Thursday’s Thanksgiving slate features three games this week — all with fantasy implications — and Sunday’s action is chock full of home favorites and is sure to result in a plethora of touchdowns. The Green Bay Packers (plus-14) are one of the biggest underdogs of the week, perhaps forcing them to play from behind and rely on quarterback Brett Hundley to find his groove and perform better than his three-interception performance against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Kansas City, meanwhile, is a 10-point favorite at home over the Buffalo Bills, giving the Chiefs a good chance to get an early lead and then turn it over to their rushing attack to drain the clock. That could lead to some much-needed redemption for a certain rookie running back.
Here are the best roster decisions you can make this week.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Since producing 775 total yards with six touchdowns through the first five games of the season, Hunt has been a fantasy dud. However, this is the week he gets back on track.
Hunt and the Chiefs host the Bills, whose defense has allowed 4.21 yards per carry (21st) and an NFL-worst 16 rushing touchdowns. Buffalo has allowed a 77 percent completion rate to pass-catching running backs (26th) for a 96.7 passer rating against, significantly higher than the rating the Bills have allowed when a quarterback targets his wide receivers or tight ends (79.0).
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
Sanders caught six of 11 targets for 137 yards during a 41-16 loss to the Patriots on Nov. 12 and was the No. 1 option for quarterback Brock Osweiler. Expect that production to continue, despite reports the team plans to make another change and start Paxton Lynch at quarterback in Week 12 when the Broncos travel to Oakland to take on a Raiders secondary that is hobbled by injuries.
All-Time Leaders in Passer Rating (min. 325 pass attempts)
1. Aaron Rodgers (2011) — 122.5
2. Peyton Manning (2004) — 121.1
3. Tom Brady (2007) — 117.2
4. Matt Ryan (2016) — 117.1
5. Peyton Manning (2013) — 115.1
6. QBs Facing the @RAIDERS This Year — 113.2
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) November 20, 2017
It has become so dire the coaching staff used rookie Obi Melifonwu, a safety in college, at cornerback in Week 11 against the New England Patriots — and he was targeted five times by Tom Brady, three of which were caught with one becoming a 64-yard touchdown to Brandin Cooks.
Sanders has a similar speed profile and gets nearly the same separation from his defender (2.4 yards on average) as Cooks (2.6) does this season.
Hunter Henry, TE, San Diego Chargers
Hunter didn’t do much during Sunday’s game against the Bills — two catches for 25 yards — but this week’s opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, will be without two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring), and that creates some mismatch opportunities for Hunter in the secondary.
Lee has been the third-best linebacker in pass coverage this season, per Pro Football Focus, but hasn’t been able to prevent the Cowboys from allowing a 95.5 passer rating to quarterbacks who target their tight ends in 2017. With him unavailable, those numbers could be worse in Week 12.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald caught nine of his 10 targets Sunday for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans, passing tight end Tony Gonzalez on the all-time receiving yardage list. But that was against a secondary that allows a 107.0 passer rating to opposing wideouts. The Cardinals’ opponent this week, the Jacksonville Jaguars, allows a rating of 48.9 against. To put that in perspective, a ball thrown away produces a passer rating of 39.6.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers
The Packers are 14-point underdogs on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, a situation that has produced a win rate of 20 percent (6-24) since 2002. Knowing that Green Bay will likely trail most of the game, and that Coach Mike McCarthy runs the ball significantly less when trailing (33 percent of plays) than he does when leading (48 percent) or with the score tied (40 percent), don’t put too much faith in Williams this week.
If Ty Montgomery (ribs) returns, there will be even fewer snaps to go around.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
Abdullah rushed for 22 yards on 11 carries and caught two passes for 13 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Chicago Bears. He now has touchdowns in three straight games yet probably won’t reach the end zone against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12.
The Vikings have allowed just one receiving touchdown to a running back all season in addition to limiting rushers to 3.4 yards per carry, third lowest in the NFL this year.