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Who to start and sit in Week 12 fantasy football for the Thanksgiving slate

We’ve got three games on the Thanksgiving slate Thursday. We break down the key names to start and sit in fantasy football.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) hands the ball off to running back Tony Pollard (20) during warmups before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s hoping you all have a happy Thanksgiving. That not only means spending quality time with the family members you actually like or absolutely gorging yourself at the dinner table; it also means making the right calls on your Week 12 fantasy lineups. We’ll take you through some starts and sits for the Thanksgiving Day slate.


Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears

Mooney saw an outrageous 16 targets last week against the Ravens. 11 of them came from Andy Dalton, who replaced an injured Justin Fields in Week 11 and almost immediately found Mooney on a screen pass that the wideout took 60 yards for a touchdown. Although Mooney has been limited by a knee injury during this short practice week, it seems like he will be ready to go Thursday versus the hapless Lions. The same can’t be said for Allen Robinson, who has yet to practice this week after missing last Sunday’s game with a hamstring strain. With Dalton slated to start, Mooney could be a target monster in a plus matchup on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys will be without WR Amari Cooper once again this week, and CeeDee Lamb’s status is up in the air at the moment The good news for Dallas is that they shouldn’t need to rely on their receivers in this matchup versus the Las Vegas Raiders, who have been shredded by running backs of late. They allowed 122 total yards to Devontae Booker in Week 9, 144 total yards to Darrel Williams in Week 10, and 123 total yards to Joe Mixon in Week 11. This should obviously mean big things for Ezekiel Elliott, but Pollard will mix in often enough to be worth starting as a flex or low-end RB2. He has tallied eight catches and 168 total yards over the past two weeks.

Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills

The New Orleans Saints have allowed the ninth-fewest DraftKings points per game to tight ends, but you should know that they nearly allowed two touchdowns to Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert last week; one was called back by a penalty and the other was kept off the board when the refs ruled Goedert down inside the 1-yard line. It looked like he did indeed score on the play, but the Eagles chose not to review it and cashed in on the next play anyway with a Jalen Hurts QB sneak TD. This week, the Bills should lean heavily on their tight end as their offense continues to be stymied cover-two defenses that are taking away the big plays downfield. Knox should find lots of operating room underneath, in the soft spots of the Saints’ zone. It wouldn’t be surprising if he sees 10 targets like he did in Week 11 versus the Colts.


T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

The Lions don’t have any trustworthy receivers outside of Hockenson and given the wasteland that is the tight end position, there probably isn’t a better option on your waiver wire. But it’s hard to have any confidence in this passing attack for as long as it’s led by Tim Boyle. If Jared Goff is able to suit up on Thanksgiving, you can be a little more positive about Hockenson’s outlook, but the former No. 1 overall pick seems to be truly questionable for Week 12. Further complicating matters is that the Bears have allowed the eighth-fewest DK points per game to tight ends.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Again, another guy you probably can’t sit since you may not have a better option available, especially if you are in a two-QB or superflex league. But possibly without his top two wideouts in a matchup against a team that has been good versus outside receivers but dreadful against the run, Dak may just not need to do much here. You are sort of hoping that the Raiders can turn this into a shootout, but given their recent listless performances, that seems unlikely. Prescott should be viewed as more of a low-ceiling, low-end QB1 instead of a rock-solid start on Thanksgiving.

All Saints receivers

Don’t get cute with this situation. No matter if it’s Trevor Siemian or the recently paid Taysom Hill behind center, you shouldn’t want any part of this passing game. Tight end Adam Trautman was probably the best option, but he’s on the shelf for the next month or so with a knee injury. The Saints will try to punish the Bills’ defense with running back Mark Ingram (assuming Alvin Kamara is out again due to his knee sprain). Maybe Tre’Quan Smith or Deonte Harris or Marquez Callaway will turn in a good box score on Thanksgiving night, but that’s a total guessing game, and Buffalo has given up the fewest DK points per game to opposing wideouts. When it comes to the Saints for fantasy purposes, it’s pretty simple: Play the starting running back and avoid everyone else.