Week 12 NFL Confidence Plays – Thanksgiving Edition | Fantasy Football 2021

I think this will be the first year that I’ve split my Confidence Plays column into two articles the week of Thanksgiving. I usually just try to rush the piece and release it before the Lions game kicks off. However, since I’ve been releasing my column on Fridays this year, it just made more sense to write two separate ones this year.

I usually start off my Thanksgiving edition with a laundry list of people I’m thankful for. I still plan to do that, but I’m going to save it for my Friday column because I want to keep this short and easy to read in the wake of the Thursday games.

So with that, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and say thank you for not only reading this column at any point this season (or in previous seasons) but for supporting everything we do at Club Fantasy. That includes the other writers, podcasters, and graphic designers who contribute to making this site what it is.

We do this for you and appreciate you. Now let’s go crush Week 12!

A quick reminder of what Play and Fade mean: Play simply means players that I love based on matchups and my expectation that they’ll finish with more points than projected. Fade indicates players that I think will underperform their projections/consensus weekly rankings. It doesn’t mean I’m outright benching them, but I’m likely not rushing to put them in any DFS lineups either. Onto the Thanksgiving Day games!

Play

QB Andy Dalton (CHI) at DET – Is Andy Dalton good? No, not really. Does he somehow work with Matt Nagy’s offense? Again, not really. But that’s probably more because Matt Nagy’s offense doesn’t really work. So why do I like Dalton this week? Part of it is the recent report that Matt Nagy will be coaching his final game as the Bears head coach on Thursday. Nagy stuck to his guns as long as he could in keeping Dalton as his starting quarterback. It’s only fitting that Nagy’s ship goes down with Dalton as his First Mate. I have no doubt Dalton will play his ass off in a game the Bears should easily win against a bad Lions team. Dalton just needs to hand the ball off to David Montgomery (more on him later) and hit an open Darnell Mooney enough for 250 yards and two TDs, en route to a Bears win. That’s an easy 22 fantasy points. The Lions haven’t allowed 250 yards or two passing TDs to a QB in their last three games but allowed 250+ in six of seven to begin the season and 2+ TDs in three of them. The Lions have been scrappy of late, but history isn’t on their side — They’ve lost their last four Thanksgiving Day games and lost nine straight from 2004 to 2012. Dalton should be serviceable this week.

RB David Montgomery (CHI) at DET – You know why the Lions only allow the 9th fewest fantasy points to QBs? Because they allow the 3rd most fantasy points to RBs. They’ve allowed 10 rushing TDs to RBs, 3rd most behind the Jets and Chargers, and seven receiving TDs, despite allowing the fewest receptions to RBs. Since returning from Injured Reserve, Montgomery has played 85.5% and 94.9% of the team’s offensive snaps, further signaling he’s in line for a massive workload to end the season. Good things tend to happen when RBs get that kind of usage against teams that struggle to stop RBs. I wouldn’t hesitate to start him in redraft, and I’d be building every DFS lineup that I could around him.

WR Hunter Renfrow (LV) at DAL – Hunter Renfrow might be having the quietest top 30 WR season in recent memory. He’s finished as a top 36 WRs in 60% of his games, and he’s WR14 over the last three weeks. We know Dallas is a decent defense, but their secondary is vulnerable to big plays — 16th most to WRs; very middle of the road. Renfrow will just stay in his lane and eat up the underneath routes, a weakness for Dallas. Their best linebacker (Micah Parsons) has to rush the passer due to a lack of consistent pass rush, opening up lanes for slot receivers like Renfrow. He’s about as automatic of a FLEX as there is in fantasy these days.

TE Dalton Schultz (DAL) vs. LV – You’ll see a little later that I’m down on a particular Cowboys WR, and one of the biggest reasons why is because I love this matchup for Dalton Schultz. The Raiders defense goes up against Darren Waller in practice every week, and they still can’t find ways to slow down TEs. They allow the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs on the season. With Amari Cooper unlikely to clear COVID protocol and CeeDee Lamb still in the concussion protocol, the Cowboys top receiving options will be Michael Gallup (fresh off IR) and Schultz. Schultz was the TE5 in fantasy from Weeks 2-9 when Gallup was out and has been a reliable safety valve for Dak Prescott. The Raiders have a solid pass rush, and the Cowboys’ offensive line has not been the same in recent weeks. When pressure comes, I don’t Prescott if aiming for Gallup. It’s for Schultz and the RBs. Love Schultz this week in what should be an easy 5-50 week.

Fade

QB Trevor Siemian (NO) vs. BUF – Don’t look now, but Trevor Siemian is the QB4 in fantasy over the last three weeks. It hasn’t always been pretty, but the man knows how to make it interesting at the end of games. Say what you will about the Bills’ recent struggles, but they’re still elite against QBs — allowing the fewest fantasy points to QBs on the season. They’ve allowed only seven passing TDs, five fewer than the Rams. In fact, even if you combine the rushing TDs they’ve allowed (3), they’ve allowed fewer total TDs than the Rams have allowed passing TDs. The Saints just don’t have the WRs that can put the type of pressure on the Bills secondary necessary to enhance Siemian’s passing stats. And they’ll need a lot of Siemian this week with both Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram dealing with injuries. The way the Bills offense has played of late, expecting garbage time points from Siemian isn’t the way to go this week.

RB Zack Moss (BUF) at NO – This feels like cheating, as there’s a buzz around the Bills that Zack Moss could end up being a healthy inactive for this game. However, the emergence of Matt Breida over the last two weeks — 117 total yards and 2 TDs on 12 touches — may leave Moss as the odd man out. In addition, Moss fell to 3rd in snap share last week between him, Breida, and Devin Singletary. That’s never a good sign. In truth, as long as the Bills keep playing a yoyo act with their RBs, no one will ever be fantasy relevant, and even less so against a team as good against the run as the Saints. Last week notwithstanding, they’ve allowed the 2nd fewest rushing yards and 3rd fewest fantasy points to RBs. So really, none of the Bills RBs are at the top of my wishlist this week.

WR Michael Gallup (DAL) vs. LV – This goes against conventional wisdom, but hear me out. With Amari Cooper out and with CeeDee Lamb exiting with a concussion, Michael Gallup saw 10 targets against the Chiefs. He came down with five of them for only 44 yards. And the Chiefs suck on defense. Call it rust and Prescott getting his timing back with Gallup, but this pairing wasn’t working. The Raiders have been “good” against WRs this year, allowing the 6th fewest fantasy points to WRs on the year. I say “good” because they haven’t seen many WR targets — the 8th fewest in the league. They struggle against RBs (7th most) and TEs (2nd most). You know who has a good RB and good TE? The Cowboys. Gallup will still see targets, likely top two on the team this week if Lamb cannot clear protocol in time, but he’ll be asked to run different routes that don’t maximize his skill set. This week, Gallup is a trap for fantasy managers, and I’m staying away unless I’m desperate.

TE Dawson Knox (BUF) at NO – My first choice here was Adam Trautman because of the momentum he’s seen in the Saints passing attack over the last few weeks. But he was just put on IR, so we pivot. We’ll stay in the same game where the Saints’ pass defense has struggled of late. The Bills don’t have any RBs that will threaten them the way the Eagles do (that still feels weird to write after how they began the season). But the Saints cover TEs exceptionally well. They’ve seen the 8th most TE targets and tied for the 14th fewest receptions. They’ve also allowed the 8th fewest receiving yards and only one TD to TEs. While Dawson Knox was a featured player in the Bills passing attack before his injury, he’s seen 11 targets in his two games back, 10 of them in the Bills comeback attempt last week against the Jonathan Taylor-led Colts. The Saints don’t have an offense that will get up big on the Bills, and I firmly expect a big Emmanuel Sanders Revenge Game this week, limiting Knox’s ceiling.