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Lust: Food, Family and Football for Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving folks. The day that football, sleep-inducing meals, family, and friends come together. It’s the time for giving thanks.
Giving thanks for the ability to stuff our faces with no restraint. Giving thanks that our friends and family can stuff their faces with no restraint. Giving thanks that we can sit down, turn on our televisions, unbutton our pants, and continue to stuff our faces (once again, with no restraint).
And most of all, we give thanks for football.
As we stuff our faces with turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, we watch as gladiatorial stages are set and taken by our favorite teams and players.
As are the digital stages of our fantasy football teams.
We sit as we let our meals settle, and glare out of our peripherals at our close friends who are just two points behind us, and are on course to win. We laugh maniacally inside at nephews and cousins who have no chance of winning, as we creep closer and closer to our fantasy super bowls.
Everyone please enjoy the ultimate feast that is Thanksgiving. Enjoy your friends and family, and enjoy the football games!
Here are my picks for this week.
QB Picks for Week 13:
1. Definite Start: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (@New York Jets): Tannehill has been wowing us consistently over the past four weeks. He’s averaged 20 points and 2.25 touchdowns per games, and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Last week against the Broncos he finished the game with three touchdowns on 228 yards for 27 fantasy points. Unless the Jets secondary has improved immensely in one week, I don’t see Tannehill’s roll stopping anytime soon, especially not against the Jets who have given up the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year.
2. Sleeper Start: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. Chicago Bears): I was debating switching Stafford and Tannehill, but Tannehill has just exploded on the scene this year. Stafford has been a bit of a disappointment this year, especially since Calvin Johnson was out for three straight weeks (six, seven, and eight). Stafford has only averaged 15.4 points per game this year, ranking him 16th among his peers. But this week he faces the Bears, who have allowed the fourth most points to opposing quarterbacks, as well as an average of 22 points to opposing receivers this year, and with Johnson and Tate at Stafford’s disposal, could mean a big game for Stafford.
3. Free Agent Pickup: Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans (@Houston Texans): Yeah I know I picked Mettenberger last week, but I’ve been extremely impressed with the rookie from LSU. In just five games he’s thrown for 1,103 yards and seven touchdowns. The last time he played the Texans in week eight, he threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, he finished his game against the Eagles with 345 yards and two touchdowns, continuing to impress analysts and Titans fans. If he’s still hanging out in free agency, definitely give Mettenberger a second thought.
4. Beware of Starting: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (@San Francisco 49ers): Where should I start here? San Francisco has allowed the second least amount of passing yards, the least amount of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, the fifth least amount of fantasy points to opposing running backs, and the seventh least amount of rushing yards per game. Every one of those stats has an effect on rush heavy quarterback Russell Wilson. If there’s any time that’s going to give Wilson a run for his money, it’s going to be the hard hitting 49ers defense.
RB Picks for Week 13:
1. Definite Start: Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (vs. San Diego Chargers): An obvious start for obvious reasons, but according to ESPN he’s still only started on 88% of teams, and I’m not sure how. It should be 100% without any question. Forsett has absolutely exploded in the NFL running game, and put up a monstrous 31 points against the Saints defense last week. Forsett is a no-brainer, easy choice RB1 pick for this week.
2. Sleeper Start: Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (@Atlanta Falcons): With Drew Stanton not really providing any huge numbers as Arizona’s replacement signal caller, and the Falcons giving up 21.9 points per game to opposing running backs, this week should be an easy start for Andre Ellington. With obvious-start backs like Marshawn Lynch, Demarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell, and Justin Forsett, it may be hard find a place for someone like Ellington. But this week should be prosperous for him, so you should definitely open up a flex or RB2 spot for Ellington if he’s been hanging out on your bench.
3. Free Agent Pickup: Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (vs. Tennessee Titans): Blue has filled in for injury magnet Arian Foster nicely this year. With Foster still questionable this week, and the Texans taking on Titans defense which has given up an average of 22.3 points per game to opposing running backs this year. If anything, Blue should put up a solid game against Titans, and since he’s only owned in 77% of teams according to ESPN, there’s a good chance he’ll be in free agency in your league.
4. Beware of Starting: Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (@San Francisco 49ers): If Lynch is healthy this week, which Pete Carroll is counting on, he’ll be going up against a 49ers front line that has only allowed 12 points per game to opposing running backs. Lynch may top the rankings this week simply due to his last name, but I would beware of the possibility that Justin Smith and the 49ers defense could stop him in his tracks.
WR Picks for Week 13:
1. Definite Start: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Philadelphia Eagles): Bryant seems to be one who feeds off of the crowd’s excitement. So many factors play into Thursday’s game against the Eagles: it’s thanksgiving; it’s at home on thanksgiving; and it’s a division rivalry for the number one spot. Both teams will be bringing their A game, but with a star receiver like Bryant and a solid quarterback like Romo, Bryant should be set up for a huge game. Not to mention, the Eagles have given up the third most passing yards to opposing quarterbacks, as well as the second most fantasy points to opposing receivers. And last but not least, Bryant has been stellar against the Eagles during the past two years. In total, between the four games the Cowboys and Eagles have met since 2012, Bryant has racked up 394 yards and four touchdowns. Bryant is an easy choice this week.
2. Sleeper Start: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars): We all know how incredible that catch was against the Cowboys last week. There is absolutely no denying it. And a ton of people probably ran to pick him up just because of that catch. And that’s probably a great call. Beckham knows what he’s doing, and he’s not going to stop for some flimsy Jaguars defense that has allowed an average of 22 points per game to opposing receivers. According to ESPN, Beckham is still somehow only started on 62% of teams, and only owned on 81% of teams. This one should be a no brainer, but because of those percentages, I have to put him as my sleeper pick. Someone somewhere still doesn’t believe in Odell Beckham Jr.
3. Free Agent Pickup: Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (@Houston Texans): Although his touchdown last week against the Eagles was a bit of luck, Hunter is still a prominent choice for free agent pickups this week. The Texans have given up 26 fantasy points on average to opposing receivers this year, as well as the second most passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Not to mention, the last time the Titans took on the Texans in week eight, Hunter ended the game with 9 points off of one touchdown and 31 yards. With a new talent like Mettenberger jumping in to the quarterback scene, and a lackluster Texans defense, the second season rookie out of Tennessee may be looking to explode against the Texans.
4. Beware of Starting: Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Seattle Seahawks): Seattle has allowed the third least amount of passing yards to opposing quarterbacks this year. Over the past three meetings between the Seahawks and 49ers since the start of the 2013 season, Boldin has only racked up 153 yards and just one touchdown. That’s not too impressive for a 12th year veteran.
TE Picks for Week 13:
1. Definite Start: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Philadelphia Eagles): Romo and Witten have been a pair to watch since they joined forces on the Cowboys. In his last four games against the Eagles, Witten has caught for 338 yards. With a defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year, Romo and Witten will be guaranteed to connect for a solid amount of yardage.
2. Sleeper Start: Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (@Houston Texans): I can’t pick enough Titans this week. With a stellar 15 point performance against an ample Eagles that has only allowed 5 points to opposing tight ends, Walker is proving to be an easy pick for TE and flex positions. This week Walker goes up against a Texans defense that has allowed an average 274 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks this year, and over the past five weeks, Walker has been targeted a total of 36 times. Walker should be an obvious start this week.
3. Free Agent Pickup: Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills (vs. Cleveland Browns): Scott Chandler seems to be a bit of a boom-or-bust pick this year. Since week six, his fantasy point range as gone as follows: 10, 5, 7, 1, 0, and 8. An average fantasy score for a tight end in the NFL is somewhere around six to eight points, so averaging a bit below average at 4.3 points puts Chandler at someone you may not think of starting, but with his unpredictability, he might be an option for a flex or TE position you might otherwise have empty.
4. Beware of Starting: Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos (@Kansas City): He’s coming off an injury, he’s going up against a Chiefs defense that has only allowed 6.8 points to opposing tight ends this year, and aside from his 19 point outing against the Raiders, hasn’t really impressed in week seven. If you have Thomas in your TE position, I would give other tight ends a second look. If Thomas gets to play, he’ll be shaky.

Taylor LustOle Miss student Taylor Lust is a Fantasy Football guru and can be reached at tdlust@go.olemiss.edu.

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