Tis the season for football, food, and more food. Yes, we all love Thanksgiving when we have over 12 hours of nonstop football and watching our teams dominate (hopefully). However, I will ask you what is really important? I want all of you to ask yourselves that as you’re chowing down on some left-over turkey and watching football. I know what I’m thankful for, and I’ll fill you in next week. Until then, hope for no injuries, have a safe holiday weekend and remember why we all love the game. That being said, I have a few teams I want you look at and fell confident about starting along with some IDPs I am confident about. Lets get started……….
Raiders D/ST (vs DEN) FD $4400 – DK $3,000: After getting blasted in Mexico City on Sunday, the Raiders will be looking to get back on track this week versus the offensively challenged Broncos who do not know who their QB is. Brock Osweiler will be the starter this week, but with as porous as the Raiders pass defense has been, this could get ugly for Brock. The Raiders have exactly zero interceptions on the season, and Osweiler could fix that, but conventional wisdom says no. The Raiders defensive line, however, has some players that could make big plays, and keep pressure off the secondary. If the Raiders can pressure a bad offensive line and get to Osweiler, this unit could be a decent shot in the dark defense for those hurting for a defense this week.
Bengals D/ST (@ CLE) FD $4900 – DK $3,900: The Browns have an unbelievably bad turnover rate of 21.1% this season, and the Bengals defense has been better than average this season, so a turnover is highly probable this week. After limiting the Browns to seven points with an interception to go along with that in Week 4, it is fair to expect around the same production, if not a little more from a defensive unit that, on the whole, has improved this season. They are not elite, but they get the job done.
Titans D/ST (@ IND) FD $4600 – DK $3,100: The Titans defense has allowed 51 and 40 points in two games this season, but despite that fact, they remain a solid play this week as the Colts give up the second most points to opposing defenses, and need to find an identity on offense. While TY Hilton will be a threat anytime he touches the ball, getting him the ball versus a sound secondary will be a tall order. This unit could post double-digit fantasy points versus one of the more anemic offenses in Week 12.
Karl Joseph (S/OAK)- Joseph, a hard-hitting safety will be looking to blow up the Broncos receivers this week as the Raiders are hungry for a win and will want to keep any playoff hopes they have alive. Joseph is an instinctive safety who reads routes well, adjusts and makes plays on the ball. He is not easily fooled and he Broncos would be wise to stay clear of him. He may only have three defensed passes on the season, but should be a good bet to collect at least his fourth of the season in Week 12.
Bruce Irvin (LB/OAK)- Irvin has yet to have a true breakout game this season, but it could come this week versus the Broncos. He only has two and a half sacks on the season. He may never be the sack artist we once thought he could be, but versus a weak Broncos offensive line that struggles to move the ball he could record a sack and a few stuffs. Look for him continue to be a leader of the Raiders defense this week and consider him a LB3 heading into Week 12.
Brandon Marshall (LB/DEN)- Marshall, with 13 tackles over the Broncos last two games is a good bet to continue his pace versus the pass heavy Raiders. He may not be a turnover machine, or contribute many meaningful stats outside of tackles, but he is a lock to produce over 100 tackles and be a decent play week in, week out. Look at him as a LB2/high-end LB3 and you could be surprised by the tackle production.
Geno Atkins (DT/CIN)- Atkins is well on his way to surpassing his career high in sacks (nine), with six already this season. Versus a Browns team that is reeling on offense, he should be able to take advantage of favorable matchups and get to DeShone Kizer as well as the run game. He is an elite run stuffer, and underrated in the sack department, so do not be afraid to deploy him in your DT or DL spots.
George Iloka (S/CIN)- Iloka is my boom/bust play of the week as I see him either posting three fantasy points, or going off for two passes defensed, a pick and 6 tackles this week versus the Browns. He is not a shutdown safety by any means, but he is viable in coverage and understands when to take a chance for a big play. Finishing 33rd among all pass coverage players last season (out of 91), he is in the upper third for pass coverage and is solid pretty much every week versus the pass.
Joe Schobert (LB/CLE)- Schobert is a legitimate threat at linebacker with two forced fumbles and a pick on the season. He could add even more to those numbers this week. Currently anchored in the middle of the defensive seven, Schobert will continue to see opportunities for big plays and nice tackle totals. Versus an enigmatic Bengals offense, Schobert will be in the backfield all day making plays, and could potentially create a turnover. He is a LB1 in most leagues this week, and should be deployed every week.
Logan Ryan (CB/TEN)- Playing alongside ballhawk Adoree Jackson has its benefits and Ryan could reap them going forward. While he does not have a pick to date in 2017, he has defended nine passes on the season and been a veteran presence on a young defense. Versus Jacoby Brissett this week you should look for him to continue to play solid defense versus the pass as he understands coverages and different schemes. Teams shy away from him because he could be a ballhawk if given the chance. It will be interesting to see who the Colts target between Jackson and Ryan. Both are solid starts this week with Ryan a CB2.
Jabaal Sheard (DE/IND)- With 19.5 hurries already on the season to go with four and a half sacks Sheard could possibly have a higher upside. Neither of these offenses, Colts or Titans will light the world on fire offensively, but there are some playmakers that could be the difference in a game decided in the trenches. Sheard is a seasoned veteran defensive end who knows his assignments and does not blow them. He is quick off the snap and can beat opposing tackles with a nice burst. This could come into play this week, as both teams vie for a win. Sheard will be in the backfield all day against a weak run game which could put him in line for another sack or two.
Avoid the Rams D/ST (FD $4,300 – $DK $2,600) versus the Saints this week as this is going to be an all out shootout, and not many defensive stops will be made. We saw the Saints erase a 15 point deficit last week versus the Redskins in about three and a half minutes. Although the Rams have some huge playmakers on defense, led by Aaron Donald, there is not enough defensive upside to warrant starting the Rams defense. Drew Brees is finding chemistry with his new top receiver, Michael Thomas, and rookie runningback, Alvin Kamara who is proving to be the real deal. Yes, most weeks you start the Rams D/St, not this week, even with the added boost from Pharoh Cooper in the return game, there is not enough substance here to start them.