2020 Season Thanksgiving Preview

(Photo Credit: pixy.org)

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

It's our first Thanksgiving here at The Lateral, so we are bringing you a special preview with all the pertinent information you need for these two games. Admittedly, we thought there would be three games when I proposed doing this to Charles, but unfortunately, the Ravens at Steelers rivalry game was pushed to Sunday due to an outbreak of COVID-19 within the Ravens organization. That game will now be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, which could leave those of us who cannot afford Sunday Ticket with three games to watch in the 1 pm slate. Small victories!

Hopefully this article hits your brain before the turkey does and your hangover from last night is not too severe. To the games!

2020 Season Thanksgiving Preview

Houston Texans at Detroit Lions (Thursday 12:30 pm)

Weather: It is a dome!

Houston's Key Injuries: WR Kenny Stills (OUT), WR Randall Cobb (OUT), RB David Johnson (OUT)

Detroit's Key Injuries: WR Kenny Golladay (OUT), WR Danny Amendola (OUT), RB David Johnson (OUT), RB D'Andre Swift (DOUBTFUL; Concussion), WR Marvin Hall (Full Participant on Wednesday; Toe), TE T.J. Hockenson (Full Participant on Wednesday; Shoulder), QB Matthew Stafford (Full Participant on Wednesday; Thumb [Throwing Hand])

Who You Should Feel Comfortable Starting: With D'Andre Swift now unlikely to play, this list is short. TE T.J. Hockenson is someone that has to be started, but I think "comfortable" is not the term I would use to describe starting him. It is not a great matchup and he often struggles to catch the ball, but he averages 12.53 PPR PPG if you remove the Week 10 dud against the Washington Football Team. You are starting him.

On the Texans, WR Will Fuller V and WR Brandon Cooks are obvious starts with their main competition for targets sitting this one out. Lions CB Jeff Okudah is also sitting this one out, so that should downgrade the Lions DST and boost the prospects for the Houston WRs. QB Deshaun Watson is also someone to obviously run out if he is on your roster.

Who You Can Start If You Are Desperate: With Swift likely out RB Adrian Peterson is a desperation FLEX play, but you need to commit to him in an RB slot to ensure roster flexibility. WR Marvin Jones Jr. on the other hand is more comfortable play and has done well with Kenny Golladay out. Even in last week's dud he almost scored double-digit points, only behind T.J. Hockenson on the score sheet for the Lions. The issue here is QB Matthew Stafford cannot be trusted, so I would avoid playing Jones Jr. unless I did not have better options on my roster.

The Texans are much simpler: you can start RB Duke Johnson if you are really desperate. with David Johnson out, the other D. Johnson has seen 10+ carries in every game and at least one target. Unfortunately, he has not done anything with those touches, averaging 9.07 PPR points over that three-game span. If you have to, you can play him as a volume guy, but I honestly would consider playing Jets RB Frank Gore over Johnson. That is how bad this has gotten. TE Jordan Akins is also a potential dart-throw at TE, but San Fransico TE Jordan Reed is still widely available, so get him and ignore the Houston TEs unless you have no other choice.

Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys (Thursday 4:30 pm)

Weather: It is also a dome!

Washington's Key Injuries: RB Antonio Gibson (Full Participant on Wednesday; Ankle), WR Terry McLaurin (Full Participant on Wednesday; Ankle), K Dustin Hopkins (Did Not Practice on Wednesday; Groin) 

Dallas' Key Injuries: RB Ezekiel Elliott (Full Participant on Wednesday; Hamstring), K Greg Zuerlein (Limited Participant on Wednesday; Back)

Who You Should Feel Comfortable Starting: Start/Flex/Bench from yesterday covered this pretty well, and it is no surprise that you can only feel comfortable starting the usual suspects. That means WR Terry McLaurin and RB Antonio Gibson for the Washington Football Team, and RB Ezekiel Elliot for the Dallas Cowboys. Gibson's timeshare with RB J.D. McKissic is always a concern, but Gibson went off for 18.8 PPR points in Week 7 against Dallas and has not looked back since. His floor is a FLEX, and that makes him an easy start.

Who You Can Start If You Are Desperate: RB J.D. McKissic did not have a good outing against the Cowboys in Week 7, as game script went against him fairly quickly in a 25-3 rout. Still, he scores 10.14 PPR PPG, so if you are desperate, he is playable. The closer the game is, the more targets he will see. Avoid most of the rest of the Washington Football Team, though TE Logan Thomas, QB Alex Smith, and the DST are all streaming options. Of the group, Thomas is the only player whose usage merits starting. 4+ targets at TE is tough to pass up. Smith is in game manager mode, so while he has streaming potential the upside is low. The DST looks good and played well last week, but as I mentioned in this week's waiver column, historically this is a bad matchup for Washington. That is why I recommended you leave them on the bench this week.

The Cowboys are a bit easier to breakdown. You can play TE Dalton Schultz if he is your best option at TE. He has been a top-10 TE this year so far. In Week 7 against WashingtonWR Amari Cooper was the only fantasy-relevant WR out of their talented trio. I expect a similar performance this week, and so he is the only WR I can recommend from Dallas. WR Ceedee Lamb is seeing the targets but stay away this week. QB Andy Dalton is a desperation play as well but again, really recommend staying away this week if you can help it.

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