-Detroit Lions: Last week, Pettigrew found the end zone for the second time in the last five games and has caught at least three passes in his last eight games. His consistency and solid role in a high-volume passing attack makes him worth considering but he does have a low ceiling.
Green Bay Packers: Green Bay’s defense hasn’t force the turnovers you’d like to see from your defense and the Lions have allowed the sixth fewest points to opposing defenses despite Stafford’s struggles last week. There are better options than the Packers for you this week.
Detroit Lions: The Lions D got beaten up by the Bucs last week and haven’t scored double digits in ESPN standard scoring since week 4. Even without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers offense isn’t a good enough matchup to make the Lions a good fantasy play.
Detroit Lions 28, Green Bay Packers 24
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